Doughtie sr on Golf (June 2013)

One man ,had,probably,the most profound influence on the sport,with the introduction of a scoring system designed to assist average club players to be able to continue scoring and complete a tournament after one or two bad holes.......

Dr Frank B.Stableford,born in 1870,invented the system to secure a more accurate reflection of the standard of play in medal conditions.Little did he know that it would become so widely used and even form the basis for calculating handicaps.

Dr Stableford served with the British army in the Boer War as a surgeon and on his return in 1907 acquired a plus 1 handicap.He then fought in World War 1 and at the end of that conflict in 1918 became a member at Royal Liverpool(Hoylake) and Wallasey,Cheshire.He remained at both clubs till his death in 1959.

However it was first at Glamorganshire GC in Wales in 1898 that he tried out the Stableford points system. it wasn't until 16th May 1932 that the format got it's introduction in competitive play.It is mainly used in Amateur events although the US PGA tour did have a revised Stableford competition from 1986 till 2004,with a view to encouraging more attacking play.

It is likely Dr Frank Stableford did more than anyone else to improve the pleasure of the average club player.

One event where Stableford has never been used and is unlikely to ever see the light of day is the US Open.The 2013 and 113th edition tees off later this week at Merion,Pennsylvania,with Webb Simpson defending his title.

Although the 1st Official US Open was recorded as taking place in 1895 and won by England's Horace Rawlins at Newport Rhode Island's 9 hole course,an earlier event was played the year before at  St Andrews Club,The Bronx,NY and Scotland's Willie Dunn beat countryman,Willie Campbell by 2 holes(matchplay).

Scottish golfers dominated the early events,winning 12 of the first 16 Opens.English golfers took the other 4 titles.It was not until 1911,that J J McDermot,at just under 20 years(still the youngest ever winner)became the initial American success.Since then US players have won 81 of the events.

The USGA always selects a tough course for their flagship tournament and chosen clubs are forced to narrow fairways and allow rough to grow to serious levels with little or no semi-rough........may the best man win....

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