It is possible that the first unofficial golf balls could have been little stones or rocks hit with sticks. The first official golf balls were wooden and used up until the 17th century.
The actual game of golf began back in Scotland in 1457. It was also in this time that King James II banned the game as it interfered with military training
The ban lasted for a few years. The signing of a treaty in Glasgow between England and Scotland lifted the ban in 1502. Queen Catherine of England referred to the popularity of the game in 1513, and Mary Queen of Scots became known as the first female golfer.
The first reference to Golf in America was in 1659 when it was banned from the streets of New York. The first Golf club originated in 1744 and was called the Honorable company of Edinburg Golfers. In that same year, a competition was played in Leigh, and the champion was awarded a silver cup paid for by the city of Edinburg. The name of the first champion was Mr John Rattray.
In 1764 the Royal and Ancient Golf Club was established as the world’s premier golf club. An 18-hole course was built, setting a standard for the game. The golfers were using clubs made from wood with shafts of ash. Feathers were stuffed in leather creating lighter golf balls.
The popularity of the game exploded to many countries. It spread to Ireland, many parts of Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Singapore. The United States Golf Association (USGA) came into being in 1894 regulating the game there.
Today, it is the golf courses that reflect the history of the game. Many courses are presented with beautiful landscapes, water ponds, sandpits and parklands.
India has the oldest Golf Club outside of Great Britain. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club originated in 1829, and the Royal Bombay Golf Club came about 12 years later. The two clubs made it possible for many in East Asia to enjoy the game.
The essence of golf is determined by how the ball is hit and directed. In 1848, Dr Robert Adams started creating golf balls out of gutta, and it brought a groundbreaking change to the game. More people joined the game of golf as it became more economical to them.
The introduction of the golf tee, in 1899, was instrumental in increasing the popularity of the game. The design of a new ball at the beginning of the 20 th century also introduced a new era. It was easier to hit and went much further than the gutty. Many women children and senior men started to play the game .
Throughout history, many powerful, talented and disciplined players emerged. Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, and Tiger Woods are some of them. By the turn of the 21st century, professional golf was recognised worldwide with players competing internationally.