We wrote a post last week about our favorite time travel books and movies. While perusing some on-line lists to help jog our memory, we came across an intriguing book: Golf in the Year 2000, written in 1892 by J. McCullough and originially published in London. Advertised as "The amazing 1892 book that predicted television, digital watches, bullet trains, and more", we became curiouser and curiouser, so we set out in pursuit of a copy. Turns out it was reprinted in the U.S by Rutledge Hill Press in 1998. Through the magic of the interlibrary loan system, we were able to borrow the one and only copy owned by a Kansas library (at least the only copy listed for loan). Thanks to Edna Buschow Memorial Library in Valley Center, Kansas for owning and loaning this treasure.
The story begins in 1892 with Alexander Gibson and his golfing opponent reviewing that day's match over whiskey and a pipe. Mr. Gibson retires for the evening and awakes in the year 2000 to a world where women handle all the business and men's only responsibility is to play golf. He and Mr. Adams (the current "caretaker" charged with watching over Gibson's body while he slept for 108 years) explore the advances in the world and, more importantly, in the game of golf.
From there the story itself is rather pedestrian - two guys play several rounds of golf - but the accuracy of the technology predicted over one hundred years ago makes this novella fascinating. McCullough does, indeed, describe digital watches, bullet trains, and the concept of televised golf with amazing accuracy. He even foresaw automated caddies, which became reality in the 1980's. Most amazing is McCullough's vision of metal "woods". Steel shafts were experimental at the time the book was written (not really catching on until the 1930's) but "woods" made totally from metal were revolutionary when TaylorMade introduced them in the early 80's.
This was a quick, entertaining time travel story, especially interesting if you are a golf enthusiast.