Curiosity is a great thing.
Wondering what to highlight this week, the well was a little dry, so I asked my wife for suggestions.
"Why are golf courses 18 holes in length?" she asked.
Winner, winner, we're on the green. This one is for you, Lynn.
So how did St. Andrews, the home of golf where the sport was first played more than 600 years ago, come to have 18 holes? Eighteen must have some sort of historical significance in Scotland, right? Nope.
According to the website Scottish Golf History, “the number was cut to 18 pretty arbitrarily when four short holes were combined into two (played in two directions) in 1764. St. Andrews originally had 22 holes. The Prestwick Golf Club opened in 1851 with just 12 holes. Later, some remodeling work had been done (to St. Andrews) and some smaller holes merged together to become larger holes and the total ended up being 18.
“By the mid-19th century, the standard was for golf courses to have 18 holes and in 1858, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews formalized the rules and stated, ‘One round of the Links or 18 holes is reckoned a match unless otherwise stipulated.’”
According to Golf Digest, the Prestwick Golf Club in Prestwick, 30 miles southwest of Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, with dozen holes, hosted “the first 12 British Opens — sorry, Open Championships — beginning in 1860. That makes Willie Park Sr.’s three-round winning total of 174 seem a lot less impressive, huh?”
The 1871 Open wasn’t held because, according to Scottish Golf History, “Young Tom Morris was allowed to just keep the title belt (yes, an actual belt) that year because he had won the three previous years.”
“When the Open returned in 1872 at Prestwick, it remained a 36-hole event and stayed that way when it moved to St. Andrews (two rounds of 18) in 1873 and Musselburgh (four rounds of 9!) in 1874.
“In 1881, Prestwick finally joined a number of other courses in getting on board with having 18 holes, because, again, everyone was trying to copy the Old Course, which also happens to be where the Royal and Ancient Golf Club is based. And when you're regarded as ‘The Home of Golf,’ people tend to follow your lead.”
But wait, there’s more.
“Legend has it that the reason for 18 holes is that a bottle of whiskey contained the same number of shots as holes on a course, thus providing just enough drink for a shot on each hole,” the Scottish Golf History website states. “Unfortunately, this turns out to be nothing more than an urban legend, but it is related to the sacred 19th hole, similar to the third half in rugby. The 19th hole refers to the clubhouse bar or the watering hole, where bets are settled and scores are checked while enjoying a post-match drink with playing partners.”
Let’s get after it!
The Conway Parks and Recreation Department held its eighth annual Friends of Conway Rec Golf Tournament at Lake Kezar Country Club last Sunday.
Director Michael Lane, who played well on the links, said, “It was a fantastic day with fantastic people.”
Taking top honors in the Open Division were the team of Connor Tofflemoyer, Jason Parsons, Michael Lane and Michael Lane Sr., who shot -12.
In the Mixed Couples Division, Josh McAllister, Aly McAllister, Jack McAllister and Kevin Hamlin teamed to win at -8.
In the Women’s Division: Alanna Infinger, Vicki Ella, Sue Shaw and Kim Cavanaugh took the top spot at -4.
“Thank you to Nancy Calvet and the entire staff at Lake Kezar for hosting us once again,” Michael said. “Thank you to all our sponsors, especially our four main sponsors, Infinger Insurance, Eastern Slope Dental, Varsity Beverage and The Valley Originals.”
He added: “Thank you to our volunteers, your work with registration, hole coverage and grill work was greatly appreciated. Finally, thank you to all the golfers, we are grateful for all the support. We look forward to seeing you all in 2023.”
Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: Club Pro and PGA Professional Bob McGraw reports the last week of the Fall Don Ho season ended with Team Par Tee coming out on top at -20. The Marteenies were second at -14 and the Chislas finished third at -8.
Ann Bennett and Ben Bailey won the long drive contest while Craig Carr grabbed closest-to-the-pin honors.
The winners in the Thursday Night Scramble were Jane Carr, Mike Peloquin and Doug and Marie Jacinto.
Closest-to-the-pin laurels went to Karen O’Reilly.
