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Do You Know The Origins Of Golf?

King James II, who ruled Scotland from 1437 until his death in 1460, outlawed golf and football on March 6, 1457, by an act of parliament. These games were being played by Scotsmen in the streets and churchyards rather than refining their archery techniques for their required military training.

The prohibition said that football, golf, and other meaningless sports should not be played anywhere in the nation for the benefit of the people and for national defense. The first reference to the game of golf is in this prohibition. But what kind of game was this?

Jerris and other golf historians are confident that there is enough evidence to demonstrate that a game involving clubs being played across considerable distances to a hole in the ground existed by the mid-1500s. A Latin grammar book from the period, when Latin was taught via golf, has been found by historians. The oldest mentions of the sport, including the first mention of a golf hole, may be found in Vocabula, a book that Aberdeen, Scotland schoolmaster David Wedderburn wrote in 1636.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Golf Rules 

The Thirteen Articles, or the First Rules of Golf, were established in 1744 by the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers for their competition at the Leith Links in Edinburgh. These 13 regulations were adopted by more than 30 clubs throughout the course of the following 100 years. 

Before the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews published the first consolidated rules code in 1899, there had never been an attempt to develop a consistent set of regulations. The United States Golf Association was established in New York City at the same time. The USGA and R&A became the game’s two primary regulatory organizations as a result of a considerable convergence in rule sets.

A Chinese Origin 

Despite the fact that St. Andrews is regarded as the “birthplace of golf,” Chinese historians said in the early 2000s that their forefathers played the sport long before the Scots. 

In a 2006 show at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, the game of golf, known as chuiwan, or “struck ball,” was played as far back as 1368, according to the exhibit’s curators. An enlarged portion of the Ming Dynasty scroll “The Autumn Banquet,” which depicts members of an imperial court striking a ball toward a hole in the grass, was on exhibit at the museum.

Jerris has doubts about the inferences that the display makes. Every civilization has enjoyed playing stick and ball, he claims. What components of that stick and ball game must be present for it to be referred to as golf? In a closed-off court, they played a game in which they aimed a ball toward a target. It fluctuated between being and not being a hole in the earth. Typically, there was just one club depicted in the photos. So you wouldn’t call it golf if one of your criteria for what constitutes golf is that players must use many clubs, each of which is designed for a certain stroke.


Golf Comes To America 

The beginnings of golf in America, however, are firmly associated with Scotland. One of the earliest shipments of golf equipment in the American colonies was received by David Deas, a 21-year-old native of Leith and slave trader, in August 1743. 432 balls and 96 clubs were shipped from the Port of Leith to Charleston. On the Leith Links, a five-hole course where the original golf regulations were written, Deas had grown up playing the sport. Slaves were used as caddies when the South Carolina Golf Club founded Harleston Green in 1841 in a park in Charleston as the first golf club in America.

However, a Dutch ordinance in Fort Orange, New York, which subsequently became Albany, made the first mention of golf in America considerably earlier, in 1659. Because it “greatly damages the windows of the homes, also exposes people to the risk of being harmed, and is contradictory to the freedom of the public streets,” playing the sport in the street was outlawed. 

The father of American golf course architects is regarded as Charles Blair MacDonald, who attended St. Andrews University and learned the sport at the St. Andrews Golf Links. The first 18-hole course in the nation was created by MacDonald in 1893 when he constructed the Chicago Golf Club.