1892 Golf Predictions

August 6, 2020

In my quest for new and interesting topics to write about, I thought we would take a trip back to the future. (Just for the record, I never really cared for the movie “Back to the Future,” which first came out in 1985, or the two which followed later).

So if you are under the age of 25 and wonder what Back To The Future, I II or III were about, go to Wikipedia and enlighten yourself. “Back to the Future” is a mixture of science fiction and Rip Van Winkle, based on a book written by J. McCullough in 1892, “Golf In The Year 2000 (Sub heading: What We Are Coming To).”

Jack McCullough was a professional Scottish golfer in the late 1800’s who made some pretty good futuristic predictions I will quote or shorten in a paraphrase format, so you can get back to happy hour or take a swim in the ocean.

In McCullough’s book, a golfer named, Alexander Gibson, falls asleep (presumably on a golf course, possibly during slow play) and wakes up in the year 2000, where he meets another golfer, named Adams and the two of them play golf together.

Here is a synopsis of three of his hits and misses for the future.

Prediction No. 1 from 1892, first tee box: “I pulled out what I suppose was a driver. It was a very powerful weapon, with a remarkably thin shaft, which on closer inspection turned out to be steel. The head too was also made of metal and the shaft terminated in a little white disc under glass, which looked like a watch face, so I asked Adams, what was the dial for, near the club head?”

“Each time you hit the ball, a stroke is measured on the club head. Each club in your bag has a dial and at the end of the round you give your clubs to the secretary, who will total your score and establish your handicap.”

Prediction No. 2: Robot caddies were McCullough’s next big wave of the future. His science-based book in 1892, projected to 2000, placed a magnet in the back of your jacket, which reacted to another magnet, attached to a rolling cart bag and pulled the cart 12 feet behind you at all times.

(When you approached the bag the magnet became immobilized, but I am not sure how he stopped it from following him onto the green?)

Prediction No. 3: A programmable putter would be a normal club on the green in the year 2000. It had a grip and shaft attached to a rectangular block, which moved back and forth like a pendulum. After addressing the ball - holding the putter shaft still and perpendicular to the ball - you squeezed the handle to the desired distance marked on the shaft, and the head moved back and through to hit your putt the correct distance.

Now, I am going back to the future with my predictions for the year, 2115, so if anyone from the future reads this column and finds my predictions have come true, please notify my great, great, great, great grandchildren.

My Prediction No. 1 for the year 2115: Your driver will have a compressed spring loaded face, which will help propel your ball straight down the fairway - or slice or hook - an extra 150 yards into the woods.

My Prediction No. 2: Not only will your clubs count your strokes for you, but it will relay the info to your cart’s electronic score card, back to the club house handicap computer, your iPhone 100 and the bar, if you hit a hole in one.

My Prediction No. 3: Since the world now has 80 zillion people, to save land every golf course will have three par 7s, each with a par 3 midway down the fairway after you finish the par 3, you get a free drop next to the green and continue your par 7 hole score (count your score for the par 3, as one hole then add the additional strokes, it takes to complete the par 7).

My Prediction No. 4: To speed up play on your $1,000 round of golf, each cup will be the size of a trash can lid, each cart will have a beverage girl located on an extended rear bumper, and a lost ball will beep in the woods and/or float back to shore.

19th Hole trivia

• Back to the Future cost $19 million to make and grossed over $397 million worldwide.

• Rip Van Winkle was written by Washington Irving in 1819.

• Rip’s dog was named Wolf.

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