History of Golf - Part Two The Early Years

By George WhiteJuly 3, 2002, 4:00 pm
The hole ' it was the final bit that was missing in the stick-and-ball exercise. And the Scots were most likely the first to use a hole in the ground with the stick and ball. Most likely the hole was originally made by a rabbit, many thousands of which roamed the velvety linksland on the Scottish coasts.
 
Men on the east coast, in the Kingdom of Fife ' home to St. Andrews ' would hit a pebble around a course laid out by Mother Nature. Golf was far more popular on the east coast than the west coast. The difference was that the west coast was much damper, due to the persistent rains which sweep across that terrain. And the golf balls were highly susceptible to dampness, since they were stuffed with feathers.
 
Rabbit runs proved to be ideal fairways ' an old sailing term which meant the easiest direction to navigate. The rabbits linked their burrows in the dunes by means of these runs, and foxes and hunters expanded the runs. Sheep and other animals were known to hunker down in the raw winds, wearing away the grasses and preparing the bunker areas. It became a wonderful place to play, with fairways and bunkers and, of course, a hole that was in place already, thanks to the proliferation of rabbits.
 
The sandy playing areas also were good for something else ' tees which were used to begin play and to continue play after each hole. Early golfers scooped sand to make a tiny platform for their initial shots.
 
For all these reasons, Scotland is widely considered to be birthplace of golf. And it began haphazardly, a way of hitting a pebble or other roundish object into a hole by means of a stick or club.
 
It is known that golf was played at St. Andrews before the founding of the university there in 1403, and there is sufficient evidence that it was being played in one form or another in Scotland as much as a century before that, about 1300.

History of Golf - 1863 GolfBy 1457, the game of gowf or golfe (as it was known in the British Isles) was so firmly established in Scotland, and its playing so widespread, that King James II had an Act of Scottish Parliament to ban it on Sundays so as to preserve the skills of archery. He declared that fute-ball (soccer) and Golfe be utterly cryit doune, and nocht useit! Fute-ball had been banned by his father, King James I, in 1424.
 
The English were a constant threat and the Scots were inferior to the English in matters of the bow and arrow. Residents of Aberdeen, St. Andrews and Leith on the east coast were the main culprits ' they played and played. That was the first documented reference to todays game ' the edicts of Parliament in 1457. In many parts of Scotlands east coast, parishioners were constantly being punished for playing golf at the time of the preaching of the Sermon.
 
Two more attempts were made to restrict the playing of gowf, James III banning it again in 1470 and 1493 ' although the people largely ignored it. And the Scots finally had to pay the consequences. At the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513, the Scots were assaulted by English bowmen and were no match for them. England routed the Scots, who had spent so much time playing golf.
Kirk Session (church court) records in the 16th and 17th centuries contain many references to men playing at the gowf. At St. Andrews in 1599, miscreants were fined small sums for the first two offenses before use of the repentance pillar. After that, the culprits were deprived of office ' excommunicated from the church.
 
King James IV (King James I of England), the grandson of the king who originally tried to ban the sport, also tried to prevent the playing of golf. But he, too, found it hopeless and gave up, eventually beginning to play the game himself. The Treaty of Glasgow lifted the ban in 1502.
 
James has the first recorded purchase of a set of golf clubs, also in 1502, his treasurer paying 14 shillings to an archery bow-maker in Perth, Scotland. Records of his expenses show that from then on, there was a steady stream of bills paid from his royal account for golf clubs and golf balls. History also records several lost bets that were debited from the royal bank account.
 
King James IV played in the first officially documented match, pitting himself against the Earl of Bothwell in 1504.
 
It was during this 16th century that it became firmly established on Scotlands East Coast. By this time, the game had gained respectability among high society and was even played by Mary Queen of Scots. She played golf with one of her attendants, Mary Seton. Seton won one match with the queen and was presented with a famous necklace.

History of Golf - Mary Queen of Scots
Mary Queen of Scots
Mary Queen of Scots eventually was executed after a golf match. She played golf at Seton House shortly after the mysterious murder of her husband, Lord Darnley, in l567. Did she commit the murder? Circumstantial evidence suggests she did, though it never was proven. But at the least, many thought her playing golf during the mourning period was just unacceptable, and she herself was put to death at the age of 44..
 
During this period golf was expanding to England. Political powers in that country provided for land grants to the links ' narrow strips of land only a couple of hundred yards wide that connected the sea to the villages. These links proved to be ideal golf areas, what with the spongy surfaces and the seaside vegetation.
 
Membership to the clubs and golfing societies which suddenly flourished carried a considerable amount of prestige. Gentlemen Golfers were considered privileged groups who played a legal, honorable, and respectful sport.
 
It was the royal acceptance of the game that helped spread it throughout the country and beyond. Golf had spread as far north as Montrose in Scotland and inland to Perth, Scotland, by the beginning of the 16th century. It was most likely taken there by James IV.
 
