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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 304
USING TWITTER FOR GOOD, NOT EVIL T here’s a lot not to like about social media but if you wade through all the dross you can occasionally stumble upon a nugget of gold that makes it all worthwhile. When it comes to the digital age Twitter is my preferred poison (I just can’t take to Facebook and Instagram has – well – too many pictures) and in recent weeks I’ve found a couple of accounts that have turned out to be platinum class. Both are golf history based and while I can hear a few of you nodding off at the mere mention of the word, try to stay with me because – trust me – it’s worth it. Firstly, the Society of Golf Historians (@SHistorians) is brilliant. The name sounds dry, the content is anything but. Here is a small sampling of some of the remarkable things I’ve learned since pressing the ‘Follow’ button: The great Harry Vardon (pictured right) used a set of golf clubs that, for all intents and purposes, were single length, just like Bryson DeChambeau; Scotland is only known as the Home of Golf because of the outcome of a golf match in 1681; numbered ‘sets’ of clubs only became a thing in the 1920s. There is also discussion of when and why the various majors became majors as well as links to historic newspaper and magazine articles, including some fascinating content relevant to today’s distance debate. The other account I have recently discovered is @LdnGolfHistory run by Lee Patterson. Lee specialises in digging up and photographing old articles from newspapers and contained within those glorious images is some of the most beautiful and important writing on the game imaginable. We assume in this modern era that golf has been essentially how we see it for hundreds of years but Lee’s clippings show nothing could be further from the truth. Case in point was a 1929 article on the history of determining a uniform size for the hole. Included were a series of historical ‘Letters to the Editor’ on the issue including a startling observation from early rulesmaker and pioneering golf architect John L. Low. In a letter from 1891 Low notes: “At Carnoustie, in my memory, the holes used to always be slightly larger than at St Andrews but I think that both were over 4 1/2 inches. At Perth the holes are 4 1/4 inches and probably have been so for the last two or three centuries.” Can you fathom THAT in today’s game? Imagine teeing up in some sort of interclub match only to discover on the 1st green that the hole is smaller than you’re used to at your home course? Lee’s historic clippings have no pre-conceived theme and cover everything from the evolution of individual golf courses to essays on the simple joys of the game. Much of the writing touches on topics that are still controversial today (such as the value of nine-hole golf) and, for the most part, is both entertaining and informative. The irony of the digital age being responsible for uncovering so much of golf’s grand history is not lost on me and I would urge anyone so inclined to give these two accounts a follow. And if you find others that feature more interesting content than Brooks Koepka’s driving average and Jordan Spieth’s Strokes Gained Putting let me know at @TalkinGolfRadio. I’m always on the lookout for some diamonds amongst the stone. VIEW THE ROD MORRI is an award-winning writer and podcast presenter. He hosts The iseekgolf.com Podcast weekly. CLICK here to listen.
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