In terms of the sports modern society is used to, golf has one of the longest and most interesting histories. This is a sport that has been dominating the public conscious for nearly 500 years, and as with anything with roots in Medieval times, has been forced to adapt and change as the world around it does so too.
The first game of recorded golf was in 1456 in Edinburgh, Scotland. This, however, does not mean the Edinburgh game was the first time the sport was played, merely that it was the first time a person took the time to write down the events. In a period of low literacy levels, it is little wonder that some golfing historians say the game has social origins up to 200 years before the first recorded date.
The game itself was recorded in the archives of the Edinburgh Burgess Golfing Society, and can still be seen today. This confirms golf as a primarily Scottish game, which soon became popular throughout Europe and eventually the world. Much of the spread from Scotland is attributed to King James, who in 1603 became the first monarch of both Scotland and England, creating what we now know as the United Kingdom. Having grown up in Scotland, when King James became King of England following the death of his kinswoman Elizabeth I, the game came south with him. Golf obviously now has a worldwide appeal, yet the Scottish roots remain, with many famous courses still being played by world famous players in the northern country.
The foundation of golf is widely accepted to be the act, usually done by shepherds, of knocking stones into rabbit holes in Scotland during tedious watchings of sheep flocks. From these humble beginnings, the worldwide popular game we now know and love is believed to have stemmed.
All of the traits we associate with modern golf originated and were developed in Scotland. This includes the first 18-hole golf course, the first set of written rules of play and the first membership of golf clubs. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of Saint Andrews is a popular destination for golfing fans, due to their vast collection of documentation about the foundation of the game.
While some argue that golf has changed and developed from a basic game of hitting stones into rabbit holes to the cultural phenomenon it is today, others say simply: it’s still just about hitting stuff into holes. While this opinion may be crude, it is nevertheless truthful!