Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash
Golf is one of the oldest sports in the world. Since the time of Caesar to modern golf stars like Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, this game went through a lot of changes, but it endured all of them. While you can appreciate this game without knowing anything about it, having a few historical information in your sleeve will definitely help you develop true admiration.
Golf can be traced all the way back to Julius Caesar. Of course, this game was a lot different than today’s golf and was played with balls stuffed with feathers smacked around with tree branches. Song Dynasty (between 960 and 1279) also had a variation of the sport. The game we know today started in Scotland around 1457. Shortly after, golf was outlawed by King James II of Scotland, but people couldn’t stay away for too long!
In the 17th century, golf was a beloved pastime all over Great Britain. The first golfing tournament, British Open that’s still played today, took place in that time. After this, no one could stop golf from spreading all over the world. North America caught the fever and opened its first club in Canada in 1873 (Canada’s Royal Montreal Club). The first 18-hold gold course was opened after 20 years in Wheaton, Illinois.
The lower class certainly loved golfing, but there was one problem: expensive equipment. Early balls were made of feather-stuffed leather balls which were very expensive and complicated to make. In the 1600s, one ball could cost as much as $14, while today you can get a dozen for as low as $10. Early golf clubs didn’t differ too much, however. They were made of wood and iron but were used differently than today. Wood as used for playing and iron for getting out of difficult spots. Safety and protective gear was not widely used back then. Luckily, today’s athletes care much more about comfort, so you can find all sorts of brands to choose from. You can always consult a useful golf gloves review blog and get all the gear info you need. This gear can not only boost your comfort but also improve your grip and swing!
Women have been interested in golf since its beginning and soon they also got involved in the game. There are records from the Royal and Ancient Club that women took part in the game in the early 1800s and they got their own club in 1867 (the Ladies Golf Club of St. Andrews). In the States, women started golfing as early as men. Just after John Reid opened up the first course, he and his wife started playing mixed doubles.
In the year 1894, the governing body of golf started its work and was named the United States Golf Association. The current governing body we know today, the Professional Golf Association of America began to function in 1916. Back then (and today as well) events like the US Open and the British Open were allowed to be played by both amateurs and professionals since they were “open” to the public. However, soon some events only allowed professionals, like world championships—the Accenture Match Play Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational are just some of the examples.
In 1981, the name of the professional organization governing golf was changed to the Tournament Players Association Tour, and it was later changed once more to the Professional Golfers Association (GPA Tour) and that’s how we know it today.
Stars of golf
As golf continued to grow, develop and be practiced by more and more people, some big names started to emerge. At the turn of the century, one Englishman called Harry Vardon used to be the biggest star. To this day, he is the most successful golfer having won the British championship six times in 18 years. No other player ever reached his success. However, some of his rivals like J.H. Taylor and James Braid both came close with five titles.
While women’s golf never reached men’s level of fame, the game certainly has some big names. The first female golf star (and maybe the biggest to this day) was Mildred Didrikson Zaharias, also known as Babe. There were three major tournaments formed during her career and she won all three of them! She conquered the Western Open four times and topped the Titleholders and the U.S. Open three times.
Now that you know a little about golf and its history, you’re ready to hit the course yourself and try your hand at this timeless game. Good luck out there!
I’m a fitness and health blogger at Ripped.me, and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. I follow all the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life, and l love to share my knowledge in this field through useful and informative articles.
I’m not a golf fan, but I didn’t know it had such an old history. I don’t like golf due to elitism and because it needs too many resources and natural spaces, which makes it unsustainably ostentatious
It’s an amazing history isn’t it? The resources behind golf clubs are incredible to me