by Linda, Everett Public Library staff
The word golf actually comes from the Dutch word “kolf” meaning club?
I had always thought that the name GOLF was derived from an acronym for “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden”, but in researching this I found out that the idea is actually an urban legend. The word “golf” was first mentioned in 1457 in a Scottish edict banning certain games, as they probably distracted people from archery practice. There are several theories as to where the term came from, but no one ever suggested the acronym theory until the 20th century.
All of this information came from the book The Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins. I found several things in this book that are interesting – -“nephew” can also mean grandson, “dude” is from the German word for fool and “tent” actually comes from the Latin tendere which means ” to stretch”, since tents were made from stretched animal skins. Take a look at this book and see which words surprise you!
You can use your “kolf” (clubs) and work on improving your game with some of the books published by Golf Magazine about improving your swing, drive or putt. There are many other instructional books and DVDs in our catalog as well.
We have many books about golfers. One is Arnie &Jack: Palmer, Nicklaus and golf’s greatest rivalry featuring (obviously) the famous Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. We also have biographies about Tiger Woods, Michelle Wie, Bagger Vance and Sam Snead among others.
John Feinstein used the phrase A Good Walk Spoiled as the title for his tell-all book about being on the pro golf tour in 1993-94. Mark Twain is mistakenly given the credit for defining golf that way, but it is not clear where it originated. Even if he didn’t say it, maybe he would have if he’d been given the chance! Read about some of the witty things he did say and wrote in his 2 part autobiography.
We have many books about urban legends full of “absolutely true stories that happened to a friend of a friend of a friend.” While I didn’t find G.O.L.F. in any of the ones we have, I sure had fun reading some of the other stories! Urban Legends by Thomas Craughwell, Spiders in the Hairdo by David Holt &Bill Mooney and Encyclopedia of Urban Legends by Jan Harold Brunvand are all good choices.