If you play golf, you know that it is a unique sport that requires skill, focus and strategy and perhaps you have some idea that golf has a lengthy history. However, what you may not know is that golf is an ancient sport with roots deep in Scotland. Unlike other sports such as football which are quite recent developments, early golf dates as far back as the year 1296. Back then, the sport didn’t even share the same name. Instead, the Dutch near Scotland were reported to have played a stick game called “colf.”
Thankfully, the name changed as the Scottish adopted the sport and even founded the first rules of golf in 1744. Though the original version was not as detailed as modern golf, the Scottish approached the sport with the same level of seriousness we do today. Rule No. 4 clearly illustrates this strictness by stating that “no golfer shall remove stones, bones or any break club except upon the fair green and even then, only within a club’s length of the ball”. Sound somewhat familiar to today’s rules?
Almost ancient history
Though golf is undeniably a very old sport, the most important dates in Golf History occur during the 1800’s when the sport’s popularity really took off. This popularity could be traced to the 1840s when a new method of making golf balls was discovered. Using the coagulated milk of the Malayan gum tree instead of stuffing the balls with feathers, golf balls were cheaper and easier to make which allowed them to be bought by anyone, even the working man.
As golf became a common activity for leisure, it naturally became more competitive. As a result, 1860 ushered the first Open Championship. One of the most notable name among these original champions was Old Tom Morris who, in 1868 at age 46, won the Open Championship making him the oldest victor of the title. From this point forward, the Championships multiplied, and the stakes grew higher as more and more skilled masters vied for the same title.
Modern golf history
As the history of golf evolved, the list of true masters only grows longer. One great golfer, Ben Hogan is renowned for winning the Masters, the U.S. Open and the Open Championship consecutively in 1953. In 1960, Arnold Palmer predicted his score of 65 before winning his only U.S. Open at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver, Colorado. Some other giants in the sport are Jack Nicklaus, a golfer credited with the most major victories in history. And Tiger Woods, the youngest man and first African-American to win The Masters in 1997.
All of these historical insights highlight the fact that golf has a long legacy of accomplished, highly-skilled athletes that would rival any other sports hall-of-fame. If you haven’t researched golf’s background, read up on it and discover what had to happen to shape the golf we know and love playing today. Better yet, hit the green and simply enjoy golfing! Celebrate golf’s detailed history in action by checking out the best golf courses in Los Angeles. One of the California’s finest, Calabasas Country Club is here to offer your own excursion into history by offering a pristine, green course and friendly staff. Don’t neglect this sport’s distinguished legacy by just reading about it, come to Calabasas and celebrate all that golf has to offer!