TIMELINE - 1912
In the news
In 1912 the issue exorcizing the
golfing industry was the standardisation of the golf ball but
not the rubber-cored golf ball as might be expected but the gutty
ball as certain quarters yearned for the days when there was an
art required to manoeuvring and hitting the ball long distances.
The rubber-cored ball (a ball formed from a solid rubber core,
wrapped in rubber thread and encased in a gutta percha sphere)
invented in 1898 was the standard for golf balls since the early
1900s and it was making a mockery of shorter golf courses while
allowing less accomplished players to reach greater heights. The
gutty was a ball made from gutta percha formed into the shape
of a ball using a mould which meant it could be repaired and remoulded.
The views from golfers were sought and generally it was considered
not a good idea to return to the Gutty but it was far from unanimous.
Even Vardon who yearned for a return to the Gutty accepted that
it probably wasn't in the best interests of the game.
The Titanic sinking was also big
news this year and Pat Doyle's good fortune at having missed his
passage on the ship. Another golfer wasn't so lucky - Captain
E. V. Knox of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers was one of the nine lives
lost when on the 12 March 1912 the Pisagua hit the Oceana, the
P&O steamship on which Knox was travelling to India, amid
ship, creating a 40 feet long gash in her side.
The question of
handicapping or rather individuals nursing their handicaps and
'wrapping in it cotton wool' until the appropriate competition
arrived so it could be taken out for a test drive to see what
it could do. The fact that golfers were able to hit the ball further
reduced the gap between average and very good golfers, as many
would see the long iron as the more difficult of shots to master,
but the handicaps weren't being breached quickly enough to reflect
A coal strike
was likely to impact the railways and hotels over the Easter holidays
and the anti-Home Rule protests were likely to impact the Easter
meetings at a number of the Northern Ireland venues including
In 1912 A. J.
Robertson, the founder and editor of Golf which was later incorporated
into Golf Illustrated. He died from blood poisoning caused by
a wound from a rusty nail in a golf shoe.
Mr A. J. Robertson resigned
his duties as Editor of Golf, and said some words of farewell
to his readers and contributors in the issue of July 1, 1898.
Every golfer knows how much the literature of the game is indebted
to Mr. Robertson, and how much he has done and still does for
its intelligent appreciation, with his clever and facile pen.
Bettystown won a twelve man team
event against Baltray by 7 1/2 to 3 1/2 on the winning team was
Thomas Kettle the champion of Home Rule who died at Ginchy in
the Battle of the Somme on 9 September 1916.
A member of the Omagh Golf Club
Dr. R. Sproule, a Bostonian, won the International Golf Championship
of Belgium at the Royal Belgique Links, Ostende between 8-10 August.
A proposal was made for a Golf
Club Union of Great Britain and Ireland based out of London was
being touted. It was hoped it could co-exist with the existing
unions but it was doomed to failure.
book: How to Play Golf hit the shelves in 1912. It was
a follow on from his earlier book The Complete Golfer.
A new Insurance Act had all but
eliminated caddies of sixteen year of age and older. The Agenda
Club went into the issue of what becomes of caddies in reaching
his sixteenth year and its report and recommendations were published
by Mr Heinmann under the title "The Rough and the Fairway".
The recommendations were as follows:
a club should employ only
men or only boys as caddies
if boys are employed:
there is a duty on the
club to train them for alternative employment (minor forms
of agriculture or rougher forms of carpentry.
Keep caddies informed of
job vacancies in Navy or Army
pay fixed weekly wage with
tips being extra
their schoolmaster should
have a say
Mr P. A. Vaile the irrepressible
theorist published a new book "The Soul of Golf".
The Irish Times
refers to Clonmel Golf Club having engaged Tom Travers to lay
out the course in January which was 2,855 yards in length.
Founded in 1912,
Waterford Golf Club is situated on a hill overlooking the historic
city of Waterford in the Sunny South East of Ireland. Originally
a nine hole course laid out by Cecil Barcroft the current layout
shares designers with the front 9 was designed by Willie Park
(twice Open Champion), and the back 9 was designed by the great
James Braid, five times Open Champion. The club had 120 members
by the time it was partially opened on 1 May 2012.
