In Chapter three we discussed the religious and political turmoil Europe endured in the 15th and 16th Centuries. Golf, as a sporting game suffered, it was put on the back burner while War's were fought...
In Chapter two, we spoke of games, quite similar to Modern Golf, some born in the countries of France, and the Netherlands, games like "Chole", "Jeu De Mail", and "Maliespel", variations also migrating northward to...
OriginofGolf.com – Chapter Four “Out1
OriginofGolf.com – Chapter Three “Ko2
OriginofGolf.com – Chapter Two “Euro3
In Chapter three we discussed the religious and political turmoil Europe endured in the 15th and 16th Centuries. Golf, as a sporting game suffered, it was put on the back burner while War’s were fought and empires expanded. Within the United Kingdom, England and Scotland operated as separate countries. Scotland established its independence from England under figures including William Wallace in the late 13th century and Robert Bruce in the 14th century. In the 15th century under the Stewart Dynasty, despite a turbulent political history, the Crown gained greater political control at the expense of independent lords and regained most of its lost territory to approximately the modern borders of the country. The death of the king James IV, when the French were attacked by the English he declared war on England and was excommunicated by the Pope. He met his death where the invasion was stopped decisively on 9 September 1513 at the “Battle of Flodden” and James IV and many of his nobles were killed. Once again Scotland’s government lay in the hands of regents in the name of infant, James V. As we enter the 15th and onto the 16th Centuries, the Modern version of Golf takes root, clearly championed by the Scot’s more than any others. Their English neighbors certainly took notice, but the game developed rapidly under the Scottish rule of King Jame V, and followed by King James VI at the turn of the Century, and renamed King James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death. The kingdoms of Scotland and England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments, judiciary, and laws, though both were ruled by James I in personal union. His rule also included the Island of Ireland and he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died without issue. As a unified nation, England, Scotland & Ireland and the relative peace that followed, King James I took up the sport himself, he and his court known to play Golf at “Blackheath” in London. King Jame I reign on his death in 1625, succeded by Charles I. Indeed, King Charles I took the game to heart, and became a player himself. Golf’s status and popularity quickly spread throughout the 16th...Read More
In Chapter two, we spoke of games, quite similar to Modern Golf, some born in the countries of France, and the Netherlands, games like “Chole”, “Jeu De Mail”, and “Maliespel”, variations also migrating northward to England, and very likely Scotland as well. Most of these games had similarities to the Game of Golf, including the Dutch game of “Kolf”, or sometimes “Kolven”, with artistic proof (paintings, or drawings), of Dutchmen playing, mostly on frozen lakes and ponds. The equipment certainly appeared quite similar to modern “Golf” sticks and balls used in the Game of Golf as we know it today, even back Pre 16th or even 15th Centuries. But, as there are certainly similarities in these variety of games, no evidence has appeared that the precise nature, either via the Rules used, and the fact the game was played on dry land has ever been pinpointed, either by document or artistry. Thus I’d repeat my statement from Chapter Two, that being Scottish traders visiting the continent took note of the game, and then imported and changed it to better suit the terrain they had to work with in Scotland. Certainly no doubt British Traders the same as well. It’s probably very likely indeed the word “Kolf” just got changed to the name “Golf” as we know it today. Either way, as stated, the debate will probably continue as to which country actually invented the pure version of the game of “Golf”. I believe indeed it was in fact Scotland, with seeds of the game also planted in England as well. To this end we’ll focus on the game as it slowly developed both in Scotland, as well as England. The word “Golf” is an old word, one that first appeared in our written language in 1425. Even though the Oxford Dictionary claiming the word “Kolf” as the origin of “Golf” this is problematic for a variety of reasons. None of the Dutch games have pure evidence tying it to the word “Golf”. It’s uncertain the “Kolf” actually identified a “Game”, or perhaps denoting an implement used in playing “Kolf”. The Scottish language lacks any evidence of “Golf” ever starting with a C, or K used in Scotland. Finally the Scottish game of “Golf” is used much earlier than the Dutch games listed prior. Another...Read More
In Chapter One, we spoke of Ancient games, quite similar to Modern Golf, the Roman game of “Paganica”, and Chinese game of “Chuiwan”, both stick and ball games, quite similar to modern Golf. Similarities also as to stick and ball games also exsisted within Europe. We’ll speak of those Games in this Chapter, and some cases put a date to their creation date at which country it was played. Written records dating back to 1200 mention up to four popular games that all bear similarities to Modern Golf. We’ll discuss the most similar game, “Chole” with Origins in both Belgium and France. The game of “Chole” was probably the closest to modern Golf. It was played with iron-headed clubs and a wooden ball, and the aim was to reach a given target in the minimum number of strokes. Unlike other European based games, “Chole” appears to have been on dry land (versus on ice). Being as the hitting ball was made of wood, one would have presume balls would have to be replaced on a regular basis. Like other balls produced in later centuries one would think the making of these wooden balls would become a cottage industry for early entrepreneurs. The same goes for makers of clubs with iron heads. As most of these smaller, European countries was closely clusted together it’s very likely that one game could easilly migrate to a neighboring country, perhaps with some minor differences in the sport. One of those games was called “Jeu de Mail” with it’s origin being in France. Not dissimilar, except that it was played with a Metal Hammer, possibly a “Mallet” type device. The English translation of “Jeu de Mail” is “Mallet Game”, or perhaps “Straw Game”. The first written record of “Jeu de Mail” dates back to 1416. and the game migrated to Italy. Jeu de mail was ancestral to the games “pall-mall” and croquet, and eventually to Scotland. It could be played on a course, but the most popular form was mail a la chicane, which went cross country. The game makes use of one or more balls that are generally of boxwood, but higher-quality balls are of “medlar”. Medlar is rounded fruit, dried it becomes hard, grown since Roman times. The ball is struck with a long stick with a...Read More
The “Origin of Golf” is deeply rooted in History, dating back centuries. The earliest known reference, that being mentioned in some document of same form was not even mentioned in that specific name, “Golf”. As we navigate the Origin of Golf, through the monthly chapters you’ll see names given to early, some way say crude forms of the sport. One of those words was “Paganica”, tracing back to an early Roman Game some 100 BC, a game the early Romans in which players used a bent stick to hit a stuffed leather ball. Tracing the earliest origin of the game is difficult, due to a lack of written records. It’s possible more can be gleaned from some of the earliest known imagery, be it drawings, paintings, even imagery chiseled in stone. The relief shown at right clearly being Ancient, probable “Paganica” game. Looks like the start of a “Hockey” game, another sport related, or having some similarities to Golf. Guess it was not too, too cold where a “Paganica” Match got going. Bingo, a nudist Golf Course, have to look that one up, Members Only of course. Yep, there’s a couple of them, and on one, Nudity, or not is not an option, its required. Using a pull cart is probably a good idea, it appears they’ve no Electric Carts. Shall we put this on our “Bucket” list ( well, maybe towards the bottom). Enough joking around, lets get back “Beginnings”. We’ve heard the word, “Paganica”, what does it mean, I mean in English. Well literally, “Paganica” in fact is a hillside town in the province of L’Aquila in Aruzzo Region of Southern Italy. An old Roman city, predating 1254. It is dead center in the middle of the Italian “Boot” Peninsula. Almost some 800 years later, 2009 a massive earthquake destroyed 70 of its structures. But like Rome, Pompeii, Florence, and others it has survived to this very day. According to one view, as the Roman Empire ruled much of Europe, “Paganica” spread through many countries. Quite honestly, the typical Roman Legionnaire probably had a lot of down time. That most certainly would have included the “Provincia Brittania”, or Roman Britian. That would have included during an almost 400 year rule of the British Isles, and certainly would have included much of Britain’s...Read More