From the 1879 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on golf:
The approach and the putting are by far the most difficult, critical, and important parts of the game; though no one who is not fairly competent in his driving also is ever in the least likely to take rank as a first-class player. The maximum length of a good driving stroke for a first-class player, not favoured by any exceptional circumstances, may perhaps fairly be stated as something over 180 yards, and under 200.
I've taken the liberty of preparing a 2006 edition and run it through the Ali G translator just to show how in touch I am with my demographic (I have to savor this, as I'm down to mere months left in the coveted 18-34 demo):
da drive and da puttin is by far da mostest critical part of da game; though no one who is not incompetent in is approach play is eva in da least likely to take rank as a first-class playa. da maximum lengf of a wicked drivin stroke fa a first-class playa, not favoured by any fore real circumstances, may be somethin ova 320 yards, and unda 400.