The History of Leith

June 1, 2004

Timeline of Golf History 1353-1850

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. While accepting most of the Timeline below. I would suggest that according to research done the rules of Golf were first formulated on the Links of Leith and sent to St Andrews which they requested in 1744.


The first recorded reference to chole, the probable antecedent of golf. It is a derivative of hockey played in Flanders (Belgium).


A Scottish regiment aiding the French against the English at the Siege of Bauge is introduced to the game of chole. Hugh Kennedy, Robert Stewart and John Smale, three of the identified players, are credited with introducing the game in Scotland.


Golf, along with football, is banned by the Scots Parliament of James II because it has interfered with military training for the wars against the English.


The ban on golf is reaffirmed by the Parliament of James III.


The golf ban is affirmed again by Parliament, this time under King James IV.


With the signing of the Treaty of Glasgow between England and Scotland, the ban on golf is lifted.

James IV makes the first recorded purchase of golf equipment, a set of clubs from a bow-maker in Perth, Scotland.


Queen Catherine of England, in a letter to Cardinal Wolsey, refers to the growing popularity of golf in England.


The first commoner recorded as a golfer is Sir Robert Maule, described as playing on Barry Links (near the modern-day Carnoustie).


The first recorded evidence of golf at St. Andrews.


The Archbishop of St. Andrews issues a decree giving the local populace the right to play golf on the links at St. Andrews.


Mary, Queen of Scots, seen playing golf shortly after the death of her husband Lord Darnley, is the first known female golfer.


Golf is banned in the Blackfriars Yard, Glasgow. This is the earliest reference to golf in the west of Scotland.


The City of Edinburgh bans golfing at Leith on 1592 (continued) Sunday “in tyme of sermonis.”


Invention of the feathery ball.


King James VI of Scotland and I of England confirms the right of the populace to play golf on Sundays.


First recorded reference to golf on the links of Dornoch (later Royal Dornoch), in the far north of Scotland.


Charles I is playing golf at Leith when he learns of the Irish rebellion, marking the beginning of the English Civil War. He finishes his round.


John Dickson receives a license as ball-maker for Aberdeen, Scotland.


Golf is banned from the streets of Albany, New York-the first reference to golf in America.


In the first recorded international golf match, the Duke of York and John Paterstone of Scotland defeat two English noblemen in a match played on the links of Leith.

Andrew Dickson, carrying clubs for the Duke of York, is the first recorded caddy.


A book by Thomas Kincaid, Thoughts on Golve, contains the first references on how golf clubs are made.


Earliest reference to golf at Glasgow Green, the first course played in the west of Scotland.


“A solemn match of golf” between Alexander Elphinstone and Captain John Porteous becomes the first match reported in a newspaper. Elphinstone fights and wins a duel on the same ground in 1729.


Thomas Mathison’s epic The Goff is the first literary effort devoted to golf.


The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers is formed, playing at Leith links. It is the first golf club.

The City of Edinburgh pays for a Silver Cup to be awarded to the annual champion in an open competition played at Leith. John Rattray is the first champion.


Golfers at St. Andrews purchase a Silver Cup for an open championship played on the Old Course. Bailie William Landale is the first champion.

The first codified Rules of Golf published by the St. Andrews Golfers (later the Royal & Ancient Golf Club).


Earliest reference to stroke-play, at St. Andrews. Previously, all play was match.


The competition for the Silver Club at Leith is restricted to members of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.

The first four holes at St. Andrews are combined into two, reducing the round from twenty-two holes (11 out and in) to 18 (nine out and in). St. Andrews is the first 18-hole golf course, and sets the standard for future courses.


The Blackheath Club becomes the first golf club formed outside of Scotland.


The score of 94 returned by James Durham at St. Andrews in the Silver Cup competition sets a record unbroken for 86 years.


The Golf House at Leith is erected. It is the first golf clubhouse.


Competition at St. Andrews is restricted to members of the Leith and St. Andrews societies.

The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh is formed.


Thomas McMillan offers a Silver Cup for competition at Musselburgh. He wins the first championship.

The first part-time golf course professional (at the time also the greenkeeper) is hired, by the Edinburgh Burgess Society.


The Aberdeen Golf Club (later Royal Aberdeen) is formed.


A Silver Club is offered for competition at Glasgow.


The South Carolina Golf Club is formed in Charleston, the first golf club outside of the United Kingdom.

The Crail Golfing Society is formed.


The Bruntsfield Club is formed.


The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers requires members to wear club uniform when playing on the links.


The Burntisland Golf Club is formed.

The town of St. Andrews sells the land containing the Old Course (known then as Pilmor Links), to Thomas Erskine for 805 pounds. Erskine was required to preserve the course for golf.


The St. Andrews Club chooses to elect its captains rather than award captaincy to the winner of the Silver Cup. Thus begins the tradition of the Captain “playing himself into office,” by hitting a single shot before the start of the annual competition.


Earliest recorded reference to a women’s competition at Musselburgh.


The Bangalore Club is formed, the first club outside of the British Isles.


The Perth Golfing Society is formed, later Royal Perth (the first club so honored).


Hickory imported from America is used to make golf shafts.


The Calcutta Golf Club (later Royal Calcutta) is formed.


The North Berwick Club is founded, the first to include women in its activities, although they are not permitted to play in competitions.


King William IV confers the distinction of “Royal” on the Perth Golfing Society; as Royal Perth it is the first Club to hold the distinction.

The St. Andrews Golfers ban the stymie, but rescind the ban one year later.


William IV confers the title “Royal and Ancient” on the Golf Club at St. Andrews.


The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers abandons the deteriorating Leith Links, moving to Musselburgh.

The longest driver ever recorded with a feathery ball, 361 yards, is achieved by Samuel Messieux at Elysian Fields.


The Bombay Golfing Society (later Royal Bombay) is founded.


Blackheath follows Leith in expanding its course from five to seven holes. North Berwick also had seven holes at the time, although the trend toward a standard eighteen had begun.


Invention of the “guttie,” the gutta-percha ball. It flies farther than the feathery and is much less expensive. It contributes greatly to the expansion of the game.


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