Golf History . . . A Brief Review

Part 2 (Continued from The History Of Golf)

According to Golf History there were a number of games similar to golf which were played around and during the fourteenth century. These games were played by people in France, Scotland, Holland, and Belgium as well.

However, it was the Scottish Baron James VI, who brought the game of golf to England when he became King to the English throne in 1603.

Mostly the game of "golf" was played in areas such as large, flat, sheep pastures where the sheep kept the grass very short. Roughly-cut holes were placed within these areas to complete the basics of a "golf course". (There was also a few rabbit holes which were utilized for the game!)

People played the game of "golf" for quite a few years without forming a golf society or club. Then in 1744 a group of Edinburgh golfers formed a club they deemed the "Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers".

Depicted within golf history, golfers from parts of Great Britain and Ireland devised a series of thirteen "Golf Rules" that were sanctioned by the Society of Saint Andrews Golfers which was formed in 1834. The title of the Society was changed to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews due to influence of King William IV.

Golf History includes the history of golf rules

Beginning in the year 1735, 99 years prior to the formation of the infamous Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, we have prepared a timeline from that point forward as follows:

GOLF HISTORY - Timeline 1735-1899



The world's oldest golf club, "The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh" was formed during this year. The club is still in existence!


It was documented in this year of golf history that miscellaneous golf equipment was shipped from Scotland to the American Colonies for the first time.


The first known written "Rules of Golf" were documented by the "Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers", formerly known as the Gentleman Golfers of Leith.


A Silver Cup (trophy) was awarded to the first annual champion, John Rattray in an open competition played at Leith. The City of Edinburgh produced and paid for the "Silver Cup".


This was the first documented year when the use of forged metal was applied in the production of golf club heads.


The St. Andrews Society of Golfers is formed during this year in golf history. (This Society later becomes The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews)


A golf championship played on the Old Course at St. Andrews is won by Bailie William Landale. He was awarded a Silver Cup by the "Golfers at St. Andrews".


Prior to this year in golf history, all play was "match" play. The earliest-known reference to "stroke-play" is documented during this year.


Prior to this year, St. Andrews golf courses had lengths of twenty two Holes. During this year it was changed to 18 Holes.


The first golf club formed outside of Scotland, according to golf history was the "Royal Blackheath" near London.


A documented record of 94 was played by James Durham at the St. Andrews links. That record will stand for nearly a century!


According to golf history the first Golf Clubhouse was erected at Leith.


The first golf club in North America is established by a group of Scotsmen in Charleston, South Carolina. This action was led by Dr. Henry Purcell, dean of a local church. This golf club was the first documented club outside the British Isles.


Musselburgh Scotland sponsors the first known women's tournament.


Considered golf's first professional, Allan Robertson is born this year.


St. Andrews promotes the earliest known reference to a professional golf tournament.


Old Tom Morris is born this year in golf history.


Depicted within golf history, Ash or Hazelwood had been most commonly used for golf shafts prior to this year. Hickory imported from the United States begins to become the "wood of choice" for golf shafts.

Also in this year, a notice in the Montreal Herald is seeking Scotsmen for playing golf. It is the earliest documentation of golf in Canada.


The Royal Musselburgh Golf Club builds and utilizes the first "Hole-Cutter" for cutting holes into the green. The tool produces a perfect hole at 4 1/4 inches in diameter and five to six inches deep in the putting green. This size of hole will eventually be adopted as the worldwide standard.

Also in this year, according to golf history the oldest surviving course outside of the British Isles, The Royal Calcutta Golf Club is founded in India.


According to golf history the first machines for mowing golf course grass are designed and manufactured. Up until this year and beyond, most golf courses still use sheep to keep the grass short.


Depicted within golf history, the Perth Golfing Society has the distinction of "Royal" conferred to its name by King William IV, and it is the first Club to hold the distinction. It is now known as the Royal Perth Golfing Society.


Formerly known as St. Andrews, King William IV decrees that the new name for the club will be The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.


According to golf history, the deteriorating Leith Links are abandoned by The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, where upon they moved to Musselburgh.

Also during this period, Samuel Messieux at Elysian Fields records the longest drive to date of 361 yards with a featherie ball. The drive was on frozen turf and downwind.


The Rev. Roger Paterson introduces the "gutta percha" golf ball. It is manufactured from the sap of a rubber tree known as the gutta percha tree. It is less expensive and flies farther than the "featherie".


Young Tom Morris is born during this Year.


The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews opens their clubhouse for the first time during this year.


The Pau Golf Club in France is the first golf club in golf history to be established in continental Europe. The Royal Curragh becomes the first golf club established in Ireland.

Also during this period, a new rule is enacted that, in match play, the ball must be played as it lies or the hole be conceded.


Depicted in golf history, the first published book on golf instructions is written by Henry Farnie and entitled "The Golfing Manual by a Keen Hand".


The first national amateur championship and precursor to the British Amateur event, which is designated as the "Grand National Tournament" is played in Great Britain.

Also during this year, St. Andrews issues a new rule stating that a one-round match will be considered 18 Holes in length. This encourages other golf courses to be built to 18 holes in length as well.

Documented in golf history, the first golfer to break 80 on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Allan Robertson plays a record-breaking 79.


