Golf Facts & Yarns

September 23, 2017
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Golf Facts

 
A bogey in golf
was originally what we know as a par today and, believe it or not, the term is derived from the Bogey Man, not to be confused with the boogie man (a person not unlike Disco Stu) nor the booger man as I once erroneously thought he was known. In the early 1890s there was a catchy little tune called "The Bogey Man" (it was also known as "The Colonel Bogey March") which was a massive chart-topping number one hit all over Great Britain. I’m sure you know it well and are probably humming a few bars right now. As you may recall, the song was a rather uplifting love story about an elusive and enigmatic chappy who had a habit of lurking in the shadows and carrying on with such pleasantries as "I'm the Bogey Man, catch me if you can." Delightful stuff.

Golfers in Scotland and England at the time equated the quest for the elusive Bogey Man with the quest for the perfect score on a hole of golf. By the mid to late 1890s, the term 'bogey score' referred to the ideal score a good player could be expected to make on a hole under perfect conditions. Given the outstanding ability of most Bushrangers to score bogies, apparently at will, it would seem many of us were born a hundred years too late.

It was only around the beginning of the 20th century that the concept of 'Par' started to emerge. With advancements in club and ball technology at the time, the bogey was overtaken by par as the designated number of strokes a scratch player could be expected to take on a hole in ideal conditions. 
 

 
That unabashed golf nut, Michael Jordan, has a personal record of 63 holes of golf in one day. Gives "I wanna be like Mike" a whole new twist, don't it?
 

 
Jack Nicklaus
won 18 Major Championships between 1962 and 1986, but did you know he also finished second 19 times, third 9 times and fourth or fifth 11 times. He continued to compete in Majors until his emotional farewell at St. Andrews in 2005 by which time he had racked up 163 starts. This meant he managed to finish in the top five better than one in every three starts, including those in his twilight years. He also bagged two U.S. amateur titles (considered majors prior to the modern open era) and a lazy six Australian Opens for good measure.
 

 
According to one nutty golf mathematician (who probably has way too much time on his hands), the odds of a hole-in-one by a male professional or top amateur on a hole within the range of one shot are 3,708 to one. For a female professional or top amateur the numbers blow out to 4,648 to one. For the rest of us, it is a mere 42,952 to one. Ha ha ha ha. Good luck!. Naturally, if you have been skillfull enough to achieve an ace (or two!), you may be interested in contacting Bushranger Golf with details via our feedback page so we can record your magical feat for all eternity in our Ace, Eagle & Albatross Register in The Campfire.
 


In 1971, John Hudson, a 25-year-old professional, achieved a golfing miracle when he holed two consecutive holes-in-one in the Martini Tournament at Norwich. They were at the 11th and 12th holes (195 yards and 311 yards respectively) in the second round. Apparently, the chances of making two holes-in-one in a single round of golf are one in 67 million. 
 


Legendary professional Harry Vardon, the greatest Open Champion of all-time with 6 victories between 1896 & 1914, had only one hole-in-one during his entire career. 
 

 
In 18th-century Scotland, golfers would engage two caddies: one to carry the clubs and a forecaddie to position himself ahead of the player to find the ball when it came to rest. It is from the forecaddie that we get the current usage of “Fore!” on the course to warn others there’s a ball coming their way which they may want to evade. When a player hit a ball which may be dangerous to his or his partner’s forecaddie, he would call out to warn the unfortunate fellow that he may be interrupted by a flying feathery any second now. Originally the generally accepted warning was, “Aye foor-cuddie me ooold choom, watch oot for ma wee aggot aboot to scone ye!”, but in time this was abbreviated to the slightly more practical “Fore!” 
 


There are around 50 million golfers in the world. Their average gross score is 107 shots. Eighty percent of all golfers will never achieve a handicap of less than 18.
 

 
Playing as the first pair and obviously keen to get home (or to the bar), Mark Calcavecchia and John Daly completed the final round of the 1992 Tournament Players' Championship in 2 hours and 3 minutes. Both were fined by the U.S. P.G.A. for playing too quickly. Daly shot an 80 and Calcavecchia an 81.
 

 
Links
is a term that refers to a very specific geographic landform found in Scotland. Such tracts of low-lying, seaside land are characteristically sandy, treeless, and undulating, often with lines of dunes or dune ridges, and covered by bent grass and gorse. To be a true links, the tract of land must lie near the mouth of a river - that is, in an estuarine environment. From the Middle Ages onward, links-land, which is, on the whole, poor land for farming, were common grounds used for sports, including archery, bowls and golf.

Because many of the early courses of Scotland were built on these common links-land, the terms links has grown to be irreversibly entwined with a golf course. Since a true links depends only on geography on which the course lies, a ferocious traditionalist will tell that when the term 'links' is applied to refer to any golf course, the person concerned is, well, OOB, as it were.

