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A Brief History Of Golf

When looking at a brief history of golf, it is useful to know that the origins of the game itself are not really that clear. Back in Roman times, the Romans played a game that somewhat resembled golf. In this game they used club shaped branches to strike a feather-stuffed ball. It is thought that the Dutch playing a similar game on their frozen canals about the 15th century and other cross-country variations were popular in France and Belgium around this time too.

In 1457 golf was banned in Scotland because it interfered with the practice of archery, which was vital to the defense effort. But in any event the Scottish people continued to brave the opposition by playing the game on seaside courses called links. In fact Scotland is the home of the world's oldest golf course, St. Andrews, which was first used in the 16th century.

Golf became established in Great Britain by the 17th century when James VI of Scotland, later James I of England, first played the game. Following on from this, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews, was founded in 1754. Shortly after this and during the early 1800s the gutta-percha ball, replaced the feather-filled ball that had been used for centuries and in 1860 the first British Open was played at Prestwick, Scotland which was open to both professional and amateur players.

The first permanent golf club in Canada was the Royal Montreal Club, which was founded in 1873 and St. Andrews, one of the oldest golf clubs in the United States, was established as a 3-hole course in 1888 at Yonkers, N.Y. Following on from this, during the next few years numerous 6-, 8-, 9-, and 12-hole courses were opened in the East. The first 18-hole course in the United States, the Chicago Golf Club, was founded near Wheaton, Illinois, in 1893.

The governing body of golf in the United States is the United States Golf Association (USGA), was founded in 1894. The organization rules on ball and club specifications and such regulations as hazards and scoring. In addition, the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) was founded in 1916 and this Association conducts the PGA and PGA Senior tournaments and Ryder Cup competition between members of the American and British PGAs.

Submitted by:

Keith Kingston

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