GOOD READ: The Vardon Invasion: Harry's Triumphant 1900 Tour


Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Not a golf architecture book, it's true, but Bob Labbance, who has coauthored this volume with Brian Siplo, has written extensively on the subject in the past, as, for example, in his history of golf course management, Keepers of the Green. This time, though, his subject is the Tiger Woods of the 1900s, Harry Vardon, and his ten month long trip to the US in the first year of the century, a visit credited by many sources with inspiring the first American golf boom.

Reading this book – and more especially, looking at some of the photographs – will be educational to many, not least as to just how rudimentary some of those early American courses were. Vardon played, say the authors, "in places that were barely recognisable as golf courses. Most had nine holes; many were less than 2,500 yards long. They had clay greens, sand greens, or dirt greens – some had little grass anywhere on the layout."