What is golf? Nowadays, golf is known for its pristine yards of grass, oh-so-delicately trimmed to perfection. It is known for its high standards in appearance, lifestyle, and economic situation. Overall, it’s known for its class, its aristocratic refinery, and the fact that it was created by a nation of people whose second favorite sport was basically glorified boulder chucking. While the official roots of golf still remain rather vague, it is widely accepted that the game was probably invented in Scotland, England’s Canada (Ireland is Mexico). Recently however, speculation has been brought up that the games roots actually lay in China of all places, where during the Song dynasty, it would have been called chuíwán, and would have been invented 500 years before the rumored invention of golf in Scotland. When you really look into it, it makes a lot of sense; the game was played with 10 clubs, which each had pieces of gold and jade and such inlaid in them, to tell them apart, making it basically a classic example of a rich person sport (despite the fact that the putting portion of the game seems perfect for the poor, what with their skills in sweeping floors). Still, there’s a lot more info about it coming from Scotland, so, if only for the sake of the essay (and because I’m a little racist), I’m going to say the Scots invented it, and besides, as everybody knows, it’s best not to insult a Scotsman. Their entire culture basically centers around their people being huge.
|But COME ON! It's like they're TRYING to make us laugh at them!|
It's pretty easy to understand how the game probably got started though- so it's 15th century Scotland, a bunch of Scottish dudes were just hanging out in the fields, not at their jobs for some reason, then they just kinda started hitting rocks with sticks, and then, I guess, they dug a ridiculously small hole for them to hit into, and, uh... wow I actually have NO idea what compelled them to do all this. I mean I'm reading this back to myself, and I hate to sound mean, but it's like I'm describing the day-to-day actions of the monkeys at the zoo, minus the feces throwing. But apparently dicking around in a field with some rocks and sticks was pretty popular back then (unsurprisingly), so a lot of people ended up neglecting their chores and duties, or just flat out not going to work many days, and just going to go play golf with the boys. And this was before it was even called golf! Before golf was even invented, people were already ditching out on work to play it! Except the work they were supposed to be doing at the time was actually pretty important- Scotland was on the verge of war with England, and King James II seriously needed the army to be in shape to fight, not to swing clubs around like cavemen or some garbage.
|A reenactment of the invention of golf.|
So in 1457 golf and soccer were banned, rather understandably actually. Some golfing buffs out there (what few there are), might view this as just another instance of ‘the man’ stepping down on them, but these guys were frikkin’ leaving army training to go play golf! That’s like if a police officer didn’t respond to your 911 call for rape, so he could play Angry Birds. Of course these guys didn't follow the new law- hell, they didn't even seem to recognize it existed. It was reaffirmed TWICE in 1470 and later in 1491, and finally just dropped in 1502, not that it even really mattered. By that point even the king was off clubbing stones into holes, while a few hundred thousand miles away Italian philosophers were discovering the mysteries of the universe through culture and science (just to give some well-needed perspective).
|Whatever. Da Vinci was nerd anyway.|
Somehow King Charles I of England found out about it though, and promptly set about to stealing it from the Scottish, mostly because the only people he’d be pissing off were some asinine peasants who looked and acted like they were the friggin missing link. Mary Queen of Scots (who was actually French, but whatever European monarchial system) found out about the sport as well, and because France loved to dickride on England’s imperial nuts back then, began getting France to play golf too, not to say they didn’t also contribute to the sport in their own Frenchy way. Apparently the French men who played the sport were so girly that whenever they played, they paid men to come with them, who weren’t insecure weaklings, called cadets, to carry the player’s clubs, which eventually evolved into the now popular caddie.
