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How to think like a featherie golfer

(Illustration from Mr. Punch's Golf Stories, edited by J. A. Hammerton.)

In order to play the featherie game, the proper mindset is even more important than the proper ball, clubs, clothes, or course. You can play the old game anywhere, with any equipment and in any outfit. It’s how you think that makes all the difference.

Here are a few tips to get you in the right state of mind.

1. Featherie golf is golf at its most difficult (from a modern standpoint). The equipment is so different from anything you’ve every played with. The balls are not perfectly round, so you will get unexpected bounces and rolls. Accept those facts and embrace the challenge!

2. The fact that you will be carrying fewer clubs means you have to be more creative in learning how to hit different shots with each club.

3. Don’t keep score. Instead, play foursomes (alternate shot) or match play (play the like). Match play was the game during the featherie era; keeping score was reserved for medal (stroke) play. Either game takes the do-or-die stress of competition away: you can just enjoy the day and your friends.

If you must carry a card and pencil, take note of how many good shots you make, and tally them up at the end of the day. (Credit to Christian Williams for that tip.)

We believe that these simple guidelines are also lessons for happier golf, no matter what you play:

1. Accept that golf is hard.

2. Carry fewer clubs.

3. Don’t keep score.

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