The Origins of Golf: The specific origins of the game are unclear but it
can be speculated that it began when children, using the crook end of shepherd
staffs, rummaged about in groves for walnuts. The walnut could have subsequently
be used as a ball, and the crook as a club, to play a fun, new game. Perhaps it
began with how far someone could hit a walnut and then adding the difficulty of
aiming the walnut into a hole in the ground. It also seem reasonable to
speculate that kids found it easier to play their game on a field, rather than
in a leafy walnut grove, and that someone had the good idea of covering a walnut
with whitewash, so it could be seen more easily.
Fact File: Who invented Golf? Date of Invention: 12th century *** Name of Inventor: Unknown *** Historical Period:
Middle Ages *** Category: Sport *** Country of Origin: Scotland ***
Fact 1: Who invented Golf? The name of the inventor of Golf is unknown
but it is believed to have originated during the 12th century in Scotland.
Fact 2: Who invented Golf? Prior to the invention of Golf by the Scots many
civilizations played their own versions of stick and ball games and evidence of
their sports can be found in paintings in ancient tombs and references in early
Fact 3: Who invented Golf? The ancient games, often played and depicted
with curved sticks have led to theories that they were playing a form of golf.
For instance the Romans played a game called "paganica" in which the players
used a bent stick to hit a stuffed leather ball. But paganica was a rowdy game
played with a large ball - not at all like golf but more similar to
Fact 4: Who invented Golf? Evidence of other ancient ball games, played
with a curved stick, include "Bu Da Qiu" in China, "Genna" in Ethiopia, "Beikou"
in Mongolia and "Keretizein" in Ancient Greece. The ancient civilizations of the
Romans, Celts, Olmecs, Aztecs, Toltecs, Incas and Native American Indians all
played games with bent sticks.
Fact 5: Who invented Golf? The common element of these ancient ball
games, that have led to comparisons with golf, was the curved stick and a ball.
The widespread use of a curved stick by so many civilizations originated with
the improvisation of games using a shepherd's crook or staff or crook, or curved
bones or cattle horns. The balls used were of varying sizes, all much bigger
than golf balls, and were played as boisterous team games involving numerous
Fact 6: Who invented Golf? But none of these ancient games were like the
game of golf, that aimed to drive a small ball into a small hole in the ground.
Fact 7: Who invented Golf? The sports that most closely resembled golf
were the game of Chole, which still survives in parts of Belgium and Northern
France, and Kolven a game that originated in the Netherlands. Both Chole and
Kolven resemble something like a cross between hockey and golf.
Fact 8: Who invented Golf? Whatever the exact origin of the game was it
is certain that golf was first played in Scottish fields, common land or in
coastal areas amid sand dunes, and these areas were then reserved as golf
courses or 'links'. A 'links' is the oldest style of golf course, that was first
developed in Scotland. The word "links" comes via the Scots Gaelic language
meaning "rising ground, ridge".
Fact 9: Who invented Golf? There is a common misconception is that the
word GOLF derives from an acronym for 'Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden'. The
word 'golf' actually derives from the Gaelic word 'Gowf' meaning "stick, club,
Fact 10: Who invented Golf? The ancient word 'gowf' is still retained by
the Loudoun Gowf Club in Galston, Ayrshire that takes its name from the private
Gowf field of the Loudoun family. The original Loudoun estate was established
near Galston in 1127 and covered 45,000 acres - plenty of room to dedicate a few
fields to the game of 'Gowf' when the game became fashionable.
Fact 11: Who invented Golf? The origins of the modern game of golf date
to Scotland in the 13th century. The first written record of golf dates to 1457
when a law was passed by King James II's Scottish Parliament banning ordinary
people from playing the game of golf (and football) on a Sunday because it
interfered their archery practise, which was compulsory military training to
prepare the country with the wars against the English. The ban was eventually
lifted nearly 50 years later, in 1502 when the Treaty of Perpetual Peace was
signed between King James IV of Scotland and King Henry VII of England.
Fact 12: Who invented Golf? In the same year, 1502, the accounts of King
James IV of Scotland detail the purchase of a set of golf clubs by from a bow
maker of Saint John's Toun (town), which was the ancient name for the city of
Perth in Scotland.
Fact 13: Who invented Golf? The skills of bow makers, with their expert
knowledge of working in wood and its strengths and weaknesses, would have
enabled them to make excellent golf clubs. However, ordinary players would have
initially carved their own clubs and balls from wood.
