Golf is a sport that’s bursting with facts, thanks to its rich history, complicated rules, wide mix of participants and an array of formats. We look at 12 unusual golfing facts that might make you stop and think, or give you some material to entertain your golfing buddies next time you see them.
The first written reference to golf appeared in an Act of the Scottish Parliament from 1457. In an edict issued by King James II, the playing of ‘gowf’ and football was prohibited because the games are distracting subjects from archery practice.
The world’s first golf club, Company of Edinburgh Golfers, was founded in 1744 when Edinburgh Town Council presented a silver club to be played for annually by ‘The Gentleman Golfers.’ The club subsequently drew up 13 ‘Articles & Laws in Playing at Golf’, which are the earliest known rules of the game.
Since 1891, golf holes have all been 4¼in wide. This is because The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews confirmed the diameter in the set of rules they issued that year. Royal Musselburgh had acquired the first known hole-cutter in 1829, which had this exact measurement. Why 4¼in, we hear you ask? Nobody knows for sure, but it’s likely that this was simply the diameter of some pipe lying around Musselburgh Links at the time.
Each year, around 125,000 balls are fired into the water on the infamous, island-green, par-3 17th hole on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Florida. That’s tens of thousands of rounds worth of golf balls!
A greater cause
During World War II, the normally pristine Augusta National golf course – host to The U.S. Masters – was closed and turned over to the breeding of cattle and turkeys to aid the war effort.
You may not have heard of Byron Nelson before, but he is responsible for the most famous winning streak in golf history. In August 1945, Byron Nelson won the Canadian Open by four strokes. This was Iron Byron’s 11th consecutive victory on the PGA Tour and he won 18 of the 30 tournaments he played in 1945.
The 1947 U.S. Open at St Louis Country Club was the first golf tournament to be televised. It was shown locally in St Louis by KSD-TV. The British Open was televised for the first time on the BBC in 1955.
Age is no barrier
In November 2007, Sir Bob Charles made the cut in the Michael Hill New Zealand Open. The 71-year-old is the oldest player to have made a cut in a European Tour event.
At the tender age of just 10 years and 3 months, Allison Corpuz of Hawaii played in the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship. In the process, she became the youngest person ever to play in a USGA championship, a record which still exists today.
Technology moves on
In the 1993 U.S. Masters, Germany’s Bernhard Langer was the last player to win a Major championship using a wooden-headed driver.
It wasn’t until 1990 that The R&A outlawed the use of the smaller 1.62-inch diameter ball in all competition.
Out of this world
Golf is one of only two sports to have been played outside of Planet Earth (the other being the javelin throw). In 1971, Apollo 14 commander Alan Shepard used a Wilson six-iron to hit golf balls on the surface of the moon. He had two shots, firing the second for, as he put it, ‘miles and miles and miles.’
Hopefully, there are one or two facts there that you might not have heard or read before, giving you a talking point in the clubhouse this week.
There’s one final fact that should give pause for thought. A study showed that in the USA in 2014, over 30,000 people visited Emergency Rooms with golf-related injuries.
It can be a dangerous game, and it’s therefore important you have the right insurance cover in place.Golf Care provides specialist golf insurance from just £24.49 a year, which includes up to £50,000 of Personal Accident cover and up to £5 million of Public Liability. Get an instant online quote with us today and protect yourself against the risks of the course.