The History of Golf


The game of golf has a long, rich history; it is, in truth, one of the oldest games around in the present day. As early as the year 1297, a golf-like game was played by the Dutch with a stick and a leather ball. Some scholars even argue that the game was truly invented in the Netherlands, not in generally-accepted Scotland. Some even say that a golf-like game was played in China as early as the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The game we know today, however, is still considered to be a Scottish invention.

Golf was not well met at first. In the year 1457, King James II of Scotland issued an act outlawing golf, as it supposedly distracted from military archery practice, with consequent bans being issued in 1471 and 1491. The game was once again banned at the end of the 15th Century by James VI. The opponents of Mary, Queen of Scots, used her golfing practices to criticize her, describing them as inappropriate for women.

However, despite James VI’s apparent opposition to the game of golf, he lightened up and had a set of golf clubs purchased for him. His son, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, and his courtiers took up golf. The game grew in popularity in this fashion until, in the 18th and 19th Centuries, the game began to find its way to England, France, and beyond. The game’s popularity spread like wildfire with the end of the 19th Century.

Suddenly, courses and clubs were being established all over. Golf clubs were being built at resorts. Tournaments, such as the age-old Open Championship and, eventually, the U.S. Open, Masters, and Players Championship, gained public popularity, and the USGA was founded, signaling the beginning of U.S. dominance of the game. Golf grew and became the beloved game we all know it to be today, thanks to the constant improvement of technology in clubs, balls, and other equipment. The game is still growing today; it is just now finding its way to Eastern nations, where the game is finally starting to take off. In turn, it is no surprise golf is being considered as a potential Olympic sport for the future. As we golfers know, there really is no game quite like it. And as any golfer who has visited the Grand Strand knows, Myrtle Beach is renowned for its golf courses—more than 100 in all.