In 1919, The R&A and the USGA still wrote the Rules of Golf separately. It wouldn’t be until 1952 that the two governing bodies would come together to write the first joint, universal code. Above are some pages from a book called The Illustrated Rules of Golf and the Etiquette of the Game that was published in the United States in 1919. It includes some humorous illustrations and highlights some fascinating differences between the Rules at that time and the Rules today.
Page 13 details the definition of the putting green as “…all ground, except hazards, within twenty yards of the hole.” Today it is defined as “all ground of the hole being played that is specially prepared for putting…” In 1919, the putting green included grass of any length or any turf, other than hazards, if it was within 20 yards of the hole.
Page 46 illustrates the stymie, which was part of the Rules of Golf until 1952. If another golf ball was on the player’s line of putt between their ball and the hole, the player had to play around or over the intervening ball. The only exception was that the intervening ball could be marked if the two balls were within 6 inches of each other.
There are a number of other differences between this 1919 code and today’s Rules, but the real treasure of this book is the illustrations from nearly 100 years ago.