Well, who actually did invent the game of Golf? The question has been asked and argued for many years with no true winner. Many countries have a valid claim to an early game that resembles the game of golf. Some of the countries that make this claim are England. Scotland, China, Rome, France, The Netherlands, Belgium and Laos. The most heated debate over who invented golf definitely comes from Great Britain and Scotland.
The first area to look when deciding the answer to our question must be what actually determines when a game with sticks and balls is golf or another game. Most countries in the world have had games where you hit an object with a stick at some sort of target. Is this enough to be called golf, I don't think so. If so, then these early games could claim the origin of many sports played today. I think it takes more than just a game with some kind of object being hit by a stick to qualify as the origin of golf.
Holland is believed to be the origin of the name of golf but not the actual game itself. Holland played a game in the 1200s called Colf, which means clubs. This was a form of golf but once again the form of many other sports.
Colf has been traced back to Dec. 26, 1297, in the town of Loenen aan de Vecht in northern Holland. On that day, the local townsfolk played four holes of the game to commemorate the relieving of the Kronenburg Castle exactly one year before. The fact that colf was chosen to mark the occasion is proof that the game was already popular by that time.
Great Britain The earliest traces of golf history has golf being played are said to date back to 1340, where in a sketch from a stained glass window, the Great East Window, in the east wing of the Gloucester Cathedral, England, scenes of the Battle of Crecy in France showed a man apparently preparing to strike a ball in a golf-like manner.
One of the early forms of golf were all missing one important ingredient to their games to truly make the game golf and that was the hole. Scotland is widely believed to be the first country to put all the ingredients together and actually start a primitive form of the great game of golf.
Yes, this will always be a disputed point, who actually invented the game of golf. If you believe some of the claims that the game they were playing was golf and they didn't have a hole, then you could take this same game and turn it into the origin of many games we still play today. I believe the hole is what separates all the early claims to who originated the game of golf.
Look at our Golf History section at the World of Golf Handicap for more detailed information on the History of Golf.
World of Golf Handicap