[MATHISON, THOMAS. d.1754.] The Goff. An Heroi-Comical Poem. Edinburgh: J. Cochran and Co., 1743.
8vo (189 x 119 mm). 22 pp. Disbound. Without half-title, first and last pages lightly soiled, an erased number to upper right corner of title, some modest toning and a few spots.
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST BOOK DEVOTED WHOLLY TO GOLF and the undoubted foundation of any golfing library. Mathison was a Scottish law clerk and later minister; the three cantos of his parodic masterpiece The Goff describe a round played at the five-hole links at Leith by two golfers: "Pygmalion" (the author, "small is his size, but dauntless is his heart") and "Castalio" (modeled on Alexander Dunning, an Edinburgh bookseller, "great Castalio his whole force collects and on the orb a noble blow directs").
RARE: Only 2 copies appear in the auction records for the last 40 years and only 10 copies are recorded in the census of the United States Golf Association published in the 1981 facsimile edition.
Joseph Murdoch wrote of The Goff: "Standing alone in a century of silence, the first book entirely devoted to golf was published in 1743, more than twenty years after Glotta [James Arbuckle's 1721 poem with mention of golf] and ninety years before another book would appear. It, too, is poetry, and one of the classics of golf literature. The ultimate that any collector can attain is to have one of its three editions in his library" (The Library of Golf 503). Hopkins p 15; Foxon M-137.