A Game Becomes a Sport

Our story begins in the mid 18th century when golf was then known as “goff” and the equipment consisted of 5 clubs, four “long nosed woods” and one iron. Golf balls for the well-to-do were comprised of chicken or goose feathers, leather, and a process that produced a softer ball, allowing for more control and revolutionizing the game, which many believed would not have survived without this innovation to the ball. Most golfers of this era were limited to pebbles, stones and wooden ball, dating back to the game of “Paganica,” an earlier form of golf played during Roman times. Dutch records indicate that the feathery ball was introduced to Scotland in the 1480’s because of the popularity of the game and the ball. In 1486, toll registries indicate that a merchant named Richard Clays paid handsomely for a barrel of feathery balls to be imported to Scotland. This continued until the early seventeenth century.

The popularity of the game brought men of all social levels to the links, which were usually public grounds consisting of carriage rides, picnics and were generally, full of family activities, of which the game had to succumb to. The hazards presented by the conditions of horses and other determents to the conditions of the grounds on which they played, were accepted by the gentlemen who played the game and procedures to deal with various situation were common knowledge.

The game, up until now, had been played at gatherings of friends and those of greater means and was played for small wagers between friends and business acquaintances. As time went on the more distinguished gentlemen of Edinburg began to separate themselves from the common people in the community and wished for the same distinction on the links. The men created “Match Days,” which became a regular occurrence around Edinburg. Meanwhile, golf was also an accepted and a growing focus in the Scottish society of Leith and Bruntsfield. Leith was becoming known, in the gentlemen’s society, as the focus of Scottish society and the ever growing game of golf. As time went on, men of like minds became organized into the first official clubs and societies. One of the earliest, the Royal Burgess Society, is thought to have begun in 1735; on a five-hole course consisting of holes in length of; 414, 461, 426, 495 and 435 yards known as Bruntsfield links, where the first members played golf. In the mid-eighteenth century, golf was played in these individual matches on match day. The need for competition in which all could play and compete against each other was growing amongst the gentlemen golfers. In March 1744, the gentlemen golfers of Leith links petitioned the Edinburgh Council to make funds available and furnish them with a prize. In turn they would organize a competition. In due course, the Council authorized the city treasurer to make funds available for a silver club to be made, the first prize in golf. The only condition was that the silver club could not exceed fifteen pounds in value.

. . . to be continued . . .

Enjoyed this post. Share It:

18 Responses to “A Game Becomes a Sport”

  1. What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It absolutely helpful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid other users like its aided me. Great job.

  2. Hey would you mind letting me know which web host you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different web browsers and I must
    say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you recommend
    a good hosting provider at a honest price? Thank you, I appreciate it!

  3. Terrific post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Appreciate it!

  4. Carroll Ranmar says:

    Some really marvellous work on behalf of the owner of this website, dead great written content.

  5. Antwan Mountcastle says:

    An individual built quite a few advantageous facts presently there. I did searching with regard to within the challenge and also noticed lots of men and girls could agree within your web page.Best regards from Slovakia.

Leave a Reply

Follow Us 


Golf Rules of the Month

Rules: Clubs

Rule 4 addresses the clubs, the form and make of clubs, playing characteristics, damaged clubs and the number of clubs allowed during play. The number of clubs allowed in the bag is 14, which does include the putter. You can use any combination of clubs and they do not have to be the same fourteen clubs every time you play. An example is that you may want to add another wedge and take [...]

Playing Without Expectations

First Round Surprises

Remember Your First Round this year? Now the season is underway. There have been a couple of tournaments at the club and I am sure an outing or too as well. So tell me how your first round of the season went. Better than expected I am sure. This is usually the case for most because there are no expectations! You have not played for awhile and do not expect to play well so you are relaxed and just trying to [...]

“Find Your Minds Eye”

Full Moon Golfer

Do you fix every mediocre shot you hit on the range? Do you say, “I know why I hit that shot,” after every mediocre shot on the course? Do you start to wonder why you hit a good shot? I’ll bet you say, “Now, why can’t I do that every time?” Often when playing or teaching on the range, I hear after a bad shot, or ‘miss’, “What did I do then?” This tells me that that person’s mental game is WAY [...]

PageLines Themes