Date: November 16, 2015
Author: The Australian Golf Heritage Society

Q and A Golf History DZ Ed. #88/#89

Answers to Previous History Quiz from Drop Zone #88:

1. Question #1. How many Opens (British) did Peter Thomson win?

Answer:  Five: 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1965

2. Question #2. How many Opens (British) did Norman von Nida win?

Answer:  None, though he was often in contention. His best performance was tied third in 1948.

3. Question #3. At the Australian Open in 1951 what was the area of the 18th putting green at Metropolitan?

A good and an acceptable answer is 1256.64 square yards (or 1050.71 square metres) .  That includes the area occupied by the hole, 18.06 square inches (or 27.42 square centimetres). In fact the other seventeen putting greens at Metropolitan had the same area, as indeed did every putting green in Australia.

In 1951 the putting green was defined as the area within 20 yards of the hole. (Area of a circle = πr2, for those who remember their school geometry, 20 yards being the radius).

This was a left over from the club rules of the R&A in 1875, when the area around the hole was generally indistinguishable from the fairway. In 1952 the definition was changed to one we would recognise today, namely an area especially prepared for putting.

The point of asking this question was to remind golfers that many of the rules in golf have changed radically over the years. For the pedants even that wonderfully precise figure of 1256.64 square yards is not good enough for two reasons.

First, in 1951 water hazards and bunkers within twenty yards of the hole, wherever it may have been cut, were not considered part of the putting green. Second, humps and hollows on the green add more area of grass than would be if the green were flat.

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Questions for the Next Issue

1. Kel Nagle famously won the 1960 Centenary Open at St Andrews, with Arnold Palmer as the runner-up. In 1964 he won another tournament that the media at the time were touting as the fifth major. What was that tournament and who was the runner-up to Kel?

2. About 1850 a revolution in golf technology occurred. Many golf historians consider it to be the biggest technological revolution in golf. What exactly was that revolution?