History of Golf
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If one has to look back through history and search for instances when man began to play with a ball and a stick, then almost every country can claim rights to having invented golf. Then again, if it is just about a ball and a stick that may be used to describe many games other than Golf!
There is no single country that can claim to have invented Golf since almost every country has historical instances of games similar to Golf.
Scotland believes that Golf was invented by Scottish fishermen to amuse them on the way home from fishing. Other precursors to Golf that involved a ball, a stick and a target of some sort include Paganica in Rome, a Celtic game called Shinty, Ch’ui Wan in China and Khi in Laos.
The term Golf too has been derived from old Scots words – glove and gouff. However, the Dutch term ‘kolf’ meaning ‘club’ was where gouff originated.
Scotland Gets The Honors
It was in 1457 that Golf was banned by King James II of Scotland because it distracted the archers from practice and compromised the defense effort. This did not stop the Scots who braved the wrath of the Parliament and the church to continue their games. This is also the time when ‘Links’ came into being as the Scotsmen played their Golf game on the seaside courses, which were of no use for cultivation.
In the early 16th century, Scotland also became home to the world’s first Golf course called St.Andrews. In 1744 the rules of Golf were put into writing for the first time ever. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club was established at St.Andrews in 1754. R&A is considered the world’s premier Golf club.
While many European countries lay claim to inventing golf, Holland being the premier contender, the Scots’ contribution to the game cannot be denied. Golf emerged from all the various stick and ball games being played all over Europe. However, it is the Scotsmen who dug a hole into the ground and made putting the ball into the hole the object of the game. Thus, Golf as we know it today is definitely Scottish in origin.
Great Britain Adopts Golf
Golf became popular in UK in the 17th century when James VI of Scotland and James I of England became attracted to the sport
Other Important Golfing Events
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