John Lumsden offered
to take the council to the Phoenix Park and show them where he
laid out his original golf course there back in 1885. Lumsden
still had the designs if they wished to build a municipal golf
Golf Club was founded in 1912 and it was Dr. John Love Morrow
who played the biggest part in ensuring it happened. Both the
City of Derry and Banbridge golf clubs were formed in 1912.
The Tramore Golf Club had new
course laid out by Willie Park as the old course had suffered
from coastal erosion.
The main issue of the year was
the standardisation of the golf ball and if it should be done,
how it should be done; weight, diameter or even whether it could
float. It would be a further nine years before it was achieved
but both the USGA and R&A had different standards set. It
was felt the current batch of golf balls were making courses obsolete.
The use of rubber
studs instead of nails was an option if using light golf shoes
because of the difficulty in skilfully nailing light shoes.
Mr John J. Swan
of 26 Waring Street, Belfast was offering a free golf club (Auchterlonie
Special - Swan Brand) with every dozen Swan golf balls which were
made of the finest Para rubber and encased in an indestructible
promoting their 'Red Dot' and SS Gypsy balls for 1s 6d each and
a pair of golf shoes for 17s 6d. A new golf suit could set you
back between 25-45s. A used SS Gypsy recently sold for Stg£50
Rule 21 was altered to reflect
the fact that losing a ball didn't automatically mean losing the
hole but that the penalty was now just stroke and distance.
Rule 23 the R&A rules committee
decided to leave the Out of Bounds rule as was i.e. loss of distance
but provided for the possibility of a local rule being adopted
by the club:
Rule 23 may be altered by
Local Rule in the following ways:-
(a) In Match and Stroke play, a ball may be played as provided
in paragraph (1), with the addition of a penalty stroke. (b)
In Match play, a ball which lies out of bounds may be treated
as a lost ball.
Internationals Turnberry Golf Club 12-13 May 1912
England won the
Miller Shield with Ireland in second place.
Amateur Championship 13-16 May - Turnberry Golf Club
Glady's Ravenscroft (Bromborough) beat Miss Temple by 3 and 2
in the final after beating Cecil Leitch by 1 up in the semi-finals.
Amateur Championship - Westward Ho.! 3 - 8 June 1912
claim to the 1912 championship was rejected in favour of Westward
Ho.! Royal North Devon and it was a forty-nine year old John Ball
of Hoylake who won the championship at the 38th hole against Abe
Mitchell. Both Captain H A Boyd and Lionel Munn had both been
knocked out in the fourth round by Abe Mitchell and J Gordon Simpson
by a margin of 3 and 2.
This Amateur Championship
was somewhat marred by a partisan crowd who favoured Abe Mitchell
as a man of the people and turned on Ball as a member of the idle
rich. Abe Mitchell has previously been a caddie at Ashdown Forest
to the age of sixteen after which he became a chauffeur in the
service of Sir Abe Bailey. His quiet unassuming manner had already
made him a lot of friends even amongst the idle rich.
Ladies Championship 4 - 8 June - Portsalon
won the championship again for her third successive victory. May
Hezlet was one of the surprise departures in the earlier rounds
but her sister, now Mrs Cramsie, made the final only to fall at
the last hurdle.
Close Championship 13 -15 May - Castlerock
The entry for
the championship was meagre by comparison to other years and the
blame was laid squarely at having the venue in the North for two
years running resulting in a poor representation from the South.
There was little
to get enthused about at the championship and few spectators turned
out even as the matches reached the final stages. A. H. Craig,
the Belfast golfer, and N. Halligan who was playing out of Baltray
would compete in the final. Craig had beaten John Edmundson in
the third round as the latter's form deserted him following some
great play in earlier rounds.
