“He charged the ranks of the goblins of Mount Gram in the Battle of the Green Fields, and knocked their king Golfibul’s head clean off with a wooden club. It sailed a hundred yards through the air and went down a rabbit-hole, and in this way the battle was won and the game of Golf was invented at the same moment.” –J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
From the Highlands of Scotland to the manicured greens of southwest Florida, Golf has made its mark all over the world for over 600 years. What began as a simple game involving a pebble and a rabbit hole, has become one of the most popular sports in the world. Golf has created more than a community among its enthusiasts, it’s created a culture.
But where did it begin? How did it manage to last centuries?
Golf is one of the oldest modern sports in the world. It’s filled with a rich history, from Kings and Queens to Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.
15th century—the game of golf is originated on the eastern coast of Scotland in the Kingdom of Fife.
1457—Golf is actually banned in Scotland by King James II. Golf and soccer became so popular, the population neglected military training during a time of crisis due to potential English invasion.
1502—During the Treaty of Glasgow, the ban is lifted.
16th Century—Golf becomes even more popular thanks to royal endorsement from Mary Queen of Scots, who also introduced France to the game. King Charles I brought the game of golf popularity in England.
1682—the first International Golf Match takes place at the premier golf course, Leith near Edinburgh.
1744—the first club, The Gentlemen Golfers of Leith, is formed, promoting an annual competition.
1754—The St. Andrews Society of Golfers is formed to compete in its own annual competition.
1851—The Prestwick Golf Club, the precursor to the British Open, is established.
1894—the United States Golf Association (USGA) is established to regulate the game in the United States and Mexico.
1895—The US Ladies Amateur Open is inaugurated.
1900—Golf is confirmed as an Olympic sport. Golf balls also begin to be made with one piece rubber cored ball, basically guaranteeing an extra 20 yards.
1905—William Taylor invents the first dimpled ball.
1910—Arthur Knight introduces steel-shafted golf clubs.
1915—the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) of America is formed.
1946—the first Women’s Open is won by Patty Berg.
1951—The Ladies PGA is formed, replacing the Women’s Professional Golf Association.
There were also some pretty heavy hitters around the 40s, 50s, and 60s, including Mildred ‘Babe’ Didrikson Zaharias. Considered one of the greatest golfers of all time, the “Babe” won the US Women’s Amateur in 1946, the Women’s British Amateur in 1947 and the US Women’s Open in 1948, 1950 and 1954. She also won three Olympic gold medals, as well as a few world records.
Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player dominated the 60s and 70s, each winning almost every major golfing event around the world. In fact, Jack Nicklaus has an incredible record of winning four US Open’s, six US Masters titles, and five US PGA Championships.
Golf is an interactive sport using both strategy and strength. It’s no wonder it’s still being played today! Gator Golf Cars is proud to serve local courses and clubs with golf carts that keep the game going!