Blast From the Past: Golf for War Relaxation
By Conor Nagle under History

Athletes: Hogan, Snead, Middlecoff and Nelson.

Pottering about on the interwebs, I came across this pretty amusing article from a 1943 issue of the Telegraph-Herald highlighting the extent to which recreational golf could aid the domestic war effort.

A missive from the dawn of sports science, it also includes rare documentary evidence of a PGA Tour executive engaging in an act of selflessness:


Game Should Be Played, but Not at Expense of Nation

Golf should be played for exercise and recreation and the public should not look on it as unpatriotic, Ed Dudley, president of the Professional Golfers Association said Friday.

He urged golfers to play for recreation but not at the expense of the war effort and crowded transportation facilities.

Dudley said he had been assured by Paul V. McNutt, chairman of the War Manpower Commission, that golf, as a recreational sport, would be a good thing. He said he conferred with McNutt because golf has been seriously handicapped this past year by an adverse psychological influence in the minds of the people who wanted to play for recreation but feared they would appear unpatriotic in doing so…

‘Mr. McNutt… pointed to the emphasis the armed services place upon physical fitness through recreation and exercise. While certainly professional sports can never expect any kind of favoured treatment either in draft deferment or in competition with essential wartime industries, recreational sports, as such, he felt would be a good thing…

‘If country clubs can provide horse-drawn vehicles to get their players to the courses, or if people can reach them by public conveyances, there is no reason why people should not play in their spare time. Only in their spare time of course.'”

(The Telegraph-Herald, Mar 19, 1943)

Conor Nagle