Golf Spelled Backwards, Vol. 1

Getting married mid-match, and the joy of 69s

Welcome to Golf Spelled Backwards, the golf newsletter from We’ll be sharing interesting tidbits, historical finds, oddities and achievements, and good golf stories from around the web. If you find Golf Spelled Backwards an enjoyable read, please share it with your golf buddies.

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The Golfer Who (Briefly) Put His Match on Hold to Get Married

John Ball Sr. was an important figure in the history of golf in Hoylake and Liverpool, England. He owned the Royal Hotel, which was the first home of Royal Liverpool Golf Club. And he was the father of John Ball Jr., who won a British Open and won the British Amateur Championship a record eight times from the 1880s into the 1910s.

One day the senior Ball was playing his regular foursome on the Hoylake links (a k a Royal Liverpool). Upon completing the 9th hole, John told his friends he needed to take a short break to attend a wedding.

His three friends were welcome to join him, Mr. Ball said, and it really wouldn't take very long. So off the Ball Sr. foursome headed to church. Imagine the surprise of his three friends when, upon arrival, they learned it was Ball Sr. himself who was getting married!

When the ceremony ended, Ball put his new bride into a cab and sent her to his own Royal Hotel. He and his three friends returned to the 10th tee and resumed the match. No word on the outcome of the foursome match — or the outcome of the marriage.

Quote of the Week

European Tour golfer Sam Torrance, after surprising himself with a round of 69 when he’d been expecting worse:

"If you'd offered me a 69 at the start this morning I'd have been all over you."

Video of the Week

Actually, three videos that together make up one. This is a short film from the newsreel days titled “Fairway to Fame,” and it is about women’s professional golf pioneer Patty Berg. (The licensing company that uploaded this short film to YouTube mistakenly calls her “Patty Bird,” proving that Berg’s fairway to fame is still ongoing.) Berg is one of the giants of LPGA history, and this is a rare look at women’s pro golf from its earliest days.

Patty Berg Books and Memorabilia

Stories From Around the Golfosphere

What’s going on around the web? Here are stories that caught our attention this week:

  • Major championship winner Justin Thomas plays expensive clubs. But his dad plays clubs that are far more expensive — $500 per club.

  • Does the golf club founded by NBA legend Michael Jordan have a great practice area? Yes, yes it does. It’s the most technologically advanced practice area around, the club claims.

  • What was the most popular chipping tip on in 2020? This simple drill that uses quarters to help you stop blading chip shots.

New on this week:

The More Things Change …

Golf club advertising never changes. "Our new whiz-bang (material/process) will get you XX more yards!" Here’s an ad from 1916, with a name-check of Thomas Edison: