I know… It’s a cliche, but Sunday is golf day. Yes, many a marriage has been strained by Sunday mornings and Sunday afternoons too with the husband off on the greens dragging a set of clubs and trying to impress his friends while his long-suffering wife is left at home to cook the Sunday lunch. Some men are lucky enough to be married to women who enjoy the sedate and graceful game. But truth be told, most men prefer the Sunday morning getaway!

It’s hard to understand in this day and age where Sunday is really just another day, that there was a time when any kind of sport played on a Sunday was forbidden – even banned outright. Leith is now a part of Edinburgh, but back in the early 1600s it was a village in its own right.

On the 16th of February in 1610 the Kirk Session met in the Parish of South Leith and decided that “…thair sall be na public playing suffred on the Sabbath dayes.” This applied to archery, bowls and golf, as well as most other activities. The penalty for playing golf on a Sunday in South Leith in 1610 was “fourtie peneyes” (forty pennies) paid to the poor, which is about 13 pence in today’s money, but worth a considerable lot more at the time.

It’s surprising how many people claiming sickness benefits for a bad back are caught on video swinging a club, usually on the golf day of Sunday. They never seem to learn. Newspaper after newspaper carry the stories, all pretty much the same, of how the authorities were suspicious of someone who claimed they couldn’t work for their painful and totally debilitating back condition. It often only takes a video camera and Sunday golf day to reveal the truth. As soon as the hapless benefit cheat makes his first golf swing, he’s rumbled.

Of course, there are a number of jokes about man’s favourite golf day too. One goes like this: A golfer turns to his caddy and asks, “Do you think it’s a sin to play golf on a Sunday?” The caddy replies, “The way you play sir, it would be a sin on any day of the week.”

There’s another Sunday golf day joke about a man who gets up on Sunday morning and goes out to play golf. The weather is really terrible by the time he reaches the course, so he decides against it and returns home early. Crawling back into bed he mutters to his wife who has her back to him, “It’s terrible weather out there.” She replies sleepily, “Yes, and my stupid husband is out playing golf.”