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How Golf Has Changed Over the Centuries

How Golf Has Changed Over the Centuries

Golf superstars are considered to be some of the most elegant athletes in the world and the championships are now watched by millions of people worldwide. To say that is has grown in popularity is an understatement. Golf was not also as popular as it is today. And many aspects of the game have changed as well. The history of golf shows us how a sport can transform over the centuries based on a multitude of factors. We have listed some of the key moments in the history of golf in order to better understand the evolution of this game.

Earliest Mentions of Golf

The earliest writing about a sport similar to golfing comes from the 15th century in Scotland. This is where men used to play with leather balls and wooden clubs. The game used to be played in the beautiful open fields of Scotland. This ancestry is still debated by some sports historians, but it is generally accepted that golf started in the 15th century and in the country of Scotland. There were not many rules and the winner was the one that managed to strike the ball the furthest. This was mainly a game of the rich people because the leather balls were very expensive and difficult to make. This is how golf was played until the 19th century.

The Adoption of Golf

In the 19th century golf was adopted in many other European countries and in the United States. It was still a game primarily for the richer people but the wooden clubs were now better carved and there were advances being made in the rules. The problem was that the clubs decayed fast and a poor blow would even break the leather ball. The traditional dimple pattern ball was born in 1905. This is the moment when the technology behind golf evolved thanks to overall technological advancement and to the invention of new materials.

Changes in the Game

Until the late 50’s, golf clubs used to be carried by an assistant of the player. This was usually an aspiring golf player or simply an employee. It was a very rough job because it meant that he would carry the weight on his back for multiple miles. In the late 50’s the caddy was introduced, and this job slowly disappeared. Players still take assistants with them in order to teach them golf. The metal club was introduced sometimes in the 80’s. Until then, the golf clubs were made of wood and the end of them was sometimes covered in iron.

Photo: USGA Junior Amateur

The growth in popularity meant that golf had to open for new players. New golf clubs appeared, and this sport was much more accessible. But the price of the equipment continued to grow because new technologies were used to make it better. Nowadays, we don’t mind if we break or lose a ball on the field and the quality material of the clubs guarantee us that they will not rot over the winter. We will definitely see more changes in golf in the next years.