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News: Late Summer 2023

Alastair Loudon’s splendid The Gentry Links Trilogy launched last week at the R&A World Golf Museum.

At a presentation made to international invited guests held at the R&A World Golf Museum, St Andrews, on Thursday, 31st August, Alastair Loudon launched The Gentry Links Trilogy, published by Grant Books Ltd. The presentation was titled ‘Exploring Iconic Golf Art’ with a sub title of ‘Reaching into the Soul of the Game, which Mr Loudon explained was the ethos underlying his trilogy of books.

He explained his approach in researching and writing the trilogy, which he summarised as:

  1. Using an evidence based approach to refine knowledge about known historical events;

  2. Looking for a broader understanding by linking events that have only, so far, been considered in isolation to each other; and

  3. Seeking an holistic view through a perspective over a period of time.

From his initial research, he realised that there were three key periods in the development of gentry golf in the 19th century that led to the coming of age of the modern game.

In 1832 the status of who was recognised as a gentleman golfer changed because of The Great Reform Act, increasing the number of golfers.

In 1848 the gutta percha ball revolutionised the economics of the game, making it affordable for a far wider section of the population, which also coincided with the start of a new era of Gentlemanly Capitalism.

By 1897 golf was increasingly being played outside Scotland. This led to public debate as to how the Rules of Golf should be governed.

Fortuitously, there were three famous paintings in these three eras, so exploring gentry golf was facilitated by researching these paintings.

Mr Loudon provided an insight into the range of social history stories that emerged from his studies relating to The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, the dawning of professional golf, and the arrival of golf in North America.


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