History of Golf
The game of golf which today is enjoyed by men , women, children, royalty and commoners alike is clothed within misty origins that take us back centuries. It was however, during the Eighteenth Century that organisation came to the game of golf. As it's popularity increased Clubs, such as the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith, devoted exclusively to the game of golf where formed.
The common practice of these clubs was, as today, to hold competitions. For this purpose a silver ball attached to a silver club was purchased and on it was inscribed the date and name of the competition winner. This winner would also become the captain of the club for the following year.
As these new founded Clubs were also a meeting place for socialising it seems rather appropriate that the most coveted trophy of the modern age should be The Claret Jug which is presented to the winner of The British Open Championship.
Initiated in 1860 at the Prestwick Golf Club it was, as it is today, one of the major competitions within the game.
The origins of the game of golf may well be a mystery but few would argue that the true home of golf is Scotland.
Developed over the years on her seaside links courses she has left her mark on all aspects of the game.
From providing great players, outstanding golf course designs around the world, true ambassadors and teachers of the game to people around the world, to providing the rules and regulations that now govern the ancient and noble game we call golf.
With organised golf competitions came the need for a common agreement on the way the game should be played.
The early rules where drawn up by Gentlemen Golfers of Leith in 1744 .
Known as the "Articles of Laws in Playing Golf" they went only a certain way in uniforming the game for, unfortunately, as new clubs developed they looked to the Articles for guidance but still persisted in drawing up their own rules thus causing confusion of the greens.
This state of confusion was to continue until 1897 when the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews was given the task, by leading golf clubs of the day, of compiling a uniform code of rules. This they did and with some measure of success but as golf continued to spread at a phenomenal rate, not only in Great Britain but around the world the need for greater uniformity increased.
The outcome is that the modern game of golf now requires all players, professional and amateur and worldwide competitions to be played under the rules and regulations that have been set down by the Joint Decisions Committee.
Formed by the Royal & Ancient and the USGA, the governing body of American golf, to establish the required uniformity the Committee revises and publishes the "Decisions on the Rules" each year. First appearing in 1984 it has marked a significant breakthrough in cooperation and understanding of the modern game.
The pastimes of the Scots over the centuries has today become the passion of millions of people around the world.
Its appeal no longer just within the realms of players but also with the untold numbers that watch the game as a spectator sport.
What has caused this popularity?
Without doubt the main reason has to be that throughout the centuries golf has remained a dignified and honest sport that epitomises the essence of fine manners, good taste and humour. It is also a sport that poses the ultimate challenge.
A true test of character for it is undoubtedly true that to cheat at golf is to cheat no one but oneself.
As a sport it has managed to retain its dignity and traditions even through the upheavals of our turbulent lives.
Managing to give a sense of stability in an ever changing world.
Time spent on a golf course today promises us the past, present and future. Stability that most people crave.
A great leveler, thanks to the unique handicap system that is operated within the game of golf.
It is possibly the only game, past, present or future that theoretically offers the opportunity for amateurs and professionals alike the chance to play together with the same chance of winning.
What other sport can claim the same?
It is no wonder that with the development of modern golf clubs, the rubber ball and the building of numerous golf courses all of which have brought the financial cost of the game within the reach of the average person that Golf has come into its own as the peoples sport.
Not only a game for playing but for spectating offering the spectator a chance to lose themselves for a short time in the ability of their chosen golfer and watching with awe and admiration as the ball is struck honestly on the centre of the clubface with a driver and then soar like a bird from the tee against a backdrop of blue sky, only to fall once more onto a green fairway far below.
For those spectators fortunate enough to follow their superstars around the golf course they benefit from fresh air, exercise and the camaraderie that is inspired by the game of golf.
However, for those millions of people around the world that are unable, for one reason or another, to follow on foot the joys and tribulations of their chosen superstars today's television coverage of the
Major Tour Events and Competition means that they to can sample the delights of the game we call GOLF!
So how do we sum up ?
What better way than with Sir Winston Churchill who was reported to have said about the aim of Golf -
" to hit a very small ball into an even smaller hole, with weapons singularly ill designed for the purpose."
That it may well be but we must also say that Golf is an exceptional sport, one that is for everyone in today's world,
young or old - male or female - royal or commoner - player or spectator - the ancient game of yesteryear that remains firmly in our lives today.
There not only to enjoy but to learn from its age old traditions of fair play, courtesy, honesty and selflessness.