The links at St. Andrews occupy a narrow strip of land along the sea. As early as the 15th century, golfers at St. Andrews established a customary route through the undulating terrain, playing to holes whose locations were dictated by topography. The course that emerged featured eleven holes, laid out end to end from the clubhouse to the far end of the property. One played the holes out, turned around, and played the holes in, for a total of 22 holes. In 1764, several of the holes were deemed too short, and were therefore combined. The number was thereby reduced from 11 to nine, so that a complete round of the links comprised 18 holes.

When golf clubs in the UK formally recognized the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews as the rule-making body for the sport in the late 1890s, it became necessary for many clubs to expand or reduce the length of their course to eighteen holes. Prior to this time, courses ranged in length from six holes to upward of 20 holes. However, if golfers were to play by the official R&A rules, then their appointed round would consist of a mere 18 holes. 
 


In the second round of the Australian Wills Masters tournament in Melbourne in 1964, the great Arnold Palmer hooked his second shot at the 9th hole high into the fork of a gum tree. Palmer climbed 20 feet up the tree and, with the head of his No. 1 iron reversed, played a hammer stroke and knocked the ball 30 yards forward. He followed this by a great chip shot to the green and a putt.
 


Carl Hooper let a go a lazy drive of 787 yards in the 1992 Texas Open at the Oak Hill Country Club in San Antonio. His ball hit a cart path, got a few good bounces and just never stopped. For his second, Hooper took a 4 iron to get back on the fairway (probably not his own) and then an 8 iron to get near the green. He finished with a double bogey 6 and missed the cut.
 

Golf Yarns


According to Wikipedia, Dear Abby is a syndicated advice column started in 1956 by Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips and currently written by her daughter, Jeanne Phillips. Abigail Van Buren has been the pen name used by both writers for the column. The column is known for its "uncommon common sense and youthful perspective" and is read by more people than any other newspaper column worldwide. Here is one letter to Abby that found its way to Bushranger Golf.

Dear Abby,

I've never written to you before, but I really need your advice. I have suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me. The usual signs are there: the phone rings but if I answer, the caller hangs up.

My wife has been going out with "the girls" a lot recently although when I ask their names she always says, "Just some friends from work, you don't know them." I always try to stay awake to look out for her coming home, but I usually fall asleep. Anyway, I have never broached the subject with my wife. I think that deep down I just didn't want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided it was time I did something to really check on her.

Around midnight, I hid in the garage behind my golf clubs so I could get a good view of the whole street when she arrived home from a night out with "the girls". When she got out of the car she was buttoning up her blouse, which was open, and she took her panties out of her purse and slipped them on.

It was at that moment, crouching behind my clubs, that I noticed that the graphite shaft on my driver appeared to have a hairline crack right by the club head. Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the pro shop where I bought it? 

Signed,

Perplexed

 
When Crocko-Diddio (aka Crotman) made his Albatross (aka a double-eagle) at the estimated odds of a million to one, he was playing in a competition and did not win the hole. Here is his account:

“It was at players’ caddies day. I was playing my caddy, a 75 y.o. dude called Deafy Curtis (aka "the git"). I played so bad he had me 10 down after 13 holes. I think I was 16 or 17 over and had lost so many balls I was playing with a range ball with Texta marks all over it. When I hit it down the middle on 14, my playing partners cheered and clapped. When we reached my ball I asked, "Reckon I’m right to hit?" One bloke shot back "you'll be lucky to make contact". I hit a 3 wood blind shot from 210m, landed short of green, nudged through the group still putting and rolled gently into the hole. I didn’t believe them until 5 mins after we reached the green and they starting betting me $100 it was true. Deafy Curtis had a par 5, with a shot for 5 (a plus). We were playing par, match-play. I’d had 2 (a plus), so the hole was halved. Sheesh, you hit an albatross and it's not good enough to win one hole from a 75 y.o. dude! I pocketed my scuffed up range ball for mounting and had to borrow a ball from someone to keep going.”
 

 
That marvellous golfing enigma, Mikey Dee, has shot two eagles in his illustrious career and they were within 15 minutes of each other; on consecutive holes! On 11 Nov 1998, he was playing a round at Albert Park in Victoria with some mates. No doubt he chose the venue out of respect as it was Remembrance Day and this was the closest course to the Shrine of Remembrance. On the Par Five 6th hole, Mike hit driver, three metal and putter to bring up his first career eagle. He has long been known to perform well with a little confidence under his belt and on this occasion, he went directly to the next hole and hit another three shots into the cup on what happened to be another Par Five. Back to back eagles in 15 minutes! If you find this a little difficult to believe, you can check the authenticity of the scores on our “Bushranger Golf Ace, Eagle & Albatross Register” in The Campfire.
 

