Legend has it that the Atlantic City CC is where the word 'Birdie' was first used
BY ANDREW LAGOMARSINO
If you are among the millions of people who think golf is boring--played by old men who dress funny--then read no further. Better yet, digest this column before bedtime if you have trouble sleeping.
However, if you think golf is a fascinating, intriguing game of skill; a humbling endeavor filled with lore and legend and tradition and honor…then fasten your seat belts.
After all, it’s been said even God has to practice HIS putting.
At the Masters on Sunday, Louis Oosthuizen performed a feat of magic that has golfers still buzzing – he carded a double eagle, the rarest of birds. He holed out in two on the
Par 5, 575-yard second hole. (A double eagle is more rare than a hole in one, whose odds are approximated at 6,000,000-to-1 for the average golfer compared to 13,000-to-1 for a hole in one.
It is among the rarest feats in sports. Only four golfers in the history of the Masters finished a hole in 3-under par -- most notably Gene Sarazen in the 1935 Masters who registered an albatross in the final round of the Masters and went on to win the tournament. Albatross? Double Eagle? Birdie?
It’s time for a golf nomenclature lesson! Yawn…Yawn….Yawn.
Well, for all you wordsmiths and golf purists, it should be pointed out that all golf terminology didn’t start in a Scottish pub. You can give some credit to the lads hitting the white ball around in New Jersey.
According to Scottish Golf History, the term 'birdie' (one under par on a hole) originated in the United States in 1899.
In H.B. Martin's "Fifty Years of American Golf" there is an account of a foursomes match played at the Atlantic City CC, in which one of the players, Ab Smith relates, "My ball came to rest within six inches of the cup. I said, 'That was a bird of a shot. I suggest that when one of us plays a hole in one under par he receives double compensation.'
The other two players agreed and we began right away, just as soon as the next one came, to call it a birdie."
In 19th century American slang, 'bird' referred to anyone or anything excellent or wonderful. Once the term 'birdie' became common, people started referring to a core one better than a 'birdie' as an 'eagle'. One better than an "eagle", was an 'albatross' - an even bigger eagle!
See…who said golf was boring! Yawn…..