While the exact origin of golf isn’t known, we do know that it most likely originated in Scotland in the Middle Ages. Of course, the game was played a little different, but the basic concept hasn’t changed. Golf became more widely known in the 19th century, when it spread into the rest of the United Kingdom and the United States.
At its beginning, golf was played with a stick and leather ball. The rules were simple: the player to hit the ball the least number of times into a designated target several hundred yards away won. The game of golf was banned a few times in the 1300s and 1400s. Leaders were weary of invasion and wanted the male population to practice military drills instead.
Golf was brought to America in the 1600s when the Dutch settlers arrived in New York. They are recorded as the first players of the game in the United States. Known as kolf, this game was played in fields and on ice. However, about a decade later, an ordinance was passed forbidding the game in the streets of the city because too many windows were being broken. They were also warned not to play on Sundays.
In the 1800s, clubs were established and by 1910 there were 267 of them. Then, the Roaring Twenties appeared along with an increased popularity in golf. In 1922, American Walter Hagen was the first U.S. citizen to win the British Open Championship. Though the Great Depression and World War II curtailed the number playing, it’s popularity picked back up.
After the war, by the 1980s, there were almost 6,000 USGA affiliated clubs. And that number has only grown. In 2013, there were over 10,600 USGA affiliated clubs, not to mention the several residential golf course communities that have been built.
Golf is a game of luxury. It’s a relaxing game enjoyed for many hours. The rules of the game have obviously evolved since it’s conception, but the passion and purpose of the game remains the same.