The earliest centers of golf all had associations with royalty. In the case of St. Andrews, the two pillars of Scottish society were located there ' education and the church. St. Andrews is Scotlands oldest seat of learning, and it was also a powerful church stronghold.
 
Scotlands capital city of Edinburgh was the seat of the Scottish court, and golf was intertwined throughout the city aided by the royals. The Scottish towns of Dunfermillon and Perth also had royal palaces and they, too, developed strong golf connections.
 
By the start of the 17th century, golf was actively pursued from the southeast of Scotland and beyond to the far north, to the remote Orkney Islands.
 
The premier golf course of the time was at Leith.. Indeed, King Charles II was busily engaged in a round at Leith when he got the news of the Irish Rebellion of 1642.
 
Leith was also important 41 years later, in 1682, when the first international golf match was played. The Duke of York and George Patterson played the match representing Scotland, defeating two English noblemen. Indeed, the game of golf has been primarily an activity of upper-class citizens for much of its existence.
USGA/Chris Keane

Even with broken driver, Salinda beats Hagestad at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 17, 2018, 2:52 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – With a trip to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals on the line, and with the Pacific Ocean staring him in the face, Isaiah Salinda piped a 330-yard drive down Pebble Beach’s 18th hole.

Not a bad poke with a replacement driver.

Salinda’s Round of 16 match against Stewart Hagestad got off to a rocky start Thursday afternoon with an awkward tee shot on the second hole.

“The ball came out weird, with no spin,” said Salinda’s caddie and former Stanford teammate, Bradley Knox. “He said, ‘Yeah, that felt weird.’”

Salinda looked at the bottom of his Callaway Epic driver and noticed a crack.

Worried that they'd have to play the rest of the round with only a 3-wood, Knox called a Callaway equipment rep, told him the issue, and was relieved to hear he'd meet them at the back of the third tee. Salinda teed off the next hole with a 3-wood – he’d taken driver there all week – and wound up in a tricky spot, on the side of a mound, leading to a bogey.

“Then they came over and cranked the driver,” Knox said. “It was like a NASCAR pit crew.”

The replacement driver was nearly identical – same head, same loft, same weighting – except for the lie angle. The new one was a degree flatter than his gamer, which led to a few more pulled shots than usual.

“It took a little while to recover the mindset that we’d had the rest of the week,” Knox said.


Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


Salinda downplayed the equipment malfunction – “I just had to adjust, and it wasn’t really a problem” – but he didn’t play well early. After trailing for just one hole during his first two matches, he was 4 over par and 2 down through 10 holes against Hagestad, the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion who’d finally made match play after eight previous failed attempts.

On 11, Salinda finally got going, stuffing a wedge shot to 10 feet and recording his first birdie. He followed with three clutch pars before another good approach on 15, leading to a conceded birdie to square the match.

On the home hole, Salinda bombed his drive about 30 yards past Hagestad and had 220 yards to the flag. It was a perfect 4-iron distance, and he sent a rocket into a blinding sunset.

“I never saw it,” Salinda said. “I told my caddie: ‘Where is that? I have no idea.’ But it felt good.”

A lone voice shrieked as the ball landed on the green. They knew the shot had to be tight. Years ago, Stanford senior Chris Meyers had made an albatross on 18 for a walkoff victory with Lee Janzen at the PGA Tour Champions’ First Tee Open. Knox thought they’d come close to duplicating the feat.

“Probably almost had a Chris Meyers,” Knox said, chuckling, as they walked up the fairway.

The shot never had a chance to drop – turns out the spectator was well-lubricated – but it still was only 35 feet away, for eagle. Salinda cozied his putt to a few feet and could only watch as Hagestad’s last-ditch 25-footer stopped a rotation short of the cup.

The Round of 16 victory continued a breakout summer for Salinda. His 15th-place showing at the NCAA Championship kick-started a three-month stretch in which he’s finally taken his game to the next level.

“He’s shown flashes of brilliance before,” Knox said, “and he’s had the game. But now he has the consistency and the confidence that it’ll come back time and time again.”

Salinda shot 62 in the third round and won the Pacific Coast Amateur, which boasts one of the strongest fields of the summer. Then he finished third in stroke play at the Western Amateur before a quarterfinal loss in match play.

Now he’s one step closer to his biggest victory yet – even with a backup driver.

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Salas (62) leads LPGA's Indy Women in Tech

By Associated PressAugust 17, 2018, 12:50 am

INDIANAPOLIS - Lizette Salas' waited 77 minutes to line up her 4-foot putt to take the lead Thursday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

She refused to let the weather delay get to her.

When the 29-year-old California player returned to the course, she quickly rolled in the birdie putt, finished her round with another birdie at No. 18 and took a two-shot lead over Angel Yin and Nasa Hataoka with a course record-tying 10-under 62.

