A Brief History on the Game of Golf
Several records of sports played throughout history with striking similarities to golf. Historians backdate the sport to the time of Julius Caesar, but then, people called it “paganica.” It was played by hitting a ball stuffed with feathers with tree branches molded in the shape of clubs. During the Song Dynasty between years 960–1279 in China, there also is evidence of a game with characteristics identical to golf.
Another version of the game can be traced to the Netherlands during the 1200s. It was played by hitting a leather ball to reach a mark several yards away. The winner would be the person who reached the goal with the least hits. Modern-day golf has one feature that distinguishes it from the rest; the inclusion of holes, which can total 18 in the game.
The roots of golf today had their founding on the East Coast of Scotland in 1457. St. Andrews Golf Club in Scotland is one of the oldest courses globally. Golfers played the first 18-hole game, and they still play in that location until today. They played it by whacking a pebble over dunes using a bent bat. However, during that period, Scotland was preparing to defend itself against another invasion by the ‘Auld Enemy.’ Due to the lackadaisical attitude of soldiers who played the sport, King James II of Scotland banned the sport as it derailed the focus of soldiers training for the military.
After additional bans throughout the 15th century and golf being touted as an unprofitable game, restraints on playing were discarded with the introduction of the Treaty of Glasgow in 1502. France has the oldest golf courses outside of Britain, establishing the Royal Calcutta Golf Club in 1829, followed by the club at Pau in 1856.
In America, the game was played during 1739 through the establishment of the South Carolina Golf Club, although the game did not gain much traction till the early 19th century. But by the 20th century, America had formed the United States Golf Association, which housed 267 golf clubs.
In the late 19th century, the game had gained popularity in Britain, and its attractiveness exponentially increased during the 20th century. The courses in England grew from 10 in 1880 to 1000 in 1914. It also circulated to Ireland, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, and South Africa.
The oldest documented regulations for the game date back to the 18th century, in the form of a book titled “Articles and Laws in Playing at Golf.” Although having simple rules, golf is one of the most complicated sports. The basic rules are easy to understand and make the game easy to monitor, foremost being that each player must strike their ball towards the goal, the winner being the player with the least hits.
Basic rules include: The ball cannot be hit in the woods or water zones as those are declared out of bounds; It is also important to keep correct records of scores as players who record incorrect scores are given heavy penalties.