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Athletics] Hecker, Genevieve.

Golf for Women.


An Early Text On Women's Golf
By A Fellow Player
[Athletics] Hecker, Genevieve. Golf for Women. New York: The Baker & Taylor Company, 1904.
8vo: edges untrimmed; over two dozen black and white photographs as well as etched illustrations; olive-green cloth; pictorial cover stamped in white, gilt and brown; edgewear. In a specially made slipcase.
First edition; Murdoch 331. Illustrated with photographs of Hecker demonstrating proper golf grips, swings and stances; each chapter ends with a small etched golfing scene. The golfer pictured on the cover of this book - in a long, flowing white dress, golf club in hand and backlit by the sun - is also said to be Hecker. With a chapter by Rhona Adair - an extraordinarily gifted player from the UK - titled "Impressions of American Golf." Genevieve Hecker was only 21 years old when she penned Golf for Women; she says in her introduction that while there had been a recent trend among sporting types to take up golf as a hobby, it was solely directed toward men. She says, "there has never been a book which presented the Royal and Ancient game to the feminine inquiring mind and from a women's standpoint. It is my purpose and desire to supply this deficiency, so far as I may be able to do so, in the chapters that shall make up the book."
Hecker was also an impressively decorated player herself. She belonged to the Essex County Country Club of West Orange, New Jersey, was the winner of the 1901 and 1902 U.S Women's Amateur, and also earned two Metropolitan Champion titles. Her book made the traditionally male-dominated game of golf accessible and understandable to women, applicable to both fellow players and newcomers to the sport. Hecker writes, "The average woman is, I think, far more plucky in the face of practically certain defeat than is the average man. When did you ever see a man hammering away in dead earnestness when he was playing five more in a bunker and his opponent was ten yards off the green? Yet it is no uncommon sight in a women's match."  Chapters include "The Stance," "The Swing," "The Long Game," "The Short Game," "Approaching and Putting," as well as an introductory chapter addressing proper attire, technical terms and, humorously,  "Feminine Failings in Particular."  
What makes the book especially precious are two inscriptions on front pastedown. The first reads, Presented to the women of the Albemarle Golf Club, for competition, and in the sincere hope that the winner will better her game by studying it closely. Henry Harpine, June, 1904. Below that inscription, in a different hand and in different ink, are the results of the "Won in handicap Stroke Competition, July and August 1904" of the Albemarle Golf Club. One could assume the book was purchased and first inscribed in June 1904, with the intention that the winner of the Stroke Competition would receive it as a prize later that summer. The winners - led by Miss Josephine Knight, with a score of 58-20-38 - are listed by their name and score; this inscription is signed: Albemarle Gold Club Tournament Committee, Wadhugh, Chairman. Newtonville September third. The Albemarle Golf Club, no longer in existence today, was established in Newtownville, Massachusetts as one of the founding member clubs of the Massachusetts Golf Association.
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