Ex-Libris: Sydney R Smith (famous sporting book dealer)
This was the first anthology of the history of the game and the first indication that golf had a literature superior to other sports.
The Badminton Library, under the sponsorship of the Duke of Beaufort, was an ambitious project to produce definitive volumes covering all the major British sports and pastimes.
Horace Gordon Hutchinson - a prolific writer on a variety of subjects, including cricket, shooting, fishing, big game, history, natural history, golf, fiction and more besides - was asked to do a volume on Scottish sports such as skating, curling and tossing the caber.
He was disturbed by this approach and argued vehemently for a volume devoted exclusively to golf, Scotland's national pastime.
The game, he told them, was important enough now to stand on its own footing and have its own book. Hutchinson turned out to be right.
The Badminton Library: Golf was a best-seller and did better than any other volume in the series.
It was little wonder that Horace Hutchinson was chosen to edit the volume.
"He was the first Englishman" wrote Darwin, "to be Captain of the Royal and Ancient; the first golfer of distinction to write regularly about the game and write about it with style and grace."
Hutchinson rounded up the best writers on the game and, like the good editor he was, inspired them to write at their A level.
He shaped and edited everything and wrote many chapters himself.
Even for Darwin, the publication was a special event:
"And then in 1890 came the Badminton, and that, for me at least, and I think for many people, marked an era.
I read every word in the book, as I have often done since.
I doubt if any subsequent book on golf has contained so much good writing.
Foreword by Robert S. Macdonald.
Little, Brown & Co