History of Golf - How it all Started


Since before the time Mary Queen of Scots was disciplined for playing golf two Sundays after the murder of her husband Lord Dernley in 1567. Golf is known to have been played at St. Andrews before the founding of the university in 1411. It is a safe bet to say that golf was played in some form or another as much as a century before this.

Golf is the only game whose objective it is to hit a ball across a course of some kind that had sand traps, bunkers, and other obstacles to prevent you from accomplishing this. The ball is balanced in mid-air and hit to another spot below the ground.

It was the Scots who introduced the golf hole into the game. It was a national pastime more than four hundred years before Prince Charles fled Culloden in defeat at the hands of the English in 1513 at the Battle of Flodden Field.

At Flodden the Scots were no match for the English in the first assault and were defeated 50 years earlier. King James II banned the game of Golf because he believed it was interfering with archery practice and he did this with a Scottish Act of Parliament. The first documented record makes references to modern golf. James III also banned the game in 1471.

The origin of Golf is a mystery however there is a few theories out there. The first theory says that fisherman on their way back from their boats would pick up a piece of driftwood and whack a pebble to see how far it would go. They would do this repeatedly until they reached the river. Golf is thought to have been played in Kirk Session (Church Court). The only evidence of it is found in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Golf is still a very popular game today. A time line is presented below that will provide you with a general idea of the evolution of Golf into the game we know today.

16th century - Gold became established on the east coast of Scotland and began to spread. Golf was played by James the VI before he acceded the throne as James the 1st did in 1603.

1501 - James the IV had his treasurer pay 14 Shillings to a bow-maker in Perth to supply them with clubs. Golf became associated with royalty, The Church, and education (i. e. St. Andrews)

17th century Golf was pursued from the south east to as far north as the Orkney Islands.

1754 - The beginning of construction of new courses.

1880 - The arrival of the gutter perch ball was a major influence on the popularity of golf. Little has changed in the past 250 years.

1925 - In Texas the Bark Hollow Golf Club becomes the first club with a complete fairway irrigation system. The British Open is played for the last time at Prestwick Golf Club. The Royal Canadian Golf Association makes a ruling that the use of steel-shafted clubs is legal. They joined the United States Golf Association.

1973 - Johnny Mailer shoots 63 at Oakmont Country Club to win the U. S. Open. Arnold Palmer wins the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, his fifth win in the event and his 62nd win in the PGA Tour.

1985 - Europeans win the Ryder's Cup for the first time in twenty-eight years.

1995 - Ben Crenshaw won his second Master's. Tiger Woods wins second straight U. S. Amateur. The Golf Channel makes its debut in television.

1997 - Tiger Woods in his first year Championship had a 12 stroke win at the Masters. Jack Nicklaus tees off at the US Open for his 150th consecutive major championship appearance.

1999 - Aree Wongluekert (now known as Aree Song) wins the Girls Junior Amateur. At 13 she is the youngest winner of the USGA Championship.

2001 - The term "Tiger Slam" was coined after Tiger Woods wins the Master's making him the first person to hold all four of Golf's major professional titles at the same time. Annika Sorenstam shoots 59 in the LPGA Tour. The attacks of 9/11 caused the Ryder's Cup to be delayed for a year.

2003 - Mike Weir wins the Masters becomes the second left-handed person to win a major championship. Michelle Wie won women's amateur Public Links. She is the youngest winner of an adult USGA Championship. Michelle Wie played in every men's event on the Canadian and the nationwide tour. She didn't make either cut.

2004 Michelle Wie is given an exemption into the PGA Tour Sony Open. She shoots 72-68 missing the cut by one stroke! Arnold Palmer plays The Masters for the fiftieth and very last time.

Golf has given us centuries of physical activity, excitement, and it has been and is exciting to watch a game in progress. Within the last 250 years Golf hasn't changed all that much. For those who play the game, there are all kinds of resources available to improve their game.

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