Per Kamperin is a sports fan with particular interests in soccer, karate, and golf. He finds golf to be a great way to stay active and challenge oneself while feeding the competitive spirit. Golf has done the same for many people over hundreds of years. Written below is a quick run-through of how golf came to be the popular sport that it is today.
The origins of golf have been much debated over the years, however it is widely accepted that Scotland is the birthplace of the modern game as we know it. The first documented mention of golf in Scotland was by King James II who actually banned the game as it distracted the locals from practicing more useful military skills such as archery.
The earliest known rules of golf were written in 1744 by a group known as “the company of gentleman golfers” who played at Leith Links. This rulebook is now preserved in the national library of Scotland, and as you read through some of the notable rules you will see many of them form the basis for the game we play today.
Modern day golf courses are generally 18 holes, however this was not always the case. St Andrews Links, commonly known as “the home of golf” and the base for the governing body known as the “Royal and Ancient”, was originally a 22 hole golf course. However in 1764, it was decided many of the holes were too short and as a result some were combined to make longer holes. This resulted in an 18 hole golf course and also set the standard for golf courses across the world today.
Golf equipment has changed dramatically from when it first began. The earliest golf clubs and even golf balls were made of wood which was readily available in the area. As technology became more advanced, the golf ball gradually went through a transformation to a leather ball stuffed with goose feathers and eventually evolved into the rubber moulded ball we know today. Golf clubs have gone through a similar transformation. Metal heads were introduced then quickly followed by metal shafts for more stability. As this happened you could also see players becoming more powerful because the clubs themselves were much stronger and more capable of taking a lot of speed. One of the biggest steps forward in recent times came with the introduction of graphite, which is a very light yet strong material made of several layers of carbon fibre.
As the game progressed, the professional aspect of the game became more popular and also more profitable for those that were good enough. Across the world 4 tournaments began to stand out and we know these as “The 4 Major’s”. These four tournaments are:
The US Masters (began in 1934)
The US Open (began in 1895)
The British Open (began in 1860)
The USPGA (began in 1916)
These four events gradually became the yardstick that many of “the greats” of the game are measured by. When you look at the most major victories you will see some stand out names such as Tom Watson (8 majors), Gary Player & Ben Hogan (9 majors), as well as Walter Hagen (10 majors). However, the biggest debate in golf tends to be between the top two, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. The often talked about title of “the greatest player of all time” lies between these two legends, if the measure is based solely on majors, then Jack is the current leader with a total of 18 majors vs Tigers 14. However when you look at the astonishing amount of victories Tiger has on whole, as well as how he won many of these events, you can see why this is such a debated point in the sport.