The origins of golf

[Q]Golf combines two favorite American pastimes: taking long walks and hitting things with a stick.[/Q] P.J. O’Rourke

Golf has legions of loyal fans not only in America but also across the globe. This sport, which is played with a stick (known as club) and a golf ball, is enthusiastically viewed by millions of Americans.

But are you aware of the origin of this sport? Do you know who were the first players of Golf?

The history of golf makes for an interesting reading. Most historians state that the game of golf has its roots in Scotland. The game was played by the fishermen who lived on the east coast of Scotland. The game was a huge rage among the residents of the Fife coastal town of St Andrews. Lore has it that the fishermen used to play the game to amuse themselves as they returned home after doing with their fishing activities.

The topography of Scotland too played a pivotal role in increasing the popularity of the game. The presence of natural rolling links land provided the fishermen an ideal ground to hit the pebbles around the sand dunes with the help of a stick. However, back then, golf was known as ‘Gowf’. The game had the entire population of Scotland under its sway. In fact, the natives began to neglect other sports such as archery, which did not go down well with the administration, as archery was regarded an important war skill. And soon King James II of Scotland issued a decree in 1452 ordering a complete ban on golf or gowf.

It was in the year 1502, when the ban was, finally, lifted by King James IV of Scotland, who too fell for the charm of golf. King James IV was the first person to have made recorded purchase of golfing equipment, including golf clubs. The popularity of golf reached dizzying heights after receiving royal patronage.

Soon, the golf fever crossed the boundaries of Scotland and reached neighboring European countries including England. The evidence of this fact is found in a letter written by Queen Catherine of England to Cardinal Wolsey, where she makes a special reference to the rising fame of golf in England.

Golf, thus, had a humble beginning in the scenic landscape of Scotland. However, the sheer mental strength and grit that it demands meant that golf reached the upper echelon in the world of sports.

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Sports Pundit staff writer
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