Golf in its crudest form is thought to have its origins in the 1st century BC.The Romans played a game of paganica, in which participants used a bent stick to hit a leather ball stuffed with feathers.
However, this is disputed by other historians who cite chuiwan (“chui” means striking and “wan” means small ball) as the progenitor, a Chinese game played between the eighth and 14th centuries.
A Ming Dynasty scroll dating back to 1368 entitled “The Autumn Banquet” shows a member of the Chinese Imperial court swinging what appears to be a golf club at a small ball with the aim of sinking it into a hole. The game is thought to have been introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages. Another early game that resembled modern golf was known as cambuca in England and chambot in France.
This game was, in turn, exported to the Low Countries, Germany, and England (where it was called pall-mall, pronounced “pell mell”)
Some observers, however, believe that golf descended from the Persian game, chaugán. In addition, kolven (a game involving a ball and curved bats) was played annually in Loenen, Netherlands, beginning in 1297, to commemorate the capture of the assassin of Floris V, a year earlier.
The modern game originated in Scotland, where the first written record of golf is James II’s banning of the game in 1457, as an unwelcome distraction to learning archery.To many golfers, the Old Course at St Andrews, a links course dating to before 1574, is considered to be a site of pilgrimage.
Golf is documented as being played on Musselburgh Links, East Lothian, Scotland as early as 2 March 1672, which is certified as the oldest golf course in the world by Guinness World Records.The oldest surviving rules of golf were compiled in March 1744 for the Company of Gentlemen Golfers, later renamed The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which was played at Leith, Scotland.
The world’s oldest golf tournament in existence, and golf’s first major, is The Open Championship, which was first played on 17 October 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club, in Ayrshire, Scotland.
Prestwick Golf Club