A Brief History of Golf: Who Invented Golf?

Who invented Golf

Considering how much we at MrBetting like golf, we frequently get questioned about the topic of “Who Invented Golf?”. Especially in the US and the UK, golf is a popular sport worldwide, but where did it all begin? 

Join us as we examine the fascinating background of golf’s beginnings. We’ll look at how golf fever spread over the globe, the history of the game, and how it developed into one of the highest-paying sports in the world for what it is now. Let’s begin by determining who invented the golf together.

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Who Invented Golf?

China, Laos, the Netherlands, ancient Egypt, and Rome might all be considered the birthplace of golf by different historians. This is only one of several activities, such as bandy or hockey, that started as straightforward stick and ball games. However, according to closer studies in recent years by historians, it’s more likely that Holland or Scotland is where the current game of golf first emerged.

Dutch players in the thirteenth century CE engaged in a game that was a lot like the modern game of golf. In the early versions of golf, a player would hit a leather ball at a target with a stick in that historic game. The winner was the one who took the fewest shots to bring the ball to the target.  A combination of two games that had been brought to Holland, this game was first known as “colf.” Jeu de Mail and Chloe were the names of these two games. People playing “colf” are a common theme in historical Dutch paintings. Similar to contemporary golf, it was an extended game played in courtyards and streets, but not on a proper golf course.

Still, most people associate the Scots with being the people who founded golf. Scottish lawmakers invented the game of golf as we know it, complete with an 18-hole layout. 

James II’s decree makes it evident that this was a very well-liked game, because before that, golf was banned. When King James IV of Scotland started playing golf in 1502, the prohibition was removed. This was Glasgow’s Treaty. What sets golf apart from other stick and ball games is the addition of holes, which were invented in Scotland.

The first golf rules were published in 1744. Published by The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, it is titled “Articles and Laws at Playing in Golf.” The Royal and Ancient Golf Club established the first 18-hole layout, which is currently the norm, in 1764.


Why is Golf Called Golf?

The origins of golf can be traced back to the Scottish dialect of the 14th and 15th centuries, which gave the game the name “goff” or “gouff” when it first arrived in Scotland. The game’s official name, “golf,” originated in the 16th century. Although the game was not well known until the 16th century, the prohibition imposed by King James II came before this.

Many are certain that the word “golf” is exclusively Scottish in origin and has no Dutch roots whatsoever. Its root is the Scottish verb “golfand” or “golfing,” which means to strike or to advance violently. In 18th-century dictionaries, the term “to golf” was frequently listed. 


The Origins of Modern Golf and The History of the Golf Course

Over time, golf evolved into what it is today. People used to play it purely for fun in public courtyards and on the streets. It needed no holes at all and was disorganised in every way. Wide-open courses were a thing of the future.

When written golf regulations started to develop in the 16th century, golf evolved into a more serious game. It was the subject of several novels written in both Dutch and Latin. These included guidelines such as “the ball had to be hit in putting, not just pushed.” However, back then, most golf games were just casual, friendly competitions.

During this period, golf was played on public property on courses that housed sheep and other animals. The grass was maintained short and cut by the animals, who acted as natural lawnmowers because this was before the development of the lawn mower. According to historians, before a game, individuals would bring their goats to prepare the field. 

The game gained popularity outside of Scotland throughout the 18th century. St. Andrews, Fife’s first golf course was established by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. Renamed the ‘Home of Golf,’ the first golf club of St. Andrews opened its doors in 1754. Only twelve holes were there at the time. It was a 22-hole golf course since 10 of these holes were played twice. The course’s opening four holes were merged by the Club ten years later, creating the 18-hole golf course that exists now.


The Rise of International Golf

18th-century Scottish golfers brought the game to England, where golf became an extremely popular pastime. The Industrial Revolution, railroads, and English visitors to Scotland were the main causes of the rise of the popularity of the game. Following that, there was a rise in worldwide recognition and foreign travel. France was the first country outside of the British Isles to have golf courses.

Golf was played in its early forms as early as the late 1600s in the United States. As the number of Scottish immigrants and British troops increased in the 1700s, the interest in and popularity of golf developed significantly. 

The South Carolina Golf Club was founded in 1787. The War of 1812 caused a little decline in golf’s appeal, and the United States Golf Association wasn’t founded until 1894, which is a century later, and that’s when the modern game of golf reached its peak popularity. European and British colonies such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, and South Africa saw the rapid growth of golf. It had grown to such an extent by the 20th century that several international championships and competitions had been established. Golf clubs were highly sought after and typically associated with the affluent.


History of Women in Golf

It is not uncommon nor revolutionary to see women playing golf. As early as the sixteenth century, ladies are documented to have played golf. In addition to engaging in the sport, they have both made significant contributions to its growth throughout time. When it comes to American golf, Elizabeth Reed was among the women who contributed to popularising golf in the United States, as previously mentioned. In the late 1800s, she also founded a women’s golf country club. 

The Women’s Tournament Committee was established by the USGA in 1917. The Spokane Country Club in Seattle, Washington hosted the United States Women’s Open for the first time in 1946. 1950 saw the founding of the Ladies Professional Golf Association.  The 1920s saw Glenna Collete Vere dubbed the “Queen of American Golf.” She was a dominant force in golf at the time, having won the Women’s Amateur Championship six times. At the Invitational Pro-Am at Pebble Beach in 1990, men and women competed together for the first time. The winner was Juli Inkster, a female competitor, by a single stroke.

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