On the Fairways with Bill Tait

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The first trophy at Girvan for 2015 is the New Year Cup and as Sunday turned out to be sunny, even if very cold, it attracted a good entry.

The course was in good condition and brought in scores which reflected well on those hardy golfers that took part.

The winner despite his complaints as to the cold was Bernie Mills (8) 35 Stableford points who beat John McLachlan (9)35 by virtue of a better inward half. They were followed by Alan Gaff (5) 33 points, K. Smith (23) 32 , Willie McMeikan (0)32 and Jim Cameron (11)31 points.

Girvan members are reminded that the Club’s Annual General Meeting is being held in the 19th. Hole this Sunday at 6.30pm.


Michael Crichton a writer once stated ‘In other centuries, human beings wanted to be saved, or improved, or freed, or educated.

But now they want to be entertained’. If you combine that with fresh air and exercise then you have the game of golf.

General Baron Kurt von Hammerstein –Equord Commander in Chief of the German army 1930-34 ‘I divide my officers into four categories: the clever, the industrious, the lazy and the stupid. Each officer always possesses two of these qualities. Use can sometimes be made of those who are stupid and lazy. He who is stupid and industrious must be got rid of. Those who are clever and industrious I appoint to the general staff. The man who is clever and lazy qualifies for the highest posts.’ So you see a clever man will work out the simplest approach to any green on the course and take the lazy way in.


Well Ayr United did not lose last Saturday against Morton and could have won with a bit more effort. However in the first half Morton should have scored at least twice with the openings they had. At least it is another point for Ayr to savour.

It is interesting to look at the rules of golf and appreciate how they came about. Leith Links had been used for golf since the 1400s with a five hole course consisting of holes measuring 414, 461, 426, 495 and 435 yards respectively. However the rules of golf were applied on an ad hoc basis and were tailored to suit the course and determined by the people playing it.

Match days became regular events at the two most popular courses in Edinburgh, Leith Links, home of the Gentlemen Golfers of Edinburgh in the east of the city and Bruntsfield home to the Thistle Club situated in the centre, near the castle.

However both clubs played to their own set of rules but when the Edinburgh City Council were approached to put up a trophy to be competed for it became necessary to have one agreed set of rules approved by them.

Having given a silver arrow to the Royal Company of Edinburgh Archers for competition the council approved the purchase of a silver club (cost £17.4.3d) for a competition to be organized by the Gentlemen Golfers of Edinburgh but open to the Thistle Club and any other golfers who may wish to take part.

To comply with the council’s wishes Thirteen Rules were drawn up by an Edinburgh surgeon John Rattray, Captain of the Gentlemen Golfers of Edinburgh in 1744 and form the basis of the rules to this day. The first competition was played over the five holes on the Leith Links with the winner being the Club Captain John Rattray who was a fine golfer and the main man in getting golf formally recognized. He was also a very highly respected figure in Edinburgh

Originally golfers were sent out in pairs, or threes if there was a high entry, and the winner was the gentleman or lady who won the greatest number of holes.

This was worked out on the principal that if ten golfers competed and for example one golfer scored three at the first hole whilst all the rest were higher then he was nine holes up and so it continued for the rest of the round. An interesting format and perhaps one that would give most match secretaries a headache.

This form of match play was suitable for those who had a few bad holes from which they could recover, but it would soon be superseded by stroke play where the total number of strokes played would determine a winner.

Just an interesting look at how the first set of rules came about but they have gone way beyond that now.

Do not worry about it when you go out to play golf, as the important rules to remember are the original thirteen.

The original 13 rules of golf

1) You must tee your ball within a club’s length of the hole. 2) Your tee must be upon the ground. 3) You are not to change the ball you strike off the tee. 4) You are not to remove stones, bones or any break club for the sake of playing your ball except upon the fair green and that only within a club’s length of your ball. 5) If a ball comes among water or any watery filth you are at liberty to take out your ball and bringing it behind the hazard and teeing it you may play any club and allow your adversary a stroke for so getting out your ball.6) If your balls be found any where touching one another you are to lift the first ball till you play the last. 7) At holing you are to play your ball honestly for the hole and not to play on your adversary’s ball, not lying in your way to the hole. 8) If you should lose your ball, by its being taken up, or in any other way, you are to go back to the spot where you struck last, and drop another ball and allow your adversary a stroke for the misfortune. 9) No man at holing his ball is allowed to mark his way to the hole with his club or anything else. 10) If a ball be stopped by any person, horse, dog, or anything else, the ball so stopped must be played where it lies.11)

If you draw your club in order to strike, and proceed so far as to be bringing down your club: if your club should break in any way it is to be accounted as a stroke.12) He whose ball lies furthest from the hole is to play first. 13) Neither trench, ditch or dyke, made for the preservation of the links, nor the scholer’s holes, or the soldiers lines shall be accounted as a hazard; but the ball is to be taken out, teed and played.