The History of Golf

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I am having so much fun learning how to play golf. I started taking lessons last year with a good friend and we have been really “at it” this summer as well. We are constantly amazed at all of the rules, etiquette and in general how to hit the ball where you want it to go!

I wanted to know some of the history and this is what I found:

The modern game of golf is generally considered to be a Scottish invention. A spokesman for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, one of the oldest Scottish golf organisations, said “Stick and ball games have been around for many centuries, but golf as we know it today, played over 18 holes, clearly originated in Scotland.”The word golf, or in Scots gouf, is usually thought to be a Scots alteration of  Dutch”colf” or “colve” meaning “stick, “club“, “bat“, itself related to  *kulth- as found in Old Norse kolfr meaning “bell clapper”, and the German Kolben meaning “mace or club”.The Dutch term Kolven refers to a related sport.

The first documented mention of golf in Scotland appears in a 1457 Act of the Scottish Parliament, an edict issued by King James II of Scotland prohibiting the playing of the games of gowf and football as these were a distraction from archery practice for military purposes. Bans were again imposed in Acts of 1471 and 1491, with golf being described as “an unprofitable sport”. Mary,Queen of Scots was accused by her political enemies of playing golf after her second husband was murdered in 1567. It has been written that she had been playing “sports that were clearly unsuitable to women”. Golf was banned again by Parliament under King James IV of Scotland, but golf clubs and balls were bought for him in 1502 when he was visiting Perth, and on subsequent occasions when he was in St Andrews and Edinburgh.

The account book of  a lawyer  records that he played golf at Musselburgh Links on 2 March 1672, and this has been accepted as proving that The Old Links, Musselburgh, is the oldest playing golf course in the world. There is also a story that Mary, Queen of Scots, played there in 1567.

In April 2005, new evidence re-invigorated the debate concerning the origins of golf. Evidence unearthed by Prof. Ling Hongling of Lanzhou University suggests that a game similar to modern-day golf was played in China since Southern Dang Dynasty, 500 years before golf was first mentioned in Scotland.In this source, Dōngxuān Records  from the Song Dynasty (960–1279) describe a game called chuíwán and also includes drawings of the game. It was played with 10 clubs including a cuanbangpubang, and shaobang, which are comparable to a driver, two-wood, and three-wood. Clubs were inlaid with jade and gold, suggesting chuíwán was for the wealthy. Chinese archive includes references to a Southern Tang official who asked his daughter to dig holes as a target.Ling suggested chuíwán was exported to Europe and then Scotland by Mongolian travellers in the late Middle Ages.

– excerpts from Wikipedia

One thought on “The History of Golf

  1. Do you know why there are 18 holes played in a game of golf? Answer: Because there are supposedly 18 shots in a bottle of scotch;D Laurie

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