RENSLOW: Leaving a divot in the game’s lore |

RENSLOW: Leaving a divot in the game’s lore

Stories, art, legends — things that stand the test of time are very intriguing. How many people alive today will be a topic of conversation in four hundred years? Do you remember a guy named Chester Arthur? How about John Tyler?

It shows that it takes more than being elected President of the United States to stand the test of time. A president will likely need a significant event or remarkable behavior in order to be remembered.

What about Mozart or Da Vinci? Sure, that was easy. Hundreds of years later, their work is still being enjoyed or utilized today. Amazing stuff.

The game of golf has been around for centuries with the first documented rules written in 1744. Yet the principle founders are not very well known, even if you are an avid golfer.

However, there is one name that comes up often during a discussion of golf history. So, was there a significant event or is it remarkable behavior that keeps this person alive in our memory?

Although she lived a life only Jerry Springer would love, Mary, Queen of Scots, was the first woman to practice the game of golf. Others may have played at the game, but Mary practiced.

In fact, her commitment to her golf game was greater than her marriage (ladies … insert comment here) and was chastised for playing a round at St. Andrews the day after her husband was murdered. It is for this reason that her name will arise in golf conversations.

In addition to her behavior, there is also a significant event. Mary, not only as Queen, but also presumably not in favor of lugging around a heavy bag, hired young military boys to carry her clubs. These young men were known “Cadets” in their army service. For those who packed her clubs, she gave them the name “Caddie.”

Today’s caddies have a broad range of age, income and celebrity. Some caddies live in anonymity, still packing bags into their senior years, while a select few are making television commercials and earning more than the President.

Within the golf culture, other names have developed, such as “looper.” But the caddie, both in position and title is known by everyone, golfer or not. It all started with a notorious Queen who will likely be remembered in another 400 years.

John Renslow is a PGA Class A Professional and Instructor at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at

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