A Brief History Of GolfThe game of golf is believed to have originated from a game played on the rolling links lands of the Fife coastal town of St Andrews during the 1400's. Players would hit a pebble around the sand dunes of the natural links lands using a stick. Claims that the ancient Dutch game of kolven and the French game jeu de mail were actually forerunners of golf have been dismissed by historians. Neither had the single, most important element which makes golf what it is - the hole! How golf actually started isn't known. One of the most popular theories has it that fishermen on the east coast of Scotland invented the game to amuse themselves as they returned home from their boats.
'Gowf' soon became very popular in Scotland. So popular in fact that in 1457, the reigning monarch, King James II, persuaded the Scottish Parliament to ban it! He was worried that his subjects were spending too much time playing golf and not enough time practicing their archery skills. The King felt that this jeopardised the defence of the realm at a time when Scotland was preparing to defend itself against an English invasion. The ban was reaffirmed in 1470 and 1491 although many people largely ignored it.
When England and Scotland made friends again, golf was back in favour. In 1502, King James IV signed the Treaty of Glasgow which ended the war with England. Pretty soon the Scots were swapping their bows and arrows for golf clubs. In fact, the King even took up the game himself and actually paid a bow-maker in Perth to make him a set of clubs. It was this royal influence that helped the spread of the game throughout the country and, ultimately, overseas. The earliest centres of golf had associations with royalty or, in the case of St Andrews, the two other influential pillars of Scots society - education and the Church. St Andrews University is Scotland's oldest seat of learning and it was also a powerful Church stronghold. Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, was the headquarters of the court and golf blossomed around the city aided by royal patronage. Dunfermline and Perth also had royal palaces and they, too, developed strong golf connections as the popularity of the game continued to grow.
The First Rules of Golf