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The Spirit Of The Links | by Henry Leach



To discover the secret of its wonderful charm is not the least of the problems of golf. It is a game that encourages the reflective and philosophical mind to close investigation, and so it is not enough for the worthy player that he should take the things that he sees and feels for granted, with no questions concerning the mystic influences that seem constantly to brood over the links, and the people who are of them. Each day as we go forward to the game, and in particular if it marks the beginning of a special period of play, we feel these influences strong, and it may happen that for a moment we wonder again as to their cause and their origin.

TitleThe Spirit Of The Links
AuthorHenry Leach
PublisherMethuen & Co.
Year1907
Copyright1907, Methuen & Co.

Great Golf, What Powerful Charm Is In Thy Name! What Cunning Witchcraft In Thy Fascinating Game!

Blackheath Golfing Lays, 1867

-Spring
I TO discover the secret of its wonderful charm is not the least of the problems of golf. It is a game that encourages the reflective and philosophical mind to close investigation, and so it is not e...
-Spring. Part 2
That is a fair creed concerning the command of golf, and we may reject the theory that indomitable, persevering mankind finds the fascination of the game merely in the failures and irritations that it...
-Spring. Part 3
France is fair and free, but the game is played in Europe where the times and conditions are not at all the same. There is golf in Russia, and to it there was added a new course but recently. At the f...
-Spring. Part 4
III Rulers, statesmen, diplomatists, begin to take more serious account of the sport-loving factor in human nature than has been their wont. Downing Street, Washington, the Quai d'Orsay, and all the ...
-Spring. Part 5
V It behoves every earnest golfer to keep a match-book in which there shall be faithfully recorded the results, with some particulars, of all the matches whatsoever that he shall play in the course o...
-Spring. Part 6
And it shall come as a good recommendation in this matter that the golfer who is the favourite hero of us all, as he was a pattern of the golfing virtues, made a match-book for himself while he was st...
-Spring. Part 7
You always find that a golfer is very much the better for a short season on a very windy course. When he goes back to his home course, very likely inland and protected, driving seems such a simple, ea...
-Spring. Part 8
Adding up the records of positions and scores of all golfers who took part in these championship competitions when the triumvirate did, and making, so to speak, one long championship of it, the triumv...
-Spring. Part 9
But it is Shakespeare who teaches us best to be good golfers, and the secret of the perfect application of his sentiment and philosophy to the golfer's life is that his writings are so intensely human...
-Men And Things
I FOR one reason, if not for more, a Liberal Government is popular with golfers of true feeling- because it gives Mr. Arthur Balfour, the ex-Prime Minister, more to the links than when he is burdened...
-Men And Things. Part 2
Big Crawford, his old-time favourite caddie, who keeps a ginger-beer tent alongside the eighth green at North Berwick, flies the Scottish standard from the top of it when Mr. Balfour is on his most ...
-Men And Things. Part 3
Then one day the player fell to temptation again, and, stirred as of yore by his foolish hopes, he resolved that he would pluck Solomon from the stronghold of his fancy. It was a desperate thing to do...
-Men And Things. Part 4
Allan was a great golfer, and a fine exemplar in every respect, for he was a great-hearted player who never knew when he was beaten, was always cheery and with a smile, and he possessed the very perfe...
-Men And Things. Part 5
VI There are alarms and excursions in the ball business daily, and the player takes a devoted interest in them all. The trade is striving with might and main to put ten yards on to the drive of littl...
-Men And Things. Part 6
In the first five months of 1903 the American people shipped 40,000 dozen of their balls to this country. So were the tables turned. Now they ship very few indeed, as we make our balls ourselves. Inst...
-Men And Things. Part 7
There was a worthy rector who was given to golf, and was somewhat sensitive upon the subject of the large scores that were made by his foozling. He had a pretty way; he did not count his score himself...
-Men And Things. Part 8
XI Perhaps it would be as well for the golf of some of us if now and again a time of quiet and inactive thought were enforced. It is certain that many men feel much the better in their game for havin...
-Men And Things. Part 9
In the even cycle of this golfer's life the time of torment came round once again, and, as it had seemed before, it was more desperate than it had ever been. There appeared to be no remedy. All the tr...
