The game of golf is a passion for many people around the world. It is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. But how much do you really know about golf?
A Bit of Golf History
Of course, you know there are 18 holes in golf, right? But there are also 9 hole courses too. And it originated in Scotland - maybe you knew that one too. But did you know that the game has been around since the 15th century? What about the number 18 - who decided 18 holes would define a golf course and a round of play?
It's a question that has been asked since the game was first played. The year was 1764. The location was the home of golf, St. Andrews, Scotland. And the number of holes was 18.
If we open up our history books we'll find that the original number of holes at St. Andrews was 22. But that changed in that magical year of 1764. Golfers of St. Andrews decided it was time for a quick remodel. This involved turning 4 of the shorter holes into 2 longer holes. The golf gods were already at work.
So now there were 18 holes but the crazy thing was that most courses had different numbers and different layouts; for example, Prestwick Golf Club only had 12 holes. And that was almost 90 years later. There were courses in the 18th century that had 5, 7, or even 14 holes. Courses would repeat a series of holes and sometimes the order played was random.
According to Scottish Golf History, there was even a course, Montrose Links that couldn't decide how many holes they wanted. Over a span of 60-plus years, they went from 7 to 14 to eventually 25 holes. Yes, you read that correctly - 25 holes in 1866. Eventually, they would fall in line and become the second course with 18 holes over 20 years later.
Finally, the golfing powers at St. Andrews had enough and laid down the 18-hole rule in 1842. This would obviously become the standard accepted number of holes for a round of golf or a match of golf. Very slowly others started to follow suit arriving at where we are today.
But why 18?
There's one fun urban legend that states that a bottle of Scotch could be consumed by drinking 18 shots, 1 per hole. And that's why there are 18 holes on a golf course. Unfortunately, there's no truth to this and we certainly wouldn't suggest trying to find out.
Whatever the reason may be, one thing is certain: we're stuck with 18 holes in golf whether we like it or not!
So there you have it! The curious case of the 18 holes in golf. Now when someone asks you why there are 18 holes in a game of golf, you can regale them with this fascinating bit of history (or make up your own theory).
So now, I bet you're dying to play St. Andrews. What serious golfer wouldn't love to be teeing it up at the Old Course? What if you could be playing this week from the comfort of your own home? Sound crazy? See below.