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Tom Morris, golfer 1880



" Feathery " Golf Ball




St Andrews Old Course

Golf History

Early History

Variations on the game of golf as we know it today were being played all across Europe as long ago as the 14th century, and possibly even in Roman times. Yet it is the Scots who must be credited with establishing the official game, and encouraging its development all over the world. It was in Scotland that the passion for golf was born. By the middle of the 16th century, the game had become a popular pastime at the highest levels of society - James VI himself was a keen player, as was his mother, Mary Queen of Scots.

In the late 1800's, wealthy middle-class Englishmen began to follow the example of the Royal Family by taking their vacations in Scotland. The expansion of the railroad system at this time allowed people to get to the seaside links, and the English were so infatuated with the game of golf that they took it home with them.

In 1744 the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith, led by Duncan Forbes, drew up the first Articles & Laws in Playing at Golf. Although later revised and updated, these original rules set down by the Scottish Professionals of the time, formed the framework for the modern game of golf.

Tools of The Trade

The Scottish influence on golf was not to end there. Many of the professionals playing at the time were also skilled carpenters, instrumental in developing the clubs and balls used in the game. Willie Park senior was a master club-maker, and winner of the first Scottish Open in 1860, and old Tom Morris became a legend in the game for both his playing and craftsmanship. In the days before machinery, the wooden clubs were made entirely by hand. The earliest irons were also fashioned by hand, followed by aluminum-headed clubs that differ very little from clubs today. The " guttie " ball was invented in 1848, replacing the expensive and easily damage " feathery ", thus making the game more affordable. The modern, rubber-core ball in use today appeared at the beginning of the 20th century.

The Courses

Many of Scotland's courses are steeped in history and tradition, such as the championship courses of St Andrews and Carnoustie. But an increasing number of newer courses no offer the same standard of play and variety of landscape. There is something for everyone, each course with its own character, often with stunning views of the coastline.

If you would like to golf in Scotland as part of a highly personalized small group tour of my native Scotland please e-mail me:

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