Clock golf

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Old clock golf numbers, showing spikes for insertion into lawn

Clock golf is a game based on golf, originating in the mid 19th century. Players putt a golf ball from each in turn of 12 numbered points arranged in a circle as in a clock face, to a single hole placed within the circle. Alternative names include Clock-Golf, Round the Clock Golf, and Golf Around the Clock.

The firm Jaques of London claim that they "originated the popular garden game of Clock Golf in the mid 19th century".[1] The Oxford English Dictionary's earliest illustration of the use of the term dates from 1905.[2] The wording on an early boxed set of equipment was "Clock Golf - A new game for the lawn - Interesting to golfers and a most popular amusement at garden parties".[3]

The game has often been offered to hotel guests as an entertainment. A 1905 print of "Clock golf at the Royal Palm [Hotel], Miami, Fla" is held by the Library of Congress,[4] and in 1909 the New York Times reported that 30 guests, both ladies and gentlemen, had taken part in a clock golf tournament at the Pocono Mountain House hotel at Mount Pocono.[5] A 1925 advertisement for a hotel in Bournemouth, England offers "Croquet, Clock Golf, Billiards, etc."[6] while in 2016 a hotel in Scarborough, England says that "the children's play area, clock golf and putting green, provide plenty of fun activities for children of all ages"[7] and at one in Silkeborg, Denmark, "You can also avail yourself of clock golf or the pétanque court."[8]

Clock golf was available to passengers on the promenade deck of the Short S.23 flying boat.[9]

The first course in Denmark is said to have been at Gråsten Palace where Queen Ingrid enjoyed playing with her family.[10]

As of 2016 Jaques still sell equipment for the game, comprising a set of 12 markers numbered I to XII (with spikes on the back for insertion into the lawn), balls, and a pre-formed hole with flag, with or without a putter.[11] Metal roman numbers have also been made by F.H.Ayres of London[12] and Hamleys.[13] The firm of A.G. Spalding of New York manufactured a set using numbers 1-12 around 1900,[14] and in the late 1920s the firm of P.S.P. Inc sold a stylish set of 1-12, painted alternately red and white, presented in a tin under the name "Round the Clock Golf".[15] A Danish firm offers to install a prefabricated clock golf playing area with artificial grass surrounded by a granite border.[16]

Jaques' description suggests that clock golf can be played wherever there is space for "an approximate circle of 10-30ft in diameter", and that shrubs and other obstacles can add to the interest. The hole is not placed centrally, so the 12 "holes" of the game can be of different lengths.[1]

SHAPE America offers a set of instructions for "Golf Around the Clock" as a "lead-up game" useful as a preliminary for learners of golf.[17][18]


  1. ^ a b "Golf Games Rules". Jaques. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Clock, n.1: Compounds: C2: Clock-golf". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 18 August 2016. (Subscription required (help)).
  3. ^ Kay, Thornton (19 February 2015). "The history of clock golf and cast iron roman numerals unravelled". Salvo News. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Clock golf at the Royal Palm [Hotel], Miami, Fla". Library of Congress. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  5. ^ "At cool Pocono; Clock Golf Tournament a Most Notable Event -- Many Arrivals at All Hotels". New York Times:. 30 August 1908. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  6. ^ "History". Montague Hotel. Best Western. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Welcome". Cober Hill Hotel. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Enjoy a hotel stay in Silkeborg". Gl. Skovridergaard. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  9. ^ Fysh, Hudson (2009). Qantas at War. Longreach QLD: Qantas Founders Museum. pp. 71–72. ISBN 978 1 876561 52 9.
  10. ^ "Clockgolf". Clockgolf. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  11. ^ "Outdoor Games - Practice Golf". Jaques. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Twelve clock golf metal numbers, marked F H Ayres London, painted white, height of numbers 17cm". The Saleroom. 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  13. ^ "Hamley's Clock Golf Garden Putting Game: comprising 12 Roman numeral cast iron numbers 2 putters". The Saleroom. 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  14. ^ "Clock Golf: golf set ca. 1900". Online Collections. The Strong: National Museum of Play. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  15. ^ ""Round the Clock Golf": 1920s putting game". Right, Who will start the bidding. Golf Today. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  16. ^ "Construction". Clockgolf. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  17. ^ "Lead up games". SHAPE America. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  18. ^ Evaul, Tom (2008). "Golf Around the Clock" (PDF). AAHPERD. Retrieved 19 August 2016.

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