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Rubber-Core Mesh and Gutta-Percha Golf Balls

The VICTOR mesh patterned replica ball for hickory golf. Approved for play at all classic hickory golf events.

Special Low Prices
whilst stocks last.

£14.55 per 3 ball sleeve
£28.50 for 6 loose
£54.60 for 12 loose

For further details please refer to item X001 on the New Mesh & Dimple Balls for Hickory Play page.

Rubber-Core Mesh and Gutta-Percha Golf Balls

The RTJ small dimple pattern replica ball for hickory golf.

Approved for play at all classic hickory golf events.

£14.95 per 3 ball sleeve
£28.50 for 6 loose
£54.00 for 12 loose

For further details please refer to item X007 on the New Mesh & Dimple Balls for Hickory Play page.

Rubber-Core Mesh and Gutta-Percha Golf Balls

The Ouimet mesh pattern replica ball approved for play at all classic hickory golf events.

£16.00 per 3 ball sleeve
£31.50 for 6 loose
£61.80 for 12 loose

For further details please refer to item X004 on the New Mesh & Dimple Balls for Hickory Play page.

HISTORY OF GOLF IN SCOTLAND

The golf facts and figures shown on this site have been kindly supplied by Neil Laird (without liability or guarantee), please visit www.scottishgolfhistory.net for further information.

THE BEGINNINGS OF GOLF

Some historians believe that a stick and ball game was played by the Egyptians as far back as 2600 BC and that there is also evidence of the ancient Greeks playing a similar game around 1300 BC. The Romans invented a game called 'Paganica' which used a bent wooden stick (probably a branch straight from a tree) and used the stick to hit a leather ball which was almost certainly filled with either feathers or hair. However like the Greek game the method of the game probably resembled Hockey more than Golf. With the Romans conquering many countries across northern Europe it is quite possible that they introduced Paganica to these countries during their lengthy occupations and that from these beginnings the game of Golf slowly evolved.

The Dutch certainly had a profound influence on the game as we know it today with records showing that they played a game in the mid 13th century using a stick and ball known as 'Kofspel'. They also played another game called 'Kolven' which then became 'Kolf' known as 'Gowf' in England.

Kolven was played in open spaces including iced over water where the player had to hit the ball a good distance aiming at an object such as a door or a tree. It is thought that the game of Kolf was introduced to Scotland by the Dutch as they were regular trading partners with the game being played by commoners round churchyards and village greens. However the game was subject to early legal and church prohibitions which eventually led to the 'links' game being developed, with the East coast being a popular area due to the climate having much less rain compared to the West coast, which benefitted the terrain and also the feather filled balls which were susceptible to dampness.

Up to the early part of the 15th century there was one missing ingredient and that is where Scotland stakes claim to inventing the game of Golf - THE HOLE. It was on the links land in the area of Fife that holes made by rabbits were first used and from there onwards the proper hole was developed to become the most important integral part of the game. The modern game of Golf as we know it today was developed from 1502 when James IV of Scotland lifted a ban allowing people to play the game openly and officially in dozens of places throughout Scotland. Since these early days Golf has been created by a democratic process of continuous development of dispersed innovation, gathered and regulated by common agreement. Long may this continue.

Please note that the following facts and figures have been kindly supplied by Neil Laird (without liability or guarantee) from his website www.scottishgolfhistory.net. For more in depth information please about Scottish Golf History please visit his site.

 

THE OLDEST SCOTTISH GOLF SITES

Golf was being played officially throughout Scotland from 1502. The dates below represent the first record of golf at the sites mentioned.

This list of the ten oldest golf sites is based on the criteria of:-

  • Golf being played - evidence of golf actually being played or a record of an established links where it would be being played.
  • Dated evidence - authoritative reference or cross-reference mentioning an exact date or period.
  • Links golf involved – indication that the links form of golf and not 'churchyard' golf was being played.

 

 

Most of the early references to golf in Scottish official records are either to ban it or to condemn those playing it. The first documented mention, as is widely quoted, is in Edinburgh on 6th March 1457, when King James II banned "ye golf", in an attempt to encourage archery practice, which was being neglected. This royal ban was repeated, for the same reasons, in 1471 by his son, James III, and again in 1491 by his grandson, James IV. Even when the ban was effectively lifted in 1502 in Perth, there was over a century of complaints and convictions by the Kirk from 1580 until 1724 against golf on the Sabbath (Sunday). The official (Royal) line, voiced by King James VI in 1618, was that golf on the Sabbath was acceptable, so long as it was not during the times of service, because Sunday was the only day the great mass of people would have free to play. It was not a view shared by the Kirk. Indeed Sunday golf at St. Andrews only began at all during the Second World War and is still not permitted on the Old Course, though this is more to do with preserving the course rather than religious strictures.

