You won’t believe how much people are willing to pay for the first golf book ever written

Sharon Wong

You love golf, but how much? Well, you’ll soon find out when you realize how much the first book ever written about golf might go for at an auction in the Sheraton Hotel in Pasadena, CA. “The Goff: An Heroi-Comical Poem” published in 1743 is a poem written by a Scottish clerk named Thomas Mathison. It details the joys of playing a round at the five-hole Leith Links, a course that dates back to the 16th century, is the forerunner of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and was the hallowed site where the original 13 rules of golf were drawn up in 1744. So how much will all this set you back? Apparently, it is as expected that bidders will put down as much as $60,000 to own it.


Seem like a sizable expense? An unjustifiable one, even? To be fair, in addition to its excellent pedigree, this is an extremely rare artifact. According the British auctioning house Bonhams, “only 2 copies appear in the auction records for the last 40 years and only 10 copies are recorded in the census of the United States Golf Association published in the 1981 facsimile edition.” Plus, if you’ve always wanted to know how they played golf back in the 18th century, this tome is exactly the one for you, as the approving Scotsman has reported.

So if you’re a man of letters who likes his golf and who has a lot of disposable income, well, why do you still hesitate?