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Flu-Flues and Putters


It was not your typical match play in golf. Rather than taking on another team of golfers, Ray Anderson and Alex Olson would be playing against two archers instead, and the results of the first doubles match played in Grand Forks was reported today in 1924.

Archery golf was not common in North Dakota, but the sport was introduced to Grand Forks when Anderson and Olson took on archers C.D. Curtis and Martin Maier. The first match play had been played a year before by Olson and Curtis. Curtis beat the 19 year-old golf champion by ten strokes, but Olson gave Curtis a challenge in their rematch in July, losing only by 2 strokes.

But how exactly did archers compete with golfers on a golf course? Archery golf had evolved from field archery, where athletes walk about a field and shoot at targets of varying distance. The sport was adapted to golf rules, where the archer “tees” off, and plays the length of the hole, until finally finishing the hole by hitting or dislodging a tennis ball that is propped up ten centimeters from the ground. Archers receive penalty strokes for hitting bunkers, the rough, or losing arrows.

Like golfers and their clubs, archers are equipped with a number of arrows for various distances. Carbon arrows are used for long distances, while aluminum arrows are used for shorter fairway shots. Arrows fitted with a “judo point” were equivalent to wedges in getting close to the hole without the arrow skipping past the target, and special “Flu-flu” arrows were used for short distance shots. A blunt point would be used to hit the tennis ball.

Match plays between an archer and a golfer were common in Europe, especially the United Kingdom, and on the east coast. According to the Grand Forks Herald, however, “Matches of this kind are new to the northwest and probably the only ones ever held off the east coast.”

Though the sport was new, the singles matches between Curtis and Olson had attracted much attention, and now, the two were pairing up with partners for what the Herald reported as possibly the only doubles match ever played in the sport. The match took place at the Lincoln Park golf course. According to the Herald, “The match was played one point to the hole, low ball alone counting.” The competition was close over the nine holes played. The first hole was halved by the archers and golfers. The archers gained the lead after winning the second and third holes. The teams halved the next three holes, and the golfers gained one on the seventh. The eighth hole was halved again, but the archers held onto their lead and were victorious over the golfers after winning the ninth hole.

By Tessa Sandstrom


“Archers win over golfers on Thursday,” Grand Forks Herald. Oct. 24, 1924: 10.

“Archery-golf doubles match will be played this afternoon,” Grand Forks Herald. Oct. 23, 1924: 10.

Archery Golf: www.centenaryarchers.gil.com/au/archery.htm#Archery%20Golf.