There is a lot of controversy as to who invented golf. Historically, there have been numerous similar sports throughout the world, similar to golf, making it harder to pinpoint its origins.
The question of who invented golf is hard to answer as there were a lot of sports that were practiced in different parts of the world with similar characteristics.
But, who invented golf then?
The debate about who invented golf is long and complicated. Many theories propose different cultures or people who came up with the version of golf we play today.
Some of the most influential claims for its invention are Scotland, Portugal, China, Ancient Greece. But did any one of them invent the game?
Consensus in most of the world on who invented the golf gives credit to:
Golf originated in 15th-century Scotland. The first golf record is King James II’s prohibition of the game in 1457 as a distracting nuisance to archery education. When King James IV became a golfer himself, he lifted the ban in 1502, with golf clubs first appearing in 1503–1504: “For golf clubbers and balles to the King that he plays it with.”
The Old Course at St Andrews, a links course dating to before 1574, is an altar to pilgrimage for many golfers. It’s the most famous course in the world.
The Golf Today
As we know it today, the modern game of golf was established in 1744.
A group called themselves The Gentlemen Golfers. After a visit to the Fife area from England, they decided to form a society that regulated the new sport developing since its time as a pastime for Scottish noblemen and gentry.
The Gentleman Golfers, based in Edinburgh, eventually became The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, who still exist today.
Due to the popularity that grew from these particular golfers who took the game outside Scotland who saw it become trendy, so much so who was deemed England’s national sport by 1834.
While Scotland may have made its golf history with its development and rules, golf is truly a global game. Since its humble beginnings, it has taken the world by storm as an extracurricular activity for wealthy young Scottish students.
Today, over 50 million people worldwide play some version of this beautiful game that initially came from Scotland.
Types of Golf Courses
Golf can be played on almost any course whose design comprises a series of holes, each with a pin or cup at the end.
There are three main types of golf courses that are widely used throughout the world:
Links courses are the historical and traditional golf courses that have been in existence for centuries. These links courses can be found worldwide from Scotland to the USA, Australia, New Zealand…
They are typically flat and surrounded by coastal grasslands with a sandy base or soil.
The terrain is often bumpy, with mounds of grass known as bunds helping prevent the balls from rolling too far away from them. Links courses contain few trees so players can see vast areas, which helps when playing blind holes like some found on seaside courses.
Parkland courses are pretty similar to links courses. Still, they differ slightly in that they consist of more trees and different types of grass. Parkland courses are typically more aesthetically pleasing than other golf courses, which can appeal to non-players and players due to their picturesque settings.
The design of these courses breaks away from the traditional Scottish links standard. It tends to be a little more adventurous with elevated tees, fairway bunkers, and water features, all of this course’s makeup.
There is often a higher level of maintenance at parkland courses, too, due to the tree roots needing extra care. This type, of course, has been popularised over recent years by some top professionals such as Tiger Woods. They choose to train on similar layouts during their off-season.
This type, of course, differs from others is it is designed to make it easier and quicker to play. Modern courses are usually smaller than other courses that allow golfers, including children and beginners, to play their round in less time. This type, of course, is perfect for those who perhaps don’t have much time during the day or week due to busy lifestyles and therefore need a faster alternative.
However, current courses can also be used to introduce links and parkland courses if they too prefer playing on shorter holes with fewer hazards. The use of modern technology has allowed architects great creativity when designing these types of golf courses, so there’s always something new around the corner!
Disability Golf Courses
Each year millions of people worldwide suffer from different disabilities such as loss of sight or limbs or are fighting against illnesses such as cancer. These courses are perfect for those who want to play but can’t due to their disabilities.
The Disability Golf Association was founded in 1994 by Gary Player to provide opportunities for disabled people to learn and enjoy golf just like everyone else.
There is a vast range of different disability options available throughout the world. Whether you’re suffering from loss of sense, restricted movement, lack of limbs, etc., there’s bound to be a course that will suit your needs perfectly!
Dessert Golf Courses
Yes, you heard it right! You can now play golf in the desert. The idea of the dessert course is to provide a unique environment with physical obstacles for players to avoid through individual green complexes and shots.
The courses are usually between three and ten holes with one or more par 3s or 4s. They offer players chances to score low with long irons/wedges and shorter irons/wedges into greens that are not always round. What’s even better than playing on a dessert course? And who invented the golf there?
Ocean Golf Courses
We have already covered links courses above, which are closely linked with seaside courses. However, the most significant difference is that instead of grass, most of these layouts are surrounded by sand and water. With this in mind, you can understand why waves can be so huge on some seaside golf courses during stormy conditions!
The design of seaside golf courses is similar to parkland layouts. However, more hazards are included in the structure, making it far more challenging for even the best players in the world. There’s also a high percentage of blind tee shots, meaning you must keep your wits about you on every single shot!
Why not try something different?
Golfing is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, especially since Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy made the sport more exciting than ever!
Elevated tees, bunkers, and water hazards can all be found at seaside courses. Not to mention changing wind conditions which change the entire course almost instantly!
Why not give it a try? Now you at least know who invented golf so that you can brag to your friends on the course!
If you are interested in finding out who invented the rest of the popular sports, check out our other articles!