Some historians believe that golf originated in the Low Countries as the Dutch word “kolf” means club but the Romans had a game they played with a curved club and a ball made of feathers which might have been the source of the game. However golf as we know it today was created by the Scots between the 14th and 15th Centuries.
The game became so popular in Scotland that it was banned together with football by the Scottish Parliament in 1457 as people gave more energy to these games than to practicing with the bow and arrow, a military need. The Scots however, ignored this law as well as other similar ones. At the beginning of the 16th Century King James IV of Scotland allowed the game. His granddaughter the future Mary Stuart took it to France where she was educated. The youth helping on the field were known as cadets and the term was adopted in Scotland and England and became the present CADDY or CADDIE. They since have been displaced by trolleys and electric carts. In England, the game became very popular because of James IV of Scotland, later James I of England and his son Charles I.
The first golf associations were established in the 18th Century like the Honorary Company of Edinburgh Golfers (1744), the Saint Andrews Society of Golfers (1754) which in 1834 changed into the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of Saint Andrews and the Royal Blackheath (1766) near London where it was agreed that golf was introduced in England in 1608. The first Clubs established outside England were the Calcutta Golf Club of East India 1829 and the Royal Bombay Club in 1842 and the first in the Western Hemisphere was Canada’s Royal Montreal Golf Club founded in 1873. It is believed golf was played in the United States in colonial times but there is no documentation available to back this. The Saints Andrews Golf Club of Yonkers was founded in 1888 in New York, the oldest in the United States according to some authorities. The first Spanish golf club in Spain was created in Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) in 1891.
The game became very popular in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1920’s and has grown even more popular with T.V.; there are over 12,400 courses for over 20,000,000 million players in the United States. It is also very popular in Western Europe, Canada, South Africa and Australia, and grew spectacularly in Japan after the end of World War II in 1945.