Who came up with the game of golf first? Wikipedia has so many answers that it amounts to no answer, but let’s give it a shot.
This entry is for my dentist, who loves golf and who was kind enough to say that Suzanne’s Mom’s Blog makes him think of floating down a peaceful stream after all the anxious hammering from the media.
“A golf-like game is recorded as taking place on 26 February 1297, in the Netherlands, in a city called Loenen aan de Vecht, where the Dutch played a game with a stick and leather ball. The winner was whoever hit the ball with the least number of strokes into a target several hundred yards away. Some scholars argue that this game of putting a small ball in a hole in the ground using golf clubs was also played in 17th-century Netherlands and that this predates the game in Scotland. There are also other reports of earlier accounts of a golf-like game from continental Europe.
“In April 2005, new evidence re-invigorated the debate concerning the origins of golf. Recent evidence unearthed by Prof. Ling Hongling of Lanzhou University suggests that a game similar to modern-day golf was played in China since Southern Tang Dynasty, 500 years before golf was first mentioned in Scotland.
“Dōngxuān Records (Chinese: 東軒錄) from the Song Dynasty (960–1279) describes a game called chuíwán (捶丸) and also includes drawings of the game.It was played with 10 clubs including a cuanbang, pubang, and shaobang, which are comparable to a driver, two-wood, and three-wood. Clubs were inlaid with jade and gold, suggesting chuíwán was for the wealthy. Chinese archive includes references to a Southern Tang official who asked his daughter to dig holes as a target. Ling suggested chuíwán was exported to Europe and then Scotland by Mongolian travelers in the late Middle Ages.
“The modern game of golf is generally considered to be a Scottish invention. A spokesman for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, one of the oldest Scottish golf organizations, said ‘Stick and ball games have been around for many centuries, but golf as we know it today, played over 18 holes, clearly originated in Scotland.’ ” More.
The Ming emperor in the picture below seems more like he’s playing croquet. I’m not sure how today’s golfers would react to the idea that their game started as croquet.