-The Queer Side
I PROBABLY it is true that golf carries its votaries farther in enthusiasm than does any other game or sport. It is characteristic of the golfing enthusiasm that it does but increase as time goes on,...
-The Queer Side. Part 2
Like all keen golfers he loved the foursome, and preferred to be tested by it if he could find a partner of any quality whatever. One day he was in Leith and fell in conversation with some strangers t...
-The Queer Side. Part 3
A point of some curious interest was that which arose in the course of medal play on the course of the Higher Bebington Club some time ago. A player had one of those most tantalising putts a yard in l...
-The Queer Side. Part 4
Still there is room for distinction in holing in I yet, and the men who crave for such notoriety need not despair. If every man can hole in I, obviously the proper thing to do is to find some particul...
-The Queer Side. Part 5
There is one hole in the world where you do get paid for achieving a I, that is if you happen to do it at either the Easter, Whitsuntide, or Autumn meetings. This is what is called the Island Hole o...
-The Queer Side. Part 6
They are fine pioneers of the game in South Africa, and it deserves to prosper there. They have needed strong hearts and much patience and forbearance. I have been to golf with a man who has lately co...
-The Queer Side. Part 7
It is suggested that the golfing ancestors of the present lady players were fish girls, and the evidence on the point is comprised in a minute of the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club, dated 14th December 1...
-The Queer Side. Part 8
And, again, when a player finds himself winning his match with so much ease that the match itself has really very little interest for him, if any at all, when he is playing well and his opponent's gam...
-The Queer Side. Part 9
Oh, what a tangled web we weave When first we practise to deceive, even to deceive ourselves. Thus does this score counting and this yearning for one's record round breed a moral cowardice in such ...
-The Queer Side. Part 10
It might be of service to add to it an account of a shot that was played on one occasion by a gentleman of no less scientific importance than Professor John Milne, who is known as a great seismologist...
-The Queer Side. Part 11
The superstitions about the winning of certain holes are stupid and general. Why is it such an unfortunate thing with some people to win the first hole ? And yet do they always try to win, and do not ...
-The Wandering Player
I THE golfers and other people who know nothing of St. Andrews are often inclined to fancy that some of the enthusiasm professed by those who have a tolerable golfing acquaintance with it is affected...
-The Wandering Player. Part 2
II Hoylake is new in comparison, but Hoylake is old for England, and it is the leader of golf in the southern section of the kingdom. Hoylake has fine traditions of its own which it would not exchang...
-The Wandering Player. Part 3
IV There is an old golfer who says that it cost him many weeks of failure, and many hundreds of pounds, to come by that experience in conducting a golfing holiday as enabled him to make a complete su...
-The Wandering Player. Part 4
Do please remember that as a visitor to the links, even though you are made a temporary member, you have no right to be there, and are only admitted to the course by the courtesy of the members. This...
-The Wandering Player. Part 5
VI The customary classification of our golf courses into the inland and seaside groups is crude and inadequate. Apart from that there are many inland courses, and still more seaside courses, that dif...
-The Wandering Player. Part 6
VII Of the links we know, those by the sea, to which do we return for the tenth'or the twentieth time joyously as to a delightful friend in a charming home ? Instantly we murmur the name of dear Nort...
-The Wandering Player. Part 7
Generally the requirements of the golfer are in inverse ratio to those of the tourist, and it is tolerably safe to predict that when a coast is described as extremely desolate, it represents a fine ...
-The Wandering Player. Part 8
The locality begins to feel, as one might say, like a great golfing centre. You know how St. Andrews and Carnoustie and North Berwick feel like that. The intelligent interest of the non-golfing peop...
-The Wandering Player. Part 9
And what feats one can perform on a motor-car! And does. Just finished our putts on the home green at St Andrews, and the sun going down, and up comes one of our impulsive party and says it is ordered...
-The Wandering Player. Part 10
The four great British golfers had heard awful tales of Mexicans and what they were capable of, but they understood the place was more civilised now - must be, as there was golf there. In the dead of ...
-The Wandering Player. Part 11
XIII Some footpaths count for very much in the playing of a hole, and at times call for and produce fine shots that would never be made if there were no path there. So sometimes they are good to the ...
