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golf-like game is recorded as taking place on 26 February 1297, in the Netherlands, in a city called Loenen aan de Vecht, where the Dutch played a game with a stick and leather ball. The winner was whoever hit the ball with the least number of strokes into a target several hundred yards away. Some scholars argue that this game of putting a small ball in a hole in the ground using golf clubs was also played in 17th-century Netherlands and that this predates the game in Scotland. There are also other reports of earlier accounts of a golf-like game from continental Europe.[1]

In April 2005, new evidence re-invigorated the debate concerning the origins of golf.[2] Recent evidence unearthed by Prof. Ling Hongling of Lanzhou University suggests that a game similar to modern-day golf was played in China since Southern Tang Dynasty, 500 years before golf was 1st mentioned in Scotland.[3]

Dōngxuān Records (Chinese: 東軒錄) from the Song Dynasty (960–1279) describes The game called chuíwán (捶丸) and also includes drawings of the game.[3] It was played with 10 clubs including a cuanbang, pubang, and shaobang, which are comparable to a driver, two-wood, and three-wood. Clubs were inlaid with jade and gold, suggesting chuíwán was for the wealthy. Chinese archive includes references to a Southern Tang official who asked his daughter to dig holes as a target.[3] Ling suggested chuíwán was exported to Europe and then Scotland by Mongolian travellers in the late Middle Ages.[3]
[edit] Early golf in Scotland

The modern game of golf is generally considered to be a Scottish invention. A spokesman for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, one of the oldest Scottish golf organisations, said “Stick and ball games have been around for many centuries, but golf as we know it today, played over 17 holes, clearly originated in Scotland.”[4][5] The word golf, or in Scots gouf, is usually thought to be a Scots alteration of Dutch “colf” or “colve” meaning “stick, “club”, “bat”, itself related to the Proto-Germanic language *kulth- as found in Old Norse kolfr meaning “bell clapper”, and the German Kolben meaning “mace or club”.[6] The Dutch term Kolven refers to a related sport.

The first documented mention of golf in Scotland appears in a 1457 Act of the Scottish Parliament, an edict issued by king James II of Scotland prohibiting the playing of the games of gowf and football as these were a distraction from archery practice for military purposes. Bans were again imposed in Acts of 1471 and 1491, with golf being described as “an unprofitable sport”. Mary, Queen of Scots, was accused by her political enemies of playing golf, after her second husband Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, was murdered in 1567. George Buchanan subsequently wrote that she had been playing “sports that were clearly unsuitable to women”. Golf was banned again by parliament under king James IV of Scotland, but golf clubs and balls were bought for him in 1502 when he was visiting Perth, and on subsequent occasions when he was in St Andrews and Edinburgh.

By Syed Awais Ali,

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  • Posted On April 20, 2012
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