The USGA Golf Museum has welcomed a monumental collection of historic golf material thanks to its continuing working relationship with the PGA of America.
The collection, which includes rare books, periodicals, travelogues, diaries, and political and legal documents dating back to the 1500s, was bequeathed to the world’s premier collection of golf artefacts and memorabilia in Somerset County, New Jersey.
The USGA Golf Museum is an educational institution dedicated to fostering an appreciation for the game of golf, its participants and the Association.
An extensive collection
The Colonel R. Otto Probst Library, managed by the PGA of America for over 40 years, has merged with the USGA’s extensive library collection.
The collaboration effort aims to enhance the world’s largest and most comprehensive golf library open to the public.
“The Probst Collection adds depth and richness to the USGA’s library, providing incredible insight into the game’s cultural and historic evolution,” said Rand Jerris, USGA senior managing editor of public information.
“We are grateful to Colonel Probst and the PGA for cultivating this treasure trove information, which can we can immediately share with fans who love and play the game worldwide.”
Passion for the great game
The Probst Library was developed by South Bend, Indiana-based golf collector Colonel R. Otto Probst, whose passion for the game was kindled in the early 1920s with the acquisition of his first golf artefact.
The collection explores a wide range of golfing topics from golf instruction to golf club histories. It also includes architecture, equipment, fiction, women in golf, travel, humor, poetry and literature.
Several pieces even explore Scottish history and its relationship to golf.
Probst (1896-1986) began his collection in 1923 and went on to acquire numerous items from renowned collectors throughout his life, including Cecil Hopkinson and C.B. Clapcott. In 1938, Justice Earle F. Tilley, a USGA Golf Museum committee member, endowed his golf library to Probst.
A 31-year veteran of the U.S Army, Probst’s passion for golf was documented in a 1943 article in Golfdom magazine.
A groundbreaking partnership
“The PGA of America views this partnership with the USGA as a groundbreaking moment in the preservation of more than the printed word of golf,” said PGA historian Bob Denney.
“It also extends Otto Probst’s dream—the future generations of golf aficionados and researchers worldwide may discover the rich history of the game. The USGA Golf Museum is now the undisputed epicentre of golf literature.”
The more than 800 rare books and 1,400 periodicals from the Probst Collection are among the most important material added to the USGA Library’s significant collection.
Among the prized, rare items is The Goff, written in three editions by Scottish law clerk Thomas Mathison between 1743 and 1793, which is recognised by historians as the first publication ever dedicated solely to golf.
The USGA Golf Museum is open to the public from 10am until 5pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Researchers can request an appointment to view the library by calling 908-234-2300 or by emailing [email protected].
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