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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Golf

Whether you passionately love it or passionately hate it, golf is one of the oldest and most prestigious sports in existence. 
Infamously known to be tense, serious and even a little bit uptight at times, golf truly has a bad rep as it is often seen as a game for snobs. But truthfully, there’s so much more to the game than meets the eye (we’re totally not being biased here.) Yes, there are still many faults we can nitpick at, but the fact remains: Golf is the greatest game of all time and it has an incredible history to show for it.

As we know, golf has transitioned, evolved and adapted to the world around it for hundreds of years. Due to this, many common facts and history about the game may have gotten lost along the way. Nevertheless, much of its rich heritage is still very much intact, along with some truly interesting and unknown trivia that many (even those who may not be golf nuts) would enjoy learning. So hop onto our time machine buggy as we discover 10 things about golf you may or may not already know: 

Thing #1 : Golf made its way to THE MOON!    

Back in February of 1971, Alan Shepard of Apollo 14, hit a ball with a six-iron, swinging it with only one hand due to his pressure suit. The only other sport ever played up there (by a human) was the javelin throw, roughly around the same time. In fact, both the ball and the javelin are still up there! Then in 2006, Russian astronaut, Mijail Tiurin became the first person to drive a golf ball into space

Thing #2 : The first round of Women’s Golf was played in 1811   

Like every sport, golf has a history of misogyny. That’s why it’s no surprise that the first round of women’s golf took four hundred years to happen. This first round was played in Musselburgh, Scotland in 1867,  where the first women’s club was formed. From here, women’s golf has walked the path towards an outstanding history. Of course, women still continue to struggle in the world of golf, like all other sports. But over the years, the course is becoming friendlier.

Thing #3 : A golf ball travels furthest on hot days  

In colder temperatures, a golf ball and golf club don’t experience the same efficient transfer of energy as they would in warmer temperatures. Colder air is also much more dense compared to warm air, which means the golf ball experiences more drag and friction. Moreover, when a golfer’s muscles are warmer, they also achieve better performance. While the change in distance is not huge, a golf ball tends to travel about 10 more yards in warmer weather. No wonder all golfers love the sun! 

Thing #4 : The country that invented golf, banned it. Not once, not twice, but three times

As the birthplace of modern golf during the 15th century, Scotland banned the game in its infancy in 1457 so that its population would focus instead on preparing for the English invasion. Considered as “unprofitable” and “pointless” the golf ban was reaffirmed in 1470 and again in 1491 by the Parliament. To be problematic enough to require official legislation, golf was likely very popular at the time. The ban on golf didn’t last forever and was eventually lifted in 1502. Within two years, even the King of Scotland, King James IV, was a fan. And the rest, as they say, is history.


Thing #5 : Golf is Kolve or Kolf in Dutch, which means club or stick  

The word GOLF did not originate as an acronym for "Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden"? That's a common old wives' tale. Or in this case, an old husbands' tale. The term golf originated in the Netherlands and was likely introduced to the Scots through trading during the 14th up until the 17th centuries. Due to the contrasting linguistic differences in their dialects, the Scots gradually modified the pronunciation from, “gouff” then to “goff” and finally in the 16th century, it became what we all know it as--golf.

Thing #6 : American golf balls have an average of 336 dimples, British, around 330

The modern golf ball is made of urethane and has between 300 to 500 dimples. Is more actually better? You bet! A golf ball gets more distance thanks to their dimples. They travel further than smooth golf balls because the dimples create turbulence in the boundary layer, which helps reduce drag and increase lift. The dimples also scoop up air and move it back towards the rear of the ball as the ball spins.

Thing #7 : Argyle socks was trending back then for golf

Invented by the Scots, the seemingly absurd golfing outfit that featured very long plaid argyle socks was the trademark piece that completed every golfer’s outfit. Although the formal golfing kilt were rarely seen outside of Scotland, the custom of wearing some combination of Scottish plaid, knee-cinched shorts, and really long argyle socks is still popular to this very day. Well, aren’t we thankful there are more innovative and fashionable golf wear options now! 

Thing #8 : Caddyshack ranks as the best golf movie of all time 

It may be a comedy filled with zany characters and a goofy storyline, but Caddyshack (1980) has earned a cult following as one of the funniest sports films ever made, and it’s about golf! Hard to believe, isn’t it? While there have been other films revolving around the game, Caddyshack stands out as one of the best because not only is it based on actual experiences, but also many of the jokes about golf are pretty true to life. An absolute classic and a must-watch!

Thing #9 : Golfers never wash their ball after an exceptional round

It sounds like a ridiculous superstition, but you’d be surprised to know just how many pro golfers actually live by this rule. They believe that washing the ball will change their luck. To maintain their winning streak, golfers keep their ball as is, no matter how filthy. 

Thing #10 : The first handicap was invented by a woman in 1893

The system was introduced by Issette Pearson of the Ladies Golf Union (LGU) intended to level the playing field and to open up the sport to less experienced players. The system also allowed male and female players with mixed skills to compete. This new recognition gave women a chance to finally start making changes that we see reflected in our modern-day game of golf today

And there you have it. Now that you know a little bit more about the game and its history, maybe you’ll fancy hitting the green for a game or two? 


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