Golf - Monday, December 7, 2015

Dramatic lighting courtesy of an outdated iPhone.

Dramatic lighting courtesy of an outdated iPhone.

The American Treasure Tour's collection is, to put it simply, expansive.  Cars, automatic music, movie posters, circus art, animated store displays, and sports.  What?  You question where sports come into play here?  Maybe that's because you are too busy looking at the wonderful Joan Fay art to notice the baseball paraphernalia.  Or the plaques dedicated to athletes from football and basketball.  Or the golf clubs.  Hanging in the tunnel across from our original Broadway watercolors are eleven quality golf clubs, suspended a few feet above the floor.  The harsh reality is that they will likely never strike a ball on the green again, instead forever being a reminder of days gone by.  And who knows, maybe Arnold Palmer once played with one of these clubs.  We would put the likelihood of that at about 0.1%, but it's possible.

St. Andrews Links, Scotland.

St. Andrews Links, Scotland.

In a world where there is a strong desire to classify the "first" time something happened, golf is a frustrating sport.  The origin of golf could date to the Roman Empire and a game called paganika that was played with a ball stuffed with feathers that was hit into a hole.  Or the Chinese game chuiwan.  What is known is that the first recorded game of 'modern' golf happened in Scotland, when James II, King of the Scots, banned the game in 1457 because it distracted men from honing their archery skills.  The ban was lifted in 1502 by James IV, who was an avid golfer himself.  The oldest links course (more rustic than the courses modern players are more familiar with today) is in Scotland and called St. Andrews.  It dates to some time prior to 1574, and is considered an important destination for tried and true golfers to play before they die.  Non-golfers should still go there because, you know, it's in Scotland.

From a slow start, golf has evolved into a sport loved by men and women worldwide.  The first American course was laid out in 1888, the imaginatively-named St. Andrews course in Yonkers, New York.  Slower in developing an affection for the game are the Chinese, who opened their first course in 1994.  But they've caught on quickly.  In the twenty-five years since, they opened at least six hundred more.  It is estimated that, in 2008, there were 35,112 golf courses around the world.  Which means there are likely many, many more than that today.  And twelve golf clubs that will not be used on any of them.
QUESTION:  Which golf course has the lowest elevation in the world?
A)  St. Andrews, Scotland
B)  Furnace Creek, United States
C)  La Jenny, France
D)  Legend, South Africa
ANSWER BELOW

TO THE MOON!  Yes, today is Pearl Harbor Day, the day in 1941 when the Japanese military attacked the American Navy in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  It was a tragic day not only because of the deaths caused by the attack, but because it led to American involvement in the most destructive war the world would ever know.  But it's also the day the Apollo 17 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral in 1972 - the last of the missions that would land Americans on the moon. It was a successful launch, and it gave the world the beautiful photograph entitled The Blue Marble, seen here.

CAT'S IN THE CRADLE. On the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Harry Chapin was born in New York City to a musical family.  As a teenager, he harmonized with his brothers while dad played drums, but he got sidetracked with aspirations into documentary making - directing the Oscar-nominated Legendary Champions in 1968.  His first solo record came out in 1972, which included the hit song "Taxi," and his fate was sealed.  It was the song "Cat's in the Cradle," though, that made Chapin a household name and a millionaire.  It was also his only number one hit.  By 1981, Chapin was still making music but on a smaller scale than before. Tragically, a car accident ended his life at the age of 38.  It is likely, though, that the accident was caused by a heart attack.

QUOTE:  When in doubt, do something.  - Harry Chapin

ANSWER:  B)  Furnace Creek.  Located in Death Valley, California, it is at 214 feet below sea level.  La Jenny is a nudist course, and Legend has what is widely considered the most difficult hole in the world, with a four hundred meter drop between golfer and the hole.