Class started bright and early this morning with a hearty helping of Business Management. We watched a motivational video called “Do Right” by former football coach turned ESPN commentator Lou Holtz. It was a little out-of-date but interesting nonetheless. The big takeways were do right, do your best, and treat others the way you would like to be treated (The Golden Rule). He also mentions the three universal questions he has asked while at every program where he’s coached:
- Can I trust you?
- Are you committed?
- Do you care about me?
Before class was over, we broke into debate groups. Later this semester, we’re going to be debating different topics. My group of seven chose the legalizing marijuana argument and will be discussing the pros and cons of the idea.
From there, it was on to History of Golf. The general consensus seems to be that other than the Scottish, the Dutch give us the best argument for the origin of golf. Located directly across the North Sea from Scotland, the Netherlands was playing a stick and ball game that very closely resembles the game of the golf. Not coincidentally, the name of their game was colf! It makes sense that golf would be derived from a similar game of similar name. Kolf is the Dutch word for club. Golf is an ancient Scottish word meaning “to strike.”
As early as 1296, the Dutch also had what they called a colf course. Its four holes stretched a whopping 4,500 yards, which would have presented quite the challenge based on the equipment of the day! Here’s something I didn’t know – the holes weren’t actually holes, they were doors. The course featured doors to a kitchen, a windmill, a castle, and a courthouse. The winning colfer usually collected a barrel of beer from the loser (now we know why the 19th hole is so popular).
Colfers didn’t just limit their playing to the “course,” and ultimately, that was for the better and the safety of the townspeople. Colfers chased balls through churchyards, across gravesites, and even through town centers. They wrecked so much havoc in the form of injuries and broken glass that they were eventually banished to the countryside in the summer months and to the frozen lakes and rivers in the winter months. Some Dutch master paintings even detail landscapes of colfers playing the game they did so for at least 400 years.
Then there’s this – the active trading between the Dutch and the ports along the east coast of Scotland. Some scholars suggest that Dutch sailors brought colf to the east coast of Scotland. So there you have it! If you want to know Scotland’s partner in crime when it comes to the origin of the game, look no further than the Dutch.
On the schedule tomorrow: Rules of Golf and Mechanics of the Short Game.