Golf as we know it today originated from a game played on the eastern coast of Scotland in the Kingdom of Fife during the 15th century. Players would hit a pebble around a natural course of sand dunes, rabbit runs and tracks using a stick or primitive club.
Some historians believe that Kolven from Holland and Cole from Belgium influenced the game. The latter was introduced into Scotland in 1421. However while these games and countless others are stick and ball games, they are missing that vital ingredient that is unique to golf - the hole. Whatever the argument, there can be no dispute that Scotland gave birth to the game we know as golf today.
Golf's status and popularity quickly spread throughout the 16th century due to its royal endorsement. King Charles the 1st , popularized the game in England and Mary Queen of Scots, who was French, introduced the game to France while she studied there. Indeed the term 'caddie comes from the name given to her helpers who were the French Military, known in French as cadets.
The premier golf course of the time was Leith near Edinburgh. Indeed King Charles was on the course when given the news of the Irish rebellion of 1641. Leith was also the scene of the first international golf match in 1682 when the Duke of York and George Patterson playing for Scotland beat two English noblemen. The Gentlemen Golfers of Leith in 1744 was the first club and was formed to promote an annual competition with a silver golf club as the prize. Duncan Forbes drafted the club's rules, which were
* You must tee your ball within one club's length of the hole.
* Your tee must be on the ground.
* You are not to change the ball which you strike off the tee.
* You are not to remove stones, bones or break any club for the sake of playing your ball, except on the fair green, and that only within a club's length of your ball.
* If your ball comes among water, or any watery filth, you are at...