Vancouver’s Sam Martz, a retired businessman and golf aficionado, has given his entire book collection of 4,730 golf books valued at about $450,000 to UBC. The collection, dating back to early 19th-century editions, covers all aspects of golf including club histories, the genesis and art of the game, course architecture, instructions and even poetry with rare finds such as Poems on Golf, by Robert Clark, 1867.
According to Ralph Stanton, the head of Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library, this is the biggest collection of golf books in an academic library in the world. The next closest candidate appears to be the Arthur W. Schultz golf collection at the University of Chicago, which numbers about 1,600 books. Martz is aware of only two other bigger golf book collections – a public one at the United States Golf Association, and a private one owned by an executive at a sports, entertainment and media company.
Also notable is the condition of the books, described by Stanton as “superb.” Significant elements of the collection will be catalogued and available for viewing by summer 2008. A few of the rarest books include:
- History of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club St. Andrew’s, by Harry Sterling Everard; first edition, 1907
- The Reminiscences of Golf on St. Andrew’s Links, by James Balfour; first edition, 1887
- Poems on Golf, by Robert Clark; special presentation edition, 1867
- Chronicles of the Blackheath Golfers, by W.E. Hughes, first edition, 1897
- Keep Your Eye on the Ball and Your Right Knee Stiff, by Harry Roy Sweny; first edition, 1898
Martz, 81, still plays golf regularly. He began caddying in Montreal when he was about 10 and started collecting golf books in his 30s. He donated his collection to UBC Library because he wanted it to go to an organization where it would be maintained and protected for generations to come.
This major donation opens up new opportunities for scholars and will be of benefit to those studying the sociology of sport, urban planning and golf course design.
Communications officer, UBC Library