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

Edward Henry Potthast

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American Impressionist Edward Henry Potthast is best known for sunny beach scenes, filled with sparkling surf and high-keyed details such as balloons, hats and umbrellas. He was born to a family of artisans in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 10, 1857. At age twelve he became a charter student at Cincinnati’s new McMicken School of Design. He studied at McMicken, off and on, for over a decade. From 1879 to 1881, his teacher was Thomas Satterwhite Noble. Noble, a portrait and figure painter, employed a dark palette and a rich, painterly technique derived from his instruction under French artist Thomas Couture.

Even though he enjoyed modest success in his hometown, Potthast made the decision to leave Cincinnati in 1895 and establish himself in New York City. While he went about setting up a painting studio, he fulfilled illustration commissions for the publications Scribner’s, Century, and Harper’s. He exhibited watercolors and oil paintings in exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago beginning in 1896, and at the National Academy of Design from 1897. He won the academy’s Thomas B. Clarke prize for best figure painting in 1899, the same year was he was elected an associate of the academy. Potthast was made a full academician in 1906.

After his move to New York, Potthast made scenes of people enjoying leisurely holidays at the beach and rocky harbor views his specialty. He spent summer months in any one of a number of seaside art colonies, including Gloucester, Rockport and Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and Ogunquit and Monhegan Island, Maine. Such was his love of the beach that, when he resided in New York, he would journey out on fair days to Coney Island or Far Rockaway with his easel, paintbox, and a few panels.

There is an exhibit of Potthast’s work called “Eternal Summer:The Art of Edward Henry Potthast” at the Cincinnati Art Museum on view now until September 8,2013.

excerpts from edwardhenrypotthast.org