History Of Golf – The Gentleman’s Game

History Of Golf – The Gentleman’s Game


Golf today is synonymous with style, vision, concentration and determination. But how was it invented? Everyone likes to know a little history behind the mystery of something they love, and with golf, it’s no exception. There isn’t any concrete proof as to how golf was invented, but we dug a little deeper and found the earliest interpretations of the gentleman’s sport.

The beginnings of golf happened in Scotland centuries ago, probably in the 13th century. At that time, instruments were rudimentary, involving a stick and roughly made leather ball. Flemish poet Jacob Van Maerlant mentioned play a game using a kolf (club) in his work, Boeck Merlijn.

But legitimately, and according to the Royal And Ancient Golf Club Of St. Andrews, the word “golf” was coined by the Scots, from the Dutch word kolf that meant club, stick, or something handled to hit a ball into a hole.

Evolution Of The Golf Ball
The evolution of the humble golf ball.

Photo Credit

The first official mention of golf came from a decree by King James II of Scotland through the Act of the Scottish Parliament in 1457. He prohibited games such as golf and football, since it distracted participants from learning serious games like archery and weaponry affiliate activities.

It was in the early 17th century when golf gained its notoriety as a sport meant for the elite due to King James VI of Scotland playing with his son who favored the game as well. Their fascination with golf spread to other countries as well and soon the monarchs had a hobby that involved hitting a ball the farthest into a hole yards away.

As the game spread to other regions of the world, due to expansion and colonization, golf became more well known and loved. It has maintained its association with the well-off, and started being known as the “gentleman’s game”. Why? Because it doesn’t involve sweating, running or pushing like other sports of its caliber. It was meant for those intellectual beings who could make calculations and draw inspiration from physics before swinging and aiming.

Since the game has been passed down from generation to generation and has evolved greatly, it has still managed to maintain its authenticity and peculiarity. Golf has gained immense popularity in this generation and looks like it will continue to evolve with the times, though maintain its distance from other mainstream sports.