-The Sunny Season
I ONE hears it said sometimes by versatile and thorough-going sportsmen, that of all the sweet sensations to be discovered and enjoyed occasionally in the whole world of sport, the hitting of a perfe...
-The Sunny Season. Part 2
The history of every man's golf is covered with metaphorical gravestones as the result of all the short putts he has missed. Every season the whole course, and the result of almost every event of impo...
-The Sunny Season. Part 3
IV Can anything in a mechanical sort of way be done to overcome this awful difficulty? I fear not, though one or two new putters are invented every week, and some of them are acclaimed as being the p...
-The Sunny Season. Part 4
If you need to putt perfectly you should do nothing with your hands, and as little as possible with the remaining parts of your physical construction for a whole day beforehand. The fact is that every...
-The Sunny Season. Part 5
In this matter we have the principle of the community of golfers' interests in full play, and it seems that the proper recognition of the society and its right to the privileges that it seeks will be ...
-The Sunny Season. Part 6
The chief was shepherd for some years, and it was only by the odd accident of dwelling fondly for a few minutes, as he laid himself down in bed, upon the fine things he had done in one great match tha...
-The Sunny Season. Part 7
Thus this simple historic ceremony of teeing up and driving off for the Silver Club and the Royal Adelaide Medal is a great function. Crowds gather to witness it, and a line of men and boys is stretch...
-The Sunny Season. Part 8
With thee conversing I forget all time; All seasons and their change, all please alike. But there is nothing sweeter than the bright October morning on the links. A fragrant smell of moist earth ri...
-The Professor On The Links
I THE problem of the golf ball's flight is one of very serious difficulty. That is what was said to a gathering of savants by Professor Peter Guthrie Tait, one of the most brilliant scientists of t...
-The Professor On The Links. Part 2
One of the Professor's first efforts was in the direction of finding out the speed with which the ball left the club; and it was a long time - years, in fact - before he came to any definite understan...
-The Professor On The Links. Part 3
But he probed most deeply into the mysteries of the flight of the golf ball when he came suddenly to understand the rotation which was subjected to it by the club, and it is of interest and importance...
-The Professor On The Links. Part 4
Professor Tait pointed out two very simple ways of finding out whether a golf ball had its two centres approximately coincident, and whether in consequence it ought to and would fly well. The first wa...
-The Professor On The Links. Part 5
VI Now, in continuation of this brief and simple exposition of some of the points of the Professor's theorising -backed up by constant practical experiment- upon the merits of under-spin in prolongin...
-The Professor On The Links. Part 6
Concerning another short drive of the same class, Professor Tait remarks: In spite of its 50 per cent, greater angle of initial elevation, the carry of the non-rotating projectile is little more than...
-The Fabric Of The Game
I WE boast constantly of the traditions of our game of golf, and well may we do so, for they are glorious, and they bring with them a great responsibility for their perpetuation. Some day in the dist...
-The Fabric Of The Game. Part 2
And there will be one main Gallery of Masters, and there will be perpetuated the names and forms and feats of the men who went farthest in their skill at the noble game. There will be Allan Robertson ...
-The Fabric Of The Game. Part 3
It is said by some of the best judges of golf, that the rubber-cored ball has spoiled the game. That is a matter upon which opinions to some extent differ; but at all events it can hardly be held that...
-The Fabric Of The Game. Part 4
On one of these courses gate money was charged, and again in 1906, on the occasion of another professional foursome, a charge for admission to the course to see the play was made by the local club. ...
-The Fabric Of The Game. Part 5
The experienced man who tries to take a broad view of this minor question of golfing politics generally comes to the conclusion that the anti-bogeyists are quite right, and that we do not want any com...
-The Fabric Of The Game. Part 6
After that, wherever Dr. Browne went in the course of his golfing pilgrimages, he introduced his friend in the name of Colonel Bogey. Several bogey matches were played at the United Service Club, an...
-The Fabric Of The Game. Part 7
As it is said, there is no telling what we may have next, particularly as a patent was recently applied for on behalf of a new club which had a sliding lid bottom, covering a receptacle in the head of...
-The Fabric Of The Game. Part 8
The Royal and Ancient Club of St. Andrews is a most worthy, distinguished, and conscientious institution, full of all the most blue-blooded traditions. One may disagree with the idea that the Club ent...
