Little known History

Brief History

Who invented the game of golf and where did the orgins come from?

·      There is no simple answer

·      However, credit for golf in its modern form is generally given to the Scots,

·      A spokesman for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in Scotland claimed in 2006, "Stick and ball games have been around for many centuries, but golf as we know it today, played over 18 holes, clearly originated in Scotland."

While golf is some shape or form appears to be have been played in some shape or form for centuries. The earliest known written rules for the game date from 1744. This early code of “Articles & Laws in Playing at Golf” (known today as the “13 Articles”) was drafted by The Gentlemen Golfers of Leith (later known as the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers) for a single day of competition on the Leith links. Still, the principles represented in these 13 rules fundamentally describe the same sport that is played around the world today. 

Did you know that golf like games have supposedly been traced back to having been played; 

·      During the time of Julius Ceaser (100BC-44BC)

·      To the Song Dynasty in China during the years 960 to 1279

·      1261 Middle Dutch manuscript of the Flemish poet Jacob van Maerlant's Boeck Merlijn mentions a golf like game

·      1297 to a town Loenen aan de Vec a town in the Dutch province of Utrecht 

·      In December 1650, the settlers of Fort Orange (near present-day Albany, New York) played the first recorded round of kolf (golf) in America

·      Kolf or Kloven a game of dutch orgins (from the word) was played with a ball approximately 5 inches in diameter filled with wound wool. They had leather covers stitched with copper thread. The balls were stuck with clubs made of elm or ash about 54 inches in length. The club head could be constructed of forged iron or lead cast on the stick. Wooden clubheads were sometimes covered with copper. The object of the game compares with modern golf; however, the target could be a hole, post, tree, or even a door. In the winter decorated posts were fixed in the ice, and according to seventeenth-century paintings small boats frozen in the ice often were used as goals.


Defining a Game: 1744-1899 

The 13 Articles of 1744 was the first of several early efforts to record the Rules of Golf and bring structure to a game that was already several hundred years old. Such rulemaking activity began in Scotland in the mid-18th century with the formation of golfing societies, such as the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith and the Society of St Andrews Golfers (later known as The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews), that had competitions where clear rules of play were needed for members. 


First Decisions on the Rules of Golf


Reflecting its own efforts to respond to queries from golfers and clubs, The R&A began recording its answers in a single “book of decisions,” and in 1908 it published its first official “decisions book.” Similar publications of decisions followed on a regular basis, and the USGA began doing the same in 1927. These decisions interpreting the rules became an increasingly important part of the rulemaking process and often, in effect, modified the rules, such as by recognizing new exceptions or dealing with circumstances not covered in the rules codes.

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