What Is A “Claret Jug”?


Since 1872, the winner of golf’s British Open, which is also called The Open Championship and the oldest of the sport’s four major tournaments, has won a trophy that goes by an unusual name: the Claret Jug.

What is the origin of a claret jug?

The Claret Jug, officially called the Golf Champion Trophy, is made in the style of the jugs used in the nineteenth century to serve claret, a dry red wine produced in France’s famous Bordeaux region.

Traditionally, the winner takes a drink from the jug. The winner’s name is engraved on the jug, joining the names of previous champions. They are obliged to return the jug before the next tournament, and at that time, they are given a replica of the trophy.

What is the Challenge Belt?

The British Open began in the 1860, and winner were originally awarded the Challenge Belt. The Challenge Belt was made of morocco leather and embellished with a silver buckle and emblems.

Both the original Claret Jug and Challenge Belt are now on display at the clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

Where did the word bogey come from?

While we’re on the subject of golf … bogey originally referred to “the number of strokes needed for a given hole or course.”

As legend has it, this bogey was first used at the Great Yarmouth Golf Club in the UK in 1890 when one player famously called his fearfully excellent opponent a bogeyman, a reference to a popular dance band song of the day, “The Bogey Man.” Getting a bogey score came to be likened to that elusive quest for the bogeyman, who hides in the shadows.

Review to this collection of more golf terms to learn before you hit the green.

Today, bogey means “a score of one stroke over par on a hole.” This use dates to the 1910s in the US, and may come from the idea of losing strokes to Bogey, a nickname for the devil.

This bogey and bogeyman are forms of bogy, “an evil or mischievous spirit.” Its origin is obscure, but may have connections to the Scottish bogle, a goblin, and bugbear.

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