In the 1400s, when grown men first started hitting balls around with sticks, it was a rudimentary sport. Take stick, hit ball in hole. Wives probably sought desperately for a cure to this strange new disease, giving up only after all avenues had been explored. Then sometime during his reign, King James IV saw a fella having so much fun at the game, he had to try it, and the game became respectable.
Since he was a King, an ordinary stick would not do. In the spirit of job creation, the good King created the position of Royal Club Maker, and appointed William Mayne, as the first official golf club engineer. In no time at all Mayne had invented a whole range of different types of clubs for different needs. There were longnoses for driving, grass drivers for medium shots, spoons for short range, niblicks and a putting cleek. The King was in his glory, and Mayne no doubt, received just reward.
The golf ball however, did not receive due consideration until some inventive fellow devised the feathery in the early 1600s. The fine hand-made balls consisted of three pieces of leather wrapped around one top hat's worth of fine feathers. The advent of iron clubs necessitated a revelation in the manufacture of golf balls. The balls, fine when smitten with wood, had a tendency to explode when hit with metal.
It would be two hundred years before a suitable replacement for the feathery would allow iron clubs to become the norm. Proving once again, man's persistence to pursue a carefree game of golf. In 1850, the development of the solid rubber "gutty ball" opened the door for the iron club and golf was changed forever.
After World War 2, science took over "trial and error" and technological advancements led to a revolution in design and materials. Graphite shafts replaced metal, and titanium heads replaced the heavier less efficient metals of the past. Gutty balls have been replaced with scientifically produced balls. There are two major types of balls, one for speed, and one for distance.
Golf is the major summer time sport here in Northeast Harbor. I've played each year here for the past decade. When I lived in Georgia, I had the opportunity to be a spectator at two of the Augusta championships.
- William Mayne