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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Important Questions, Answers and a Picture of a Water Lilly

Why are shirt cuffs requiring cufflinks called “French Cuffs”? Here is a proposed answer from

Glass buttons appeared in the late 17th century as a gaudier but lower-cost alternative to diamonds. During the 18th century, a new jewel material—glass paste—made of ground-up glass and resembling faceted gems, came into widespread use. Paste became a popular material for covering cufflinks and buttons. The English fashion spread to France, where it became popular among the nobility. In 1788, the first known record of the word “cufflink” appeared.

In the late Napoleonic period, Faberge perfected kiln-fired enameled jewelry, and began exporting it around the world. In 1845, the French claim to the double shirt cuff was laid with Alexandre Dumas’s novel, The Count of Monte-Cristo, which describes Baron Danglars’ elegantly adorned cuffs: “...the owner of so splendid an equipage must needs be all that was admirable and enviable, more especially when they gazed on the enormous diamond that glittered in his shirt, and the red ribbon that depended from his button-hole.” It has been said that the turned-back sleeves of Dumas’s characters inspired French tailors to begin making doubled-over, or “French” cuffs. The National Cuff Link Society, however, cautions that it may not be the shirt’s true origin. Regardless of which country invented it, the French cuff has remained popular for 150 years as a vehicle for cufflinks.

I must say I did not know there was a National Cufflink Society

What are the origins of the term ’dormie (used in Golf in Match Play)? According to

Historically, the term dormie is derived from the French/Latin cognate ’dormir,’ meaning ’to sleep,’ suggesting that a player who is ’dormie’ can relax (literally, go to sleep) without fear of losing the match.

Where does the word ’mulligan’ come from? According to

There is considerable debate about this topic, to say the least. There are several clubs and several people who have staked claims about the origin of the term ’mulligan.’

The story most widely accepted focuses on a gentleman named David Mulligan who played at the St. Lambert CC in Montreal, Canada during the 1920s. There are several versions of the David Mulligan story.

Mr. Mulligan was a hotelier in the first half of the century, a part-owner and manager of the Biltmore Hotel in New York City, as well as several large Canadian hotels. One story says that the first mulligan was an impulsive sort of event—that one day Mulligan hit a very long drive off the first tee, just not straight, and acting on impulse re-teed and hit again. His partners found it all amusing, and decided that the shot that Mulligan himself called a ’correction shot’ deserved a better named, so they called it a ’mulligan.’

Story two: Mulligan played regularly with a group of friends at St. Lambert, and in the morning he drove to pick up his golfing buddies. The road into the club was reportedly bumpy and windy and just sort of generally poor, with bridge of bumpy railroad ties. An extra shot was allotted to Mulligan, the driver of the car, on the first tee because he was jumpy and shaking from the difficult drive.

Story three: this story again identified a specific moment, citing a day when David Mulligan showed up late to the course, having scrambled to get out of bed late and get dressed and get to the course on time. He was frazzled on the first tee, hit a poor shot, and re-teed.

Another version of the ’mulligan’ story comes from the Essex Fells CC in N.J. This story is one of the latest, and may therefore be less credible. According to this version, the term was named after a locker room attendant at the club named John A. ’Buddy’ Mulligan, who worked at the club during the 1930s and was known for replaying shots, particularly on the first tee.

If a Mulligan was named after a man named Mulligan then a shanked shot into the trees should by all accounts be named a “Headman”.

A Lovely Paragraph:

"IT WAS A MORNING when all nature shouted ‘Fore!’ The breeze, as it blew gently up fom the valley, seemed to bring a message of hope and cheer, whispering of chip-shots holed and brassies landed squarely on the meat. The fairway, as yet unscarred by the irons of a hundred clubs, smiled greenly up at the azure sky; and the sun, peeping above the trees, looked like a giant golf-ball perfectly lofted by the mashies of some unseen god and about to drop dead by the pin of the eighteenth. It was the day of the opening of the course. . . .”

--From “The Heart of a Goof,” by P.G. Wodehouse

A Water Lilly from the South Course Hole No. 14 Lake at Ironwood Country Club in Palm Desert. (I took this photo several years ago).

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