 
The great Moe Norman would get bored with the slow play of his colleagues in professional tournaments and took to doing unusual things to keep himself amused. He was known to lie down on the fairway while waiting for his partners to play and he would sometimes hit his tee shots off the top of cola bottles for fun. Known as ‘Pipeline Moe’ he is arguably the straightest hitter of a golf ball who ever lived. Some other Moe stories include:

  • One day on the tee of a par 4, Moe turns to his caddie and says, “What do think, Driver, wedge?” His caddie agrees so Moe pulls out the wedge, tees off and then hits his approach shot with his driver onto the green.
  • Once when playing with Sam Snead they approached a par 5 with a creek running across the front of the green. Sam laid up but Moe took a wood to go for the green. Says Sam, “What are you doing? You can’t clear that water!” to which Moe replied, “See the bridge over the creek? I’ll just run my ball over that” And he did.
  • "I don't believe in taking much of a divot, especially with the longer irons. You want to barely comb the grass through impact, as though you were hitting a ball off the top of somebody's crew cut. It's the only way to catch the ball on the second groove up from the bottom of the clubface. That's where you want to make contact: on the second groove." - Moe Norman

To read more about Moe, including interviews, go to the Bushranger Golf Resources page where we have some links to articles on this legend of the fairways.
 

 
Sometimes a Bushranger does not have much to hang his heavy hat on and so he must resort to the sort of wallowing in ancient glories that gives ‘living in the past’ it’s good name. At Bushranger Golf, we encourage the glorification of the game and edification of us great fools who love it and give it life. Here is a story from Bastros, one of our founding members, which beautifully ticks all of the above boxes. If you wish to share your own special variety of golfing self-indulgence, crapulent or otherwise, just contact us with your words of wisdom via our Bushranger Feedback page

My Eagle - by Bastros, Bastros, Ghali

T’was on a hot day in that magical summer of ’87 and the young whippet Bastros was having the round of his life. The course was dry and the ground flint hard as I strode on to the tee of the Par Five 16th hole at Royal & Ancient Creswick Golf Club (north of Ballarat) and glared into the distance. The fairway sloped downward with a gentle dogleg to the right and the green was out of site from the tee. Having chosen to play my "old-school" one-and-a-half driving wood (these were pre-titanium days), I made my preparation with a vigorous practice swing, thrilling to the sparkle of the steel shaft in the sunlight and the sound of it whooshing through the dry air. I made my address to the ball and with a perfect rotation of the (at that stage lithe and young) hips and let, as they say, "RIP".

Needless to mention in a story about an eagle, the ball (despite being pre 90's and therefore a piece of under-engineered rubbish; more like a large pebble as I recall) rocketed off the face of my ancient blunderbuss on an astonishing trajectory, starting out left and then moving right in a perfect parabola that mirrored the curve of the dogleg, before diving like a Spitfire and finally hitting terra firma. At this point, my ball bounced a few times like one of the butterfly bombs in the Dam busters, before then scooting along the ground around the corner and out of sight at such a terrific pace that it put me in mind of Jack Brabham during his halcyon days of 59, 60 and 66.

Pretty chuffed at my newfound ability to make golf balls disappear in a good way, I set off down the fairway and round the dogleg. Imagine my surprise at seeing the ball had continued under the momentum of my mighty blow for another 100 metres around the corner of the dogleg and finally come to rest at the edge of a precipice in the fairway. An exquisitely picturesque emerald green lay in the distance below, shining like a perfect jewel on that sun-drenched afternoon.

I took out my 4 iron, lined up and launched the ball into the stratosphere. It seemed to hang there for an eternity. In fact, I sat down, got out the billy and had a cuppa while I admired the sight of this tiny white ball, alone in the clear blue sky, so audaciously challenging the heavens that it made my heart sing and swell with pride. Such a brave ball, so high in the sky...and with such a long way now to fall. With fear for its safety in my throat, wondering how I could have placed such a defenceless little thing in such peril, I almost choked on my tea as it plummeted towards the green in the valley far below. As it shrank to a dot in the distance, I was proud of the pluck and spirit it showed, sailing serenely down to the green, kissing the surface inaudibly and rolling to a stop about a metre from the flag. I packed up the billy with barely contained excitement.

To say I tripped and trapped my way down the hill to the green would be an understatement. I lined up the putt with all the confidence and self-belief of youth, imagining the times I would rejoice over these kinds of opportunities in what was surely going to be a long and fruitful golfing career. With a tear in the corner of my eye, I set my little white friend on the last trundling leg of his epic journey, completing the simplest of putts for the best hole of my life.

Ed's note: To check the authenticity of this tale, have a look at out our “Bushranger Golf Ace, Eagle & Albatross Register” in The Campfire