History of Golf

History of Golf - 1400-1800

Welcome to the early history of golf.  In 1567 Mary Queen of Scots is the first female to been seen playing golf.  Unfortunately, no one heard anything about women golfing again until the 1800s.

1400 - 1500's

  • 1421 – A Scottish regiment aiding the French against the English at the Siege of Baugé is introduced to the game of chole. Hugh Kennedy, Robert Stewart and John Smale, three of the identified players, are credited with introducing the game in Scotland.
  • 1457 – Golf, along with football, is banned by the Scots Parliament of James II to preserve the skills of archery. Golf is prohibited on Sundays because it has interfered with military training for the wars against the English.
  • 1470 – The ban on golf is reaffirmed by the Parliament of James III.
  • 1491 – The golf ban is affirmed again by Parliament, this time under James IV.
  • 1502 – With the signing of the Treaty of Glasgow between England and Scotland, the ban on golf is lifted.
  • 1513 – Queen Catherinequeen consort of England, in a letter to Cardinal Wolsey, refers to the growing popularity of golf in England.
  • 1527 – The first commoner recorded as a golfer is Sir Robert Maule, described as playing on Barry LinksAngus(near the modern-day town of Carnoustie).
  • 1552 – The first recorded evidence of golf at St. AndrewsFife.
  • 1553 – The Archbishop of St Andrews issues a decree giving the local populace the right to play golf on the linksat St. Andrews.
  • 1567 – Mary, Queen of Scots, seen playing golf shortly after the death of her husband Lord Darnley, is the first known female golfer and as the “Mother of Golf”. She coined the term “caddies” by calling
  • 1589 – Golf is banned in the Blackfriars Yard, Glasgow. This is the earliest reference to golf in the west of Scotland.
  • 1592 – The Royal Burgh of Edinburgh bans golfing at Leith on Sunday "in tyme of sermonis." (Eng: sermons)

1600 - 1800s:

  • 1618 – Invention of the featherie ball.
  • 1621 – First recorded reference to golf on the links of Dornoch (later Royal Dornoch), in the far north of Scotland.
  • 1641Charles I is playing golf at Leith when he learns of the Irish rebellion, marking the beginning of the English Civil War. He finishes his round.
  • 1642 – John Dickson receives a licence as ball-maker for Aberdeen.
  • 1659 – Golf is banned from the streets of Albany, New York-the first reference to golf in America.[dubiousdiscuss]
  • 1682 – In the first recorded international golf match, the Duke of York and John Patersone of Scotland defeat two English noblemen in a match played on the links of Leith.
  • 1687 – The student diary of Thomas Kincaid includes his Thoughts on Golve, and contains the first instructions on playing golf and an explanation of how golf clubs are made.
  • 1721 – Earliest reference to golf on Glasgow Green, the first named course in the west of Scotland.
  • 1724 – "A solemn match of golf" between Alexander Elphinstone and Captain John Porteous becomes the first match reported in a newspaper. Elphinstone fights and wins a duel on the same ground in 1729.
  • 1735The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh is formed.[1]
  • 1743 – Thomas Mathison's epic The Goff is the first literary effort devoted to golf.
  • 1744 – The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers is formed, playing at Leith links. It is the first golf club.
  • 1754 – Golfers at St. Andrews purchase a Silver Cup for an open championship played on the Old Course. Bailie William Landale is the first champion.
  • 1759 – Earliest reference to stroke play, at St. Andrews. Previously, all play was match.
  • 1761 – The Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society of Edinburgh is formed.[2]
  • 1764 – The competition for the Silver Club at Leith is restricted to members of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.
  • 1766 – The Blackheath Club in London becomes the first golf club formed outside Scotland.
  • 1767 – The score of 94 returned by James Durham at St. Andrews in the Silver Cup competition sets a record unbroken for 86 years.
  • 1768 – The Golf House at Leith is erected. It is the first golf clubhouse.
  • 1773 – Competition at St. Andrews is restricted to members of the Leith and St. Andrews societies.
  • 1774Thomas McMillan offers a Silver Cup for competition at Musselburgh, East Lothian. He wins the first championship.
  • 1780 – The Society of Golfers at Aberdeen (later the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club) is formed.
  • 1783 – A Silver Club is offered for competition at Glasgow.
  • 1786 – The South Carolina Golf Club is formed in Charleston, the first golf club outside of the United Kingdom.
  • 1788 – The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers requires members to wear club uniform when playing on the links.
  • 1797 – The Burntisland Golf Club is formed.
  • 1806 – The St. Andrews Club chooses to elect its captains rather than award captaincy to the winner of the Silver Cup. Thus begins the tradition of the Captain "playing himself into office" by hitting a single shot before the start of the annual competition.
  • 1810 – Earliest recorded reference to a women's competition at Musselburgh.
  • 1824 – The Perth Golfing Society is formed, later Royal Perth (the first club so honored).
  • 1826Hickory imported from America is used to make golf shafts.
  • 1829 – The Dum Dum Golfing Club, later Calcutta Golf Club (and later still Royal Calcutta) is formed.[3]
  • 1832 – The North Berwick Club is founded, the first to include women in its activities, although they are not permitted to play in competitions.
  • 1833 – King William IV confers the distinction of "Royal" on the Perth Golfing Society; as Royal Perth it is the first Club to hold the distinction.
  • 1834William IV confers the title "Royal and Ancient" on the Golf Club at St. Andrews.
  • 1836 – The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers abandons the deteriorating Leith Links, moving to Musselburgh.
  • 1842 – The Bombay Golfing Society (later Royal Bombay) is founded.
  • 1844 – Blackheath follows Leith in expanding its course from five to seven holes. North Berwick also had seven holes at the time, although the trend toward a standard eighteen had begun.
  • 1848 – Invention of the "guttie," the gutta-percha ball. It flies farther than the feathery and is much less expensive to make. It contributes greatly to the expansion of the game.
  • 1868 – The Bangalore Club is formed.

Watch for the next segment of Golf History from 1900-2000. Coming soon!