-Winter
I WHEN the winds blow and the rains pour down, we discover the true worth of the golfer. The game has no season; it allows no right of control to any weather. It is for all places and for all times, ...
-Winter. Part 2
II On a frosty day one is apt to damage clubs. The clubmaker does not mind his patrons playing on steely courses. The chances are that one man in a few will need something doing to his shafts or his ...
-Winter. Part 3
With the idea thus presented, you may go on to making your own ideal course, and that some basis of necessary requirements may be afforded, it may be added that in the opinion of Mr. Harold Hilton suc...
-Winter. Part 4
Everybody was alert at this announcement. It is an excellent thing to know that a poser of sorts is going to be put to that autocratic assembly in Fifeshire. Splendid! ejaculated the Colonel, we m...
-Winter. Part 5
Botha urges that he saw ' Bobs' let the ball come to rest when pawing it about. And what does Jameson say to that ? inquired the Author. Oh, Jameson does not deny it. He says that he did not se...
-Winter. Part 6
My case is a somewhat singular one, gentlemen, the M.P. responded. It is this: A public road leading to the clubhouse crosses the line to the second hole, and when John Smith and Isaac Rosenstein...
-Winter. Part 7
I am sure he has, agreed the Colonel. Now, you see, put in the Author, the wretched Lazarus did not tamper with the line of the putt. He practised along what was to all intents and 18 purposes t...
-Winter. Part 8
Well, said the Colonel indulgently, if our little game is to become a matter of national importance, you will be having questions asked about it in the House before long; eh, William ? It is odd...
-Winter. Part 9
' Bills ' The Bogey Amendment Bill was read a third time and passed. ' The Women's Handicaps Bill was read a first time. 'Championship Courses ' The House then went into Committee on the Cham...
-Winter. Part 10
This 240,000,000 of miles means that if the British golfers had a links round the middle of the earth they would collectively play 60,000 times round it in the course of the year. They would be almos...
-Winter. Part 11
There are some exceptions to this rule of continual play that may be taken as proving it. There is the case of Andrew Kirkaldy, who, after being second for the Open Championship in 1879, went for to b...
-Winter. Part 12
IX In the dampest and gloomiest days of the British winter, the golfer's fancy often flies to Riviera and Egyptian courses; and a while later the golfer follows his fancy, so that he may have a dry g...
-Winter. Part 13
From a high moral point of view those ancestors of ours who bred inferior stomachs for us were, of course, wrong, and yet they did many fine things on their pints of port. They wrote great prose and v...
-Winter. Part 14
In its ancient days the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews was great on fines in wine. It promoted conviviality on every possible occasion, and, indeed, one of the first of its minutes that ar...
-Winter. Part 15
Full knee-deep lies the winter snow, And the winter winds are wearily sighing; Toll ye the church-bell sad and slow, And tread softly and speak low, For the old year lies a-dying. How much does it ...
-A Selection Of Messrs. Methuen's Publications
In this Catalogue the order is according to authors. An asterisk denotes that the book is in the press. Colonial Editions are published of all Messrs. Methuen's Novels issued at a price above 2s. 6d....
-A Selection Of Messrs. Methuen's Publications. Part 2
FAITH AND EXPERIENCE. Cr. 8vo. 3s. 6d. net. Bowden (E. M.). THE IMITATION OF BUDDHA: Quotations from Buddhist Literature for each Day in the Year. Sixth Edition. Cr. 161110. 2s. 6d. Brabant (F. G.) ...
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The Third Tour of Dr. Syntax in Search of a Wife. William Combe. The History of Johnny Quae Genus. the Author of The Three Tours. The English Dance of Death, from the Designs of T. Rowlandson, with ...
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English Lakes, The. F. G. Brabant. Isle of Wight, The. G. Clinch. Malvery Country, The. B. C. A. Windle. North Wales. A. T. Story. Oxford and its Colleges. J. Wells. Ninth Edition. Shakespeare's ...
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Tales of the Supernatural. Tales of Strange Adventure. Tales of Terror. The Three Musketeers. (Double volume.) Tourney of the Rue St. Antoinb. The Tragedy of Nantes. Twenty Years After. (Double ...
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