Amateur Open Championship - Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle
In the 21st holding
of this championship John Ball was knocked out by Douglas Grant,
an American playing out of Mid-Surrey, in the fourth round on
the 19th hole. A H. Craig, Fortwilliam, defeated Hon. M Scott
from Royal Devon golf club by 2 and 1. Ireland's best hope Lionel
Munn made it to the final four when he was defeated by Gordon
Lockhart by a margin of 2 and 1. Munn had heavily defeated Lockhart
two years earlier in the final. P.G. Jenkins and Lockhart played
in the final with the latter running out an easy winner in the
end by 11 and 9 in ideal weather conditions. Lockhart was only
25 and two years later went on to be a bronze medallist in the
of Ireland Championship 6 September Lahinch Golf Club
Mr G. V. Boyd
from Royal Troon was the eventual winner with a course record
75 beating Mr T S Jennings from Cork in an event that was played
in blustery conditions. Jennings would be runner-up in the following
Irish Professional Championship - Castlerock Golf Club - 9-10
(77,78,75,75) beat Pat Doyle (80,72,82,77) despite the latter's
record breaking second round. Moran while consistent wasn't at
his best and Patrick O'Hare was fifteen shots behind the winner
more like a brilliant amateur than the steadier professional.
If one watches Moran playing he does not strike one as being
so consistent in his play as a Braid or a Vardon but at times
his brilliance equals even theirs..Moran merely requires far
more play with the advanced professional than he is able to
Moran went around
Dollymount in 67 strokes (4,3,3,5,4,3,3,4,4,2,3,5,3,4,4,4,5,4)
while playing with Cecil Barcroft and others.
two tournaments took place on the 18 and 19 September. The first
was the PGA - Irish Section which Michael Moran won with an aggregate
of 160 with Harry Hamill just one shot further back. The next
day saw the qualifying event for the News of the World Matchplay
tournament. Michael Moran and Patrick O'Hare tied on 159 and the
play-off took place the next day which Moran won by 77 to 82 despite
some poor putting from the winner.
In the £400
PGA tournament at Sunningdale Alex Herd beat James Edmundson on
the 20th hole but it appears that Edmundson should have won it
on the eighteenth and only lost on the 20th when he knocked Herd's
ball in while trying to negotiate a stymie.
Open Championship June 21-25 1912 - Muirfield
Edward "Ted" Ray won
The Open and the Irish Times describes him as:
"..a fine type of unspoilt
professional hearty in his ways and of a benign nature. A very
powerful man, he is a smidgen of
the provincial type and it is a wonder he doesn't punch balls
out of shape with his steel-faced wooden clubs. His iron play
is strong an accurate, his putting good but most of all his
heart is big. He takes things as they come, cheerfully and equably
which is essential in championship golf."
Ray won the championship wire
to wire never relinquishing his lead after scoring 71 in the first
round. Vardon made a valiant attempt in the final round to recover
an eight stroke deficit when he match Ray's first round score
to take second place.
Ray's hallmark hard hitting philosophy
- "the faster the clubhead flies through, the more likely
is the ball to be cleanly hit" and his unorthodox swing
and follow through together with his uncompromising approach made
him prone to disasterous shots. With a reputation for long hitting
he would often be asked by players how they could hit it further
to which his response was "Hit it a bloody sight harder,
mate!" Ray while not the great stylist of the game still
knew something of its mechanics and was aware that nothing would
muffle a golf shot like the reverse pivot. Ray would invariably
be pictured in his trademark Trilby hat and pipe while make an
unmerciful swipe at the ball and for all that there were few is
equal for the length.
Hugh McNeill and Michael Moran
played consistently and were never out of the top fifteen.
won the American Amateur Golf Championship beating Chick Evans
by 7 & 6 at the Chicago Golf Club. This was his third victory
in the event and his drivers were iron-mongered rather than the
traditional wooden drivers. Hilton the previous year's champion
Women's Amateur Championship
beat Nonna Barlow at Essex County
Country Club by 3 and 2
John J. McDermott
at Country Club of Buffalo
Royal and Ancient
Championship Records 1860-1980
Rules History website
Harry: How to Play Golf
Adolphus Vaile: The Soul of Golf
Arnold Haultain: The Mystery of Golf