Culture and Recreation


How old is golf?

Some historians trace golf back to a Roman game called paganica. When they occupied Great Britain between roughly A.D. 43 until 410, Romans played the game in the streets, using a stick and a leather ball. But there are other possible predecessors as well, including an English game (called cambuca), a Dutch game (kolf), a French and Belgian game called (chole), and a French game (jeu de mail). But the game as we know it, the rules, equipment, and 18-hole course, certainly developed in Scotland, where it was played as early as the early 1400s. The rules of the game were also codified there: The Rules of Golf was published in 1754 by the St. Andrews Golfers, later called the Royal & Ancient Golf Club. The first golf club (formed 1744) was the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers in Edinburgh, Scotland. And it was none other than Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–1587), who is credited with being both the first woman golfer and the originator of the term “caddie.” (The term is derived from the French term for the royal pages, cadets, who carried the queen’s clubs.)


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