DARWIN, Bernard

(1876 - 1961)
“It is the constant and undying hope for improvement that makes golf so exquisitely worth playing.”

Widely acknowledged as golf’s foremost writer and known for his insightful writing on the subject, Darwin is recognized by many as ‘the man who invented daily golf writing’ and the “first to describe the sport in immaculate prose.”   Grandson of Charles and Emma Darwin, and largely brought up by them, Bernard studied law at Cambridge, where he was also a golfing blue.  He started his career as a court lawyer, which he didn't particularly enjoy, admitting that he  “sold my wig and took to writing in 1908”, becoming the golf correspondent for The Times (1907-1953) and Country Life (1907-1961), the first to do so on a daily basis.

A prolific writer, his enthusiasm for and knowledge of the sport shone through his work and when he wasn’t writing, he could usually be found on a golf course. He was a semifinalist in the 1909 and 1921 British Amateur Championship and captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in 1934.

Herbert Warren Wind, the great American golf writer, wrote in 1956 that Darwin “never tried to bowl his readers over with exhibitions of his brilliance or power, but his writing, modest and restrained as it is, has a quiet magic and a terrific staying power. Though never intended to be literature, it is.”

Darwin’s name became synonymous with golf literature and in 2005 he became the first non-American journalist to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in the Lifetime Achievement category.  In his introductory speech at the inauguration, John Hopkins said “It was once noted in Britain that the quality of writing about sport got better as the size of the ball used in that sport got smaller. Thus the sports best served by literature are cricket . . . and golf. Of the writing about these two sports, I think that golf has been better served and that is because of one man. His name is Bernard Darwin … if you have a library and you do not have any volumes by Darwin on your shelves, then let me tell you this — you do not have a library”.


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DARWIN, Bernard