The good old days when golf clubs had names

2009-01-20 00:00

UNTIL 1930, golf clubs had wonderful names such as “brassie”, “baffie” and “cleek”. Of course these are Scottish names and if you pronounce them with a Scottish accent, they sound even more wonderful.

The reason they were dropped is because in 1930 the Spalding company produced irons that were matched sets and had numbers stamped on the sole of the club. The wooden clubs, a short time later, were also numbered and the traditional names were lost to the game.

However there are two names that survived that change of nearly 80 years ago. They are the “putter” and the “driver”. The driver was in danger of losing its name when golfers referred to it as a No. 1 wood in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, but thankfully its original name survived.

Incidentally, the great amateur, Bobby Jones, ceased playing tournament golf, turned professional in 1930, and assisted Spalding in designing those new clubs.

About seven or eight years ago, golf club manufacturers designed a club that they call a “hybrid” or “utility”. Golfers will know this type of club has a design of half iron, half wood. Originally they were created primarily for amateurs to replace long irons, but these days you will find a hybrid club in every professional’s bag.

These clubs curiously resemble the old-fashioned long-nosed shape of hickory-shafted woods that were in use a hundred years ago. Could it be that the manufacturers have missed a golden opportunity to resurrect some of those wonderful old names of clubs? Well, your scribe thinks so.

Wouldn’t it sound much better at the 19th describing shots with your brassie, mashie, baffie or spoon?

It’s evident that the marketing experts employed by the big- brand golf club manufacturers thought the name “rescue club” had more appeal.

Last weekend’s results:

Maritzburg Golf Club held a betterball Stableford competition on Saturday. The winning pair were Morgan and Jay Phillips with 48 points. In second place were Lance Nel and K. Harsant on 47 points. Doug Biggs and G. Gough were third with 45 points.

Victoria Country Club also held a betterball Stableford competition. Francois Vermaak and Michael Gouweloos won with 43 points. Jitesh Gopal and Dan Moodley were second on a count-out with 41 points. David Swan and Koekie Swanepoel were third.

From the 19th hole:

Larry was a fanatical golfer; he was the golf club chairman and extremely wealthy, but he was known for being a bit of a skinflint.

Larry suddenly died and his will provided R50 000 for an elaborate funeral. As the guests were departing the wake, his widow Sarah turned to her oldest and dearest friend and said, “Well, I’m sure Larry would be pleased.” Her friend Jill said, “I’m sure you’re right”, then lowered her voice, leaned close and said, “How much did this thing cost?” Sarah replied: “All of it cost R50 000.”

“What!” exclaimed Jill. “I mean it was very nice but, R50 000!”

Sarah explained in a hushed tone. “The funeral cost R6 500. I donated R500 to the church, the beer, wine and snacks were another R1 000. The rest went to the memorial stone. Jill added it up. “R42 500 for a memorial stone? My goodness, how big is it?”

Sarah replied: “Four-and-a-half carats!”

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