 

THE MEANING OF A LINKS GOLF COURSE

A 'links golf course' refers to the type of soil and terrain on which it is built. Only 92 of the golf courses in Scotland (17%) are true links courses, although this includes most of the historical courses. Another 10% of Scottish courses are coastal with some properties of 'links' courses and moorland vegetation. Apart from links courses, the other main types of Scottish golf courses are parkland (61%) and moorland (17%). A 'links' is any rough grassy area between the sea and the land and the word itself is derived form the Anglo-Saxon word 'hlinc', of about 931 AD, meaning a ridge. Later the word was used to denote any common grassy area in a town and now the term 'The Links' is used to refer to any golf course.

 

THE ORIGIN OF THE 18 HOLE ROUND OF GOLF

Many people have asked why golf courses have eighteen holes. The early golf courses all had different numbers of holes.

Leith Links had 5 holes in 1744 when the Honourable Company, as they would come to be known, held the world's first recorded golf competition and they added 2 holes later.

Blackheath followed Leith in having 5 holes and expanding to 7 holes.

Bruntsfield Links also had 5 holes at this time, but, because of space, could only expand to 6 holes in 1818.

Musselburgh Old Course had 7 holes for many years, added an 8th in 1832 and a 9th in 1870.

Montose Links had 7 holes by 1810; 14 holes by 1825; 11 holes by 1849; and 25 holes by 1866, though these were reduced sometime shortly after 1874.

St. Andrews (Old Course) had 12 holes by 1764, and probably much earlier. The holes were laid out in a line and 10 holes were played twice - once 'out' and once back 'in', making a 'round' of 22 holes. However, in 1764, the golfers decided to combine the first four holes into two, which produced a round of 18 holes, though it was really 10 holes of which 8 were played twice.

Therefore, when Prestwick was built in 1851 with only 12 holes, it did not look out of place.

By 1857 however, St. Andrews had put second holes in the 8 double greens of the Old Course, creating a proper round of 18 holes, and in 1858 the St. Andrews club laid down a round of 18 holes for matches between its own members.

Old Course St. Andrews 1857

The double greens explain the origin of the different coloured flags on the first nine holes from the back nine, as you needed these at St. Andrews to tell you to which hole you are playing on the double greens (see picture above). However, this did not include the eighteenth hole, which on the Old Course still has the same white flag as that of the first nine holes. The adoption of different coloured flags by other courses for the front and back nine holes seems to be a misunderstanding of this situation as the double greens is a problem they did not have.

 

THE RULES OF GOLF

The first set of rules (13) were drawn up by a committee of gentleman golfers for the world's first Open Golf Championship held on 2nd April 1744 over Leith Links, with the prize being a sliver golf club which was presented by the City of Edinburgh to the winner John Rattray (physician and champion) who was then declared 'Captain of the Golf'.

  1. You must tee your ball within one club's length of hole.
  2. Your tee must be on the ground.
  3. You are not to change the ball you strike off the tee.
  4. You are not to remove Stones, Bones or any Break Club, for sake of playing your ball, except upon the Fair Green and that only within a club's length of your ball.
  5. If your Ball come among watter or any watery filth, you are at liberty to take out your Ball and, brining it behind the hazard and teeing it, you may play it with any club and allow your Adversary a Stroke, for so getting out your ball.
  6. If your balls be found anywhere touching one another you are to lift the first ball, till you play the last.
  7. At Holing, you are to play your Ball honestly for the Hole, and not play upon your adversary's Ball, not lying in your way to the Hole.
  8. If you should lose your Ball, by its being taken up, or any other way you are to go back to the Spot, where you struck last, and drop another Ball, and allow your adversary a stroke for the misfortune.
  9. No man at Holing his Ball is to be allowed, to mark his way to the Hole with his club or anything else.
  10. If a Ball be stopp'd by any person, Horse, Dog or anything else, the Ball so stopp'd must be played where it lyes.
  11. If you draw your Club, in order to Strike and proceed so far in the Stroke, as to be bringing down your Club: If then your Club shall break, in any way, it is to be Accounted a Stroke.
  12. He whose Ball lyes farthest from the Hole is obliged to play first.
  13. Neither Trench, Ditch or Dyke, made for the presentation of the Links, nor the Scholar's Holes or the Soldier's Lines, Shall be accounted a Hazard. But the ball is to be taken out and tee'd and play'd with any iron club.

 

GOLF 'WORDS'

CADDIE

The word 'Caddie' derives from the French word 'le cadet', meaning 'the boy' or the youngest of the family. The word 'cadet' appears in English from 1610 and the word 'caddie' or 'cadie' appears shortly after that in 1634. Adopting French terms was not unusual for the Scots. For example they adopted the term 'Gardez-vous!' as 'gardyloo'.

