Modern golf as we know it is a game that has been played for over four hundred years. It’s believed that the first official rounds were played in 1577. The first competitive rounds of golf were contested in 1860. Considered to be the home of golf, St. Andrews golf course in Scotland is thought to be the oldest golf course in the world.
There are many theories that attempt to answer how the game of golf evolved. One such theory is that Scottish shepherds founded the basis of the game by hitting rocks from the ground into holes that were created by burrowing animals. An alternative theory is that the game crossed over from The Netherlands where a similar game was played on ice with sticks.
The original equipment used by golfers is vastly different to what we have come to use today. The club shaft was made of hickory and wood as opposed to the steel or graphite of today. Golf ball innards contained tightly packed feathers, and their lightweight nature meant that they were often blown off in the wind, unlike modern golf balls.
The 1990’s saw considerable evolution in the field of golf equipment. The introduction of graphite and steel shafts, and balls with rubber cores led to considerable changes in the swing and the way that the game was played.
Golf courses of yesterday also appeared vastly different to what we have come to accept as the traditional course of today. The courses were neither meticulously maintained nor were they designed and built with a diverse range of hazards. Time and innovation led to courses becoming increasingly diverse. Indeed, the arid desert country of Dubai now boasts some of the most scenic and challenging courses in the world, thanks to irrigation techniques.
In centuries past, the game was played in match play format, with players competing stroke for stroke over each hole. As the game evolved stroke play was introduced and the idea of round by round competition was introduced to determine the victor.
Today some of the most recognised sports personalities in the world can be found in the game of golf. From Tiger Woods to Justin Rose, and Rory Mcilroy, their talent, ability and passion for the game is unquestioned.