| The Kilted Cad­die

The Kilted Cad­die ex­plains why some golf tra­di­tions sim­ply can­not and should not be changed…

HK Golfer - - Contents - By the Kilted Cad­die

Do you know why some golf tra­di­tions sim­ply can­not and should not be changed?

Iam a big fan and fol­lower of golf tra­di­tions. I like them al­most as much as I like my beer, and they are as in­te­gral to our glo­ri­ous and his­tor­i­cal game with its near-myth­i­cal so­cial sta­tus as the blessed am­ber nec­tar it­self. Golf is im­bued with many great and var­ied tra­di­tions. From the big post lunch serv­ing of Kum­mel and af­ter­noon two balls at Muir­field, to the early morn­ing gun­fire in St An­drews as the new Captain of the R&A drives into of­fice. He hits a shot off the first tee of the Old Course and ea­ger lo­cal cad­dies, which line the fair­way, scramble and fight for his ball in the hope of win­ning a gold sov­er­eign. Our tra­di­tions are quirky, un­usual and part of our rich golf­ing her­itage.

The Muir­field two-ball for­mat, which is now called ‘Scotch fore­somes’ through­out the world, is os­ten­si­bly to fa­cil­i­tate mem­bers to ‘walk off’ their hearty lunches, of which the Hon­ourable Gen­tle­man’s Club is of course fa­mous. How­ever, it could also clear the head a tad af­ter the con­sump­tion of the renowned Küm­mel di­ges­tif, for that liqueur is not for the faint-hearted or lightly con­sti­tuted.

This may now have wor­ry­ingly pen­e­trated Ja­panese cul­ture, and this is how. A St An­drews cad­die, Ge­orge Mur­ray, who lives in a beau­ti­ful flat over­look­ing the 18th tee of the Old Course was in­vited out to one of the pre­mier clubs there with a friend, where they hap­pily played their morn­ing round. How­ever, at lunch, they were each pre­sented with a bot­tle of malt whisky. So, in true Scot­tish fash­ion and of course not to ap­pear rude they duly con­sumed the whole bot­tle. After­wards, they some­how made it out to play two balls. At least that is what Ge­orge said he saw.

The play­ing in of the Captain of the R&A hear­kens back to when Queen Vic­to­ria’s youngest son, Leopold, was becoming Captain. And they wanted to hon­our the mo­ment in true heraldic fash­ion, and so a can­non was fired at the side of the tee in time with the cer­e­mo­ni­ous drive, and so it is done to this day. The Captain wins the Sil­ver Club and the Queen Ade­laide Medal. How­ever, the whole oc­ca­sion is given added spec­ta­cle as a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of lo­cal cad­dies line the fair­way in the hope of re­triev­ing the ball. The lucky chap who man­ages to grab it amongst

the scrum of cad­dies (‘a pudgie’) gets pre­sented a gold sov­er­eign. I just missed out on this a cou­ple of years back and was run­ning to get to it against my golf writ­ing neme­sis Oliver Horovitz. But un­for­tu­nately, I slipped and went head over heels caus­ing much amuse­ment to the on­look­ing R&A mem­bers back on the tee, who thought I’d fallen into the Swilcan Burn. I seem­ingly just dis­ap­peared.

My first club Mor­ton­hall in Ed­in­burgh has a won­der­fully ec­cen­tric tra­di­tion called the Dewar Hill Race. Out­side our club­house, there is a rather large and steep hill ris­ing about 150m to what used to be the old 18th tee. Now the race in­volves run­ning up this said hill and play­ing out the old par four 18th as quickly as pos­si­ble. We ran it again as part of our Cen­te­nary Year cel­e­bra­tions, and very many brave and gal­lous mem­bers turned out. How­ever, sev­eral looked hugely chal­lenged after­wards. I got the best time with 3mins 57 and a par but Mr Keith McCall, ex-Bri­tish Uni­ver­si­ties Golf Cham­pion and R&A mem­ber, man­aged a birdie and won it on hand­i­cap. Time hand­i­cap that is. I tried to re­in­state this as an an­nual event at the end of the next year’s Club Cham­pi­onship Fi­nals Day, but un­for­tu­nately, they set the time to co­in­cide with the start of a free cham­pagne re­cep­tion and that, as op­posed to chug­ging up a se­verely chal­leng­ing hill over­whelm­ingly swayed ev­ery­one, which was a pity.

For ’pro­fes­sional golf’ originated in this way, not by run­ning up hills I mean but from evolv­ing tra­di­tion. To con­clude the R&A Au­tumn Meet­ings in the mid 19th cen­tury, mem­bers put money into a pot for lo­cals, mostly cad­dies, to play. It was called the ‘put ins’ or ‘in puts’, and the fact was that the lo­cals could end up play­ing for quite a healthy pot. A 20-year-old man called Tom Mor­ris won the 1841 ‘put in’ with a score of 93 which was a record. This ef­fec­tively is the pro­gen­i­tor of ‘pro­fes­sional’ golf.

Now I am of the opin­ion that the ‘put ins’ is a very noble tra­di­tion in­daeed and that it should be re­in­sti­gated as soon as pos­si­ble. But for heaven’s sake chaps don’t set the match date to co­in­cide with our an­nual knees up in The Jig­ger!

Some tra­di­tions sim­ply can­not and should not be changed. Hic.

Hen­rik Sten­son jumps over the fa­mous Swilcan Burn on the 1st hole dur­ing the 2010 Open Golf Cham­pi­onship at St An­drews

Amer­i­can Tom Lehman chips on the se­cond dur­ing the third round of the 2013 Open Cham­pi­onship

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