English 3 Honors
4 March 2011
Golf: A History
Golf often makes people think of boring, old men walking around a huge green course. This is not always the case. Many different people have been known to enjoy the game of golf. Where golf came from is bound to surprise some people who think it is just for elderly people. Golf is very interesting to learn about, including: the history, association’s tournaments, women in golf, and famous players.
The history of golf is widely discussed and no one knows for sure where it came from. It is said to have originated in early Roman eras. Though its origins are uncertain, many countries have early records of the game.
Women have always been excluded in most sports because sports are thought of as men’s territory. In golf, that has never been the case. There are no records of any sexism in this sport. Women have surpassed and played beside men since the beginning of the sport.
Some great golf players are infamous, such as Eldrick “Tiger” Woods, but some are never heard of unless you are a big fan. Other golf players have many wins and great talent. These players need recognition just like the widely advertised ones do.
Let’s start off with an overview of the game. The game of golf is played on a large grassy area with a small ball and a set of wood- and steel-headed clubs. (Golf Compton’s by Britannica 3-6) There are many rules, definitions, and basic etiquette techniques to the game of golf. The underlying principles to all the rules of golf are: play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, if you cannot do either, do what is fair. The side which is entitled to play first from the teeing ground is said to have the “honor”. Also, “if a referee has been appointed by the Committee, his decision is final.” (Watson 11, 26, 58) The governing body of golf in the United States is the United States Golf Association, whose headquarters are in Far Hills, New Jersey (Tournament Golf and Champions 1-4). The world hall of fame is located just outside St. Augustine, Fl. This hall of fame is unusual because it has both men and women honored there.
One of the many legends regarding the origin of golf is about a simple herdsman who, while walking along riverside dunes, hit a spherical stone with his staff and accidentally rolled it into a rabbit hole. Later on the stones were substituted by gutta-percha balls, rabbit holes with artificial ones, and staffs with specially designed clubs.
The true origin of golf has never been clearly proven. The Romans had played a game similar to golf with feather-stuffed balls and club-shaped branches. Later, a more resilient “gutty” ball replaced the feather-filled balls. The first permanent golf club in North America was founded in 1873. (1-25) “St. Andrews, one of the oldest golf clubs in the United States, was established as a 3-hole layout in 1888 at Yonkers, N.Y. Its founders were known as the “Apple Tree Gang” because of the many apple trees on their course, which was extended to 6 holes on a cow pasture. 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, Ill., in 1893.” (Early History 25-31) An early record of golf institutions are from Scotland, but the game was banned in the 1940’s because it detracted from the time spent on archery, which was a vital defense effort. (Early History 8-10). “Nothing is known about the early game's favorite venues on the European continent, but in Scotland golf was first played on seaside links with their crisp turf and natural hazards. Only later in the game's evolution did play on downs, moorland, and parkland courses begin” (Golf 1997 15-18). Golf became firmly established in Great Britain when James the IV of Scotland was attracted to the sport (Early History 15-17). Many golf associations have been formed over the years and have their...