The psychological research into all forms of games claim that it helped in improving human’s cognitive abilities like thinking, knowing, remembering, judging and problem-solving.
Early forms of Golf traced back to the Roman game of ‘paganica’ dated back to circa 100 BC. Chuíw án is also a similar game to golf played by the Chinese during the Song Dynasty during AD 900.
The modern form of the game originated in Scotland in the 15th century. However, there is an open debate about the oldest golf course amongst Scotland’s St. Andrews and the Musselburgh Links in the U.K.
The club and the ball
While players initially carved their own clubs and balls from wood, they soon turned to skilled craftsmen to produce competitive equipment. The earliest reference to a set of specially made clubs is when King James IV of Scotland commissioned a bow-maker in Perth to make him a set in the year 1502.
Golf balls were first made from hard leather, later there are references of golf balls stuffed with feathers. In the second half of the 1800’s the ‘gutta percha ball’ was introduced, which was made from the sap of sapodilla tree.
The Scottish took the game to the British colonies during the 18th and 19th century. In 1771 the first African golf course was built in the Bunce Island, Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Golf was included as an official game in the 1900 Paris Olympics. It was in this Olympics that the rubber cored Haskell ball was introduced which changed the way the game was played. The Haskell ball travelled farther than the gutties and costed less due to its feasibility in mass production.
It was in 1869 that the first open Golf championship was played at Scotland’s Prestwick golf club. The champion was Willie Park Senior, who continued his winning streak consecutively for four seasons.
The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) was incorporated in August 1950.
In 1971, the first African Open Golf Championship was hosted (earlier known as the South African Tour). The first title was won by Tienie Britz.
At present there are only four men’s professional golf championships recognised by the International Golf Federation (IGF). The Open Championship, The Masters, The PGA and the US Open.
IGF has five recognised women’s professional golf championships played on an annual basis. The ANA Inspiration, KPMA Women’s PGA Championship, The US Women’s Open, The Ricoh Women’s British Open and The Evian Championship.
Since the evolution of the game, golf has been an expensive game, which is currently estimated at an industry value of $84 billion.
Author – Fabrice Adjakly : In the next article, we will take a look at the players and their contributions.