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Playing at the Goff, Written Recollections From 1868

Golf has been played in some form for hundreds of years. But records tell us little if anything of what golf was like in its infancy. Historians know that it was hotly contested on St. Andrews Links through the 1800’s. And information about the game was filtering down toward England where the game was being popularized. Joseph Strutt was a publisher who help-ed spread the word about golf and other athletic activities. The following is excerpted from his Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, published in London in.1868.It answers to a rustic pastime of the Romans which they played with a ball stuffed with feathers, called paganica, because it was used by the common people; the goff-ball is composed of the same materials to this day: I have been told it is sometimes, though rarely, stuffed with cotton.


View of the Firth of ForthEverybody talks about the links at St. Andrews and rightly so, but to travel that far yet miss playing another grand old links course would be a shame. It’s just across The Firth of Forth (the water that connects to the North Sea but divides the lands of Fife to the North and East Lothian to the South). I refer specifically to the Links at North Berwick (West Course) located at the North Eastern tip of the territory known as East Lothian—where some of the earliest golf and greatest players in Scottish history called home. The club was founded in 1832 and is the second longest running course in use, St Andrews being older. It is also the place where, in a winter snowstorm, a challenge match was held in September 1875 between Willie Park and his brother Mungo against the Tom Morrises, Old and Young.


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