Judith Dobrzynski reviews some of the "Art of Golf" highlights, including a one of the coolest pieces of golf art I've ever seen: Reginald Edward Higgins's 'Lady at St. Andrews.'
In "The Art of Golf," 90 works—serious, whimsical and sometimes rare—have been brought together to illustrate 400 years of golf history. "There's a lot of material that most golfers will not be aware of, and there's a lot of material that fine-art fans will not be aware of," says Rand Jerris, a senior official at the U.S. Golf Association and former director of the USGA museum, which lent some of its holdings.
As early as the 17th century, Dutch landscape and genre artists were painting scenes of a cousin of the modern game, "kolf," which was played on Holland's frozen canals. Hendrick Avercamp's "Winter Landscape" (from around 1630) famously shows four "kolfers" aiming for a spot between two thin tree trunks. In 1654, Rembrandt made his famous etching "The Ringball Player" (sometimes known as "The Golf Player"). Both works are on view.