Golf, a hole-in-one story

By Sergio González | 11:13

Green Island, Ireland. Yes, the hole is on the island.

The real origins of golf are still unveiled and may remain covered forever. We tend to think everthing was discovered in archaeology by 19th century adventurers, but the truth is new excavations and studies go on everyday changing former axioms into pretentious mistakes.

Golf is claimed to have been born in 13th century Netherlands, where several men would compete trying to score a leather ball in a hole with the fewer hits. But also in China; chiwan is said to be the precursor of golf.

The game as we know it -consisting in 18 holes- was a Scottish creation, first documented in 1457 on a James II of Scotland prohibition of the game gouf, as it took time from archery practise.

The first recorded rules would have to wait until 1744, when the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith used to play in northern Edinburgh. East from the capital of Scotland, The Old Links in Musselburgh are recognised by Guiness World Records as the first golf course.

Golf would remain exclusively Scottish until the railway arrived and Queen Victoria fell ill. The year was 1842 and the empress of India was advised to let the Highlands climate recover her health -she fell for the locals and Scottish golf courses spread all over the redcoat empire.

With its origins rooted deeply in the Victorian era, Clubs are the key in a golfing career. Many pros start as mere caddies, learning about the lenght of grass in putting greens -it affects difficulty- and dogleg holes -those which aren’t a straigh line-of-sight from the teeing area. Gaining experience while teaching golf and awareness as you win some tournaments is the next step to be noticed by college scholarships and sponsors, ready to become a Class A golfer.

Golf has experienced a remarkable increase in the past 20 years, thanks to popular figures such as Tiger Woods or Seve Ballesteros and major tournaments like PGA Tour or the Ryder Cup – a bienal encounter between Europe and USA.

English speaking countries still boast the greatest number of courses – USA greens are over 17.000 and Downers Grove, the first 18-hole built in America in 1892, is still open. But the trend seems to be shifting and lawn is expected to be soon covering the whole world. Despite its prohibition in China, golf is spreading as a better way than meals to do businesses in Asia.

NH Sotogrande, a minimalist Andalusian golfers dream

Spain has suffered a golf-revolution in the past years. With so many British visitors and residents settling down every year, golf courses were the natural import after tea and pubs. The advantages of 300 days of sun a year were not missed by enthusiastic golfers.

Costa del Sol -Spanish most exclusive shore- shows several golf courses, designed by prime architects and ex-pros, and recurrent home of world tournaments since the 60’s.

Sotogrande is the biggest, best considered golf club in Spain, by both amateurs and proffesionals. Robert Trent Jones chose Sotogrande as one of the five best courses worldwide, among the 500 he has designed in his long successful career. Staying at the NH Sotogrande Resort is the perfect relaxing welcome to make a hole in one. Spacious rooms in a renewed traditional Andalusian style within such a quiet area that you will hear Atlantic waves while swimming in the pool or practising your swing.








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