James O'Brien is Leading Britain's Conversation.
When you drive a golf ball onto another fairway, why do you shout "fore!"?
Name: John, Reading
Qualification: 16 years in the Army
Answer: It’s shortened from the word ‘before’ from the Napoleonic War, when they had rows of soldiers. "Look out before" was shortened to "before" and then to "fore". The first rank would drop to reload their rifles, the rear rank would then shout before they shot, so they didn’t hit them in the back of the head.
Name: Graham, High Wycombe
Qualification: Gold Professional
Answer: Back in the day, golfers had two types of caddy. One was caddy who would carry the bag, while the other one would go on ahead to find the ball in all the types of bushes and heather and gorse - they were the fore caddies. When the guys hitting the golf ball would hit it off line they would should "fore" to get the attention of the fore caddy, to tell him to start looking. They didn’t really care about people getting their head down - they were more concerned about losing their golf ball. Because many of those at the time playing golf were from a military background, they quite enjoyed shouting "fore" because it was what they used to shout.