Fact 14: Who invented Golf? Depictions of golf can be found in a Medieval
manuscript (1520 - 1530), known as the 'Golf Book of Hours', a collection of
devotional texts illuminated by Simon Bening and famous for its depictions of
sports and pastimes. The manuscript takes its name from one of its illustrations
which shows an early game of golf.
Fact 15: Who invented Golf? For a long time, golf clubs were made of hard
wood and known by a number of different names that typically described how they
looked, such as ‘longnoses‘ for long range driving and ‘spoons’ for taking short
range shots. Wedges were called niblick clubs. Iron clubs were forged by
blacksmiths up until the late 1800’s.
Fact 16: Who invented Golf? Musselburgh Links, the Old Golf Course in
Musselburgh, East Lothian is generally recognised as the oldest golf course in
the world. Mary, Queen of Scots reputedly played golf on Musselburgh Links in
Fact 17: Who invented Golf? The Old Course at St Andrews in Fife is
considered by many to be the "home of golf" and the first recorded evidence of
at St Andrews is dated 1552. The Society of St Andrews Golfers who played at St
Andrews Links, founded the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 1754 and
introduced the first standardized rules of golf.
Fact 18: Who invented Golf? Wooden balls gave way to some extent to the
better controllable 'Hairy Balls' (leather balls filled with hair) which dated
to at least 1554 and were made by the 'cordiners and gouff ball makers of North
Leith'. The 'Hairy Balls' were prone to water damage and in 1618 the
'feathery ball' was invented. The 'feathery ball' contained enough feathers to
fill a Top Hat and despite its name was extremely hard and resilient. Producing
a 'feathery ball' was time consuming and a gouff ball maker could only
make 2 -3 balls in a day.
Fact 19: Who invented Golf? The game was introduced to the colonies of
America by the early settlers. The first reference to golfing in America was in
a 1659 when an edict by Dutch officials at the Court of Justice in Fort Orange
(the first permanent Dutch settlement in the New Netherlands, present-day city
of Albany, New York) banned the playing of golf in the streets of the
settlement. A fine of 25 florin was imposed on anyone who broke the law.
Fact 20: Who invented Golf? In 1682 the first golf caddy by the name of
Andrew Dickson carried the clubs of the Duke of York on the links of Leith. The
term 'Caddy' derives from the French word 'le cadet', meaning 'the boy'.
Fact 21: Who invented Golf? In 1786 the South Carolina Gulf Club was
established in Charleston and was the first golf club in America.
Fact 22: Who invented Golf? In 1848 the 'Gutty Ball' was invented Rev.
James Patterson of Dundee, made of gutta-percha gum, called ‘gutties’ which were
much cheaper and quicker to manufacture and began to replace the featheries. The
first 'Gutty Ball' was smooth but players noticed that the more the ball
became nicked and marked the easier it was to predict their shots.
Fact 23: Who invented Golf? Robert Forgan, the St Andrews club and
ball maker, produced a gutty with surface markings to enhance its aerodynamic
qualities and sold the first guttys with surface patterns in the 1860's.
Fact 24: Who invented Golf? The first book on golf instruction called
'The Golfer's Manual' was written by H. B. Farnie and published in 1857.
Fact 25: Who invented Golf? The modern golf ball, with a wound core, was
invented by Coburn Haskell in Cleveland, Ohio in 1898. The Haskell Ball
consisted of a solid core wrapped tightly with rubber threads that was covered
with a pitted layer of gutta-percha.
Fact 26: Who invented Golf? The United States Open was instituted in 1895
with Willie Anderson as the first winner. In the same year first 18-hole course
in the U.S. was opened in the Chicago Golf Club.
Fact 27: Who invented Golf? George Franklin Grant (September 15, 1846 –
August 21, 1910), the first African-American professor at Harvard, invented and
patented the first wooden golf tee in 1899, patent number US 638920.
Fact 28: Who invented Golf? The first time a dimple pattern was applied
to a golf ball was in 1905 patented by William Taylor in England.
Fact 29: Who invented Golf? Miniature golf was invented in 1930 by the
American inventor Garnet Carter (February 9, 1883 - July 21, 1954) and built the
'Tom Thumb course' on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee.
Fact 30: Who invented Golf? The first powered, self-propelled, golf car
was invented in 1963 by Merlin L. Halvorson.
Fact 31: Who invented Golf? In 1972 Spalding introduced the first two
piece ball, called the Executive. In the following year the graphite shaft was
Fact 32: Who invented Golf? The equipment used today is manufactured with
state-of-the-art technology using materials such as titanium, graphite and
steel. Different elements and requirements for maximum performance are taken
into account such as swing accuracy, weight distribution, durability, and