Golf Clubs of the Past to the Present

by Guy Morris

Have you ever thought about when or where golf originated? Golf actually originated around five centuries ago. In fact, James II of Scotland had banned golf by an act of Parliament in 1457 due to the game’s interference with military combat drills. Historians and avid golfers generally agree that the Scots were the first golfers who became somewhat addicted to the game. However, who actually invented golf is still a matter of debate.

Some have suggested that bored shepherds became very skilled at knocking round stones into rabbit holes with their wood staffs. Turning such “entertainment” into a competitive game was seemed inevitable, especially considering shepherds at the time were all men who by nature tend to be quite competitive.

As early as the fourteenth century, various forms of the game were being played in France, Holland, Belgium and Scotland. As such, the debate as to golf’s origin is justifiably fueled by several countries not only knowing about golf but also playing it.

However, another fact we do know is that Scottish Baron James VI delivered the game of golf as it is known today. For years, golf was played on extremely rugged terrain where no upkeep was needed as opposed to the golf courses today requiring a significant amount of maintenance and upkeep. In the past, the “course” or terrain consisted of holes cut into the ground in areas where it was acceptably flat.

In 1744, a group of golfers from Edinburgh were the first to establish an organized golf club known as the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. Thirteen golf laws were drawn up for the club’s annual competition with the first competition including players from any part of Ireland and Great Britain.

An early golf club formed beyond the boundaries of Scotland, golf’s debatable origin, was the Royal Blackheath Golf Club of England which was established in 1766. In 1818, another golf club was founded on the Kersal Moor known as the Old Manchester Golf Club.

Golf clubs began to form in North America by the late 1800’s with the Quebec Golf Club and Royal Montreal Club as two of the first established. Golf did not resurface in the United States more fervently until 1888. But, Scotsman John Reid built the first course but not like the courses today. The course was a simple course of only three holes near in New York and, thereafter, the St. Andrews Club of Yonkes was built near this three-hole course but now set on a beautiful thirty-acre site.

Although slow at first, golf quickly became the new favorite pastime in America. Founded in 1891, the Shinnecock Hills was quite modern for its time as compared to some golf clubs. Before the century closed, though, North America saw more than a thousand esteemed golf clubs open.

The game of golf is interesting in terms of its historical value. The path it took to develop from the shepherds playing in the field to the breathtaking, impressive golf courses we are familiar with today leads it to be no surprise that the game is now one of the most popular pastimes throughout the world.

About the Author: