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Niall C

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Re: John LOW - 10 principles for course design
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2019, 08:25:00 AM »
Bob


I tried to send some info on the Haskell court case but unfortunately as I've got a Hotmail email account I'm not hopeful it will arrive.


The short version is that the case went all the way to the House of Lords which was the second and final stage of appeal. While there was some evidence given by someone (can't recall his name) who claimed that as a kid he played a childs game of handball with a ball made of wound rubber, this was pretty much discredited as being not proven and not relevant. The case basically rested on a Captain Stewart who gave evidence that in the 1870's (?) he had made balls that were basically the same idea as the Haskell and had sold a number of them but the standard wasn't as high as the haskell (probably because they were largely hand made ?) and they never caught on.


Separately in the early 1890's George Fernie, younger brother of Willie Fernie, had made a similar ball using the rubber bladder of an old football that was cut into strips and wound round a core and then covered in gutta. He sold the idea to Willie for 5 and he had produced a number that he had sold but again the quality wasn't high enough and they didn't catch on.


The judge in the original case found that as Stewart or Fernie had the idea first even though they hadn't produced as good a product, there was no novelty in Haskell's patent and therefore it was ruled as being unfounded. The judges in the subsequent appeals agreed with that verdict.


Shortly after the final judgement, the press reported that the manufacturers had got together to fix the price and therefore prices remained high. As another aside, I found an advert for Fernie during this period where he advertised the re-covering of used rubber cored balls which I think indicates that they we high priced.


Niall

BCrosby

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Re: John LOW - 10 principles for course design
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2019, 09:56:59 AM »
Niall -


Some UK commentators thought the "prior art" you reference to be pretty far fetched and they assumed the House of Lords would reverse the lower court decision. Alas, that didn't happen. A curious case, though probably a good thing for the development of even longer balls.


Weren't gutties also sometimes repainted?


Bob

Sean_A

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Re: John LOW - 10 principles for course design
« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2019, 04:50:36 AM »
Maybe the questions aren't worth a second thought, but I will try again.

How much more carry did the Haskell have compared to well made gutties?

Was Low's stance against the Haskell primarily based on the play of elite players?

Was Low more concerned about the future advancements of the Haskell more than the original Haskell? I raise this question because I think by the time Low chaired the Rules Comm the ball had already improved.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

BCrosby

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Re: John LOW - 10 principles for course design
« Reply #28 on: September 30, 2019, 06:58:54 AM »
Maybe the questions aren't worth a second thought, but I will try again.

How much more carry did the Haskell have compared to well made gutties?


Defenders of the Haskell claimed early on that it wasn't much longer than the gutty. Most estimated, however, that the Haskell carried 20 to 30 yards farther. That extra carry increased as the wound core ball was improved over the next several years. Most estimated it to be between 40 and 60 yards by 1912 or so.

Was Low's stance against the Haskell primarily based on the play of elite players?


His main objection was that it represented an early stage technology that promised further, significant gains in distance. Low turned out to be right about that. That technology race, Low further argued, would render many historic courses obsolete. (Sound familiar?) Low was right about that too. He had several other objections, however. One of which was that it "leveled" the play of good and mediocre players by reducing the skills needed to play the game. Related was his argument that the R&A rules committee, by not limiting the ball, had caved "fecklessly" to popular pressure. (That should also sound familiar. Heaven forbid the rules committee might do something that was unpopular.)   

Was Low more concerned about the future advancements of the Haskell more than the original Haskell?


Yes. See above.


I raise this question because I think by the time Low chaired the Rules Comm the ball had already improved.


Yes. Low became chairman in 1913. By then the wound core ball had gone through several rounds of improvements. Ball advertisements during the era could have been written yesterday.

Ciao

Niall C

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Re: John LOW - 10 principles for course design
« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2019, 10:10:09 AM »
Bob


In my trawl through the papers I can't say I came across much if any predictions as to what would happen at appeal other than predicting that the Haskell company would appeal. Neither did I find much commentary on the rights and wrongs of the decision after the event other than I think from Ernest Lehmann who stated that he played golf at St Andrews around about the time Captain Stewart produced his ball but can't recall it. That aside the press commentary was fairly neutral (remember those days ?  ;D ).


Sean,


I can't really add to Bob's comments re the effects of the Haskell other than to say that it improved quite a bit after it's initial introduction. Interestingly the turning point for the ball was the 1902 Open won by Sandy Herd when he was either the only or one of the few to play the ball, yet only a couple of months before he was quoted as saying he wouldn't use it as he never rated it.


