Golf is a popular sport, but not as popular as other sports like football and basketball, not to mention cricket. Golf, however, unlike other sports, has its own history and presence, particularly in the United Kingdom.
Countries like England and Scotland are very touchy when it comes to golf. You could imagine, then, what happened when golf was banned in 1457 in Scotland. It wasn’t a popular decision, nor was it effective. Here is more on golf and the ban in Scotland.
Golf – A Sport with History
Golf can be dated back centuries prior to its ban in Scotland, to various places all over the world where there were reports of games similar to golf, where a ball was hit with a club. Golf in Scotland, however, has its roots prior to its 1457 ban, albeit they are unclear. Golf was already such a popular sport that it required government action in order to stop it from being a nuisance and a distraction, as it was reported to be in the ban.
The 1457 Ban – A Very Bad Decision
Golf was banned in 1457 by King James II because it was deemed to be a nuisance and dangerous, mostly because it was played in public places. Football was also banned, which as most can imagine, did not age well.
The probable reason behind the ban was that it was distracting the military from practicing archery, albeit better regulations would have probably fared better with the people than an outright ban.
Golf was banned once again in 1471 and later in 1491. These repetitions of the ban only show that golf was very popular and that the people did not really care as to what the government had to say.
Ban Lift – Golf is Free Once More
King James IV lifted the golf ban in 1502 and pretty soon, everybody was playing it once more, including the king himself. Golf is one of those sports which is far too relaxing to be a distraction and under the proper circumstances, much safer than other sports, hence why golf courses were invented.
The very king was the first person to make a purchase of golf equipment, at least recorded in history.
Why Was Golf Banned in the First Place?
Given that golf was a sport and that people in general love playing sports, or using them as a hobby to relax, golf was banned due to an ongoing war between England and Scotland. Once the peace treaty was signed, golf was once more allowed. It took some time for the sport of golf to get its own licensed balls and the format that we know today, but its history was shaped in Scotland and England, the ban being a part of it.
Ban it once, twice or even three times, and golf will come back, as history has shown us. Today, golf is played everywhere, taking its place among one of the world’s most interesting and relaxing sports.