History Nugget Answers Vol 1 No 1

Answers to recent questions posed by our History Sub-Committee provide some interesting history of the game and rules of golf.

The last question has particular relevance to the most recent US Open staged at Chambers Bay where the USGA found it necessary to clearly mark the perimeter of the greens.

Question #1. How many Opens (British) did Peter Thomson win

Five: 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1965

Question #2. How many Opens (British) did Norman von Nida win

None, though he was often in contention. His best performance was tied third in 1948.

Question #3. At the Australian Open in 1951 what was the area of the 18th putting green at Metropolitan?

A good and an acceptable answer is 1256.64 square yards (or 1050.71 square metres) that includes the area occupied by the hole, 18.06 square inches (or 27.42 square centimetres). In fact the other seventeen putting greens at Metropolitan had the same area, as indeed did every putting green in Australia.

In 1951 the putting green was defined as the area within 20 yards of the hole. (Area of a circle = πr2, for those who remember their school geometry, 20 yards being the radius). This was a left over from the club rules of the R&A in 1875, when the area around the hole was generally indistinguishable from the fairway. In 1952 the definition was changed to one we would recognise today, namely an area especially prepared for putting.

The point of asking this question was to remind golfers that many of the rules in golf have changed radically over the years. For the pedants even that wonderfully precise figure of 1256.64 square yards is not good enough for two reasons. First, humps and hollow on the green add more area of grass than would be if the green were flat. Second, in 1951 water hazards and bunkers within twenty yards of the hole, wherever it may have been cut, were not considered part of the putting green.

The history of the Rules of Golf can be explored on www.ruleshistory.com , which has transcriptions of the Rules from the earliest, 1744, to the present.

Relevance to the latest US Open at Chambers Bay

During the time when all greens were declared by way of radius from the hole, golf course maintenance equipment was also far less precise than it is today. Playing surfaces were often maintained by grazing animals. In many climates, there was no difference in grass variety between that grown on the fairway and that grown within 20 yards of the hole.

Chambers Bay Golf Course is an example of how many courses today are cultivated with similar grass varieties and with only a subtle change in blend of grass from fairway to green in order to achieve an acceptable putting surface.

And so they are left with great difficulty in recognising an area especially prepared for putting. The USGA was forced to mark the perimeter of the greens to accommodate the current rules of golf. That is, the area of the green needed to be recognisable so players could mark, clean and replace their balls on the green.

Bobby Locke Trophy

Held – Tuesday 25 August at Cabramatta Golf Club

Again, like at Rosnay in July, the weather outlook was not good for the day, but the Hickory Golf weather God smiled on our group and the day stayed fine albeit windy. The field comprised 11 players intent on staking their position in the field of eight for the match play to follow the qualifying round and most of us found the layout challenging with the hickories playing off the white markers.

The field included Andrew Wilson who was escaping the rain down south at Kiama and Neville Rider who subsequently joined the AGHS as a member post the game, welcome Neville and we hope to see your smiling face at many more games.

Because of the recent rain many bunkers had considerable casual water lying in them, it was determined bunkers be regarded as GUR and the local rule on the day was 30cm preferred lie on the fairways.

That said, no player was able to record a nine with a score on each hole, perhaps indicative of the conditions encountered on the day.

The clubhouse leader was established from the first group home & he was never headed. The scores on the day ranged from 24 down to 12 in total with a number of players having considerable difference on their score card on each nine some varied by as much as 6 points.

As the tallying of the scores progressed 3 players indicated they were not wishing to participate in the subsequent match play rounds, so the field was effectively reduced to 8 in the event.

The players who qualified were in descending order of scores :-

Tom Moore, David Brydson, Des Froneman, Curley Keane, Andrew Wilson, Dennis Sundin, Ross Howard and Arthur Penton. So now the match play starts off handicap with 1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6 & 4 v 5.

Round 1 round 2 final
Tom Moore – 1
Arthur Penton – 8
David Brydson – 2
Ross Howard – 7
Des Froneman – 3
Dennis Sundin – 6
Curley Keane – 4
Andrew Wilson – 5