GOLFIKA
THE CHOLE (CROSSAGE EN PLAINE), NOWADAYS
 
  
 
 Belgium-France annual match. October 2000.
  
 
  
  In his famous book "Germinal", Emile Zola gave us a description of the game of chole. But this game was played since a long while. According to Camille Algrain, "a testament in 1262 and a regulation in 1369 show the evidence that the game of chole was extremely popular and common in France and Belgium - and the lords didn't disdained it"
 
This game is still played regularily with passion in the region of Maubeuge - North of France - and Mons - in Belgium. A general meeting held in 1968, on Thursday April the 18th, marked a revival of this game by deciding the creation of the Group of Crosse-Golf French Associations.
 
Nowadays (in 2000), about twenty Crosse Societies still exist and organize tournaments. The game is played in the fields, after harvest, mainly from October to March. Nevertheless two places (one in France and one in Belgium) are reserved to only play the game of chole.
 
The "crosse" (which is also the name of the club) has a shaft almost always made of wood (beech tree) with an iron head. This head shows two specific parts : "le plat" (flat part) designed to drive the "soulette" (ball) and "le pic" which enables the player to shot his ball in a poor lie. Formerly, the grip was made of hemp rope. Now it's made of rubber or leather.
  
 
   
  This picture above shows a "crosse" (club) and few "soulettes" (balls) of various sizes. Nowadays, only the smallest once (here sitting on its bottom part) is permitted when competing.  
  
  The ball is made of wood. In modern competitions, hornbeam is required. It has an egg-shape of 45mm by 40mm.
In a friendly match, balls may have other sizes. The choice is made according to the shot to play (mainly its lenght). Various material are used and its interesting to notice that "stap" (compressed wood) give an amazing spring back. Yesteryears coal miners noticed that staying wood (sustaining huge pressures) was an ideal meterial for carving balls. Very recently, nylon and celluloid was also used.
 
The game of chole is to play the ball from a starting point until it hits a goal - usually a post. Nowadays, the post is a board 18 to 20cm broad and 1m80 to 2m long. The player starts hitting three shots. Then his competitor "de-chole" : he will shot the ball far from the goal or put it in a bad lie - making the next shot difficult to play.
 
Here is certainly one of the greatest difference with golf : the competitor interfers with the ball. Nevertheless, it worth to notice that in golf, for a very short while (from 1851 to 1856) a player was allowed to play the competitor's ball when the latter declared it unplayable (see Kenneth G. Chapman's book : "The Rules of the Green").
 
 
  
 
  We would like to thanks very warmly Mr Robert Bourleau, former chole and paume champion. His kindness and generosity made possible this short history of the game.
  
 
 
Non-Royal but most Ancient game of Crosse (G & S Nijs)  
The origins of golf  
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