First book about golf to go under the hammer

The book is said to offer insight into how golf was played in the 18th century. Picture: wikipedia.org

The book is said to offer insight into how golf was played in the 18th century. Picture: wikipedia.org

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A RARE first edition of the first-ever book devoted wholly to golf is expected to fetch up to £42,000 at auction next month – the equivalent of 494 rounds at current prices on the Old Course at St Andrews.

The Goff: An Heroi-­Comical Poem, published in Edinburgh in 1743, was the first printed book devoted to the game.

Written by Thomas Mathison – an Edinburgh legal writer and later a Kirk minister – it satirises in verse a game of golf between the author and his brother-in-law, Edinburgh bookseller Alexander Dunning, played on the then five-hole course on the capital’s Leith Links.

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It is said to offer “a remarkable insight” into how golf was played in the 18th century.

The book, though only 22 pages long, is regarded worldwide as “one of the cornerstones of golfing literature”.

Auctioneers Bonhams described the book as “a parodic masterpiece” and “the undoubted foundation” of any golfing library.

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