It’s a sport loved on a global scale. A five star resort is not complete without a golf course and if you don’t know that there is in fact a ‘19th hole’, aka a pub or bar, then you don’t know anything about golf!
Golf course design has taken off in recent years with golf designers becoming known the world over for their unique design, unusual features and challenging holes. Heath courses and Links courses are descriptions which come up time and time again but I wanted to understand the real history of golf….?
The true origins of golf are masked in an ongoing debate. Some say it was once a Roman game and that as the Romans conquered Europe the game spread during the first century B.C eventually evolving into the modern game we know today. Others believe that golf descended a combination of the Persian game ‘chaugan’ and another game involving a ball and curved bats which was played annually in the Netherlands in the 13th century. The most widely accepted account however is that the game originated in Scotland around the 12th century with shepherds using their crooks to knock stones into rabbit holes on the current site of the Old Course at St Andrews. I’ll put my money with this theory having visited St Andrews recently…and I love the idea of shepherds running around knocking stones about! As most people know, today golf is a game of precision and skill at the highest level so I am not sure how many serious golfers would be happy to be likened to a shepherd!
The famous ball making family ‘Robertson’ was responsible for the first ever professional golfer Allan Robertson who played in 1843 against Willie Dunn. The two were known as the best players at the time and played ’20 rounds’ over 10 days with Robertson finishing triumphant.
Almost 100 years later and after 2 World Wars, golf had taken a beating; courses had been bombed all over Europe and America saw an opportunity to take the lead and become the new home of golf. The 1950s saw some of the world’s best known golfers reach their peak, Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan to name but a few. Throughout the 1960’s it became a global game and in the 1980’s it bought a proliferation of well known golfers to the fore including Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie and Nick Faldo. Today golf has become one of the fastest growing sports in the world and is also a huge money making business with Tiger Woods one of the most talked about sportsmen on the planet.
So if you are about to take up the game at PGA Catalunya or are keen to improve your skills on the award winning courses remember to have your golfing glossary at the ready. There are a ton of buzz words and phrases worth remembering, ‘teeing off’, fairways, putting green, chip, ‘hole in one’, bunkers and irons. Not to mention golf etiquette and the rules – it’s a perfectionists game and one which clearly gives people a great deal of satisfaction. Maybe the shepherds didn’t have a rule book or golfing plus fours but they certainly created a game which has gone on to achieve international sports stardom.