Golf originated in Scotland and was temporarily banned by King James II in 1457. It spread to other countries with the help of royalty, and became a mass-produced sport during the Industrial Revolution. Golf courses offer beauty, exercise, technical challenge, and social opportunities for all ages and genders.
If it seems like more people enjoy golf today than ever before, it might come as a surprise to look back on its history. Golf originated in Scotland, where King James II temporarily banned it in 1457 because his army lacked military training, obsessed with the game. At that time golf was played with sticks and stones in the natural landscape.
In the 16th century, the game of golf left the Scottish shores for other countries. King Charles I of England and Mary Queen of Scots are credited with spreading golf in England and France respectively. Mary Queen of Scots had French military cadets who assist her in the game, called “caddy”. The term has stuck around today, and those who love golf know that a caddy doesn’t just look after golf clubs, but is an advisor who helps a golfer choose the right club and plan technical shots.
While golf was a game for royalty in its early history, with the Industrial Revolution, golf clubs and balls became mass-produced and cheap enough for the masses. In the mid-1800s national and international golf championships were established in countries from England to India and the United States, and in 1900 golf became an Olympic sport.
Today’s golf enthusiasts love golf for many reasons. The rolling fields are landscaped not only for technical challenge but also for beauty. Trees and lakes provide aesthetic pleasure and a natural environment for animals, including birds, squirrels, fish, and in some states like Florida, even alligators. In an era of crowded cities and suburbs, the breezy, open-air golf course is a tonic.
Besides the pleasant serenity of a golf course, people also love golf for the exercise. The courses are 18 holes and can be long or short to suit different skill levels. Short courses can be easily navigated, while many opt for an electric golf cart on long courses. Even so, a golfer has to walk from cart to ball for every shot, which equates to a good deal of exercise. The swing also works different muscles in the upper body.
People also like golf because of the challenge. While it may seem like an easy game, it is highly technical. Getting the swing right makes all the difference in sailing the ball off the tee. Putting on the green requires an opposing skill set that includes a keen eye, choosing the right line, and applying the right amount of force.
Finally, many people like golf because it’s a social game. Often called “the gentleman’s sport,” women also enjoy golf because it’s a non-contact sport that almost anyone can play with a little practice. Whether competing for titles in local or international tournaments, or playing for pleasure on a lazy afternoon, golf is a sport that has much to offer for all ages and both genders. Give it a try and you might find that you enjoy golf too.