The history of golf dates back centuries, but is still relevant for beginners and pro golfers today.
Ever been in a situation where the conversation suddenly turned towards the history of golf? You might have a vague interest in it, but when faced with questions it’s hard to speak facts at the drop of a hat. Many people take pride in showing off their knowledge on the subject. While it is not something everyone enjoys, it does pay to have a basic understanding of the history of golf.
After all, if you decide to take golf as a sport, it’s great to have some basic golfing history up your sleeve. And, it’s not just to impress others, but also know what’s kept this sport alive in spite of the elite tag attached to it. It's popularity among a select segment and associated high costs for equipment often render it misunderstood. To break that cycle, we take you on a journey to introduce you to the origin of golf, its relevance, and how it has evolved through the years.
A Bit About the History of Golf
To truly consider yourself a pro golfer, you'll need a grasp and understanding of the sport's beginnings and milestones. After all, this is a key component to becoming a master of your craft!
What is golf?
Golf is the sport played with a club and ball on an outside course. The game involves using the club to strike the ball in a series of small holes in the ground in the least number of strokes. It requires scientific knowledge of numbers that can determine the optimal stroke to be hit to achieve the outcome. The score is monitored on a scorecard, and the established total helps declare the best player and winner among all.
Where was golf invented?
The origins of golf trace their roots to King James II of Scotland. While there are some disputes on the exact origin story, as per facts and records, Scotland is where the game began. Here, it continued to develop over many centuries until proper rules were set in Edinburgh for the official competition.
When did it originate?
While not in its current form, the basics of golf began in 1457 with a feathery ball and tree branches as clubs. In 1860 the first official British Tournament was held which continues to this date. In 1893, the first 18-hole course at The Chicago Golf Club in Illinois was set up.
Benefits of Playing Golf
Playing any sport has many benefits, the primary one being activity and having good well-being. Likewise, golf has the added benefits of reducing stress, improving overall physical and mental health, and mastering different techniques that help you in decision making.
Most often, people use golf for networking and interacting with others. Thus, involvement in the game has added social benefits that allow for healthy competition with others and camaraderie.
How has golf evolved?
The evolution of golf includes the growth of golf as a game, the technique, the shape, material, and size of clubs and also golf balls. The method started with five holes in the 1700s and switched between 5 to 7 and 12 and 25 holes in 1800s.
Another factor that has seen an evolution is the mass acceptance of golf as a sport. Earlier, played by an elite few, it has opened doors for broader recognition and better interaction among amateurs with a golf background and advanced golf players.
Who were the early users?
Predominantly a 'gentlemen only, ladies forbidden' sport, early adopters included females albeit in the minority. However, as college sports became prominent, the passive women’s game also saw equal participation of females.
Women in Golf
Early women’s golf was played with an equal enthusiasm over the years. Competitive women’s golf came into force in 1957. 1960 saw the return of the LPGA. Take a look at the annual amateur’s ladies golf. The senior LPGA championship has been introduced which celebrates the long association with women in golf.
Popular Tournaments Over the Years
Many golf tournaments are played at regional, local, and international levels. However, the four major tournaments that have emerged are the U.S. Open, the British Open, the PGA Championship, and the Masters. While the U.S. Open happens in June, the British Open happens in July on different courses. The Masters event is held in April in Augusta whereas the PGA championship occurs in August.
The Relevance of Golf Today
Over the years there has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the impact of golf on society. Viewership is up. Hence, new people are entering into golf faster than ever before. There were as many as 107,000 graduates in Get Golf Ready which introduces new players.
Also, golf courses have better water and resource management. Throughout the history of golf, the sport has contributed as much as $3.9 billion in donations to charities. And, even though golf continues to fight with other sports to have an equal viewership, it continues to provide a better experience to golfers and exciting games for viewers.
Popularity Compared to Other Sports Throughout the History of Golf
Golf is a sport that has evolved out of tradition rather than a massive fan following. However, the popularity is not as much as other sports like football, tennis, baseball, basketball, and rugby. One of the many reasons is the limited availability of gear and limited excitement among the population every time there is a game. In spite of all this, over the years, there has been a keen interest in golf and celebrities that have frequently created the right noise with their performance and outstanding commitment to the game.
The History of Golf Around the World
If we look at the worldwide golfers, there are about 60 million people in the world who engage in golf at least once a year. In recent times, it is gaining ground in Japan, China, South Korea, and European countries like Russia and Croatia. IGF (International Golf Federation) notes that there are 118 member countries and the sport has gotten greater exposure since the inclusion in the 2016 Olympics.
Now, there is even more scope for golf lovers who would love to contribute to the sport in many ways. For instance, there has been an increase in men’s and women’s participation at different levels, involvement of local and international golf associations, and deeper corporate involvement about golf.
