Although determining the origin of this sport is not an easy task, we will immerse ourselves in the history of golf to understand, a little better, how it has become what it is today.
There is No unanimity among experts when talking about how golf was born. Many determine their origin in the High Middle Ages in Scotland. However, others go back many centuries and relate this sport to the practice of a game in the Roman Empire.
Be that as it may, the truth is that games with stick and Ball have existed for millennia. Maybe golf is an evolution of one of them, or it may be the result of a combination of several. The history of golf is full of unknowns. What can be traced are some clues on which much of the experts on this subject agree. The first of these is that, indeed, the Romans practiced a game with a curved stick and a ball made of feathers that maybe the germ of what is now known as golf.
Moving forward in history, in the 13th century, there are records in the Netherlands of a game that was also played with stick and ball and was called “kolf” (“Palo” in Dutch). The similarity with the current golf goes beyond the name or equipment needed to play, as the game consisted of hitting a target with the smallest possible number of hits with the ball.
On nearby dates in France, there are records of a game similar to this one and later became popular the Paille-Maille, a game known in Spain as Mallo, similar to croquet and which may also have influenced what we now know as golf. References to related games with the game of golf do not cease: there is in Brussels and England in the 14th century, or in Flanders in the XV.
A Sport of Scottish Origin
Despite all this, the majority of experts agree in stating that the game of golf as we know it today had its origin in Scotland in the early 15th century, somewhere on the coast. In fact, the course considered to be the precursor of new golf courses in the Scottish course of Saint Andrews. Its topography made the terrain naturally suitable for the practice of this sport.
By this time, golf became one of the favorite sports of the population. So much so that there is even writing (which shows, for the first time, the word “golf” as we know it today) in which the King of Scotland, James II, banned the practice of golf in favor of archery. It took several years before his practice was allowed. Already in the 16th century, golf became a sport common among royalty.
Since then, references to this sport have been constant: the first golf clubs (such as the Royal Burgess Golf Society of 1735, or the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which was born only a few years later in 1744), the first club makers (William Mayne) or the first traditional tournaments (such as the one held in 1682 in Leigh), etc., are created.
In a short time, golf spread from Scotland to England and from there to the rest of the world.