From the 15th century to a little more than a decade ago, March has been an interesting month in golf. Here are nine memorable days in golf history:
- March 1457: The Scottish Parliament of King James II bans golf because his soldiers ditched archery practice in favor of hitting golf balls. He’s certainly not the only boss to keep an eye on the troops, but all work and no golf could have made King James the target of a mutinous workforce.
- March 6, 1878: The inaugural University Golf Match is played at Wimbledon Common in London, distinguishing it as the oldest established amateur event in golf. Oxford, led by Horace Hutchinson, convincingly defeated Cambridge.
- In March 1892, Alexander Shaw, Richard Plummer and officers from the Black Watch Regiment of the British Army went to the west coast of Clare in Ireland to “find” a golf course. A month later, construction began on what would become Lahinch Golf Club.
- March 17, 1902: It could have been hard work or “the luck of the Irish.” Bob Jones may have been of Welsh descent, but he was born on St. Patrick’s Day, 1902.
- March 1908: National Golf Links was incorporated. Designed by Charles Blair Macdonald and constructed by Seth Raynor, the Long Island course played host to the inaugural Walker Cup Match in 1922, won by the USA Team, 8-4.
- March 25, 1934: It may be most linked to the second week of April in our minds, but Horton Smith won the inaugural Masters Tournament before the azaleas bloomed at the as-yet-named Amen Corner.
- March 11, 1945: Byron Nelson began his streak of 11 consecutive PGA Tour victories when Nelson and partner Harold “Jug” McSpaden won the Miami Invitational Four-Ball. In 1945, Nelson won 18 of 30 events, with seven second-place finishes; he never finished out of the top 10.
- Happy Birthday: Two-time U.S. Open champions Julius Boros (March 3) and Andy North (March 9); six-time USGA champion Hollis Stacy (March 16) and 1985 U.S. Women’s Open champion Kathy (Baker) Guadagnino (March 20) are among those in the March birthday field.
- March 30, 2003: Michelle Wie, a 13-year-old phenom from Hawaii, proves that being a prodigy means it isn’t enough to merely qualify for the LPGA Kraft Nabisco championship. Instead, she shoots a third-round 66 to join Annika Sorenstam and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc in the final group. Wie ultimately shoots a final-round 76 and finishes tied for ninth.
David Chmiel is manager of Members content for the USGA. Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org