The Mystery Of Golfby Arnold Haultain
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The Mystery of Golf was the first book to seriously ruminate over that problematic region known as the golfer's mind and the obsessive hold the game has on it. Haultain suggests there are three unfathomables that have gripped the minds of men: metaphysics, golf, and the female heart. "The Germans, I believe, pretend to have solved some of the riddles of the first," he writes, "and the French to have unraveled some of the intricacies of the last; will someone tell us," he pleads almost rhetorically, "wherein lies the extraordinary fascination of golf?"
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Arnold Haultain (1857 – 1941) was born in India. His parents were British and he lived in Canada. He was a member of the Toronto Golf Club where he regularly played golf. It is reported that "he worked very diligently, for many years writing ‘The Mystery of Golf.’ " He published 36 books in all during his lifetime. John Updike, when reviewing this work stated that it, “Goes to the heart of golf’s peculiar lovability and enduring fascination.”
This work on golf, originally published in 1908, contains 91 short chapters ranging in topics such as; The Layman's Ignorance, The Fascination of Golf, The Difficulties of Golf, Golf really a Serious Game, "Looking" versus "Thinking", What makes a Golfer, Anatomical Explanations, The Mind and the Body, The Stroke, a Seven-fold Process, The Follow-through, Practice versus Theory, The Waggle, Putting, Influence of Mind on Body, Chance in Golf, Uniqueness of Golf, The Trajectory, The Joy of Combat, The Two Essentials, and, The Ultimate Analysis. All these topics and more are helpful even now to golfers that are interested in understanding the game more in depth. (283 pages)
Golf is a peculiar game — a very peculiar game. To the onlooker, no doubt, it seems to be one of the silliest and stupidest of games. To the player, golf seems to contain within itself the quintessential attribute of all games; so much so, indeed, that the golfer thinks that he who would or could wholly explain the inner and hidden nature of golf would explain the, inner and hidden nature of all games.
......THREE things there are as unfathomable as they are fascinating to the masculine mind: metaphysics, golf, and the feminine heart. The Germans, I believe, pretend to have solved some of the riddles of the first, and the French to have unraveled some of the intricacies of the last; will some one tell us wherein lies the extraordinary fascination of golf?
...... Putting is a fine art. It requires the most delicate and educated touch. To measure the precise amount of force necessary to propel your ball (with a certain spin), five feet ---- fifty feet..... this is not learned in a fortnight. One putter, I remember whose putting was a delight to the eye, he seemed positively to infuse sight and intelligence into his ball. The way that simple sphere would start from his club, mount an incline, negotiate a curve, look for the hole, and, endowed with some curious spin, drop unhesitatingly in without dreaming for a moment of rimming it or running over it or stopping short of it, was a sight to make one wise. It taught one that even on the green ---- perhaps especially on the green, there was scope, and abundance of scope, for the play of the subtlest and most intelligent skill.
...... "Putting in golf," said he whom I regard as at once one of the greatest exemplars and one of the greatest exponents of golf, "putting in golf is a game within another game." That is exceptionally well put. So many men take such extraordinary pains to reach the greens in as few strokes as possible, then forget that, unless they take just such pains, it will cost them as many strokes more to hole-out, and all the previous care is thus rendered nugatory and vain. A new combat commences on the green; and unless you are as keen, as alert, as steady, and as attentive in it as you were in your long game, the excellence of your long game counts for nothing.
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