The precise origins of modern golf are difficult to establish as, although the Chinese game of chuiwa may have played a part in its development, the French game of chambot, its identical English equivalent cambuca and the Roman game of paganica could equally have done so. Historical records cite the birthplace of modern golf in Scotland where, in 1457, James II tried to bar the playing of the game as he felt his subjects should be improving their archery skills instead.
The Scottish landscape readily lends itself to providing suitable sites for golf courses. Despite being a precision ball sport, golf is less usual in that it is not played on a standard pitch. As a result each course can be individually designed around the standard parameters of tee area, bunkers, fairway, water and other hazards and distance to the green (of which there are usually 18) with a flag marking the hole.
The variability in terms of distance from tee to hole, permissible hazards en route and the average number of strokes to play each hole plus the often unpredictable weather conditions all add to what is an extremely popular precision sport. Despite James II’s efforts golf in Scotland continued to thrive and as a result Scotland boasts some of the finest courses in the world making it a popular choice for those taking advantage of golf breaks UK offers.
The UK has a considerable number of excellent golf courses, many of which provide host venues for international competitions. This has naturally led to a wide selection of UK golf breaks tour operators provide, catering not only for those who wish to play on these well known courses but also for others who may simply want to watch the professionals play in competition.
Because the modern game of golf has Scottish origins, golf courses in Scotland overall are probably better known than those within England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Modern golf resorts are a far cry from the early courses, usually just inland from the beach and built on soil covered dunes (links land) and, in part due to live television coverage of prestigious tournaments, St Andrews, Carnoustie, Turnberry Ailsa, Royal Dornoch and Muirfield have become instantly associated with golf.
A good golf course takes up a huge area of land, not only to accommodate the 18 holes but also accompanying facilities including practice areas. As a country where much of the population tends to be concentrated into towns and cities and one which possesses undoubted natural beauty, varied terrain, favourable geology and a suitable, albeit changeable climate, it is easy to understand why people enjoy playing golf in Scotland.
In order to play golf well and hole the ball in the minimum number of strokes demands a variety of skills. Each course has its own individual features in terms of length and hazards between tee and hole, the terrain associated with the hole and unpredictable weather-related factors which every outdoor game is subject to.
In the 15th century James II wanted to ban golf. With many famous courses, particularly within Scotland, having royal connections, perhaps he would think very differently today and prefer clubs to arrows!
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