For the love of the game she died
She played when she was suppose to cry
She didn’t care what they say
She mourned in her own way
A golf club swang away
Giving birth to a game they now play.
by Abdelrahman Ghanem
Mary Queen of Scots, is a great story for women in golf. Mary was raised in a powerful royal atmosphere, the Scottish Royalty, with close ties to the Royals in France through her mother and in England through her ancestors. Mary’s father the King of Scots died when she was only six days old, making her the Queen of Scots at a very young age. Her mother ruled Scotland while Mary was sent to France at the age of five to live the next thirteen years and be educated in the French Court.
Mary began to play golf in France (obviously to unwind from that type of life) and was married by the age of 15 to the Successor of the French throne Francis II. He was the King for only 17 months until he passed away at the age of 16, the same year in which Mary’s mother died in 1560.
Mary returned back home to claim her rightful inheritance to rule Scotland. She brought back with her the term ”Caddie” or so they say. Playing golf in France had a tradition that the French military cadets carry the clubs for royalty. The word Cadet which means younger brother or younger son travelled with Mary and was pronounced ”Caddie” by the Queen with her English accent.
Ruling Scotland was complicated for Mary as she was away in France, not aware of the conflicts happening in her homeland between the Protestants and Catholics.
Continuing to play golf and escaping the tensions of the state (similar to our lives !) Mary spent much of her time outdoors exercising, hunting, hawking or playing a French lawn bowling game called Pall Mall. According to legend, the Queen lost a golf match to Mary Seton at Musselburgh and gave her a necklace as a prize.
In 1565 Mary married Henry, Lord Darnley who was killed after two years of the marriage.
The story that marks the beginning of the end for Mary Queen of Scots was this (and it involves golf), Mary was seen playing golf just a few days after her husband’s death instead of taking her time to grieve. This behaviour prompted the rumour that Mary had planned the death of Lord Darnley. Mary married a third time to James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, this created conflict with other Scottish nobles. Mary was asked to abdicate her throne and hand over to her son James the VI of Scotland, later known as James I of England.
Mary fled to England but was imprisoned and charged with murder of her second husband.
The charge read ”A few days after the murder she passed to Seton, exercising one day right openly at the fields with Pall Mall and golf, ” A sure sign of her hard-heartedness and guilt !
She spent the rest of her life in prison with her health slowly declining until she was executed in 1587 at the age of 44. (Killed for playing golf .)
Many tragic events happened in Mary’s life. She didn’t see her father and lived her early life away from her mother. Her mother and her first husband died in the same year with a marriage only lasting two years, she failed to rule her own home country due to the religious conflicts which led to the murder of her second husband which she in turn was accused of, she was trapped and executed after a long time of prison.
But with all these tragedies in her life, ‘The Mother of Golf, as she was known, remains a symbol for passion and love for the game.
I’m not what you would call an historian but I am fascinated to know the history of elements of the game and to think that she too became a golf tragic just like us. When faced with the death of her husband at the age of 20, such a tragic event she should have been quietly grieving at home. I’m sure she probably knew that if she played that day, she would have to face the wrath and be scorned and imprisoned.
Times have definitely changed over the centuries but I believe that history should stand for something. I was fascinated by Mary Queen of Scots and her story, I understand her passion for the game and the release she got from playing golf.
OFFICIALDOM AND WOMENS GOLF
Earlier this month, the LPGA (obviously drawing on past history and etiquette) released a conservative new dress code policy that restricts female athletes’ apparel choices on the golf course. Among the new rules:
– Racerback with a mock or regular collar are allowed (no collar = no racerback).
– Plunging necklines are NOT allowed.
– Leggings, unless under a skort or shorts, are NOT allowed.
– Length of skirt, skort, and shorts MUST be long enough to not see your bottom area (even if covered by under shorts) at any time, standing or bent over.
– Workout gear and jeans (all colors) NOT allowed inside the ropes
– Joggers are NOT allowed
Many commentators and female golf ambassadors are speaking out about the new rules. They fear that these new rules could stifle the growth of the women’s game. Over the years, golf has evolved from a leisurely game of stick and ball into a competitive sport for highly skilled athletes.
I cannot see these rules overly encroaching on our day to day outfit choices and to be perfectly honest I don’t think these new rules will stifle the growth of the women’s game. We have so many options of fashion ranging from the more tailored conservative trends to the more modern athletic style, all within the rules. Time will tell. As individuals we are attracted to different styles, what suits you may not suit others. I love the fact that we have many choices and I have never played with anyone that has turned up in a skirt one or two sizes too small. As a woman, something that may trouble you is appropriate length. Whether that be of a skirt, shirt or shorts, if you want to play on a certain course you should adhere to the rules of etiquette. Generally, wearing a skirt or shorts more than 5 inches above the knee would be frowned upon. The advisable thing to do when going to a new golf course or club would be to ring ahead and ask about the dress code and save yourself any embarrassment or upset! (Take a back up outfit if you are unsure.)
Most importantly when it comes to fashion is to feel comfortable. Tight clothes such as shirts that are to tight under the arm pits and shoulders can restrict movement and hinder your swing. Skirts are acceptable for women on the course, as long as it is in keeping with the conservative etiquette. The fit will be important as you don’t want your clothes to be too baggy or too tight as both could interfere with your game.
My advice is to layer, layer, layer, for the winter months. Four hours of golf is ahead of you and weather patterns change with in that time frame. (especially in Melbourne)
Firstly I make sure I head out with an empty bag, pockets of my golf bag are empty so as I start peeling off the layers I have somewhere to store it. There’s nothing worse than cramming all of your clothes into a full packed bag. Also, your bag gets very heavy and adds physical stress to your day out on the course. You need to be well prepared for the day so always have wet weather pants & waterproof jacket along with your umbrella packed. (check radar and weather forecasts. If in doubt bring.)
In these winter months I am a lover of a thin long sleeve top under my golf shirt. These are just a few places you can pick one up, they’ll keep you warm with that extra layer.
(Target-activewear $25.00, Cotton On seamfree top $29.95, Nike Zonal Cooling Relay $65.00, Lululemon Swiftly Tech $89).
These winter mornings have been pretty chilly so I can give you a few tips on starting warm on the 1st tee. Starting from the bottom, 2 pairs of socks, wet weather pants (even if theres no rain), long sleeve top, polo shirt for collar, woollen jumper, vest to keep chest warm, wind proof jacket, cap and beanie. Keeping your feet, head and ears warm makes a huge difference.
One more tip, I was at DFO Moorabbin yesterday and Tommy Hilfiger has a great sale on cable knit jumpers $80 !! Become a VIP member on the spot to receive an extra 10% off.
Queen Mary of Scots paid the price for a leisurely game of stick and ball, I think we owe it to The Mother of Golf to embrace whats left of history and golf etiquette.
(btw be careful how you grieve 🙁 xx )