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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