Origin of golf

The history of golf is a mystery. Where and when the golf game started, we may never know. That's part of the charm of playing golf.

Before the middle of the 15th century, there are no recorded writings that mention golf as a phenomenon. It is known that golf was played in Scotland in 1457 because the then king, King James II, banned golf and football in a legal text. Those who, despite the ban, took the liberty of playing these games were punished and perhaps even imprisoned. The reason is that the king felt that the Games took too much time, time that could instead be devoted to practicing archery. This was very important because the English were threatening in the south and the king wanted to be able to defend his Scotland.

Div clubs approx. 1920

The banning of a game must mean that it is very popular and one can then guess that it has been played long before 1457, but no evidence that it would be so exists. However, there are many different games that have been demonstrably played before this date and that may be precursors to golf as we know it today. Many scholars and historians have investigated these and tried to find evidence that any of those particular games would be the origin of golf. The crucial difference between all these previous games and golf is that golf is started at a given tee and played over some obstacles and down a hole. None of the other games mentions anything about a hole in the ground.

The truth about golf's history is that when and how the game started is a mystery and so it will probably remain.

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