Origins of Golf
What is the origin of golf? This is a question that most golf enthusiasts ask themselves repeatedly.
Without any doubt, golf is one of the most exciting sports today, for both players and fans. Different people play golf for various reasons. Some play golf as a competitive sport, others for sociability, while some play the game purely for relaxation. It is also one of the wealthiest paying sports for professional players.
Golf is a sport that does not choose age or gender, as the young and adult males and females enjoy the game equally. Even if you are not a golf player, but would want to become one, you would need to start by learning the basics, which include the origins of golf, the rules, the competitive tournaments, and names of the best players in the history of the sport, among other things.
History Of Golf
Golfing dates back many years with contradicting stories about its origin. Some of the golf origin stories tell us that the sport first made its appearance in the Netherlands in the 12th century.
The 12th century Netherlands golf, known as Kolf or Kolven, involved striking a feather stuffed leather ball with a stick.
The stories go further to say that in the Middle Ages, the game found its way to Europe with different countries giving it different names. In England, it was Cambuca, France, it was chambot, and in Persia, golf was Chaugan.
Other origin stories also name China as the golf place of origin. The Chinese game, Chuiwan, dates back to the Ming Dynasty after a scroll that dates back to the 14th century and shows a Chinese imperial court member swinging a stick that looks very similar to a golf club to strike a small ball direct it into a hole.
However, even with all the contradicting origins of golf stories, one story that remains constant is that today's golf traced its roots to Scotland in the 15th century.
Golf’s birthplace is a kingdom by the name Fife in Scotland, where players used pebbles, which are the equivalent of today’s golf balls, sticks, and rabbit holes. It was also during the renaissance era, and King James outlawed it as it interfered with the soldiers’ training. Eventually, King James gave in to the popularity of the growing interest in golf and even went a step further by hiring a bow maker to curve a unique set of clubs a few years later.
The first recorded golf course is the St. Andrews old course in Scotland, dating back to 1552. However, it is not until 1754 that the club started to gain popularity when 22 noblemen and gentlemen took over the running of the club. Royal and ancient golf club in St. Andrews Scotland came up with the first golf rules that helped to promote it as one of the major sporting activities in the country.
The Articles and Laws in Playing Golf later changed to Leith Rules that support the golf club’s claim as being the oldest in the world. You can still find the preserved Articles and Laws in Playing Golf in the National Library of Scotland.
1867 – St. Andrews created the first women’s golf club
Golf History Around The World
In the 18th century, Scottish expatriates, immigrants, and solders had a significant role in golf history by spreading the game to the British Isles. In the 19th century, golf started to gain international fame. Some of the oldest golf courses outside of Britain sprang up in France. The royal Calcutta golf club began in 1829, while the club started in 1856.
Other parts of the world that took up golfing by 1880 were Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, and Singapore. By the same year, Britain had ten golf courses. In 1914, the country had over 1000 golf courses.
Golf Comes To The United States 1700s-1800s
Origin of golf in America dates back to 1743 after Leith Scotland shipped 96 golf clubs and 432 balls, to Mr. David Daes in Charleston, South Carolina. Only a select few played the game in America back then. Still, rumor had it that there was a similar association for another sect few individuals around the same tie in Savannah, Georgia.
- 1888- The first permanent golf club in Yonkers New York, founded by Johnny Reid, a Scotsman, and the apple tree gang, started. The golf club, one of the St. Andrews golf club links, had a three-hole course that Johnny and his group spent the best of their time. To date, the golfing world considers Johnny Reid as the primary contributor to American golf.
- 1892-1894 – The founding of the United States Golf Association (USGA) took place on December 22, 1894, after Charles Blair MacDonald finished in the top 2 in two amateur championships. Macdonald, who some consider as the father of golf in America, is also responsible for creating the first 18-hole golf course in America, the Pivotal Chicago golf club. Macdonald is also behind the creation of the 9-hole Downers Grove Golf Course, which he persuaded 30 of his business associates to contribute $10 each towards its development in 1892.
- 1895 – Macdonald won his first USGA championship, while Thomas Rawlins, a 21-year old, won the U.S. Open Championship. In the same year, the first U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship win went to Lucy Barnes.
- 1899 – Building sand mounds at each tee became outdated after Dr. George Grant invented the first golf tee.
- 1916- Saw the founding of The Professional Golf Association of America (PGA). The same year, James barber designed what to be one of the many mini-golf courses featuring gardens, fountains, and zigzag walkways synonymous with today’s mini-golf courses.
- 1930 – Phil Young started Titleist, a company that makes golf balls after realizing that the golf balls in use then were off-center.
- 1932 – Golf courses saw the introduction of golf carts on the greens.
