Golf is a game that’s steeped in tradition. From its origins in rugged landscape of Scotland, it’s now one of the most popular sports worldwide. Here are 10 fascinating golf facts proving that, no matter the circumstances, golfers will always find a way to get a quick hole in!
British mineworkers brought golf to Spain
Golf was first played in Spain in the late 1800s by British miners working in the Rio Tinto mines in Andalucía. As they played near the mines, the ground was often rocky and dusty, making for some tough conditions – thankfully, they were good at making holes!
Tiger teed off from the top of the Burj Al Arab
In 2004, Tiger Woods teed off from the helipad on top of Dubai’s luxury hotel the Burj Al Arab. Current world number one Rory McIlroy did the same in 2011, while Tiger’s niece Cheyenne also took the challenge in 2014.
There is a golf course that spans two countries
The Green Zone Golf Course in Scandinavia has holes in two different countries: Finland and Sweden, allowing players to hit balls from one time zone to the next!
The first record of golf was a banning order
The first time the word ‘golf’ was ever mentioned in historical documents was in 1457, when King James II and the Scottish parliament banned it, as they believed it prevented men from practising archery and swordplay. The ban was repealed in 1502 by James IV who bought a set of clubs in the same year.
A golf course in South Korea requires players to be armed
Do you want to play the most dangerous game of golf in the world? Then visit U.S. Army Camp Bonitas in South Korea, a one-hole wonder a little over 400 yards from the Demilitarised Zone between North and South Korea.
Golf has been played on the moon
Despite all the care and consideration groundskeepers put into maintaining their pristine golf courses, golf can be played on any surface. In 1971, astronaut Alan Shephard, who was part of the Apollo 14 mission, hit golf balls on the lunar landscape with a special six-iron.
There is a golf course in a prison
Prison View Golf Course in the United States is actually located within the walls of the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Anyone can apply to play on the course, but must do so 48 hours in advance.
Japanese golfers often buy hole-in-one-insurance
Getting a hole-in-one in Japan can be very expensive. Instead of just buying your friends a round of drinks, you might have to throw them a party or give them expensive presents.
‘Caddy’ comes from a French word
‘Caddy’ (or in Scotland, ‘caddie’) is a mispronunciation of ‘cadet’, a French word that means student.
In South Africa, there is a hole half a kilometre from its tee
The Legend Golf & Safari Resort’s ‘Extreme 19th’ hole is around 500m from tee to hole. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean it’ll take you a dozen strokes to get the ball to the green – the tee is actually situated on the top of a mountain overlooking the hole!
Will Sigsworth is a sports and business writer for John Brown Media