In Support of Golfing Traditions: Exploring the roots of amateur and professional golf competitions with Gale Primary Sources

FOX'S ROUGH GUIDE TO THE OPEN, Financial Times, 29th June 2015, Financial Times Historical Archive, http://tinyurl.galegroup.com/tinyurl/8qHaZ9

By Matt Chivers, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool
I’m Matt Chivers and I am in my third and final year studying History at the University of Liverpool. I am obsessed with golf and regrettably even more obsessed about football. But at school, History took my interest; throughout sixth form and university I have loved studying the Cold War and for my dissertation, the nuclear arms race. I am keen to pursue a career in sports writing and journalism – I couldn’t think of anything better than being paid to watch and write about the biggest sporting events in the world! I like film and, much like most people nowadays, I tend to binge-watch a series or two.

The picture above shows Jordan Spieth after his victory at the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay. Spieth has become a fan favourite since bursting on to the scene in 2014 and is an example of a player who excelled at the amateur level of the game. The humble beginnings of amateur golf are arguably where professional golfers look back to with the most fondness, remembering the traditions of the sport and the importance of the education that amateur golf provides. Today golf is marred with obsessions of technology, how far one can hit the ball, and making courses harder to provide the ultimate challenge for the professional players. These developments raise questions of what essence of tradition is left in the game.

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A History of Golf with Gale Primary Sources

Golf has a long and rich history, with countless books having been written on the origins and development of the game. But if a new history was to be written today with the help of Gale Primary Sources, how much would our knowledge be improved? My suspicion is that it would be improved a good deal, for even a relatively short period of research using Gale Primary Sources unearths thousands of interesting references to golf from the fifteenth century forward, many of which may never have been seen before. Here follows a select sample of the references to golf in the Gale historical collections that could potentially give us a better appreciation of the history of the game and the role it has played in society.

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