- 1934 –Bobby Jones, an amateur golfer that wanted to build a goof course after his retirement, came up with the idea of The Masters Tournament, which saw it take place at Georgia in Augusta. Since the birth of golf, one of the highlights of the masters is the honorary and iconic green jacket won by the winner.
The Basics Of Golf Explained
Playing golf may seem like an easy thing to do for some spectators watching from the sidelines.
Others may also think that hitting a small size ball to sink it in a tiny hole must take a lot of practice and skill.
Like any other recreational or competitive sport, golf comes with basics that make it enjoyable to play for both the young and adults irrespective of gender.
What are the basics of golf?
Besides the golf balls, clubs are the other essential tools you need to play golf. Golf clubs come in different dimensions, and at any given time, you can carry as many as fourteen clubs to the field. You do not need all the clubs, especially if you are new to the game. The most comfortable clubs to begin golfing with are a loft of 54-56 degrees or an “S” on the sole.
You can supplement the starting clubs with an 18-21 degrees loft of hybrid, a pitching wedge, or a 6 and 8-iron club. Spend little money by not buying a designer set of clubs as they are costly, and you may break a few before you get the hang of the game. You can borrow from a friend, rent from your local golf club, or buy used clubs. It is also important to buy just a few clubs to start instead of a full set.
See more: Best Golf Clubs
Golf balls look similar outside, but the inside may differ from one ball to another, depending on the brand. The interior of the ball affects the spin and landing. Before settling on any particular golf ball, find out the make, model, and cost because the balls do not come cheap.
If you are new to the sport, you may lose several balls before getting the hang of golfing like a professional. You could start by using reclaimed balls that come at more affordable rates than top-of-the-line-new balls.
See more: Best Golf Balls
If you are getting into golf playing, it is essential to memorize all the terms. Some of the terms that you need to learn are golf tee, putt, the Green, the hole, bunker, fairway, the rough, hazard, stroke, out of bounds, obstructions, casual water, loose impediments, scoring terms, and many more.
- A golf tee is the starting point of your stroke define by two markers
- Putt is a Scottish term from the word put, which means to strike the ball lightly to roll unto the hole along with the greens. A putter is what you use to push or shove the ball along the greens to the hole.
- The Green is the whole golf course but does not include the holes and the hazards
- A bunker is a sand-filled ditch that surrounds the golf course or Green
- Fairway is that part of the golf course leading to the green
- The rough is any wild area filled with trees and long grass that surrounds the fairway
- Hazard is anything that is a hindrance to your putting the ball into the hole. Some of the hazards include trees, bunkers, ponds, and streams
- A stroke is a swing that you make intending to hit the golf ball. Each stroke counts even if you do not hit the ball
- Out of bounds is any ground that is not part of the golf course
- Obstructions are any human-made distractions to payers on the golf course
- Casual water is a temporary water accumulation on the golf course and does not include dew or frost
- Loose impediments are natural obstructions from simple objects such as stones, twigs, or leaves that embed or stick on the ball
Every gofer’s objective is to tee the small ball into a hole in the fewest strokes possible. A stroke is a hit on the ball, with the one scoring the lowest number of strikes being the winner. To begin the game, every player hits the ball from a tee.
The second and any other future shot is teed from the spot where the ball lies. A player can place a marker on the spot where the ball rests and continue to pick the ball up, either for cleaning or preventing any obstructions to another player.
One of the most crucial golf basics is learning the scoring terms. Some of the most common terms are:
- Ace is a hole in one
- Par is the number of strokes you take to get the ball to the hole from the tee
- Birdie also called a double eagle to mean one stroke under par
- Eagle is two strokes under par
- Bogey is one stroke, while a Double Bogey is two strokes and a Triple Bogey is three strokes above par
The Rules Of Golf
Like every other sporting activity, golf also comes with rules that players must abide by for successful sporting. Golf rules are as old as the sport’s history, with a few changes here and there.
Some of the most common golf rules are as follows:
- Golfing etiquette is another fundamental part of the sporting activity that you should take seriously if you want to become a successful golfer. Golf etiquette or rules require that:
- You should not talk, move or stand near any player making a stroke
- Allow f the group in front of you to make way before you play
- Do not hold up other players in the putting Green and leave immediately after all the other players in your team hole out
- Allow faster groups to play first
- Smooth out bunker footprints and replace divots
- Stay out of the way of another players putt
- Respect the putting Green by not dropping clubs on it
- Be careful when replacing the flagstick
- The maximum key number of golf clubs you can carry to the greens is 14, and they all have to conform to the set regulations and standards.
- The search time for the ball is strictly for three minutes. Before, the search time was five minutes
- Always play the ball as it lies
- You can move loose impediments and obstructions in bunkers
- The above are just some of the many golf rules that players have to consider if they are to master the game. The rules are for both professional and amateur golfers.