''I didn't even think about it the entire time,'' Salas said. ''I was hanging out with Danielle (Kang) and she was giving me her silly dad jokes. So it definitely kept my mind off of it. I was really excited to be back and to finish off with a birdie, from off the green, was the icing on the cake.''

It's the lowest score by a female player at the Brickyard Crossing.

Defending champion Lexi Thompson opened last year's inaugural tournament with a 63, one shot off of Mike McCullough's 62 in the PGA Champions Tour's 1999 Comfort Classic.

But the way the saturated 6,456-yard course played Thursday, Salas needed virtually every putt of her career-best round to reach the top of the leaderboard.

The morning starters took advantage of overnight rain by shooting right at the pins.

And nobody made a bigger early splash than Yin, the 19-year-old Californian who finished second in last year's rookie of the year race.

She opened with five straight birdies and shot 8-under 28 on the front nine. Only a par on No. 6 prevented her from becoming the sixth LPGA player to shoot 27 on nine holes. South Korea's Mi Hyang Lee did it most recently at the 2016 JTBC Founders Cup.

Yin also tied the third-lowest nine-hole score in relation to par in tour history.

Her only bobble came with a bogey on No. 13 and she closed out her best career round with a birdie on No. 18.


Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship


''I have never done that before,'' she said. ''I had nine putts, I think, on the front nine, which is incredible. I've never had that many little putts. But it just felt good. Everything was working.''

Last year's runner-up for rookie of the year has never won an LPGA Tour title in her home country though she did win in a playoff at Dubai on the Ladies European Tour.

Everybody seemed to find their groove Thursday.

Eighty-eight of the 143 players shot under par and 54 were 3-under or better.

And with more rain in the forecast Thursday night and Friday, the scores could go even lower as a star-studded cast chases down Salas, Yin and Hataoka.

Four players, including Kang and Jane Park, are three shots behind.

Seven players, including last year's tournament runner-up Lydia Ko, are four shots back. Ko was tied with Yin for the lead - until she knocked her tee shot on the par-4, 16th into the water. She wound up with a double bogey and birdied the final hole to finish with 66.

After taking a monthlong break to recover from physical and mental exhaustion, Thompson looked relaxed and comfortable in her return to the course. She shot 68.

''It was hard for me to take the break because I didn't want to show weakness,'' she said. ''But at the same time, it takes a lot of strength to acknowledge that you need that kind of break and just take time for yourself, especially when you're in the spotlight like this.''

Salas, meanwhile, started fast with an eagle on the par-5 second and finished with a flurry.

She birdied three straight holes on the front side to get to 5-under, added birdies at Nos. 12 and 14 to get to 7-under and then birdied the final three holes - around the approaching storm - to put herself in contention for her first title since the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.

''I have been just striking the ball really well this entire year, and just glad some more putts dropped today,'' she said. ''I was really refreshed. I didn't practice at all last week, and I was just really eager and excited to be back.''

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Sordet opens with 62 to grab lead at Nordea Masters

By Associated PressAugust 16, 2018, 11:23 pm

GOTHENBURG, Sweden - Clement Sordet opened with four straight birdies to shoot 8-under 62 and take the first-round lead of the Nordea Masters on Thursday.

Sordet says ''I wasn't really focusing on the score, I was just enjoying it.''

The Frenchman, who shot his lowest European Tour round, has a two-stroke lead over Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Lee Slattery of England.

Hunter Stewart is the highest-placed American after a 5-under 65 left him on a four-way tie for fourth with Christofer Blomstrand, Tapio Pulkkanen and Richard Green.

Defending champion Renato Paratore's hopes of becoming the first player to successfully retain the title look in doubt after the Italian shot 9-over 79 at Hills Golf Club.

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Peterson confirms plans to play Web.com Finals

By Will GrayAugust 16, 2018, 9:17 pm

After flirting with retirement for much of the summer, John Peterson confirmed that he will give it one more shot in the upcoming Web.com Tour Finals.

Peterson, 29, had planned to walk away from the game and begin a career in real estate in his native Texas if he failed to secure PGA Tour status before his medical extension expired. His T-13 finish last month at The Greenbrier appeared to be enough to net the former NCAA champ at least conditional status, but a closer look at the numbers revealed he missed out by 0.58 points in his last available start.


Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

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But Peterson was buoyed by the support he received from his peers at The Greenbrier, and when he got into the Barbasol Championship as a late alternate he decided to make the trip to the tournament. He tied for 21st that week in Kentucky, clinching enough non-member FedExCup points to grant him a spot in the four-event Finals.

Last month Peterson hinted that he would consider playing in the Finals, where 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season will be up for grabs, and Thursday he confirmed in an Instagram post that he will give his pro career "one last push."

The Finals kick off next week in Ohio with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship and will conclude Sept. 20-23 with the Web.com Tour Championship. Peterson will be looking to rekindle his results from 2013, when he finished T-5 or better at each of the four Finals events while earning fully-exempt status as the top money earner.