For centuries golf was played by individuals wealthy enough to afford both the expensive materials and access to the desirable places to play away from commoners. To some extent golf retains this upper-class image although now it is the case that the availability of inexpensive or rental equipment as well as many publicly accessible golf courses has popularized the game like never before.
Golf Ball History
The featherie ball was invented sometime around the early 1600s. Until this time wooden balls were used. A featherie is of painted cow-hide stitched shut; containing goose feathers. This ball outperformed the wood variety and was the standard ball until the invention of the guttie in 1848. Dr. Robert Adams is the individual responsible for this inexpensive and aerodynamically superior ball.
Wound balls were the first multi-layered ball on the scene in the early twentieth century. These balls were once of a liquid or solid core wound up in rubber thread and coated with a thin shell. More advanced manufacturing techniques allowed manufacturers greater precision when designing and producing these balls. Today’s multi-layered balls employ a titanium core and a number of hybrid materials. The shell of the ball is softer these days than it was in the past. A golf ball of today will have two to four layers of synthetic material.
History of the Golf Club
Golf clubs have undergone a long evolution. In golf’s earliest days people used whatever was handy to fashion crude instruments to play. The first record of a special set of clubs comes from King James IV of Scotland, who commissioned a set in 1602. One year later the kingdom appointed its first royal club maker, William Mayne. These early golf clubs were wood, relatively fragile, and expensive to make. The first metal heads date to 1750, and in fact club makers were experimenting with a number of materials in an attempt to improve the effectiveness and durability of the clubs in a game. A new club, a ‘bulger’, was invented to cope with the new dynamics of the ‘guttie’ ball in 1848. These clubs closely resemble the woods of today.
It was sometime around 1900 when aluminum became the material of choice, and in 1902 E. Burr presented iron heads with grooved faces which increased the backspin of the ball. In 1929 clubs with metal shafts were allowed officially into the professional game. In 1939 the 14 club rule was introduced as was the convention of numbering clubs instead of giving names.
The putter was only permitted in professional golf in 1951, and the graphite shaft first made its way into the game in 1973. The most recent evolution in golf clubs is the Taylor-Made ‘metal woods’, which now supersede the ‘wooden woods’ in popularity. Today’s most expensive and sophisticated golf clubs utilize titanium heads and graphite shafts.
US Open Golf History
The US Open is an annual event presented by the United States Golf Association (USGA). There are four major men’s championships every year in golf, and this is one of them. The first US Open was on the fourth of October, 1895. Newport, Rhode Island, was the place and it was a nine-hole court. Eleven men competed, ten professionals and one amateur. Horace Rawlins, a 21 year old Englishman, was the winner. The British dominated the US Open until John J. McDermott took the prize in 1911, the first American to win this tournament.
Master Golf History
Every year in Augusta, Georgia, golf’s greatest come out to swing at the Augusta National Golf Club. The course is world famous for it hosts one of four major golf tournaments. The course was built in 1931 by Bob Jones and Clifford Roberts. To draw attention to the new course the two decided to host an annual tournament, the first of which was held in 1934 and won by Horton Smith against Craig Wood. The tournament was originally titled the ‘Augusta National Invitation Tournament’, but in 1939 it changed its name forever into The Masters.
The Masters Golf Tournament History
The Master’s tournament grabbed headlines, and despite a hiatus throughout the Second World War, has only surged in popularity and prestige throughout the past sixty years. Throughout the 1970s Americans ruled the tournament, however in 1980 Seve Ballesteros, a Spaniard, won the match. Throughout the next 17 years Europeans would win the tournament ten times.
Tiger Woods made history in 1997 by becoming the youngest golfer ever to win the Masters. Four years later he took his second title; it is not incorrect to say that golf was, for a few years at least, dominated by the legend of Tiger Woods. His status as a golf legend has inspired a generation of new players.
Legend Golf Course
Golf is a game populated by legendary figures making legendary shots. From Craig Wood to Tiger Woods, and all the champions in-between, golf is a game that continues to attract people from all walks of life.