Golf continues to grow in popularity as a professional sport and as a pastime for recreational golfers. While just a few rounds are all it takes to fall in love with the game, you can't fully appreciate the sport without some understanding of how it came into existence. The history of golf not only influenced players, but also the companies that manufacture golf equipment and apparel in America and beyond. Here at Devereux, our family's involvement with the sport has helped forge our identity. By reading the following short history of golf, you can gain more respect for the sport regardless of your levels of experience and ability.
History of Golf Timeline
When tracing the history of golf, you should go back to the beginning to trace its roots. The story of golf gameplay dates back more than 500 years. Historians can't seem to agree on where it originated. Some scholars say that golf grew from a sport played in Scotland during the Middle Ages, while others say that the game as we know it originated in the U.S. Our golf history facts will focus solely on the U.S. since it's this history that inspired Devereux and most American players.
1743 - Known Shipment of Golf Equipment
The first known record of anyone purchasing golf equipment in America dates back to 1743. At this time, there was no United States. Instead, America consisted of colonies under the control of England. Historians have discovered shipping records indicating that Mr. D. Deas in Charleston, South Carolina, had 432 golf balls and 96 golf clubs shipped to him from Leith, Scotland. The discovery has led to an inference that Deas was buying equipment for a group of golfers. However, there is no record of the group, so it could be that the man wished to sell them or simply hoard them. Regardless, the record indicates that by this time there was at least some interest in golf in the American colonies.
1786 - South Carolina Golf Club Established
In 1786, the South Carolina Golf Club was formed. Not much is known about how many members were involved or where they played due to the lack of historical records. The Country Club of Charleston states on their website that in the late 18th century following the end of the Revolutionary War, Scottish merchants gathered to play in the area that is now the country club, so it's possible that these gentlemen were the South Carolina Golf Club.
1795 - Savannah Golf Club Established
While there is some disagreement about the date, the Savannah Golf Club was likely established in 1794 or 1795. The club eventually grew into the modern-day incarnation of the Savannah Golf Club, which was incorporated in 1799. As of today, that course remains in operation and is currently undergoing a restoration to maintain its historic layout.
1812 - War of 1812
In 1812, America once more found itself at war with England. At that time, golf's popularity dwindled. Many people viewed golf as a British sport and considered playing golf unpatriotic. The Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865, may have also contributed to the lack of interest, as most men living in America at that time were serving in the Union and Confederate militaries.
1884 to 1887 - Two or Three Hole Courses
During the process of Reconstruction, more Americans found themselves with leisure time to fill. Records show that during the years 1884 to 1887, multiple two- and three-hole golf courses were founded in America. Unfortunately, none of them still exist today and little is known about them.
1893 & 1894 - First 18 Hole Course Created
In 1893, the first 18-hole golf course opened in Chicago, Illinois. The Downer's Grove golf course grew from a nine-hole course. Today, the golf course still exists but is once more a nine-hole course. In 1894, the first amateur golf tournament called the "National Amateur Championship" was held in two locations: the Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island and Saint Andrew's Golf Club in Yonkers, New York. On December 22, 1894, the United States Golf Association was established to create the official rules and regulations for the sport.
1900 - Harry Vardon’s Win and the Olympic Debut
In 1900, golfer Harry Vardon made history by becoming the first person to ever win both the U.S. Open and British Open golf tournaments. The year also marked the first time golf was ever among the offerings at the Summer Olympics with events taking place at the Compiègne Golf Club in Paris, France.
1900s to Today
During the 20th and 21st centuries, golf went from being a game enjoyed occasionally by a few men to becoming a sport enjoyed by both men and women of all ages. Some of the greatest American golfers of the 20th century were Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Payne Stewart, Bobby Jones, Tom Watson, Francis Ouimet, Lee Trevino and Ben Hogan. The modern period also saw women taking up the sport with greats like Kathy Whitworth, Patty Berg, Betsy Rawls, Nancy Lopez, Joanne Carner, Sandra Haynie, Babe Zaharias, Patty Sheehan, Julie Inkster and Amy Alcott. Americans have proven to be some of the fiercest competitors in professional golf, contributing to the history of the sport that arrived here during the Colonial period.
Devereux began as a family enterprise. The founders of the golf brand inherited a love of the sport from family members, but what they didn't love was the outdated clothing that was available for them to wear on the course. While the history of golf had brought the sport so far, the styles worn by the players remained old-fashioned. From its founding, Devereux's mission has been to bring more style to the course and to provide golfers with comfortable-to-wear designs packed with technical features that improve performance with every round. Devereux golf apparel can be worn on and off the course (yes, even to happy hour or the office). Benefit from our revolutionary selection of golf polos, joggers, hats and more that will have you looking and playing your best every time you take to the links. We invite you to take a look and shop our selections.
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