A Short Golf Club History

Golf is one of the most popular sports played in the world today. Whether it’s played for fun or played competitively, golf is popular with both the young and old alike. But what is golf club history all about, which gives the sport its name? What are its roots?

The earliest record of golf being played is in 1353, with the recorded reference to ‘chole,’ an early golf-like game, which was played in Belgium. The Scottish - who would later introduce the game to the rest of world - reportedly came into contact with chole, during the Siege of Bauge, and was brought back to the United Kingdom by Hugh Kennedy, Robert Stewart, and John Smale.

antique golf clubs

While some historians are in fact skeptical about the Flemish roots of the game, it is generally agreed that it was brought to the world by the Scottish. In the early days of the sport, golfers would hit a large pebble around a sand pit, using a simple stick, and gradually grew to the titanium and zirconia-designed models of golf clubs that are in use today.

One cannot understand the development of the golf club without first understanding the history of the golf ball. As stated, the first golf balls were simply a pebble or rock, which was hit using a club. Up until the nineteenth century, golf was played using a leather ball which was filled with feathers to aid its trajectory. As a result, early irons were only used occasionally, as they would easily destroy the rather fragile feather-filled ball. Therefore, most common shots were made with woods, which, as their name implies, were often carved out of wood. More difficult shots, for example, lobbing the ball out of cart tracks or mud were made with a ‘rutting’ iron.

As the technology of the golf ball advanced, so did that of the clubs. Irons came into more common use and by the end of the late 1800s, irons of fairly good quality were being mass produced in factories, as the game of golf grew in popularity. It wasn’t until the mid nineteenth century, however, that golf club design began to advance as an engineering art form. Irons become more streamlined and steel shafts were introduced in the 1920s, which was a vast improvement over the wooden shafts, which often broke when striking the ball.

The design of the golf club, however, hit its peak in the 1980s, when computer technology made it easier and more cost efficient to design and produce high quality clubs. Titanium and graphite shafts replaced the heavier steel shafts, allowing for greater accuracy when hitting the ball.

While the game of golf is rooted in ancient history, it is considered one of the most popular sports today. The simplicity - and difficulty - of trying to successfully land a small ball in a tiny cup makes it both challenging and enjoyable.

Return to 1st Golf Information Home.