Categorized | Tales, 2014, February 2014

Curious Tales From The Golf Course 2

By: Simon Reynolds

From: The Golf Nut’s Book of Amazing Feats & Records by Bruce Nash, Allan Zullo with George White

Mary Queen of Scots sacrificed her life for the game of golf

Mary Queen of Scots sacrificed her life for the game of golf

Most Severe Penalty Assessed for Being Addicted to Golf

Mary Queen of Scots, 1587

Because of her consuming passion for golf, Mary, Queen of Scots, singlehandedly raised the game’s popularity to new heights. Yet, ironically, golf was her downfall and led to her eventual execution.

Scotland, the cradle of golf, actually had banned the sport. In March 1457, King James II decreed “that golf be utterly cryed downe and not used.” He was concerned that the Scots, who were constantly battling the English, were devoting too much attention to golf at the expense of archery and thus, national defense.

A century later, Mary brought golf back into favour in Scotland after she became quite smitten with the game, ironically, in France. When she returned to her homeland after the death of her first husband, Francis, in 1565, the Queen raised plenty of eyebrows. She ignored affairs of state and instead headed out to the links with sons of French nobles serving as her caddies.

Her passion for golf was matched only by her passion for men. After she wed her second husband, Lord Darnley, Mary continued to score on the fairways while her philandering hubby scored in the boudoirs of other women. Because of his constant romantic soirees, Mary found another paramour, who happened to like golf. But a jealous Darnley murdered the Queen’s lover.

A short time later, Lord Darnley died in a massive explosion at his home. However, when the experts inspected his body, they discovered that he had been strangled.

Mary became a suspect, especially when the not so grieving widow interrupted her mourning just days after her husband’s death to get in a few rounds of golf. Scottish Presbyterians were outraged, and became even more so three months later when Mary wed the Earl of Bothwell. Her shocked subjects felt the Queen had recovered much too quickly from her sorrow.

In 1567 the country’s best-known golfer was forced to abdicate her throne. Even worse, she was put on trial for treason in England by Elizabeth I, never known for her fondness for golf. Mary’s rounds of Golf after Darnley’s death was recounted as evidence of her ruthless coldheartedness. She was convicted then beheaded.

At least Mary made the cut.

LPGA Professional Muffin Spencer-Devlin at the 1989 Womens Open Championship

LPGA Professional Muffin Spencer-Devlin at the 1989 Womens Open Championship

Oldest Women to Play on the LPGA Tour

400 years old (approximately)
Muffin Spencer-Devlin

Pro golfer Muffin Spencer-Devlin, a firm believer in reincarnation, says that in an earlier life she was a 16th century Japanese woman.

“I know that’s true,” she said. “The first time I went over to Japan, I had that déjà vu feeling. I’d been there before. The rains, the mist, the temples – everything seemed so familiar.”

Spencer-Devlin was so moved by the experience that she immersed herself in the Japanese culture. She attended a Japanese language school to study Japanese and now speaks it fluently.

Spencer-Devlin competes in 10 tournaments a year in Japan, where she regularly appears on TV talk shows. Her command of Japanese made her a natural for providing the Japanese translation on teacher Bob Toski’s TV golf show, filmed in the country for Japanese audiences.

Not surprisingly, her best friend on the LPGA Tour is Ayako Okamoto, the most popular female athlete in Japan.

Most Yards a Drive Inadvertently Was Hit Backwards

300 yards
Dr. George Russell
1913 Braids Tournament

Dr. George Russell walloped a long drive that most any golfer would be proud to hit – except for one thing. He inadvertently hit it backwards! Playing in the 1913 Braids Tournament in Scotland, Dr. Russell displayed a bizarre backswing. As he got set for a drive off the tee, he accidently struck the ball on one of his back waggles. The ball jumped the fence behind the tee and careered down the steep hill, coming to rest 300 yards away.

About Simon Reynolds

Simon fell in love with the game of golf at an early age. Watching Happy Gilmore when he was 12, Simon was hooked, and to this day thanks Adam Sandler's genius in the film for his passion for the game. His golfing hero is more refined and mature these days, and he continues his spiritual quest to model his golf game on Ben Hogan's perfect golf swing.

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