Hale’s Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: John Kasparian, director of golf, reports, "The Great Chili Cup Member/Guest Tournament" is set for Oct. 13. The event will consist of a nine-hole scramble with a 2 p.m. shotgun start. Teams will be determined before the start.
Participants are asked to bring their favorite chili dish or food item of their choice to the Gazebo after the scramble. Members wishing to play can sign up in the Pro Shop. For further information contact Scott Mathews.
In other Hale's related news, 2023 golf memberships are now on sale. Interested parties can contact the pro shop at (603) 356-2140 for details.
The fall pro shop hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The last tee time of the day is 3:30 p.m.
Indian Mound Golf Course, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: Pro/owner Jonathan Rivers reports there are still openings for the 14th annual Kennett Hockey Golf Tournament scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 22.
“There will be a shotgun start at 9 a.m. in this best-ball scramble,” Coach Michael Lane said. “Groups of four are wanted, but single golfers and partial groups are gladly accepted, too. Hole sponsors and cart sponsors are also welcome.”
He added: “Jonathan and the community have been so supportive of Kennett Hockey over the years."
Join the Eagles for 18 holes of golf, cart included, and a KHS Hockey gift (for all who register before Oct. 17) all for just $85 per golfer. Awards and appetizers are to be served following the event.
Groups may register in three different divisions: open, mixed couples and ladies. There will also be men's and women's closest-to-the-pin and longest-drive competitions as well as a 50/50 drawing and a putting contest.
You can download the registration form online at mwvyha.org, or pick up a form from Frechette Tire in Conway.
Lake Kezar Country Club, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: Nancy Calvert looked forward every year to seeing the foursome of Barry Gilman, Terry Adams, Donald Bean and Brian Smith tee it high and let it fly. They represent a combined 300 years of golfers playing a round at Lake Kezar Country Club.
“These guys are all 75 years young and grew up in Lovell and caddied at LKCC in the late 1950s and early 60s,” said Nancy. “Over the past several years they try to get together each fall for a round of golf. They play a friendly round, reminisce and talk about their caddy years.
She added: “I love this story of these guys. One of the best parts of my day at LKCC is seeing groups, large and small, men and ladies, continuing a tradition of playing an annual round of golf. We have no guarantee for tomorrow, so get out and enjoy your day.”
Well said, Nancy.
Next up on the calendar, on Oct. 8, the annual Kezar Trailbreakers Tournament is scheduled to take flight.
“We will have the LKCC Turkey Shoot again,” Nancy said. “This is a fun club event, where you can get a chance to win a turkey or turkey-related prizes. Entry forms for all these events can be found at the clubhouse.”
Lake Kezar’s planned closing date is Oct. 30.
Wentworth Golf Club, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: Maryann Lowry reports the Travel League teed up at the North Conway Country Club on Wednesday.
The Travel League is scheduled to head to Indian Mound this Wednesday, Province Lake on Oct. 19 and Hales Location on Oct. 26 All are weather permitting. Hopefully, the season will cooperate.
White Mountain Indoor Golf, 15 Town Hall Road in Intervale, email@example.com: WMIG has three state-of-the-art simulators by AboutGolf and will be offering leagues, casual play, lessons, club fittings and a private event venue for those who want to improve their game or just have fun.
The facility, run by Jack Wyman, a Falmouth, Maine, native who has recently settled in the area, is now open.
“WMIG's goal is to provide the community an opportunity for a healthy indoor fun activity. To keep your game sharp during the off-season WMIG will be offering two separate six-week leagues. Once officially open, tee times will be available on the weekends for the rest of this summer and early fall. During winter months WMIG will be open six/seven days a week. Anyone interested should stop by and meet Jack and become familiar with the simulators.”
The website is where all tee times can be booked. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information about leagues, lessons, event planning or any other questions you may have.
“Golf is a game in which one endeavors to control a ball with implements ill-adapted for the purpose.” — Woodrow Wilson
If you have any great local stories, golf scores or photos, tee them up and send them my way, please, so we can include them in an upcoming column. Contact Lloyd Jones at email@example.com. Hope you have a bogey-free week.