Happy New Year
Wishing you a wonderful 2023 with a lot of golf!
May you hit ’em long and straight, stay out of the bunkers and enjoy yourself out on the course!
Welcome to our January Newsletter!
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The Snow Came Back!
After the melting of the Thanksgiving snow and the warmup we were wishing that was the end of the snow for the season and courses would soon be opening. I tried to increase the odds of that happening with a conversation with Santa Claus.
He obviously did not think I have been a particularly good girl this year. Instead of sunshine and warmth we got a Christmas snowmageddon. Crazy amounts of snow and wild winds leading up to Christmas. I am guessing that golf is off the table in northern Michigan for at least a few months.
Picture to right shows 2 of my granddogs at a local dog park on Christmas Eve. Picture is blurry because it was screenshotted from a video I was sent
What to Talk About?
I was going through my notes and pictures of golfing this past season. Trying to decide what I would talk about for our first story of the new year. Didn’t see anything exciting, but a couple of things jumped out at me. I did not break 100 this year (we did in a scramble), I again feel like I did not golf enough and lastly, I made really substantial progress with my new clubs.
I opened a folder title war rules and wasn’t sure what it was or why I named that folder that. Well, it was a picture of a wartime rules poster for a golf course in the UK from 1940 that was found in the club’s photo archives 80 years later. The course founded in 1891 now has the rules on display in the clubhouse.
I decided to find out if these rules were real. I didn’t remember finding this picture or where it came from, needed to fact check it. Double treat for me this month, golf, and history!
Technically not a northern Michigan golf thing, but still golf related and as it turns out pretty darn interesting to boot!
Keep Calm and Play On!
Temporary wartime rules were written by members of The Richmond Golf Club in Surrey, England. The golfers refusing to let Hitler’s Luftwaffe stop the game created these tongue-in-cheek instructions.
Although they may have been created lightly, the threat was real. Between October 7, 1940, and June 6, 1941, the German Luftwaffe decided to start attacking London and other major cities towards the end of the Battle of Britain. More than 1,000 bombs were dropped on Richmond. Several on the golf club including one that destroyed a laundry used by the club.
It is rumored that German high command was enraged by the rules and used them as a propaganda to make fun of the English. William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) sent Nazi propaganda through the airwaves into British homes and made the rules the theme of one of his broadcasts. “By means of these ridiculous reforms the English snobs try to impress the people with a kind of pretended heroism. They can do so without danger, because, as everyone knows, the German Air Force devotes itself only to the destruction of military targets and objectives of importance to the war effort.”
Apparently the club’s laundry was of importance to the war effort. 😊
Temporary Wartime Golf Rules
- Players are asked to collect bomb and shrapnel splinters to save these causing damage to the mowing machines.
- In competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
- The positions of known delayed action bombs are marked by red flags at a reasonably, but not guaranteed, safe distance therefrom.
- Shrapnel and/or bomb splinters on the fairways, or in bunkers within a club’s length of a ball, may be moved without penalty, and no penalty shall be incurred if a ball is thereby caused to move accidentally.
- A ball moved by enemy action may be replaced, or if lost or destroyed, a ball may be dropped not nearer the hole without penalty.
- A ball lying in the a crater may be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole, preserving the line to the hole, without penalty.
- A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place. Penalty one stroke.
Golf during Wartime in the United States
Golf was encouraged in the United States during World War II, the threat of the courses being bombed was unlikely. Many Americans were avid golfers, and they were concerned the sport would die during the war. One such golfer was John Kelly, the assistant director of civilian defense (a branch of the federal government) in charge of physical fitness.
He was a member of a golf club in Philadelphia and was a passionate golfer. Kelly reached out to the USGA days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He wrote, “Eight million people will be going into the armed forces. My job is to look after the 124 million who will not or cannot go. They can keep fit by playing golf. France was the most physically inactive country in the world and look what happened to them.”
New Position created
Kelly created a new position and named Fred Corcoran the Golf Deputy for the Office of Civilian Defense. Corcoran was the Manager of the PGA Tournament Bureau (now known as PGA Tour). Kelly and Corcoran proposed fundraisers called the Hale America tournaments to support soldiers fighting for our freedom. Kelly sent a letter to golf associations and the media that read in part, “This is the time when golf really must score for the physical and mental conditioning of American citizens under wartime pressure. Golf’s strong attraction as a sport in which more than 2 1/4 million of our citizens exercise regularly in the open air qualifies the game for national service of a vital character. Therefore, we are urging the golf clubs and organizations of America to exert themselves to meet the requirements of individual and collective physical fitness.”
These men in order to ensure a game they loved continued through the war were able to market the sport as government sanctioned, carefully framing the sport as a kind of patriotism. Plus their wives had to support them playing a lot of golf as part of their civic duty.
Brilliant if you ask me!
More stories about golf during wartime
After reading about golf during World War II, I did a little more research. There are great stories and interesting facts of golf and the role it has played during wartime over the years. Below are a few of the articles I found.
- What’s ahead for golf in wartime?
- WWII & Hesketh Golf Club established in 1885, designed by George Lowe
- Six golfing moments from World War II you’ve likely never seen
- Turnberry Course has served British nobly in both peace and war
- The story of the POWs who played golf while being held by the Nazis
- A Philadelphia golf club raised $3 million for WWII US War Bonds in one day!
- The wartime fundraising efforts of a British Golfer, 1939-1940
- That time golf saved the world from war
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