Many people say that golf is an honorable game and the truth is that, it is indeed. It is one of the few ball games that do not use a standardized playing area at all. Unlike football or tennis, the game is actually played on a golf course, which always looks different in size and design as well. There are no identical courses in golf. While nowadays, golf is frequently featured in recent sports news articles, it hasn’t always been this popular. I would like to introduce a little golfing history as it might be of interest for you.
The first mention of golf as a sport comes from a Scotsman named James Ogilvie, who is recorded as playing the game with a few friends back in 1672. Let’s dive in.
Origins of golf
Those who are interested in this subject already know that the history of golf is not completely clear. This is due to the fact that throughout History, there have been lots of games involving a club and a ball. Later on, through the middle ages in Europe, lots of types of golf started to be played. However, golf has started to take a different shape as a sport in Holland, in the 15th century. That’s where the name of the game actually comes from.
At the beginning, the game was played in England, using just a stick and a pebble. Then, in Scotland people actually started to organize matches. Golf, the game we play or watch today has come from Scotland over five hundred years ago. The first mention of golf in Scotland has appeared in 1457 in the Act of Scottish Parliament. The Old Links, Musselburgh, is the oldest playing golf course in the world. It is a known fact that Mary, the Queen of Scots, played there in 1567. Some golf course of that period are still active like St Andrews Old course, a very unique golf course even in modern days.
The origin of the golf course
The first golf course was built in Scotland at Musselburgh Links near Edinburgh, back in 1744. However, the first golfers actually started to play at Musselburgh way before then. The oldest still existing golf courses are the Old Course and the New Course at St Andrews, dating back to around 1550 and 1895 respectively. The earliest known document that includes a reference about a golf match is from 1367.
The 18th century and beyond
At the middle of the 18th century, people actually started to use for the golf matches, artificially created balls instead of round pebbles. The first balls they used were feather filled leather balls which did not bounce very much and did not fly far either. In the 19th century, golf clubs were still made of wood, hickory in particular, which was being imported from North America. The golf clubs actually started to improve in quality during the years, and the wooden sticks changed into high quality metal clubs.
The golf ball that is used nowadays, started to take shape in the 20th century. Today, a golf ball has around 400 dimples on its surface. You can play with hard or soft golf balls, you can train with specific practice golf balls (made of foam, plastic…) designed for practice, etc… The range of possibilities is at its maximum nowadays.
You can buy clubs made of forged carbon steel, carbon fiber, or even titanium. Technology has gone so far that some golf courses are now almost obsolete! For golf clothes, it goes even further. The evolution of textiles being more flexible and lighter helped change the movement of the swing. There is a long way between golfers of the beginning of the 20th century and the 2022′ champions.
The first women’s golf club was formed in the 1950s. Nowadays, the Ladies Professional Golf Association awards more than 41 million dollars to its tour champions and the best female players frequently appear in the most recent sports news articles.