It was the Ladies Golf Association that introduced handicapping into the game of golf, they decided that a system was required for the enjoyment of the game and thus came up with a handicapping system. The Mens Golf Association adopted the idea a year later in 1895.
Photo: Andrew Carnegie and party on the St. Andrew golf links Westchester County New York. 1911.
Photo: Driving tournament on the beach ‘Floater’ golf balls return to the shore driven by the surf.
It was not until 1925 that a Golf Unions´ Joint Advisory Committee of the British Isles was formed to assign the Standard Scratch Score of the golf courses of the British Isles and Ireland. Now the committee is known as CONGU (Council of National Golf Unions) and it is CONGU that determine the par and handicap of each course.
The term par, came originally from a stock exchange term for a stock that was above or below “par”. It was in 1870 that golf writer AH Doleman said that the perfect play of then Open Championship course Prestwick would be 49 shots for 12 holes, which he called the Par for Prestwick.
The term birdie came from the American slang term “bird”, which meant something excellent had occurred. The first reference to this given name to a score of one under par was at the Atlantic City Club in 1903, although there are documents that may suggest it was a little earlier than this.
The theme continues, with the Americans choosing the term double eagle for a score of 3 on a par 5, however the British decided to run with the “bird” theme and named it Albatross. As it was such a rare score they considered it apt to choose the name of a rare bird, and The Albatross fitted the bill perfectly.
Photo right: President Warren G. Harding (1865-1923), swinging golf club.