History of Golf: Where Did It Originate?

The actual origination of golf is still the thing of legends, but most people agree that Scotland was the first place to dabble in the game and create competitiveness within the sport. The first person to ever play golf is up for debate, and the legend has it that it's possible that shepherds in the hills of Scotland passed the time by hitting rocks into holes using their staff. Golf has been around since at least the 15th century, with the game being banned in Scotland during this time because the men responsible for protecting the country were preoccupied with golf rather than the needed archery practice. As the game evolved, golf clubs started forming and golf became the professional sport that we know today.

The Historical Expansion of Golf

Golf HistoryDuring the 18th and 19th centuries, Scottish military personnel helped to bring the game of golf to the British colonies. Clubs such as the Royal Calcutta Golf Club and the Royal Blackheath Golf Club can trace their roots to the spread of golf in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club is the oldest golf club outside of the British Isles, and they serve as a reminder of the history of golf's beginnings.

In less than 100 years, England went from having a dozen courses to around 1,000 courses. Once golf started to spread, it spread quickly and with great acceptance in all areas. The United States saw its first golf courses in the late 1800's, with the United States Golf Association being established in 1894. The golfing industry in the U.S. is what led the Japanese to establish a golf course in 1913 and a golf association in 1924. Golf courses continue to be developed and maintained all over the world, even prompting environmental agencies to investigate the impact of all of these courses to the environment.

The Historical Evolution of Golf Equipment

Historical golf balls were sewn up leather that was stuffed with feathers. Balls did not travel far and were easily damaged. Next were guttie balls which were designed from the rubber sap of a tree found in tropical areas. Other rubber and metal core balls were designed and used for certain periods of time. The United States Golf Association was the first entity to regulate golf balls during the 1930's. This led to the varieties of golf balls that we have today.

Golf clubs have evolved greatly since the first hand carved wooden club. As golfing became popular, craftsman began designing wooden golf clubs for royalty and the wealthy. While these clubs were handcrafted and bound with leather, players would often break at least one every game. In the early 1900's, golf club designers started making clubs with metal shafts, eventually evolving into the graphite shafts that are popular today. Modern golfers now have a choice of choosing between metal and wood, and the styles of clubs vary based on the purpose of the club. Because of the 14 club rule, most manufacturers still number their clubs rather than name them just like they did over 100 years ago.