The History of Golf in America
Golf began in late 1657 in America and received momentum with the entry of golf equipment in the mid-1700s. The Savannah Golf Club is one of the oldest American Golf Clubs. Proper golf with three holes started in St. Andrew’s course in New York. Later it expanded to 9 holes and continued to attract an audience, expandeding mostly in the East. By the 18th century, Washington became an active participant in golf.
The USGA (The United States Golf Association) was the first amateur championship event. The first $150 prize was awarded at this event. As of today, the PGA or Professional Golfers Association governs golf in America.
Insights into the History of Golf Through Videos
Videos give concise information in a short time. What you also get is precise information for your needs. We have done the heavy lifting and present a few videos that give you insights into the science of playing golf, history of the golf equipment, and the evolution of the golf ball.
Science of Golf
In golf, numbers play an important role. The video explains how taking scores is the most important number that matters to players. While players are judged for their performance, fans check on names and numbers to see how their favorite player is performing.
The scorecard notes holes and yards. Therefore, for each hole, the yard length is noted. After nine recordings, the total is summed up. The scoring then continues for the next nine holes. Besides these, par means the expected score on the scorecard too. There’s more science than you would have imagined in golf. Take a look at the video that beautifully reveals more details on the science of golf
Evolution of the Golf Ball
The first 1590 wooden ball has now changed to suit the needs of the game. From the early feathery ball to gutta-percha altered the body of the golf ball. The sport even saw the Haskell ball which was made of elastic.
The smooth texture on the Haskell ball, however, led to a remake of the ball. The ball with 1.68 inches and 1.55 ounces came into being. The current ordered with different distribution patterns are some of the things covered at the end of the video.
History of Golf Equipment
Not surprisingly, the history of golf is not limited to the origin of golf but also the golf equipment. Take the example of the existence of the golf ball. Its growth changed from the gutty to the feather and the current version of the ball featured in the video. Not far behind is the tee history. From the loft and lie, to the golfer and his caddie, you also get to look at the swing of a pro golfer. Check the video to know more.
Golf Products for your Everyday Needs
Now that you're better versed in the history of golf, it's time to get out on the green. Try these golf products used by avid golfers for your every day needs.
1. Rukket Skee Pop Up Golf Chipping Net
It is one perfect gift for the newbie golfer or for if you want to start small as a golfer yourself. Also, you can practice indoors or outdoors and yet have many practice sessions without any significant baggage. The golf net is easy to fold and carry around.
Even though it is lightweight, it has three targets, and it comes with 12 balls to practice your shots. And, this golf chipping net is perfect for your business travel, holiday, or even if you like a few practice moments in office. Also, once you have finished practicing, you can easily store it in a small space without any hassle.
2. TecTecTec VPRODLX Golf Rangefinder
If you travel quite frequently then checking for the optimal time and place is vital to play golf. For this, a rangefinder is an apt choice. A high-quality rangefinder checks for the range to avoids overlapping subjects. Even better, it is portable with minimal weight.
The TecTecTec VPRODLX Golf Rangefinder runs on Lithium battery CR2 3V. Suitable for amateur golfers at an affordable price, this comes with flag seeker and PinSensor technology to measure overlap.
The waterproof body with monocular multilayer coating is perfect for a vacation without worrying about water ruining its functions. And, another great feature is the complete case to carry the rangefinder. The high-quality bag and strap let you take the rangefinder everywhere. The microfiber cloth is handy to keep the rangefinder and lens clean.
3. Garmin Approach S20 Golf Watch
It is one watch with which you wish you could monitor your work timings too. The Garmin golf watch has multiple benefits. First and foremost, you get a round analyzer that measures the short distance. And, the auto recording is a welcome feature to check the post-round analysis on your Gramin Connect account. Another great feature is the display that shows your activity on the course as well as off it.
Additionally, you get to see how many calories you burn, the time of the day, and the sleep hours. It also tracks the fairways, hit, and putts per round. Its quick connect to GPS is excellent as is the distance measured. Because the band keeper is secure, the watch always remains in place. Its high accuracy will be a pleasure for golf lovers.
4. IZOD Men's Classic Fit Golf Short
The IZOD Men's Classic Fit Golf Short is perfect summer wear for the golf enthusiast. Plus, it comes with polyester material, offering easy comfort with side hand and rear pockets. You also get gripper tape in the waistband. It comes in a variety of colors to choose from.
Best of all, these shorts begin with a superb price range and have a classic fit. Thus, you'll enter the golf course in style with these soft and relaxed shorts. Choose the right size from the range of 29W to 44W size. If you do plan on gifting an avid golfer something, you could consider these high-quality shorts that can be easily cleaned with a machine wash.
With a broader appeal than earlier decades, golf is now transitioning to a mass sport.
While small details of the sport have changed throughout the history of golf, popularity remains, if not increases.
Is there anything else you would like to know about the history of golf? Share it with us in the comments! For those who are taking baby steps in golf, don’t forget to share this list with them on your favorite social media channel.
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