An insight into all levels of Scottish society: the development of golf from the 15th to the 19th centuries

The Key Documents of the Early History of Golf (Collection)

The Key Documents of the Early History of Golf (Collection)

The Key Documents of the Early History of Golf (Collection)

  1. It is believed that the game of golf as we know it today emerged in the Kingdom of Scotland in the 15th century

  2. Golf is a pastime that has been and still is enjoyed by all levels of society in Scotland, and just not reserved for elites

  3. This compendium traces the history of the game through both official records and personal documents

The Key Documents of the Early History of Golf (Collection)

Alternative Titles:
  • Los Documentos Clave en la Historia del Golf
  • Wichtige Dokumente der frühen Geschichte des Golf
The Key Documents of the Early History of Golf (Collection)  – Museums all over the world
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

This collection of documents traces the evolution of the game of golf from the 15th to the 19th centuries. It includes medieval bans on golf, rule for playing the game, records of purchases and patents, and more. Many of the documents are associated with the Sottish monarchy, and the collection also represents an inside view of Scottish society during this time. This is a unique, fascinating, and comprehensive collection on the history of the game and a treasure for modern gold lovers.

The Key Documents of the Early History of Golf (Collection)

This is a carefully-selected group of crucial documents concerning the history of the popular modern pastime that reaches back to the 15th century. The oldest document is a ban on golf issued in 1457 by King James II of Scotland (1430–60), and the most recent is a map of Edinburgh and Leith Links from 1804. Other documents attest to a change in heart by the Scottish monarchs in following generations and include records from the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland for the purchase of golf balls and clubs in 1506 by King James IV (1473–1513) and a patent for making balls granted to James Melville by King James VI (1556–1625). These documents allow one to follow the evolution of the game of golf from its origins in the Middle Ages to the emergence of its modern form and also provides a glimpse into Scottish society between the 15th and 19th centuries.

The Diary of Thomas Kincaid

One of the most interesting documents included in this publication is the Diary of Thomas Kincaid. The son of a surgeon, Kincaid studied medicine in Edinburgh in the mid–1680’s. All entries in his diary date from January 1687 to December 1688; however, this is not an ordinary journal of social engagements. Rather, Thomas seems to meditate on a wide range of subjects, archery and golf among them. As an expert archer, he won the Silver Arrow in 1711. His interest in golf goes further than the simple practice of the game. Kincaid’s observations and study of the swing covers aspects such as, ball and body positions, rhythm and even the plane of the swing. These instructions are considered to be the oldest in golf history. Clubs repairs, golf ball improvements and his thoughts on what appears to be an early concept of a handicap system, are others of his favorite subjects of meditation.

The First Open Competition

The competition for the Silver Club was the first open competition ever played and was to be open to “Noblemen or Gentle- men, or other golfers, from any part of Great Britain or Ireland”. Paying “Five Shilling Sterling” and recording their names in the eight days preceding the match “in a Book to be provided for that purpose, which is to lie in Mrs. Clephen’s house in Leith”. This ‘house’ was the tavern run by the widow of John Clephane, a noted club-maker, and was a popular gathering place for the Leith golfers. As with the Silver Arrow, the competition was to be announced throughout the town by the beating of a drum in procession to Leith Links. The victor of this competition was to be called the Captain of Golf. This is a privileged position with responsibility for the care of the links and he was also to be responsible for deciding all disputes regarding the rules of the game.

The Original Rules of Golf

The Articles and Laws of 1744 were drawn up specifically for the competition for the Silver Club. Although the rules were later subject to revisions, when the Society of St. Andrews Golfers was formed in 1754, apart from the final, local rule, they adopted the ‘Articles and Laws’ formulated by the Gentleman Golfers practically word for word. This indicates the high regard the St. Andrews Golfers, later the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, had for their Edinburgh counterparts. It also demonstrates that, in spite of the difficulties of communicating in mid–18th century Scotland, the leading golfers in different parts of Scotland knew each other and discussed the game of golf and how it should be played.

• Ban on Golf by King James II, 1457. National Archives of Scotland, PA 5/6.
• Ban on Golf by King James III, 1471. National Archives of Scotland, PA 2/1.
• Ban on Golf by King James IV, 1491. National Archives of Scotland, PA 2/5.
• Document of the Lord High Treasurer for Scotland, 1506. National Archives of Scotland, PA 2/5. February 22, 1506, E.21/7 fol. 129.
• Document of the Lord High Treasurer for Scotland, 1506. National Archives of Scotland, E. 21/7 fol. 141. July 22, 1506, E. 21/7 fol. 141.
• Letters of Licence to James Melville, 1618. National Archives of Scotland, PS I/87.
• The Diary of Thomas Kincaid, 1687–1688. National Library of Scotland, Adv. 32.7.7.
• Vocabula, 1713. National Library of Scotland, LC. 445 (2).
• The Letter of Alexander Monro, 1691. National Library of Scotland, Ms. 1393, folios 177–178. April 27, 1691, Ms. 1393, fol. 177–178.
• Port of Leith Collectors Book of Merchans, 1743. National Archives of Scotland, ES 22/1.
• The First Open Competition-The Silver Club Competition, 1744. Archives of the City of Edinburgh.
• The Original Rules of Golf, 1744. The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, ACC. 11208/2.
• Map of the City of Edinburgh and Leith Links, 1804. National Library of Scotland, EMS.s 365.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Los Documentos Clave en la Historia del Golf
Wichtige Dokumente der frühen Geschichte des Golf

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „The Key Documents of the Early History of Golf (Collection) “

Los Documentos Clave en la Historia del Golf
The Key Documents of the Early History of Golf (Collection)  – Museums all over the world
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Los Documentos Clave en la Historia del Golf

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Circulo Cientifico – Madrid, 2011
Commentary
1 volume by Olive Geddes
Languages: English, Spanish
More Information
The collection features the following documents: Prohibición del juego del Golf por el Rey James II, 1457. Archivo Nacional de Escocia, PA 5/6. Prohibición del juego del Golf por el Rey James III, 1471. Archivo Nacional de Escocia, PA 2/1. Prohibición del juego del Golf por el Rey James IV, 1491. Archivo Nacional de Escocia, PA 2/5. Documento del Tesorero Mayor del Reino. 1506. Archivo Nacional de Escocia, PA 2/5. 22 de febrero de 1506, E.21/7 fol. 129. Documentos del Tesorero Mayor del Reino. Archivo Nacional de Escocia, 22 de julio de 1506, E. 21/7 fol. 141. Carta de Licencia a James Melville, 1618. Archivo Nacional de Escocia, PS I/87. El Diario de Thomas Kincaid, 1687-1688. Biblioteca Nacional de Escocia, Adv. 32.7.7. Vocabula, 1713. Biblioteca Nacional de Escocia, LC. 445 (2). Carta de Alexander Monro, 1691. Biblioteca Nacional de Escocia, 27 de abril de 1691, Ms. 1393, fol. 177-178. Entrada en el Libro de Aduanas del Puerto de Leith, 1743. Archivo Nacional de Escocia, ES 22/1. Reglas de la Primera Competición Abierta, 1744. Archivo de la Ciudad de Edimburgo. Reglas Originales del Juego del Golf, 1744. La Honorable Compañia de Golfi stas de Edimburgo, ACC. 11208/2. Mapa de la Ciudad de Edimburgo y Leith Links, 1804. Biblioteca Nacional de Escocia. EMS.s 365.
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