The Ideal Golf Course for Women (In 1904)

Genevieve Hecker was an early American golf champ. She won the U.S. Women's Amateur twice in the first decade of that tour's existence, her titles coming in 1901 and 1902.

Hecker also wrote the first instruction book for women golfers, Golf For Women, published in 1904. There's a chart in that book that says a lot about the state of women's golf at that time. Hecker described what she called her ideal golf course for women, listing 18 holes, yardages for each, and the clubs she would use to play that hole. She didn't list each hole's par, but we can tell what that would be based on the number of strokes she saw herself needing to play the hole.

This is that chart:

The first hole she lists as 365 yards, but she expects to need five strokes to play. We would call that a par-5 today, but such terms didn't yet exist in 1904. Hecker, by the way, was known as a fairly long driver of the ball, not the longest of her era, but someone who hit her drives a good distance. It was said in one news report we found that she hit her drives around 200 yards.

Something else very interesting about this chart: the note at the bottom that says "Bogie 77." Our use of the word "par" did not yet exist in golf in 1904. At that time, "bogey" was used to mean approximately what we use "par" for today. So "Bogie 77" means "par 77."

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