Sunday, February 10, 2013

Golf deemed game for the fat, old, feeble - Fort Lauderdale

By Jane Feehan

Fort Lauderdale embraced golf as a way to promote the city and draw tourists as early as 1921.  The city’s first course, a nine-hole affair, was built to attract visitors on their way to Miami. It was built off Dixie Highway, today the site of the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. 

President-elect Warren Harding played a round of golf in Fort Lauderdale shortly after the city fairway opened. Also there at the beginning was a writer for the Miami Metropolis.  Describing the first game at the Fort Lauderdale course for the newspaper (Jan. 4, 1921) the writer claimed it “did not make a hit with the common peepul.”

He (or she?) wrote:

Did you ever play golf? It’s a lady-like game; no shouting, no cheering, no violent talk and no violent exercise. In the contest game last Saturday hardly anyone spoke above a whisper.

It’s a game especially suited for fat men, over-wrought nerves and for the old and feeble. And it’s a rich man’s game – no one is expected to play who cannot afford Scotch plaid breeches, heavy knee length stockings, the kind grandmother used to knit, a caddy, a leather sack full of golf sticks and a little checkered cap loud enough to disturb the peace of an entire neighborhood.

Muscle, alertness, quick thought, energy and enthusiasm are not needed, they have no place in the game.

The unknown writer described the game between Fort Lauderdale and Miami players.  After the first round, he writes: "... the crowds had enough and did not follow. Cars were starting back for town. Who won the tournament? I don’t know and couldn’t find anybody who did."

Today there are more golf courses in Florida than in any other state. People from all economic strata now play. Some “peepul” obviously saw more in the game than the above-mentioned writer did.  Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.

Tags: Golf history, golfing in Florida, golf in Fort Lauderdale, early golf game in Florida, Fort Lauderdale history, Jane Feehan film researcher, Warren G. Harding in Fort Lauderdale

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