There is still some disagreement over the ancient roots of the game of golf that has become popular worldwide. While most fans of golf and serious golf historians agree that the modern game originated in Scotland, some trace its roots back much further than that. Come along with me right now and learn a few highlights about golfâ€™s history, including references to its beginnings in Holland and the Roman Empire.
Using a club
The golf club is one of three key parts of the history of golf. In fact, the words â€œkolfâ€ and â€œgoffâ€ that appear in golf histories actually mean â€œclubâ€ or a similar instrument used for hitting or striking. These early golfers first used clubs fashioned from sticks or lumber to hit a rounded stone or pebble. One of the first clubs with a specific design was called a cleek.
The golf ball
For the first golfers, the object being hit was a rounded stone or pebble, probably found on the meadow or on the ground near the sea. But creative golfers soon began stuffing a tough leather pouch with chicken or goose feathers to create a ball. Then a packing material called gutta percha was shaped and the first â€œmodernâ€ golf ball was born.
A hole in the ground
The key ingredient in modern golf that separated it from the field games played in Roman times and even on the European continent was a rabbit hole. The gameâ€™s rural beginnings provided the object of hitting the ball toward and then into a hole. This innovation is Scotlandâ€™s great contribution to the game.
This term is sometimes applied to any golf course. But a true links course is at the seashore and near the mouth of a river emptying into the sea. The term comes from the area leading to the shore from a town. The vegetation was trampled down by men and animals. These cleared areas became some of the first golfing grounds.
The country club atmosphere
The Gentlemen Golfers of Leith in Scotland is recognized as the first club devoted to golf. A club member wrote some of the first formal rules for the game. Golf now has its home in St. Andrews, widely regarded as the ancestral home of the game.