Scotland is where the modern game of golf originates from as far back as the 15th century, but it is much more unclear where the ancient origins began. It is believed to be paganica, a Roman game played with a bent stick and a stuffed leather ball. As the Romans conquered more territory, so also did they take paganica with them, leading to the spread across Europe. Others believe it originated from China’s Ming Dynasty and the game of chuiwan (‘chui’ means striking and ‘wan’ means small ball). It is from a scroll dating back to 1368 depicting one of the members of the Chinese Imperial court in a pose resembling a swing of a golf club at a small ball with the intention to land it in a hole. There are several other possibilities, which include cambuca in England, chambot in France, chaugán from ancient Persia, and kolven from The Netherlands.  

Golf is played with a series of clubs and a small ball. Each club will have a different purpose on a course with an arranged progression of 18 holes, although some recreational courses might only have nine holes. The playing area for golf is different on each occasion, which is unlike most ball games. Each hole must contain a tee box and a putting green. The tee box is where a player starts from, and the putting green completes the hole. The purpose of each player is to complete the hole in as few strokes as possible ending by putting the ball into a cup (11 cm in diameter). Between the tee box and putting green is where the unique feature of each course stands out and equally determines the difficulty of the playing area. Hazards like bunkers (sand traps), ponds, rocks, rough (long grass) and the fairway are purposefully added to test the skills of players. It is on these unique features where the variety of clubs are specifically designed for.

The oldest tournament in existence is The Open Championship (aka British Open) first played in 1860 in Ayrshire, Scotland. Prior to that the first course was created in 1764 at the Old Course at St Andrews. The Open Championship is one of four major championships played each year. The other three are The Masters, The U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship (all USA). The International Golf Federation (IGF) was founded in 1958 and is the highest recognised governing body for the sport. IGF is also recognised by the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee. Golf is an Olympic sport. The headquarters for IGF is based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Membership is divided between National Federation Members and Professional Members. IGF’s main mission is to continue to develop the sport worldwide, to oversee that the integrity of tournaments is maintained, and to promote it as an Olympic and Paralympic sport.  

International Golf Federation

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