CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA | Didn’t someone once say that Britain and the US were two nations divided by a common language? It can be said that in golf the two countries are also divided by a common language. Bunkers and traps. Tee ball and drive. Flagstick and pin. Semi-rough and first cut. Foursomes and alternate shot. These are just some terms that, though different, mean the same.
Then there’s the difference in the names of golf clubs. In Britain you are more likely to get the mundane Coventry Golf Club; in the US it’s Whisper Rock or Baiting Hollow.
It’s blunt pragmatism versus cool romanticism.
Coventry Golf Club is in Coventry. It is a golf club. Therefore what is wrong with naming it Coventry Golf Club? Nothing. But how much more imaginative is the name given to the site of this week’s PGA Championship – Quail Hollow Club. No mention of the city where it is being staged, which is Charlotte, and, we hasten to add, a fine city. Instead, reference to ornithology and geography, birds flying through and around a hollow and the impression of it being way out in the country when in fact it is only a few miles from the city centre.
Who could fail to be more charmed by the Myopia Hunt Club or the Philadelphia Cricket Club, which is a golf club, or the Caledonia Golf and Fish Club than by Welwyn Garden City Golf Club, or Walsall Golf Club or even Auchterarder Golf Club?
Lest this be perceived as a knock on all golf clubs in Britain, and a paean of praise for exotically named golf clubs in the US, I shall close with this one: Remedy Oak. Great name, great mental images – trees, remedies for a hook or a slice or a dose of the yips. How appropriate. Where is this paragon among names? Set among stately oak trees (bet you didn’t guess that) in Dorset, England.
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