“Golf has ceased to be a peculiarly national game. It is now no longer a pastime for the impecunious Scot, armed with two or three clubs, and a feather ball, it has become a professional sport, pursued by devatating hordes of foreigners among whom the American tongue rises shrill and strident.” - Lady Frances Balfour
If history has a habit of repeating itself, then, in the particular instance that Lady Frances Balfour refers to, it seems especially true of golf; her chastening words echoing in the ears of American golfers cheered on by the beer-fuelled hoots of “in the hole” from spectators at this year’s Ryder Cup.
The quote, taken from Lady Balfour’s autobiography, No Obliviscaris (Dinna Forget), reveals, if not a passion for links players from across the Atlantic, then certainly the qualities of assertiveness and forthrightness she was known for.
Lady Balfour was actively engaged in politics on both sides of the political divide (her husband’s brother served three terms as a Conservative prime minister, though she was a supporter of William Gladstone’s Liberal government), and was a figurehead for the suffragete movement. She was also noted as one of the highest members of the aristocracy to campaign for women’s rights.