In 1952, Irving Raskin, a theatrical agent and a scratch golfer with a gambler’s nerves of steel, was accused of a grave breach of the rules of amateur golf: He had represented himself as an amateur when in fact he had received money for his play some years before and was, according to the rules, a professional, that is, a discredited amateur. Or so contended the group at his club who wanted to stop him from playing in (and winning) the club championship. An amateur golfer who accepted money for playing was considered to have “soiled” his amateur status and was expelled from amateur ranks. Raskin had to jump through hoops before he eventually regained his amateur status.
In those olden days, golf professionals at country clubs ate in the kitchen with the other kitchen staff. Even as recently as the1980s, the manager of a country club in Westchester told the new golf pro that he couldn’t eat in the members’ dining room. He had to eat in the kitchen. The pro ran to the president of the board of directors, who had hired him, and the manager, who was clearly in some kind of time warp, almost got fired. But still, he tried to put the pro in the kitchen. No manager in their right mind would even think of that today.
Golf in Serbia today, while a growing sport, is still in its olden days. With only one nine-hole golf course, the Belgrade Lakes Golf Club, Serbian golf is sweet and simple. No high powered infrastructure, no golf associations (even Serbian tennis, with its Novak Djokovic, has no infrastructure or tennis federation. That’s why talented and ambitious Serbian tennis prodigies are trained out of Serbia.) Though the Belgrade Lakes members are probably lasering their yardage, and it’s got a website with a Google map, the great poem of merchandising is not yet chanting its stanzas from Belgrade to Novi Sad. It’s still the good old olden days there. Qualification: I’ll bet the pro isn’t eating in the kitchen.