(Last Updated on : 16/02/2012)
History of Golf in India dates back many two centuries ago when the Royal Calcutta and Royal Bombay Golf Clubs were formed in 1829 and 1892 respectively. Among many sports played in India golf is one of them. On a world perspective, no convincing evidence has been obtained to prove the origin of golf, it is believed to have started between 1424 and 1457 The Romans had a cognate game called Paganica which may have been carried to Britain around 400 AD. During the reign of Julius Caesar, the Romans played a game by striking a feather-stuffed ball with club-shaped branches that resembles golf. There was some book illustrations found that show that the Dutch were playing a similar game about the 15th century. It was known as "kolf" in the Netherlands and the English people referred it as "Goff". It was a way to pass time and was enjoyed by both the Kings and Commoners alike. The Chinese Golf Association also claims that the game is of Chinese origin. Chui Wan or ball hitting game was prevalent in the 3rd century BC. Initially the game used to be played with gutta-percha balls which were replaced with feather balls in 1848. In fact, throughout recorded history, almost every civilisation has played a game that has a club and a ball.
The formation of the game was variable from one place to another. In the middle Ages, the variant games of present day Golf were clearly enjoyed throughout Europe in one form or another. The game carried on over the centuries and the formation and the rules that were applied to this game varied very widely. In short, the game was all about knocking a ball from one previously selected place to another where the ball was to be struck off a predetermined object in the least number of blows. The games often extended from village to village. The game spread so widely in Scotland that the Parliament passed an Act in 1457 to prevent the playing of the game of Golf on Sundays and to preserve the skills of Archery. However, the Scottish people oppose the decision of the Parliament by playing it on seaside courses called links of eastern Scotland. The game is being nurtured for over five hundred years in Scotland and it has been established as the great game played and loved by millions all through the world from here only.
To talk about the famous Golf courses, Scotland is the home of the world`s oldest golf course named as St. Andrews. This Golf course was in use during the 16th century.
By the 17th century, Golf became well established in Great Britain as James VI of Scotland and later James I of England was attracted to the sport. The famous "Royal and Ancient Golf Club" at St. Andrews is considered as the cradle of golf. This historical club was founded in 1754. During the starting of the 19th century, the feather-filled ball of Golf that was being used for centuries was replaced by the gutta-percha ball or "gutty". Till this time, Golf was played as a play for recreation. However, in the year of 1860, the game started to be played as a competition. In that year, the first British Open tournament held at Prestwick, Scotland. In the following year of this competition, both the professionals and the amateurs got the chance to compete
In the year of 1873, the first permanent golf club in North America was founded in Canada. The name of the club was "Royal Montreal Club". In the United States, "St. Andrews" is one of the oldest golf clubs. This club was established as a 3-hole layout in 1888 at Yonkers, New York. A large number of 6-hole, 8-hole, 9-hole, and 12-hole courses were opened in the East during the next few years. The very first 18-hole course in the United States named as the "Chicago Golf Club" was founded in 1893. The organisation that governs Golf in the United States is named as the `United States Golf Association` (USGA). It was founded in the year of 1894. The organization rules on the specifications about ball and club and also on such regulations as hazards and scoring. It reviews the international rules of Golf jointly with the `Royal and Ancient Club of St. Andrews` as well.
During the first half of the previous century, the game of Golf become more and more professional and some professional organisations began to come into existence. In the year of 1901, the first Professional Golfers Association was established in Great Britain. This Association conducts the PGA and PGA Senior tournaments and Ryder Cup competition between members of the American and British PGAs. The `Professional Golfers Association of America` (PGA) was founded in 1916. Both the amateur and professional golfers can compete in open tournaments. The United States Open, United States Women`s Open, PGA, Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), Masters, British Amateur, British Open, Canadian Open, United States Amateur and United States Women`s Amateur are among the major tournaments that have the support of the PGA.
The game became truly global when the players from Taiwan and Japan began to participate in the major tournaments. The Swede players were also gathering the amateur honours from all through Europe and at that time people started to think that there was no end to the talented golfers who were emerging from Spain. The name of the pro circuit was officially changed to the Tournament Players Association (TPA) Tour that began in 1981. After the European Tour was founded and the Ryder Cup was open to the European players, sponsorship grew in a great way and the European golf blossomed into a money market. In fact, the game of Golf has been one of the most paid sports among all the sports of the world. In today`s world, the amount of money that a golfer can earn after winning a championship cannot be compared with that of any other sports. Not only this, the game of Golf has been played by the rich and high standard class of the society at the moment and most of the richest persons of the world has their personal Golf courses. Indeed, Golf is one of the richest and most popular sports in the contemporary world.