The History of Golf

By: Irene Forde

A golf-like game is recorded as taking place on 26 February 1297, in the Netherlands, Here the Dutch played a game with a stick and leather ball.

Whoever hit the ball into a target several hundreds of meters away the most number of times usually won.
However, golf is generally considered to be a Scottish invention, as the game was mentioned in two 15th-century Acts of the Scottish Parliament, prohibiting the playing of the game of 'gowf'.

The oldest playing golf course in the world is The Old Links at Musselburgh Racecourse. Evidence has shown that golf was played on Musselburgh Links in 1672 although Mary, Queen of Scots reputedly played there in 1567.

The people of Scotland had a game where they would hit stones through the sand and rabbit holes using sticks. There are those who argue this as there was other games played involving sticks and balls but the essence of golf, putting the ball in the hole, began in Scotland.

When the Royal Family of the day took up the sport it spread to other countries throughout the world. So by the 1800's golf was quite popular among both men and women.

By this time the design of golf clubs was very similar to what they are now.There were also many similarities to the game then and the way it's played now. The clubs and balls were handmade and very expensive and could only be purchased by the wealthy, making it an exclusive game for the rich.

When metal clubs and mass production came along in the late nineteenth century this opened up the game of golf to ordinary folk.

Now, more people could enjoy the game as it was much more affordable to play. Golf clubs began cropping up throughout the world and the sport was at an all time high in popularity.

In 1894 the USGA was established and in 1900 golf was introduced as an Olympic event. Then 1914 the PGA was formed.

As a matter of fact, golf courses did not always have eighteen holes. The St Andrews Links in Scotland occupy a narrow strip of land along the sea. As early as the 15th century, golfers at St Andrews established a customary route through the undulating terrain, playing to holes whose locations were dictated by topography.

The course that emerged featured eleven holes, laid out end to end from the clubhouse to the far end of the property. One played the holes out, turned around, and played the holes in, for a total of 22 holes.

In 1764, several of the holes were deemed too short, and were therefore combined. The number was thereby reduced from 11 to nine, so that a complete round of the links comprised 18 holes.

The major changes in equipment since the 19th century have been better mowers, especially for the greens, better golf ball designs, using rubber and man-made materials since about 1900, and the introduction of the metal shaft beginning in the 1930s.

Also in the 1930s the wooden golf tee was invented. In the 1970s the use of metal to replace wood heads began, and shafts made of graphite composite materials were introduced in the 1980s.

Today we have a huge selection of ultra moderb golf equipment available from both US and Overseas manufacturers.

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