The famed Triumverate were all against it but very quickly played it anyway. Vardon stated that it gave the poorer player two chances firstly with a proper hit and secondly with a mishit which in his opinion sometimes went as well. Braid moaned about the fact that he had lost the advantage of his long driving as weaker players weren't that far behind him now that everyone, including him, were playing the Haskell. Despite that comment he went on to dominate the first decade of the 20th century winning 4 out of 5 of his Opens with the new ball.


In point of fact, Vardon, Taylor and Braid were the only players to win the Open with the gutta and the haskell which I think demonstrates that good players will always come through.


Niall

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: John LOW - 10 principles for course design
« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2019, 05:49:26 AM »
Maybe the questions aren't worth a second thought, but I will try again.

How much more carry did the Haskell have compared to well made gutties?


Defenders of the Haskell claimed early on that it wasn't much longer than the gutty. Most estimated, however, that the Haskell carried 20 to 30 yards farther. That extra carry increased as the wound core ball was improved over the next several years. Most estimated it to be between 40 and 60 yards by 1912 or so.

Was Low's stance against the Haskell primarily based on the play of elite players?


His main objection was that it represented an early stage technology that promised further, significant gains in distance. Low turned out to be right about that. That technology race, Low further argued, would render many historic courses obsolete. (Sound familiar?) Low was right about that too. He had several other objections, however. One of which was that it "leveled" the play of good and mediocre players by reducing the skills needed to play the game. Related was his argument that the R&A rules committee, by not limiting the ball, had caved "fecklessly" to popular pressure. (That should also sound familiar. Heaven forbid the rules committee might do something that was unpopular.)   

Was Low more concerned about the future advancements of the Haskell more than the original Haskell?


Yes. See above.


I raise this question because I think by the time Low chaired the Rules Comm the ball had already improved.


Yes. Low became chairman in 1913. By then the wound core ball had gone through several rounds of improvements. Ball advertisements during the era could have been written yesterday.

Ciao

Bob

Thanks. I didn't realize the Haskell carried that much further. Much of the talk of the time was about the run out and loss of control around the greens.. ie Bounding Billy.

Happy Hockey
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: John LOW - 10 principles for course design
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2019, 09:10:59 AM »
Sean -


Early on many thought chipping and putting were harder with the Haskell and its progeny. No question that the wound core ball came off the club face differently. But you don't hear much about that issue as you get closer to the outbreak of WWI. My guess is that people got used to the new balls.


As was mentioned, the Haskell lost its UK patent in 1907. Its US patent stayed in force until about 1916. That was bad news for the Haskell in the UK, but it also meant, with the ability to sell competitive balls, UK balls had more advanced ball technologies as of the end of WWI. That is relevant because that is when the R&A and the USGA began talking seriously about the first limits on the ball. With the flood of new balls that had washed over the game in the UK for a decade and a half, the R&A was probably more anxious to set limits than was the USGA. (The cause was helped by the fact that Low was chairman of the R&A rules committee during the period.)


Bob


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Peter Pallotta

Re: John LOW - 10 principles for course design
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2019, 12:16:29 PM »
Not really related to Low or this thread/the Haskell, but I've re-read this article a few times over the years and really enjoy it. There is no easy way to link it here, so you'll find below a 2011 article that in turn links to the original article (which has to be read on line):


in 1964, Popular Mechanics asked Arnold Palmer to play 9 holes with a hickory set it had carefully compiled for him. The resulting article/essay goes into quite a bit of depth, and includes the clubs he hit (he was playing against himself, playing each of the holes using both the hickories and his own 'modern' set) for every shot in the round -- and the results, both hole by hole and final scores.


   https://www.popularmechanics.com/adventure/sports/a7345/arnold-palmer-talks-golf-tech-with-pm-in-1964-and-2011/




JMEvensky

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: John LOW - 10 principles for course design
« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2019, 02:59:59 PM »
Not really related to Low or this thread/the Haskell, but I've re-read this article a few times over the years and really enjoy it. There is no easy way to link it here, so you'll find below a 2011 article that in turn links to the original article (which has to be read on line):


in 1964, Popular Mechanics asked Arnold Palmer to play 9 holes with a hickory set it had carefully compiled for him. The resulting article/essay goes into quite a bit of depth, and includes the clubs he hit (he was playing against himself, playing each of the holes using both the hickories and his own 'modern' set) for every shot in the round -- and the results, both hole by hole and final scores.


   https://www.popularmechanics.com/adventure/sports/a7345/arnold-palmer-talks-golf-tech-with-pm-in-1964-and-2011/


Thanks for linking the article Peter--it was great. Also nice to see a photo of Bert Dargie--he sold me my first set of clubs.

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