Considered to be golf's first professional, Allan Robertson passed away during this year.


The first British Open Golf Champion, Willie Park wins going away at Prestwick Golf Club.


The British Open changes the rules of entry to allow amateurs as well as professionals to compete on their golf course. This was a first in golf history.

Eight-time British Amateur and one-time British Open winner, John Ball was born during this year.


Three-time U.S. Amateur and one-time British Amateur champ, Walter Travis was born during this year.


Willie Park Sr. is the Men's Major Championship Winner at the British Open.


Old Tom Morris built the 18th green and added the current first hole in 1870 of the Old Course at St. Andrews.


Young Tom Morris scores the first recorded Hole-in-One.

Golf History has dates on the first recorded Hole-In-One

Born This Year

Coburn Haskell, inventor of the one-piece, wound-rubber golf ball

1902 U.S. Open Champ Laurie Auchterlonie

1902 British Open Champ Sandy Herd


The introduction of a separate teeing area came about during this year. Previously, golfers teed off for the next Hole from the Green of the preceding Hole.

Harry Vardon, the six-time British Open champion was born during this year.


The oldest continuously operating golf club in North America, The Royal Montreal, is the first golf club with its origins of golf formed in Canada.

After Young Tom Morris won his third straight British Open in 1870, he was presented with the first Claret Jug.


Born This Year, the ancestor of two future U.S. presidents, George Herbert Walker, USGA president, became namesake of the Walker Cup.


A noted golf course architect, A.W. Tillinghast, was born this year.


During this year, the Gutta Percha golf balls are produced with raised markings and bumps, which produce longer distances off the Tee.


The oldest surviving golf hole in the U.S. at the Oakhurst Golf Club in White Sulphur Springs, Virginia, is now the No. 1 hole at the Homestead Resort. It was an honor to have this fact as an origin of golf.


The first golf club on the continent of Africa, Cape Town, is established during this year.


The first long-lasting golfing club formed specifically for golf in the U.S., St. Andrew's Golf Club, was established by John Reid, a Scotsman living in New York. It still exists, making it the oldest continuously operating golf club in the United States.


The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews sets the standard putting hole size at 4 1/4 inches in diameter.

A patent for the Currie MetalWood, a metal-headed driver, is issued in Great Britain.

Steel-shafted golf clubs are being advertised for sale for the first time during this year.

Muirfield Links open in Gullane, Scotland. The course was laid out and built by Old Tom Morris.


The Chicago Golf Club had its origin of golf in Wheaton, Illinois, having the first 18-hole golf course in the United States.

The British Open Golf Tournament is expanded from thirty six Holes played in one day, to seventy two Holes played over two days.


The British Women's Amateur Golf Tournament is held for the first time during this year.


During this year within the origins of golf, The United States Golf Association (USGA) is formed to govern golf in the United States and Mexico.

Charter members of the newly formed USGA are: Chicago Golf Club, Newport Golf Club, St. Andrew's Golf Club, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and The Country Club (Brookline, Mass.)

The "Golfer" is the first golf magazine published in the United States.

Three-time major champion, Tommy Armour is born during this year.


St. Andrews boasts the first-known women's golf club.

Charles Macdonald wins the first official U.S. Amateur Championship tournament. He was also a great early golf course architect.

Lucy Barnes wins the first United States Women's Amateur Championship.

Part of the origins of golf includes Horace Rawlins who wins the first United States Open Golf Tournament.

The first American manufactured golf balls had raised bumps rather than "Dimples" (a "bramble" design). These balls were called the Spalding Wizard manufactured by the Spalding Company.


Golfer Harry Vardon has one the very first of his six British Open titles.

Also during this year, Willie Park Jr., a winner of the British Open Tournament, club-maker, golf course designer and writer has published the golf instructional book; The Game of Golf in England.


United States President, William McKinley tries his hand at playing golf during a vacation. He is the first President to try the game while in Office.

Winner of the first collegiate golf tournament played in the United States is Yale University.

An official committee for the Rules of Golf is formed at The Royal & Ancient Golf Club.


Harry Vardon wins another British Open.

The United States Open Golf Tournament expands from thirty six Holes to seventy two Holes.

Inventor Coburn Haskell introduces his new rubber-cored, wound, golf ball called the "Haskell. The new ball encompasses rubber strands wound around a solid core. The Haskell ball becomes the new standard for golf balls, and is manufactured by the B.F. Goodrich Rubber Company.

The term "Golf Birdie" becomes part of golf terminology after being "coined" during a round in New Jersey at the Atlantic City Country Club.

Birdie putts are part of golf history


Donald Ross becomes Old Tom Morris' greens keeping apprentice at St. Andrews.

The newly invented and patented wooden Tee is introduced to the golfing world by George Grant, a member of the Harvard Dental School faculty. Previous to this invention most "Golf Tees" consisted of a small mound of sand or clay placed by the golfer's Caddie.

Golfer Willie Smith wins the The Western Open which is played for the first time on the PGA tour.

We will continue this Timeline of Golf History in part 3 of this series. We will outline events and facts of Golf History for the years 1900 through 1939.

Thanks again for Visiting Us!


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