Outdoor Adventures By Brian G. Schommer When you are on a golf course and hear ‘FORE,’ going on alert is a natural reaction as it means someone hit a bad shot and the potential of someone getting …
By Brian G. Schommer
When you are on a golf course and hear ‘FORE,’ going on alert is a natural reaction as it means someone hit a bad shot and the potential of someone getting plunked by the errant shot may be imminent. Have you ever wondered why? Would it not make more sense to yell ‘duck?’ I suppose as most golf courses have water hazards and waterfowl tend to grace them with their presence, duck might not be a good choice. Maybe, ‘LOOK OUT’ would be better? Because inquiring minds want to know, and I wanted to do a golf related column, I did a little research into the usage if the word ‘fore’ as it pertains to golf.
Yelling ‘fore’ goes back to 1878 according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Being taught “if it is in the dictionary, it is gospel,” I could have stopped right there. It seems that teaching is like, “if it is on the internet, it must be true.” The website www.scottishgolfhistory. org quotes a golf glossary that was published in 1857 that included the term fore. So much for that rule about dictionaries. No matter the source, the term has been used by golfers for a very long time. But why?
A theory is that ‘fore’ is an evolution of the word forecaddie. A forecaddie accompanies golfers, usually a group, around the course, going forward on each hole to locate the golfers shots. If an errant shot is hit, the forecaddie lets the golfer know where it is. So, the theory is when a golfer hit a bad shot, they yelled fore to the forecaddie to make sure they were tracking the shot. Another theory is that ‘fore’ is military in nature. During wars in the 17th and 18th century, the sport of golf was making good size divots in Britain (really catching on, if you missed the analogy). As infantry would be advancing, an artilleryman would yell “beware before” letting others know they were about to launch a shell. The thought is when a golfer would hit a bad shot, the phrase was shortened to fore. This would alert others that a missile, in the shape of a golf ball may be headed their way. Either way if you hear ‘fore,’ LOOK OUT!
In our little nook of Minnesconsin, there are plenty of golf courses to check out. For the more seasoned golfers, there are numerous challenging links sure to test your skills. For first timers, there are just as many forgiving options with fewer hazards, straighter fairways, and larger greens. A short drive in any direction will generally create more than a dozen golf courses that would love your patronage. There are even a few Par-3, I mean ‘executive’ courses for those looking to hone their short game skills. Translated, honing your short game means “feeling better about your score.”
Golf can be a very relaxing game if you let it. It can also be one of the most frustrating experiences ever if you let it. According to information on the world wide web, there are around 2,500 professional golfers in the world. That is compared to 61.1 million golfers in the world. The percentage of professional golfers to those who golf is approximately .00004 percent. The moral of this story is, unless you are one of those .00004 percent, do not LET golf frustrate you. Sure, maybe your team does not win the fundraising scramble event that you played in because all four of you hit a worm burner on hole number 15. Maybe because you three-putt on 12, you lost the club championship to that jerk that wins every year? Maybe he is not the one who is a jerk? It is a game. Games are supposed to be fun. Relax. If you are not that good of a golfer, buy cheap golf balls. Reap the benefits of the game, too which there are many.
Whether you play nine or eighteen holes, the intake of Vitamin D (provided you golf on sunny days) is good for the body and soul. The physical exercise, even if you take a cart, is certainly something that is beneficial to your health. The celebration of a completed round at the 19th hole, no matter what the outcome, should always be your goal. Getting away from things that may be causing various levels of stress and anxiety is a good thing. If you like golfing with others, make sure you like the people. Sometimes getting out for a quick nine by yourself is a great way to blow off steam. It is also much easier to employ the occasional foot and/or hand wedge. If you shank one out of bounds, call it practice. Who is going to know? Well, if you generally shoot in the low 90’s and come in with a 75, the answer is EVERYONE.
Spring is about to give way to summer in just a few short weeks. If you are a golfer, there is only one thing in the way of your getting out to chase the little ball around the course, and you know who that is. Enjoy the game for what it is, a game. Remember that the benefits will outweigh the frustrations if you let them and be thankful that you are able to Get Out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors. ‘FORE…’ Just kidding.