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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)

By cindy yarger


There is one thing that interests me about golf. It is the term “fore”. I’ve often wondered why golfers call that particular word out as they are about to hit a ball. Etymology is usually not my thing but I did do my research this morning on this particular term.

As there were 973,000 explanations, I only read the first seven. So although I did come to my own conclusion this was definitely not an exhaustive search.

The surest fact is that no one actually knows. The surest definition is that “fore” is short for “before” and technically means “watch out ahead”. The surest confusion is that some golfers actually think they are yelling out “four” and have no idea as to why that is.

It is estimated that this term was used before the 1850’s. It is commonly attributed to two theories of origin. The oldest theory has nothing to do with golf but deals with war instead. When cannonballs were fired the phrase “beware before” was yelled out so that those ahead could indeed beware. Many believe that this is where the term was picked up by golfers. It fits. The second theory is that because golf balls were expensive, golfers sent caddies out ahead of the ball to where they thought that it might fall. These caddies were called forecaddies. When the golfer was ready to hit his ball he would call out “forecaddie” so that his forecaddie knew when he needed to watch for the ball. Through the years it was shortened to “fore”. That fits too.

All this reminds me of a story that I heard long ago. I can’t help but to conclude with it. It goes like this:

A young girl watched her mother prepare a ham dinner. The mom carefully cut off the end of the ham before placing it in the pan. The little girl wanted to know why so she asked her mother.

The mother, without stopping to think at all, said, “I don’t know, my mom always did.” The little girl was still curious so she asked if she could call her grandmother to find out. With permission granted, she dialed the number.

“Grandma, why did you cut off the end of the ham before you cooked it?” The little girl asked.

“I don’t know, my mother always did.” Grandma replied.

With that great grandmother had to be called as well.

“Great grandma, why did you cut off the end of the ham before you cooked it?” Asked the little girl.

Great grandma just laughed and said “I had to, my pan was too small.”

It didn’t fit…and yet it does fit…sometimes we just do things because….

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This article has been read 745 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Phyllis Inniss02/23/07
I like this and the definitions for 'fore'. The end was truly amusing. It's a good thing greatgrandmother was still alive, or we would never have had the answer to the reason for cutting off the end of the ham before cooking.
Julie Arduini02/23/07
Solid writing here. I love how you transitioned between golf and ham, both questions I've wondered myself!
Marilee Alvey02/27/07
I really enjoyed this one. I didn't think I was going to. It seemed rather dry, but you hooked me in and I, too, wondered why. In the beginning, you see, I didn't really care why, but then you got me going, trying to imagine it said in 1850, with cannons. Your later example was perfect. I love that story and it sure fits here! I was like the person who did something, not knowing why. Since you taught me something today, I'll give you one quick tip: quotation marks always go outside of punctuation marks, like commas and periods. It's an easy tip to learn and you'll be using in countless more times in your writing. Very well done piece....and I even learned something, too!
Jen Davis02/28/07
This was cute, interesting, and entertaining. I really enjoyed this humorous piece. The writing was very good as well. Great job!
Sara Harricharan 03/01/07
Aha, I found you! LOL. This was pretty good! I liked your examples with the Ham & pan and the explanation of "Fore" I've always wondered about that. Great job! ^_^