History of Golf

100 BC Early forms of Golf traced back to the Roman game of paganica, in which participants used a bent stick to hit a stuffed leather ball
960-1279 Games similar to golf – called chuíw án — played with several clubs and a ball are being played in China during the Song Dynasty
15th Century The origin of the modern game is usually traced to Scotland. In the 15th century
1457 The Scottish Parliament passed several acts banning the practice of the game, along with football (soccer), because the two sports were interfering with archery practice, which was necessary for national defence. The first act was passed in 1457 by James II, King of Scotland, and it was reaffirmed in 1471and 1491.
1500 The ban on golf in Scotland is lifted and within two years King James IV of Scotland takes up the game himself.
1552 Archbishop Hamilton’s Charter recognises the right of the people of St Andrews to play golf on the Old Course.
1567 Mary Queen of Scots reportedly plays golf just days after the murder of her husband Lord Darnley.
1603 King James VI ascends to the English throne and his court begins playing golf at Blackheath in London.
1724 The first known reference to golf balls being stuffed with feathers. They were previously made from hard leather.
1729 The first known reference is made to golf in the USA with clubs being recorded in the estate of William Burnet, the Governor of Massachusetts.
1744 The first Rules of Golf are set out by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.
1754 The Society of St Andrews Golfers is formed. It became the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 1834.
1764 The Old Course at St Andrews is reduced from 22 holes to 18 holes. This became the recognised format for the game around the world.
1848 The gutta percha ball is introduced. It was a solid ball, made by softening strips of gutta percha, (dried sap of a Sapodilla tree) in boiling water and then moulding the ball by hand before placing it in cold water to harden.
1860 The first Open Championship is played at Prestwick and is won by Willie Park Senior of Scotland
1885 The secretary of Royal Liverpool Golf Club came up with the idea of an amateur event in which leading clubs were invited to send entrants. The Amateur Championship is played for the first time in 1885 at Hoylake. It is won by Allan MacFie of England.
1890’s Persimmon becomes a popular wood for making club heads.
1893 The Ladies’ Golf Union is formed in the UK and the British Ladies’ Amateur Golf Championship is played for the first time at Royal Lytham & St Annes. It is won by Lady Margaret Scott of England.
1894 The United States Golf Association (USGA) is formed in New York. One of its most important functions was to serve as arbiter for questions of amateur status. The five charter members of the newly formed the USGA were the St. Andrew’s Golf Club of Yonkers, N.Y., Newport (R.I.) Golf Club, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., and Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Ill.
1895 1895The US Amateur Championship and the US Open are played for the first time at Newport Country Club, Rhode Island and are won respectively by Charles B Macdonald (USA) and Horace Rawlins (England). The US Women’s Amateur Golf Championship is also played for the first time at Meadow Brook Club in Long Island and is won by Lucy Barnes Brown of the USA.
1900 1900Golf is played at the Paris Olympic Games. Twenty two participants took part (12 men and 10 women) from four countries who competed in 36-hole individual stroke play events for men and women. The women’s Olympic champion was Margaret Abbot (USA) and Charles Sands (USA) was the men’s champion.1901 The rubber cored Haskell ball is introduced. It changed the way the game was played. The Haskell ball travelled farther than the old gutta-percha ball and cost considerably less because it could be mass produced. The game’s popularity surged in response.
1901 The first Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) is formed in the UK.
1904 Golf is played for the second time in the Olympic Games in St Louis. Only men’s competitions were staged. (A team event of 36 holes stroke play won by the United States of America’s team and an individual event was won by George Lyon from Canada).
1916 The PGA of America is formed and the US PGA Championship is played for the first time at Siwanoy Country Club in New York.
1921 The Ryder Cup is played for the first time between the men’s professionals of Great Britain and the USA at Gleneagles. It is won by Great Britain.
1922 1922The Walker Cup is played for the first time between the men’s amateurs of Great Britain and Ireland and the USA at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, New York. It is won by the USA.
1929 Steel shafted clubs are accepted by The R&A.
1930 1930Bobby Jones completed the Grand Slam of The Open, the Amateur Championship, The US Open and the US Amateur Championship in one season.
1932 ©USGA MuseumThe Curtis Cup is played for the first time between the women’s amateurs of Great Britain and Ireland and the USA at Wentworth. It is won by the USA.
1934 The inaugural Masters is staged at Augusta National. It is won by Horton Smith of the USA.
1946 1946The US Women’s Open is played for the first time at Spokane Country Club in Washington and is won by Patty Berg of the USA.
1950 The Ladies’ Professional Golfers’ Association (LPGA) is formed in the USA.
1953 The Tam O’ Shanter World Championship of Golf becomes the first nationally televised golf tournament in the USA.
1955 The LPGA Championship is played for the first time at Orchard Ridge Country Club. It is won by American Beverly Hanson.
1958 1964Representatives of 35 national amateur golf organisations form the World Amateur Golf Council. They agree to stage the World Amateur Team Championship with teams of men competing for the Eisenhower Trophy, named after President Dwight D Eisenhower. The event was staged at the Old Course in St Andrews and Australia defeated the USA in a play-off.
1964 A friendly match between the American Curtis team and France is expanded to invite other international teams to establish a Women’s World Amateur Team Championship. The trophy was provided by Mrs Espirito Santo Silva through the Portuguese Golf Federation. A total of 25 teams took part in the inaugural competition at St Germain Golf Club in France which was won by the home team.
1976 The Women’s British Open is played for the first time at Fulford Golf Club. It is won by England’s Jenny Lee Smith.
1980’s Metal woods made of stainless steel are introduced.
1994 The Evian Masters is played for the first time at Evian-les-Bains in France. It is won by Helen Alfredsson of Sweden.
2000’s Materials such as graphite, titanium, carbon fibre and tungsten are used to manufacture golf clubs.
2003 The World Amateur Golf Council becomes the International Golf Federation.
2009 The International Olympic Committee (IOC) votes in favour of golf returning to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
2010 The 150th anniversary Open Championship takes place on the Old Course at St Andrews.
2012 Work begins on the Rio 2016 Olympic golf course at Barra da Tijuca.
2016 Golf will be played at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro for the first time in 112 years.


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