Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Early History of Golf Essay

The Early History of Golf Essay

Have you known before that the first sport, which was played in space, was golf? In February 1971, millions of people watched Alan Shephard, who is a spaceman, stroking a golf ball by a club on the moon’s surface (http://www.golf.com/almanac/history).

Today golf is a popular game in Europe, North America, and some parts of Asia; moreover, golf has become not only a national pastime in these areas but also an international sport. This sport is an ancient game, and it has a long history. To know more about its history, I provide some information, which describes the beginning of golf.

The Word "Golf"
Knowing the derivation of the word golf is a part of its history. According to the article The Origin of the Word Golf, golf is known as an acronym of “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden”; this was a result of banning the game in 1457 by the King James II of Scotland. Yet, it is assumed that golf comes from the verb “to gowff” which means in Scottish “to hit”, from “kolbe” which means in German a club, or from “kolven” which was a Dutch game similar to golf (Lock, 1988).

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The Birth of Golf
Until today, the genesis of the game golf is still a mystery, and there are many hypotheses about it. According to Malcolm Campbell in his article Battles Lost but a Game Won, One of the hypotheses is that the fishermen on the east coast of Scotland used to strike a small stone by driftwood to entertain themselves on their ways to home. Another one is that during the rule of Caesar a similar game to golf was played by hitting a feather-stuffed ball with club-shaped branches (http://www.geocities.com/augasta/6235/history). On the other hand, there is no argument that Scotland is the birthplace of the present golf. According to what is written in the book The Encyclopedia of Golf, there is a number of evidence, which prove that the Scots were the first people who introduced golf, as it is played now, to the world.

The Early History of Golf
Before I write the proof, which confirms what is written above, I should mention some of the claims that say the opposite. One of them is that the game golf comes from “kolven” which is a Dutch game like golf; it is played in winter on the frozen canals (Golf: A Royal and Ancient Game, 1875). Moreover, French say that golf develops from “jeu du mail” which was played during the 16th century; this game is just as golf in rules (Malcolm Campbell). However, the confirmation of saying that Scots are who bring this game to the world is in 1457, when King Jams II banned the game and decreed that “And that futeball and golf be utterly cried down and not be used.”; The writer of the article The Scottish Golf society writes “The king was concerned that too much practice on the links meant too little practice with bow and arrow.” The need to practice with bow and arrow at that time was to defense against the enemies such as England. Furthermore, golf was banned again in 1471 by King James III; it said “Futeball and golf be abused in time Cumming.” Also, for the third time golf was prohibited in 1491 by King James IV for the same reasons (The Encyclopedia of Golf, 1964 edition).

In the 16th century, golf was quickly expanded, and the quality people in the society played it. In England, King Charles advertised the game, and Mary Queen of Scots presented it to French. In deed, it was the royal effects, which supported the game to extant (Malcolm Campbell).

In the beginning of the 17th century, golf became a well-liked game in all Scotland, even though it was still not organized and did not have rules. During the century, the first club of golf was formed which was The Gentlemen Golfers of Leith.

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