How did the game of golf emerge?


Painting from 1615 showing an early version of golf.

The game of golf today is globally popular and watched by millions on television. The origins of the sport may go back to ancient periods, but most historians trace the definitive beginning of the sport to Medieval Scotland and/or the Netherlands. However, it was in the 19th century that the sport emerged as both a modern one and started to become a global phenomenon.

The origins of golf are not universally agreed upon and there are disputes on when exactly the ancestors of the game emerged. There are records of a Roman game called Paganica that comprised of a ball stuffed with feathers and hit with wooden sticks. While the game is very different from today’s golf, the sort of Roman game may have inspired later Medieval memory and reemergence of a similar game that then led to golf. Other similar games may include the Chinese game of Chuiwan, which also involved a stick and players tried to sink a ball into holes. There were sets of up to 10 clubs, with balls made of wood and holes spread across an area, where the holes each had different degrees of difficulty. The depictions also suggest there was a tee or place to hit the ball toward a given hole.[1]

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