Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Meaning of Golf

Down here in Wales the roadsigns are bilingual and we noticed that the sign pointing to the local Golf Club rendered the Welsh for Golf as "Golff" merely changing the last letter to replicate the English pronounciation ( a single "f" in Welsh is pronounced "v"). Ah, we thought, the Welsh have no word for Golf. But it doesn't sound like an English word either. So where does the word come from.
I have an uncle who is a keen golfer so who better to ask. With a twinkle in his eye and a sideways look at Hilary he replied: "Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden!" before explaining that the game is thought to have originated in Scandinavia and "golf" does have a Nordic ring to it, don't you think.
Uncle is a member of a golf club in Surrey and he astounded me by telling me how much it costs him to be a member - at least three times as much as it costs me to keep Starcross going each year! And I thought boating was expensive.
Before you get the wrong idea about my family I have another Uncle who enjoys a round of Golf, but when visiting Wales he used to sneak on to the local course at quiet times and if challenged as to whether he was a member used to reply so forcefully - in a broad South Yorkshire accent - that his challenger would beat a swift retreat!


Halfie said...

Did you not find also that the English "u" was replaced by a "w", and that the two words were round the other way, as in "Clwb Golff"?

Anonymous said...

Yes that's right. The Welsh word nearest to "club" that I know is "Cymdeithas" but that means something more like "society" or "association" so "clwb" is used although the pronounciation here is nearer to "cloob" than "club"

Mark Doran said...

Living in Lytham St Annes as a child we were surrounded by golf links (4 in total, half the area of the borough) and I remember thinking: what a pointless time-wasting activity when they could be doing something useful and rewarding such as gricing trains, trams and trolleybuses!

No Direction said...

Remember, when golf begins life ends.