28 March 2010

Miss Amy Pascoe, golf champion, 1896

Mary, Queen of Scots, whose Stuart ancestors were golfers, played in the fields round Seton Palace in 1567. That even earlier in the same century golf had elicited the approval of another queen, is proved by a very interesting letter of Katherine to Cardinal Wolsey, written at the time King Henry VIII. invaded France. I am indebted to the Rev. Mr. Kerr's valuable book on "Golf in East Lothian" for this epistle, dated August 13, 1513; it is as follows : "Master Almoner, from hence I have nothing to write to you but that you be not so busy in this war as we be here incumbered with it. I mean that touching my own concerns, for going further, when I shall not so often hear from the king. And all his subjects be very glad. I thank God, to be busy with the golf, for they take it for pastime; my heart is very good to it, and I am horribly busy making standards, banners, and bagets." The quaintly expressive phrase, "My heart is very good to it," remits to us a pleasant memory of a queen's grateful content with the sport which kept her subjects quiet and amused.

We have no authentic account of women playing for aught but the love of the game, until incited thereto by the Musselburgh Golf Club. That primeval innocence should have no chance, you will note two handkerchiefs - silk ones - were added to the other premiums. The minute, dated December 14, 1810, runs : "The Club resolve to present by subscription a new Creel and Shawl to the best female golfer who plays on the annual occasion on 1st Jan. next, old style (12 Jan. new), to be intimated to the Fish Ladies by the Officer of the Club."
This reminds me that the Masters is coming up in a couple weeks, and my invitation hasn't arrived yet.  Perhaps they've lost my address.  Again.


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