Golf is a sport that though nearly everyone knows about it, not all people enjoy the sport. That being said, it is an interesting sport that many people understand just the basics of. Golf, like many sports, has some hidden facts that you may not know even if you are a die hard fan of the sport. Here are 10 interesting facts about golf that you may not know.
1. Origin Story
many people, historians included, claim that golf started in Scotland more than 500 years ago. There is ample historical proof to support this claim and that is why most people agree that the sport started in Scotland. In China however, the claim is that a similar game was created as far back as 943 AD. There is also proof of this sport but it there are similarities and differences between current day golf and the ancient sport that make it hard to call them the same game.
since the sport supposedly started in Scotland, it stands to reason that the second fact would revolve around the country. In 1457 the sport was officially banned in the country by Parliament because it was thought to interfere with the intense military training that the troops needed to be efficient. The ban happened two more times in both 1471 and in 1491. Finally, after years of debate, the sport was officially embraced and in 1754 the Royal and Ancient Gold Club of St. Andrews was officially founded.
3. First Golf Tournament
to keep with the Scottish theme, the first and oldest recorded golf tournament in the world took place on October, 17th, 1860 and took place at a green called Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. This is the first documented tournament and the course would be famous for another first eight years later. In 1868 the first hole in one was recorded and was struck by Tom Morris. This was a monumental event as it helped to propel golf into the realm of a real sport that could hold competitions.
4. Wooden Balls
the first golf ball was not plastic, not feathers, not cotton, the first golf ball was actually made of wood. These balls were dangerous, heavy and could cause some major damage if they hit people or property. The first feather filled golf ball was not introduced until 1618 and was made much like a baseball. The interior was tightly packed goose feathers that were surrounded by a horse or cow hide to maintain shape and size. These balls were called feather balls and were used until the balls began to change eventually becoming the balls that we use in the sport today.
5. Origin of the Word “Caddy”
We’ve all heard of golf caddies and the term is not Scottish believe it or not. The term actually comes from the French word, “cadet”, which means younger boy. The word was pronounced caddy and this is where we get the current day adaptation. Most caddies, then and today, were younger boys that helped to carry clubs, balls, towels, and anything else that the player might need while on the green or in the course of play. We today use the term to describe anyone that assists the golfer while they are playing the game.Origin of the Word “Bridie”- a birdie
6. Origin of the Word “Bridie”
a birdie is of course a good thing for many that play the sport but the term was not part of the original golf vocabulary. The term birdie was coined in 1899 by the American golfer Ab Smith. Smith reportedly was so impressed by his own shot that he referred to it as a “bird of a shot” resulting in the term birdie. This was in 1899 in Atlantic City, NJ. The term stuck and now is used to describe the score of one under par on any individual golf hole. Par is the term used to describe the number of shots that an experienced golfer might need to complete a hole so a birdie is pretty impressive.
7. Golf In Space
We all remember or have at least heard of the moon landing on February 6th, 1971. The astronauts that were carried on Apollo 14 were set on making it a memorable landing. Apollo astronaut Alan Shepard hit two golf balls off the surface of the moon during their landing making it the first sport to be officially “played” on the surface of the moon. Though it was not a typical game, it was certainly memorable. Since then, there have been other attempts to play sports in space but this will always be the first one from the moon.
8. Not all Golf Balls are Created Equally
Though you would imagine that all golf balls would be made on a similar template, they are actually different according to the company that manufactures them. The number of dimples is the biggest difference as the size is standard. In some cases, balls can have up to 500 dimples and as little as 330 dimples. The standard is about 336 dimples per golf ball. If you take the time to count them all you can discover what company made the ball. These differences are slight and make no real difference to how the game is played and are instead a simple preference of the manufacturer.
9. Records for the Longest
The longest golf course is a 77 par course at the International Golf Club in Massachusetts and it measures an impressive 8,325 yards. To put that into perspective, that is nearly 70 football fields in length. The longest putt ever made was an impressive 375 feet. This is still nowhere near as far as the longest golf course, but it would help you make some headway. Golf balls typically travel longer when it is warm as the rubber becomes more buoyant and resilient in the heat than they are in the colder temperatures.
10. Against the Odds
The last fact to think about is your chances of getting two hole in ones in one round. Though it has happened before, be it by luck or talent, it is extremely rare to get more than one hole in one per a round. The odds of that happening have been calculated to be 1 in 67 million. With enough practice you can certainly get better and can get closer to a hole in one each time, but there is still a very small chance that you are going to get a hole in one more than once in any individual game.
For those that love sports it is always fun to find out things about your favorite sport that maybe you did not know. There are plenty of other great facts about golf that you might benefit from learning but these are by far some of the coolest. As the game matures and becomes even more iconic there are sure to be some great facts that are created that we will all want to learn about.