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Article: A Brief History of the Game of Golf

A Brief History of the Game of Golf

Golf as we know it today is attributed to the Scottish, though variations of the stick and ball game have been recorded since the Middle Ages. 

In the 13th century, the Dutch were recorded as playing a game with a leather ball, with the intention to hit it towards a target hundreds of yards away with the fewest shots. Other countries played the game in a similar fashion, though the Scottish redefined the rules to include a hole as the target. The modern game of golf was established by the Scottish in the 15th century.

Though the game had started gaining popularity, an Act of Scottish Parliament formally banned the sport in 1457. King James II of Scotland prohibited the game as it proved to be a distraction from military training, and it was his opinion that archery would be a more productive use of time. It was not until 1502, with the Treaty of Glasgow, that the sport’s restrictions were removed.

Immigrants and soldiers are accredited with spreading the sport across the world. The game began to be played across the British Isles during the 18th century, and later spread to gain international recognition in the 19th century. Wherever the rule of Great Britain went, golf soon followed. The sport grew and certain destinations became known for their own style of courses.

Books and guides, like this The Royal & Ancient Game of Golf, serve to inform the avid golfer on tips, tricks, and observations relating to certain courses, golfing cultures, and prominent individuals. The book is heavily illustrated with photographs, drawings, and paintings. Topics such as the history and origin of golf, eminent golfers, continental and American golf, and a final Ode to Golf are included.

 

The Royal & Ancient Game of Golf Edited by Harold H. Hilton and Garden G. Smith, 1912

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