This appears to be the origin of the speculative theory, promoted by some, that French military 'cadets' carried the clubs for the golfing royalty in France and this practice came to Scotland when Queen Mary Stuart returned in 1561. Of course the military term 'cadet' has the same origin, as these 'cadets' were often the younger sons of the aristocracy.

Old Golf Caddie

A Cady, Caddy, Cadie or Caddie became used for a general-purpose porter or errand boy in Scottish towns in the 18th century, particularly used for delivering water in the days before modern utilities. The Shorter Oxford Dictionary records this use from 1730. Caddies are often mentioned carrying golf clubs, but it was not until 1857 that the Dictionary ascribes the use mainly to those carrying golf clubs. In the early days there were no bags and the clubs were carried in bundle, which can be clearly seen in paintings of the time. The first named caddie was Andrew Dickson, who would become an Edinburgh clubmaker, who caddied for the Duke of York as a boy in 1681 in the Duke's golf match on Leith Links.

 

FORE!

No certain etymology for the golf word 'Fore!' has ever been agreed. The Shorter Oxford Dictionary records its first use in 1878 as a warning cry to people in front of a golf stroke and, like most people, believes it is an abbreviation of the word 'before'. There is an earlier reference in 1857 in a glossary of golfing terms. Its origin appears to be bound up with that of the word Caddie.

Currently there are three serious explanations for the origins of term Fore!

  1. Because golf balls were expensive, golfers employed 'Forecaddies' to stand where the ball might land and reduce the number of lost balls, as is done in tournaments today. In 1875, Robert Clark mentions that Andrew Dickson performed this role for the Duke of York in 1681 and describes it as, "what is now commonly called a fore-caddie". It is probable that golfers called to their 'Forecaddie!', who would always be some distance ahead to draw attention to the fact the ball was coming and, in time, this was shortened to 'Fore!'. The almost contemporaneous appearance of the terms caddie, fore-caddie and fore supports this theory over the others.
  2. A second explanation derives from the military battle craft of musket days, when rank after rank would fire fusillades, some over the heads of those in front. It was speculated that the term 'Fore!' might have been used to warn those in front to keep their heads down. Modern historians pour cold water on this theory, partly because it is difficult to relate it to a Scottish golf connection and partly because the relevant military terms used do not appear to be connected. However, this theory may in fact be a misunderstanding of the theory below.
  3. There is a third explanation, which appears utterly implausible, but which is an outside possibility. It derives from a story told by John Knox (1505?-1572) the 'hellfire' protestant reformer. He tells the tale, as only 'hellfire' preachers can, of someone arriving at the East Port (East gate) of Leith. This story was noticed by Dr Neilson and subsequently reported by Robert Browning in his book 'History of Golf' (1955) thus:

    "One among many comes to the East Port of Leith, where lay two great pieces of ordnance, and where their enemies were known to be, and cried to his fellows that were at the gate making defence: "Ware Before!" and so fires one great piece, and thereafter the other."

    So 'Fore!' could be derived from an artillery term warning gunners to stand clear. This last explanation means, firstly, that the term 'Ware Before!' ('Beware Before!') was foreshortened to 'Fore!' (rather than 'Ware!') and, secondly, it must have been sufficiently well known to be used by golfers. More information can be found on www.scottishgolfhistory.net.
 

For other famous words such as Par, Bogey, Birdie, Eagle and Albatross please refer to www.scottishgolfhistory.net.

 

THE OLDEST SCOTTISH GOLF SOCIETIES

This list of the ten oldest golf societies is based on the criteria of:-

  • Organisation - a group meeting regularly or with formality and intending to be an group related to golf.
  • Dated evidence - authoritative reference or cross-reference or dated artefact mentioning an exact date or period.
  • Continuity of existence - a continuation of entity, if not name.

 

 

Some would argue that applying these rules rigidly would knock most, if not all, of the clubs off the list, but a commonsense, logical and consistent application of the criteria gives rise to a list which will stand the test of time.

Old Golf Clubs

The origin of each golf club is subtly different, though virtually all the early golf clubs began as groups of golfers meeting socially before they formed golf societies or clubs. For some, organising an annual golf competition became the stimulus for the formation of a formal society. Others formed a society many years before they held their first 'club' competitions, though individual matches with money stakes are recorded from 1503 onwards when King James IV apparently lost to the Earl of Bothwell in Edinburgh. Thus if holding a golf competition is the main criteria, then these two aristocrats become not only the world's first two named golfers, but also the first two golf club members.

Old Golf Clubs

Royal Blackheath Golf Club is not shown on the maps as it is in south-east London in Eltham.

 

The golf facts and figures shown on this site have been kindly supplied by Neil Laird (without liability or guarantee), please visit www.scottishgolfhistory.net for further information.

 

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