Golf has four major competitions recognized for men and five for women. Alongside these, there are several other international high profile events played across the globe.
All the games are annual events played in different parts of the world.
Men’s Major Golf Competitions
The Open Championship
The open championship is the oldest major golfing competition. The tournament, which celebrates its 170th anniversary in 2020, awards the claret jug to the golfer of the year champion. It takes place in some of the best courses all over the world. Of course, the oldest championship course is the St. Andrews, which is the birthplace of golf. Other notable exquisite golf courses that have hosted the championships include Muirfield, Royal Birkdale, Royal St. Georges, Royal Liverpool, Turnberry, Carnousite, and Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s among others.
The Masters is one of the most intriguing golfing competitions, especially for the fans. The winner of the masters receives the coveted Masters trophy, which depicts the Augusta Clubhouse. The winner also dons the green jacket that signifies he is an honorary member of the Augusta Clubhouse. Masters for many of the players kick their golf season. Some of the most notable aspects of the competition include Augusta’s blooming flowers, contoured greens, and green fairways.
The U.S. Open
The U.S. Open is another golfing competition that dates back to the origins of golf. The game, which takes place in different courses only in the United States, dates back to 1895. Some of the most prestigious golf courses that have hosted the U.S. Open include Winged Foot, Shinnecock Hills, Hazeltine, Pinehurst, Pebble Beach, Merion, and Oakmont among many others. The competition is also one of the toughest in the history of golf. The courses make it extremely difficult to make low scores and accuracy on the tees.
The PGA Championship
The PGA Championship is another major golf competition that dates back to 1916. Before 1958, the PGA Championship was a match play event before switching to stroke play. The PGA Championship falls under the flagship of The Professional Golfers Association of America, and it takes place annually on some of the best courses in the state. Some of the past host courses include Medinah, Hazeltine, Oakland Hills, Baltusrol, Whistling Straits, and Valhalla.
Women Major Golf Competitions
The ANA Inspiration
The Ladies Professional Golfers Association’s most prestigious competitions for women golfers are The ANA Inspiration. The championship first tournament was in 1972 but only became a competitive golfing activity in 1983. The Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California is the only golf course to pay host to the ANA Inspiration tournament since its inception.
US. Women’s Open
The U.S. Women’s Open is the equivalent of The Men’s Open, and it is the oldest women’s competitive golf tournaments in the USA. The match, which is open to professional and amateur women golfers, first took place in 1950. The competition takes place in early July on some of the most prestigious courses in the state. Some of the past hot courses to The Women’s Us Open include Baltusrol, Winged Foot, Crooked Spine, Cherry Hills Interlachen, Sebonack, Pine Needles, The Country Club of Rochester, Hazeltine, and Oakmont, among others.
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
The first KPMG Women’s Championship took place at Westchester Country Club in New York in 2015. KPMG is a joint venture between the LPGA and PGA.
The Evian Championship
Another major golf tournament for women is The Evian, which became a major competitive championship in 2013. The competition first appeared in 1994 as The Evian Masters. The event that takes place at the Evian Master Golf Club in France is also another championship that does not change courses.
Ricoh Women’s British Open
The Ladies Golf Union established the Ricoh Women British open in 1976. The difference between The Ricoh Women’s British Open and The Men’s Open tournaments is that the latter only takes place on the world’s best link courses. The Ricoh open takes place in late July with some of the best past host courses being St. Andrews Old Course, Royal Birkdale, Sunningdale, Turnberry, Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s, And Carnousite, among others.
Other International Golf Tournaments
Other major international tournaments are:
- The Ryder Cup– A team tournament played in September between the United States and Europe.
- The British Open dates back to 1860, making it the oldest major golfing competitive tournament.
- BMW PGA Championship is the European Golf Tour’s flagship and takes place at the headquarters of European Tour, the Wentworth Country Club each year. Before Wentworth hosting the tournament since 1984, the Royal St. George hosted the event five times.
- Dubai World Championship is another international tournament that attracts top golfers from across the world each year. DWC is also the final European Tour event, and it attracts a significant cash reward. The event takes place at the Juremiah Golf Estates in Dubai.
- WGC-HSBC-Championship takes place in November, and it is the only WGC not held in the United States
- Dubai Desert Classictakes place in the Middle East, and it attracts top professional golfers across the globe.
- Barclays Singapore Open is one of the wealthiest golfing tournaments that also attract top golfers worldwide.
- Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is another event very similar to the PGA. The event involves playing three rounds on different courses at St. Andrews, Carnousite, and Kingsbarn.
- The Hong Kong Open dates back to over 50 years and attracts players from all over the world.
- CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia -The inaugural tournament of the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic took place in 2010 at Mines Resort, Selangor, Malaysia attracting players from all over the world. It is also one of the tournaments with the most exciting formats as it only allows the top 25 players in the Fed Ex Cup standings to play with the top ten Asian Tour players and five exemptions from sponsors.
- Barclays Scottish Open takes place a week before the British open, and like many other international tournaments, it attracts big names in golf.
Top Golf Players
Golf is one of the sports with a vibrant fan base from across the world.
Throughout the history of golf, many men and women have made lasting impacts on with some continuing to do so to date.
Below is a list of ten male and female players that, without a doubt, are easily recognizable as the golfing maestros.
Ernie Els had four majors to his name, including 2 British Opens and 2 U.S. opens, and 19 PGA Tour victories.
Jack Nicklaus is another great player who made golf enjoyable by using his genius strategy to tackle different tournaments in various golf courses worldwide. His litany of accomplishments includes 73 PGA Tour wins that include 18 major championships, lowest scoring average 8 times, 8 PGA Tour money titles, and among the top two positions, in 37 Majors, among others.
Without a doubt, Nick Faldo is one of the most recognizable golf players in the word as he dominated the Green for a while. He won three British Opens, 3 Masters, 30 European Tour wins, and had a significant influence on 5 Ryder Cup team winnings.
Golf history would not be complete without mentioning Sam Snead, one of the best golf players to have ruled the Greens. Slammin’ Sammy is also the oldest golf player to make an appearance in the PGA Tour history. His significant winnings include 82 PGA Tour wins, 7 Majors that include 3 PGA Championships and 3 Masters, and top 10 in Majors stretching for five decades.
Tiger Woods is by far the most dominating player in the history of golf. Some people say that he made the sport so compelling that he changed it forever. Tiger made many firsts that put him on the map as the best player to have walked the greens. Some of Tiger’s most memorable strokes include his first Masters as a pro where he shot the 18-under par, 82 PGA wins, 15 major championships, and more Player of the Year Awards than any other sportsperson. Of course, the scandals and fall from grace that did not deter him from fighting back to win another major.
Though cheating allegations tainted his golfing career, Vijay Singh remains one of the best players in the golfing history. He won the PGA Tour 34 times that include a Masters win and two PGA Championships.
One of the most famous female golfers to make it to the history of golf is babe Zaharias who became the first female to qualify for the PGA Tour. Besides gold, Babe was also an accomplished hurdle and javelin athlete with gold medals to her name.
At only 16, Michelle Wie became a professional golf player with Nike and Sony’s million-dollar sponsorship deals.
Annika is another female golfer that made a name for herself in golfing history. She won several Major championships throughout her golfing career, and LPGA honored her as the year’s player.
Below are other notable players that have a role to play in changing the world of golf.
- Arnold Palmer
- Ben Hogan
- Bobby Jones
- Byron Nelson
- Charlie Sifford
- Gary Player
- Gene Sarazen
- Greg Norman
- Lee Trevino
- Phil Mickelson
- Steve Ballesteros
- Tom Morris
- Tom Watson
- Walter Hagen
How long does one round of golf take to play?
One complete round of golf takes approximately four hours to play 18 holes, which is the estimate for four players. The four-hour timeline is the standard time for a round of golf, but the time taken may change depending on circumstances and the kind of tournament.
If you are playing alone, it should take you anything between 2 and 2 ½ hours. Several factors determine the number of hours it takes to finish one round is the players’ skill levels, the number of players in the team, and the number of people on the course.
Are there designated golf cart routes on the greens?
Each golf course has its own rules concerning golf carts. In the majority of the courses, golf carts have their designated paths
What is the size of the golf hole?
The diameter of a golf hole in every golf course worldwide is 4 ¼ inches. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which is the birthplace of golf, came up with the hole’s size, which has not changed to date.
Wrapping It Up
Golf is an exciting game that people irrespective of whether they are players or not follow with great enthusiasm. It is a great game to play for recreation as well as for socializing. What makes the game even more interesting is that it does not choose between the young or the old, male or female, as anyone can play it with ease and after practice. For those who take up golfing like a professional sport, it comes with immense cash rewards and travels throughout the world.
If you are new to the game, the rules may seem a bit too tough to adhere to, but it gets comfortable with time. Golf is also a game that has a rich history, which makes it an exciting read. Some of the most popular and wealthiest sports persons are golfers, and you have to agree with me that watching them in action is a thrill that stays with you for long.
Now It's Your Turn
If you want to learn more about this thrilling sport, stay with us, and we will provide you with all the information that we have to make it easier for you to adhere to the game.
Contact us for any queries or comments regarding this article, and we will respond.