Golf Clubs and Courses in Scotland

Golf Clubs And Courses In Scotland

Golf in Scotland was first recorded in the 15th century, and the modern game of golf was first developed and established in the country. The game plays a key role in the national sporting consciousness.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, known as the R&A, is the world governing body for the game (except in the United States and Mexico), and to many golfers the Old Course, an ancient links course dating to before 1574, is considered to be a site of pilgrimage. There are many other famous golf courses in Scotland, including Carnoustie, Gleneagles, Muirfield, Balcomie and Royal Troon. The world's first Open Championship was held at Prestwick in 1860, and Scots golfers have the most victories at the Open at 42 wins, one ahead of the United States.

Although golf is often seen as an elitist sport elsewhere in the world, in the land of its birth it enjoys widespread appeal across the social spectrum, in line with the country's egalitarian tradition. For example, the Old Course at St Andrew's and Musselburgh Links are public courses. Council-owned courses, with low fees and easy access, are common throughout the country wherever demography and geography allow. Therefore golf courses, whether public or private, are far more common in the Lowlands than in the Highlands and Islands, where shinty (a game which may share a common ancestry with golf) is often the traditional sport.

Scotland is widely promoted as the 'Home of Golf', and along with whisky and the long list of Scottish inventions and discoveries, golf is widely seen as being a key national cultural icon throughout the world. It is frequently used to market the country to potential visitors, for example for the Homecoming year in 2009, and golf tourism accounted for approximately 2% of overall Scottish tourism spending in 2004. One page that explains the history of golf in Scotland starts off by stating that, "There has been much debate as to the origins of the game and, in some cases, how it was originally played. One thing is certain — the game of golf as we know it was born in Scotland".

Scotland has more than 500 courses which are liberally divided among its ten regions. The highest concentrations are around Glasgow (94 courses) and Edinburgh (67 courses), since these two cities and their environs account for the bulk of the population. But the other districts still average about 40 courses each. Even the distant northern islands have 14 options. Such largesse is possible because Scotland boasts more courses per head of population than any other country.

Read more about Golf Clubs And Courses In Scotland:  Etymology, Origins, Spreading The Game Outwith Scotland, Players

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    Four and twenty at her back
    And they were a’ clad out in green;
    Tho the King of Scotland had been there
    The warst o’ them might hae been his Queen.

    On we lap and awa we rade
    Till we cam to yon bonny ha’
    Whare the roof was o’ the beaten gold
    And the floor was o’ the cristal a’.
    —Unknown. The Wee Wee Man (l. 21–28)

    The inconveniences and horrors of the pox are perfectly well known to every one; but still the disease flourishes and spreads. Several million people were killed in a recent war and half the world ruined; but we all busily go on in courses that make another event of the same sort inevitable. Experientia docet? Experientia doesn’t.
    Aldous Huxley (1894–1963)

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    Norman Mailer (b. 1923)

    My attitude toward punctuation is that it ought to be as conventional as possible. The game of golf would lose a good deal if croquet mallets and billiard cues were allowed on the putting green. You ought to be able to show that you can do it a good deal better than anyone else with the regular tools before you have a license to bring in your own improvements.
    Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961)