A Detailed History of Golf

Discussion on where the game of golf first started and where it was invented.

A look at the history of the game of golf and where it originates.

Old Tom Morris Image: ElectricScotland.com

Golf is one of the most popular games today but what does a detailed history of the sport actually look like? We look back down the years.

With millions of people playing, watching, and betting on the sport, there is no denying that it has carved a niche in modern popular culture.

Golfers like Tiger Woods, Sam Snead, and Jack Nicklaus have broken through into the mainstream, and are now household names. In fact, Woods might just be one of the most recognizable athletes of the 21st century.

With so much popularity, many might wonder where golf actually came from. It is true that the sport’s history is quite murky.

So, in this article, we are going to attempt to go over the full detailed history of golf, and come to a conclusion regarding its history and where it actually started.

The Murky Origins

There is no denying that golf’s immense popularity has had a huge impact on popular culture. The game has fans all over the world, most notably in the USA, UK, Japan, and Ireland.

These countries have a vibrant golf scene, as well as an incredible betting industry. For anyone who might be interested, you can learn more about golf betting by checking out bet365 賭け方, and exploring the website.

So, where did one of the most popular games we play and follow today come from? Well, the answer is quite complicated.

We know that the name of the game, “golf,” comes from a Dutch word kolf, which roughly translates to club. So, many believe that the game is Dutch in origin.

Old Tom Morris

Indeed, it is true that we have Dutch manuscripts dating back to the 13th century which discuss a game called “kolf.” The problem? These manuscripts never describe the game, its rules, or the playstyle.

Games where players hit a leather-bound ball with a stick have existed for centuries. And it might be true that some have been called “golf” or “club.” However, the question is whether these games resembled golf as we know it today?

Many historians believe that the Dutch game may have resembled golf, but was only later linked to the game we know and love today.

Some believe that this game was indeed a precursor to modern day golf, though too different to accurately be described as golf. So, if the Netherlands isn’t where golf got its start, then where did the game begin?

Scotland and Golf

Most historians believe that golf proper first came about in Scotland. Indeed, Scotland is home to some of the oldest golf clubs and courses, and still has some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world today.

Anyone with even a slight interest in the sport will be familiar with Scotland’s numerous, gorgeous, and pristine courses.

St Andrews

There is plenty of historical evidence that point to Scotland being the epicenter of golf. During the reign of several Scottish kings, laws passed that prohibited the game from being played, as it interfered with men’s duties.

In 1471, King James IV passed a law banning golf because the game was “unprofitable.”

The famous Scottish queen, Mary, Queen of Scots, was known to have had a deep passion for golf. In fact, her love of the game caused a major scandal, when she was accused of playing the game after the death of her husband, rather than spending that time in mourning.

During an interview, the spokesperson for one of Scotland’s oldest and most notable golf clubs, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, said the following: “While it is true that stick and ball games have existed for centuries, golf as we know it today, played over 18 holes, most certainly originated in Scotland.”

The claim is certainly backed by quite a lot of evidence, and so it would seem that we can accurately say that Medieval Scotland is the origin point for the game we know and love today.

The Victorian Era

As with most sports that we still play today, golf gained prominence in the Victorian era. In the 1850s, Queen Victoria built a royal castle in Scotland, and connected the Scottish Highlands to London through a railway system.

In doing so, she inadvertently made an easy and simple way for golf to spread throughout the British Isles. And spread it did.

Up until the 19th century, golf was a relatively lesser-known game, popular in Scotland and nowhere else. However, once the British got a hold of it, the sport quickly spread throughout the English colonies. Very soon it was adopted by Americans, Europeans, and even beyond.

In the 1880s, several clubs formed in the USA, some of which still exist today, and claim the title of “first golf club in the USA.” Though these claims are disputable, what is not in doubt is that in 1894 the United States held its first National golf tournament.

But, golf was not just hitting it big in the west. The 19th century was an important time for Japan’s development as well.

In 1868, the country went through the Meiji Restoration period, which saw the country open its borders and embrace a lot of western culture, from medicine to sports. Among the sports imported was golf, which still has a huge following in Japan.

Modern Day

Golf today remains one of the most popular sports in the world. With over a million fans, the game is easily in the top ten most beloved sports in the world.

Played by amateurs and professionals alike, golf has also garnered a huge betting industry, mainly due to the all-year-round nature of the competitions. Similarly, to tennis, golf tournaments occur throughout the year, making betting a whole lot easier.

On the amateur level, golf is an incredibly attractive game. While not overly physically taxing, it does provide an excellent workout.

Doctors and other health professionals have linked playing golf to improved cardiovascular health, muscle density, and flexibility.

On top of that, the game can also help alleviate stress and anxiety. With so many benefits, is it any wonder that golf has become one of the most popular sports of the 21st century?