Golf In The Great Gatsby

The Roaring Twenties were the time of Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen and … Jay Gatsby.

I recently reread F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and as is usual with such re-readings, found some references that didn’t catch my eye the first time around. Here’s one on a woman golfer, Jordan:

For a while I lost sight of Jordan Baker, and then in midsummer I found her again. At first I was flattered to go places with her because she was a golf champion and every one knew her name. Then it was something more. I wasn’t actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity. The bored haughty face that she turned to the world concealed something—most affectations conceal something eventually, even though they don’t in the beginning—and one day I found what it was. When we were on a house-party together up in Warwick, she left a borrowed car out in the rain with the top down, and then lied about it—and suddenly I remembered the story about her that had eluded me that night at Daisy’s. At her first big golf tournament there was a row that nearly reached the newspapers—a suggestion that she had moved her ball from a bad lie in the semi-final round. The thing approached the proportions of a scandal—then died away. A caddy retracted his statement and the only other witness admitted that he might have been mistaken. The incident and the name had remained together in my mind.

I wonder who was the model for Fitzgerald’s Jordan, the golf champion: Joyce Wethered? Alexa Stirling? I am certain that neither would have been involved in any sort of cheating scandal, but perhaps Fitzgerald had them in his mind.

Today, March 5, is World Book Day

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