Calligraphy in golf scorekeeping is believed to date back to at least the 1950s. PGA professionals were even schooled in the art in order to bring upscale flourish to scoreboards for local events. Typically, there’d be a board positioned on the course and another in the press area, with a calligrapher and, usually, a couple of assistants for each.
Most scoreboard calligraphers use four or five pens (red, black, blue and green are the go-tos), but there’s no one way to ply the trade. Refillable-ink markers are an option. So are Sharpies, in bulk — six of each color might be used in a single event. Whatever the writing tool, ink-stained hands were and still are inescapable battle scars of the work.
“I’ve always said I’m just an adult who never gave up my crayons,” jokes Ray Stansberry, the PGA Tour’s longtime scoreboard calligrapher.
But kid’s play it is not. Tournament weeks, especially pro events, were a remarkable grind. Just prepping a board with the players’ names and (sometimes) hometowns — neither of which you dared misspell — took hours of focused effort. Then, on the morning of the first round, the frantic penmanship would begin. Scores came in furiously, even more so when a second course was needed to accommodate a large field of players.
Find out more about what goes in to golf tournament scoreboard calligraphy at Golf.com.