What is golf?
Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world these days, with millions of fans and players across the globe. It’s considered to be a highly skillful game, requiring plenty of physical and mental ability, as well as being a healthy and soothing pastime for plenty of people – why do you think retirees do it?! The game of golf requires players to use a variety of clubs to hit balls into different holes on a course in the fewest number of shots possible. Scoring is done per hole, and there are generally 18 holes in a game, however, some courses can be smaller, offering 9 holes.
There are different types of clubs used depending on the sort of shot you want to do. For instance, there’s a driver, a wood, a wedge, an iron, and a putter – each of them serving a different function. Professional players have lots of different clubs, and they are usually carried, on the course, by a caddy. Hobbyists will often have fewer clubs, but this can vary.
Where did it originate?
Where exactly the game originated is the source of debate, but most people believe it originated in ancient Scotland. It’s nice to think this is true because it makes sense in terms of the landscape on offer, and many of the best and most iconic courses to this day are found in Scotland. Golf certainly emerged in Scotland, with many playing a rudimentary form of the game, swinging a club at a ball. In fact, it was even known to be banned by King James II, who believed it was distracting his soldiers from their duties!
So, did the game originate in Scotland as many people like to think? Well, it’s certainly true that the first genuine golf rules were crafted in Edinburgh in 1744, and the game was played extensively throughout the country. But there are strong suggestions that the Scots were influenced by similar games, such as stick and ball games that were played throughout Europe. There are also similarities between golf and the ancient Dutch game of ‘kolf’ – a club game played on ice.
It’s clear that the popularity of golf has grown a lot since it was first invented, and there are several hugely popular international golfing competitions, such as The Open, and The Ryder Cup. There are also many golf clubs and courses all across the world, each with slightly varying conditions of membership. Golf pros, such as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have become global superstars, and President Trump himself is even a keen golfer.
Golf has also become much more of a presence in the world of international sports. In 2016 it made only its third appearance at the Olympic Games, and its first for over 100 years! With golf on the schedule for the 2020 Olympics, it looks likely the sport will grow in influence and popularity even more in the future, and we might see changes to the game that create new, more streamlined formats.