1. Early shepherds may have used their curved staffs to hit stones in a simple game of “golf” as early as 2,000 years ago.
2. A more structured version of golf was invented in Scotland nearly 1,000 years ago.
3. The first golf balls were made of thin leather stuffed with feathers. Tightly-packed feathers made balls that flew the farthest. Feather balls were used until 1848.
4. The youngest golfer to shoot a hole-in-one was Coby Orr, who was five years old at the time. It happened in Littleton, Colorado, in 1975.
5. Some older golfers try to match their age to their golf score. The oldest golfer to “shoot his age” was a 103-year-old Canadian man.
6. After feathers, golf balls were made from “gutta-percha.” Sap was drained from trees in Malaysia and boiled until thick. When hard, this substance was made into “gutty” balls.
7. Golf was too popular in Scotland in the 1400s–so it was made illegal. Laws said Scotsmen had to practice archery every day so they could defend their land. Instead, they were playing “golfe.” King James II outlawed the sport so that men would return to practice with bows and arrows.
8. The first golf tournament was held at the Prestwick Golf Course in Scotland in 1860. This contest is called the British Open today.
9. A golf ball made of rubber, like those we use today, was invented in the United States in 1899 .
10. Golf balls used in the U.S.A. are bigger than ones used in Canada or Europe.
11. The first golf contest for women was held in 1895 on Long Island, New York, although women had been playing for some time.
12. Professional women golfers formed the Ladies Professional Golf Association (L.P.G.A.) after World War II.
13. The word caddy comes from the French word for student, cadet, which is pronounced cad-DAY.
14. The first golf course was probably St. Andrews in Scotland, which is more than 400 years old.
15. The dimples on the outside of a golf ball help the ball fly farther and more accurately.
16. Many professional golfers are superstitious. Nancy Lopez never uses a tee someone has discarded. Jack Nicklaus always plays with three tees and three pennies in his pocket.
17. A North Carolina man, Lang Martin, once balanced seven golf balls, one atop another, for a world record.
18. At least 20 people have scored two “holes-in-one” in a row.