The Origins of Golf

Without a doubt, golf, or a pastime similar to the sport we know today, has been practiced for centuries. But the when and how this game of stick and ball began to be a reason for overcoming and disappointment for the human being is still a motive for speculation.

Some trace the origins of golf to the game of “Paganic”, in times of the Roman Empire, while others consider it as an evolution of the French “jeu de mail” or of the Dutch “kolven”. Apart from the fact that all this may be true, the true pioneers of golf were, without a doubt, the Scots. They developed golf in its coastal links and took it with them all over the world.

the origins of golf

Great fans of this game, they transmitted it to other countries, but, what is almost more important, they developed the first instruments for golf, besides fields, to play it. They also established the standards and the basic rules, which for the most part, prevail today. Like many other forms of human activity, golf has no recorded origins. In the absence of tangible evidence, all descriptions of this game in its origins often depend on the imagination of the writer.

If we accept that, as Voltaire said, the stories of antiquity are only fables universally accepted, then we have numerous mythological references that can serve as a starting point to start a description of the game. The dangerous thing about fables is that they tend to get confused too often with reality. To put it bluntly, there are no documented indications of the game of golf, as we know it today, before the mid-15th century, and there is not enough evidence to refute the most obvious and best-dug proof that the game started on the east coast. from Scotland.

However, the search for clues prior to its current form of this game has put to the test the minds of many eminent men over many decades.


Research on the origins of golf has focused mainly on establishing the relationship between golf and other similar pastimes in Europe, and on demonstrating the theory that some of these were its precursor.

Throughout history, there have been so many types of “stick and ball” game that speculation in this field has no end. Although the lack of proven facts hinders the attempts to reach a substantial conclusion, it is fascinating and, at the same time, revealing to compare other “stick and ball” games with golf, consider their common aspects and study their possible influence on the development of this one.


Some historians have gone back to the days of ancient Rome, establishing a link between golf and paganic, a very popular game among rural people in the early years of the Roman Empire. Little is known about the rules of this game, but the legend says that the Paganic was played with a bent stick and a ball made of leather stuffed with feathers.

There is an interesting connection here, and that is that the primitive golf balls were also made of feathers wrapped in leather, although it is believed that the ball of the paganic had a diameter between 10 and 18 cm, so its resemblance to golf does not result so close

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