Reminiscences Of The Links
by A.W. Tillinghast
In this book, his second volume of essays, A.W. Tillinghast recounts the origins of Golf in America, and traces its growth through the 1930’s. This book is much more than golf history–it is history as chronicled through the eyes of Tillinghast. It is a story of Golf’s early days in America and our connections to Scotland. Loaded with over 150 vintage antique photographs and sketches, Tillinghast relives with style and humor golf at St. Andrews, the early U.S. Opens of the roaring nineties, the birth of the birdie, the founding of Pine Valley and many other humorous and fascinating tales on early American golf and golf architecture.
As one of the greatest golf course architects ever, Tillinghast lived and breathed golf from the 1890’s through his death in 1942. A native of Philadelphia, he was on hand for every major U.S. tournament of note; as a respected amateur he played in many of the early amateur and U.S. Open championships; he was a founder of the PGA of America; a staunch supporter of the United States Golf Association’s Green Section; a renown golf journalist; managing editor of Golf Illustrated; and an advocate for public golf.
It can be said with little argument that the Mecca for all golfers is St. Andrews. And this is where Tillinghast begins his tales. “Once in St. Andrews one revels in Golf.” Tillinghast recounts his memories of Old Tom Morris and Old Tom’s recollections to him of one of the greatest of all time — Tommy Morris, son of Old Tom, who thrice in succession won the British Open, and who died of a broken heart when “his girl wife died as their baby boy was born.” Tillinghast tells many other stories from his trips to Scotland as a young man, recounting the colorful personages of many of the old timers of golf–Andra Kirkaldy, successor to Old Tom, the great little Ben Sayres, and others.
Tillinghast connects us with Scotland and the earliest golf in Canada and the United States. He recounts the human interest side of the early amateur and professional championships–the first but unrecognized U.S. Open champion, Willie Dunn; the early demise of the first four time U.S. Open champion , Willie Anderson; and the real story behind the fall from sanity of America’s first and youngest U.S. Open champion, Johnny McDermott.
We are taken into the gallery and behind the scenes at many of these early tournaments. We are also told many humorous stories on the early Scottish caddies, and the sharp practices of the distasteful cheaters of golf.
We are given unique insights on golf architecture from a historical perspective –how the improved golf ball, “the bounding billie,” and matched irons changed the game and golf course design forever; the genius in the creation of Pine Valley; the development of modern golf course design principles in the United States; and much more.
Tillinghast also provides us with his opinion on the top ten golfers of all time. “With the exception of Young Tom Morris, who died before I stalked the links, it has been my rare privilege not only to have observed the play of every man-Jack … but to have played with half a dozen of the first nine.”
The editors – Rick Wolffe, Bob Trebus and Stuart Wolffe – have done an amazing job compiling and researching this book. The photographs and sketches harmonize with each essay effectively bringing the book to life. This is the editors second volume of Tillinghast essays; their first, The Course Beautiful is internationally acclaimed and is currently being translated for Japan. The editors are working on a third Tillinghast book, Gleanings from the Wayside; they are also the authors of Baltusrol 100 Years, the Centennial History of Baltusrol Golf Club.