|Hi, I'm Rob, and I'll be carrying your clubs today bitch.|
So this ridiculous sport, invented by a bunch of illiterate caveman-looking dudes in the middle of a friggin sheep pasture, somehow became one of the most popular sports in two different empires, one of which was so fancy that it actually had regular times in the day where it's people would throw down whatever they were doing to drink TEA. However, the British got their just desserts, so to speak, for taking the sports from the Scots, when in 1641, on the course of Leith near Edinburgh, King Charles I was just chilling out, putting some balls, when he was all of a sudden informed of the Irish Rebellion, and that no, he couldn't finish this hole, there were over a thousand drunken red-heads currently rioting all over the country. But just in case the King wrote that little fiasco down as a coincidence, karma made sure to express deliver her second bitch slap, in the form of two English noblemen getting their rear ends personally served to them by the Duke of York, and George Patterson, who were playing for Scotland in the first international golf tournament of 1682. Much later, in 1744, the first golf club (by which I mean group of people. For some reason the creators didn't consider the numerous comical misunderstandings that calling themselves a club would create in a sport where swinging a club was literally the ONLY THING YOU DID, but whatever) was created, called the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith (NO GURLS ALLOWED), in order to bring golfers together for an annual competition, where the prize was a silver golf club, which was also assured to drive the ladies wild. One member, Duncan Forbes, who was tired of the constant cheating he saw on the field, decided that after about 300 years of existence and massive popularity in three different landmasses, that the sport of golf finally deserved a list of rules (oh yea, did I forget to mention earlier? This totally respectable sport [sarcasm] didn't even have a set of rules until this one neurotic got his panties in a twist). Many of the rules seem useful, and understandable, but then there the few that just make me wonder what exactly was going on back in 18th century Scotland, specifically:
Your tee must be on the ground.
As opposed to…? What? In the air? On the water? Between the cracks of some dudes ass? And this happened commonly enough that you actually needed to make a goddamn rule against it? This needed to be enforced? And it wasn’t even like one of the end rules either, you weren’t exactly running out of ideas; this was the second rule on the list! Right after telling everybody they had to tee their ball within one clubs length of the hole, you felt it necessary to drop this little nugget of obviousness on them.
At holeing you are to play your ball honestly for the hole, and not to play upon your adversary's ball, not lying in your way to the hole.
You actually made a rule against cheating. Good luck with that one.
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.
I like to imagine after you read this out to the guys, every single muscle bound douche bag present just looked around and said the in the smarmiest voice possible, “Guess I’ll be getting a lot of strokes from now on, eh boys? Clubs just can’t handle this!”
After many years, Forbes rules started to become formally accepted in the golfing world, and in 1764, the first 18 hole course was constructed, which would go on to become the norm for the sport. A little more than a hundred years later, the first women’s golf club was created on the course, to the displeasure of every guy in the 19th century who hated women (all of them), and to the extreme perplexity of the top scientists of the time, who were still under the belief that women could not play golf, which has obviously been proven false (however, this would later lead to research on the theory that women might actually have the ability to fart, which is still unconfirmed).
|"But it's impossible! How could they hold it in for so long?!"|
As time passed, and the Industrial revolution industrially revolutionized the world, the mass production of golfing equipment made the game of golf no longer just a sport to be played by actual professional players, but your average middle-class family, who finally had a place to vent their pent up anger and frustration on being born over 100 years before the I-phone made everything awesome. The rich, despite having their sport invaded by people who probably didn’t even have one diamond studded gold toilet to their name, kept their chins up, and retained the class and elegance of golf, by making golf club membership rules more socially repressive and strict than the people from Dirty Dancing. And so, time passed, and golf grew even more in the world, with golf clubs evolving and growing, leading to such international tournaments as the British Open, the PGA tour, and many more. And the players have evolved as well- despite recent allegations against his character (A whole cell phone full of ‘em), African American Tiger Woods is still regarded as a phenomenal star of the sport, and being a half-black man in a position of white power, one of the first omens of the coming of THE OBAMA. Golf’s crowning moment however came in 1900, when it was officially proclaimed as a global sport, and was played at the Olympics that year, truly cementing it as a fantastic pastime that still tests and challenges the devotion and skill of the men and women who love to play it today.