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The Oldest Golf Courses in the World

Golf ball in a tee

Golf is a game that uses different clubs to hit the golf ball with a few strokes as possible. This game is played on a large open-space called Golf Course that is consists of different zones. Even though the ancient origin of the game Golf is vague and still debated, some historians said that golf’s modern play originated in Scotland. 

In 1457, the first-mentioned of the word ‘golf’ came from a document issued by James the II of Scotland. It stated that golf is a distraction from archery and therefore, should be banned. In addition to this, another ban was mentioned in 1471 and 1491 under an excuse that golf is ‘an unprofitable sport.’ Golf continued to be banned until it was lifted in the reign of King James IV in 1505 when he became a fan of the game. In 1603, the Prince of Wales, Henry Frederick, and his couriers first played the game of Golf in Blackheath, London. 

In 1744, golf became an official game after the Gentlemen Golfers of Edinburgh formed the first open golf competition. It was also when the first 13 articles and rules of golf were drafted by Duncan Forbes, a keen golfer and the founder of Gentlemen Golfers. Played in the Leith Links, in Edinburgh, the participants compete for the silver golf club and the title of “Captain of Golf.” The participants that signed up for this golf competition were notable and well-known people. One of them was John Rattray, an Edinburgh surgeon, and champion archer, who later on hold the “Captain of Golf” title on April 22, 1744

By the year 1764, the first 18-hole golf course was constructed at St. Andrews, Scotland. In 1834 the Society of St. Andrews Golfers was honored by King William IV with a new title called “royal and ancient.” For this reason, Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews grew in popularity and now one of the world’s premier golf club. In the 19th Century, the game Golf was established in the different parts of the world. As the British Empire expanded, golf followed suit. It was in Bangalore, India, where the first golf club outside Scotland was formed. Golf’s popularity later on scattered in different parts of the world, such as in Australia, Canada, New York, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and South Africa.

Railways brought by the Industrial Revolution brought many changes, especially on the golf’s popularity. It allowed many people to travel outside their cities and towns, resulting in the appearance of golf clubs from different places.

On October 17, 1860, the first Open Championship (Also known as ‘British Open’ or ‘The Open’) was held at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. It is one of the oldest running sports championships and also one of the world’s major golf tournaments along with the Masters Tournament, Professional Golfers Association (PGA), and the U.S. Open. Furthermore, in 1894, the United States Golf Association (USGA) was established as the governing body of golf in the U.S. and Mexico. Since then, the USGA has been regulating thousands of golf clubs throughout the USA. 

Today, the game of golf is widely known. Its popularity remains steady along with the history and notable names that marked the golf courses where the game is played.  

Top five Oldest Golf Courses

Seeing the vast grounds where golf is played, one can say that golf is indeed a game of patience and strategy. So if you are a passionate golfer or a beginner planning to revisit, tour, and play with the other Golf enthusiasts on your next golf break, here are the top five classic Golf Courses for your next golf escapade:

St. Andrews Old Course

St. Andrews Old Course, Scotland

St. Andrews Old Course or also known as “The Home of Golf,” is considered the oldest golf course in the world, found in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland. In 1457, a record was stated that King James II banned golf as it posed a distraction in learning archery.

However, in the year 1505, the ban was lifted by James IV when he became a Golf player, himself. In 1672 of March, a document stating golf was played in Musselburgh Links in Scotland –making it the oldest Golf Courses in the world.   

Musselburgh Old Links 

Musselburgh Old Links, Starters Building

Formerly known as the Oldest Golf Course in the world, Musselburgh Old Links was surpassed by St. Andrews Old Course. 

Musselburgh Old Links, found in Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland, has first documented as the golf course where Mary, Queen of Scotland, played in 1567. In the 1870s to 1880s, Musselburgh Old Links was one of the golf courses that held one of the oldest golf tournaments –the Open Championship or the British Open. 

Ellie and Earlsferry

Ellie and Earlsferry Club House 

Ellie and Earlsferry, also known as Ellie Golf Club, is an 18-hole Golf Course located in Fife, Scotland, only about a mile from St. Andrews Gold Club. Ellie and Earlsferry were founded in 1875 and was designed by James Braid and Old Tom Morris in 1895. 

Fortrose (or Fortrose and Rosemarkie)

Also known today as Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club located in Fortrose, Scotland, UK. It is a Golf Course that existed way back in the year 1702 with its former name “Chanonry.” The early account of the Chanonry proving that it existed before it was renamed in 1793, was a letter sent by a farmer to his law agent, thanking him concerning a Golf Club and a Golf ball sent to him. 

In the year 1793, Fortrose Golf Society was founded. It was also the year when another documented statistical account of a Parish Minister was found, stating that golf was often played in Fortrose.

Kinghorn Golf Club

Located in Burntisland, Kinghorn, U.K., Kinghorn Golf Club are a nine-hole Golf Course and the fifth of the oldest Golf Courses in the world. It was announced as the Fifth oldest Golf Course when a documented letter was found in 1812, stating the golfer’s right to play in a land, which was the same land where the present Golf Course was created that was formerly bought in 1886 by the Council.

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