Golf is great. You can practice anywhere, including your living room, and then play in the great outdoors, with your kids, friends, business partners… Golf is good exercise, it helps you build your character through overcoming obstacles, make new friends, relax, and have fun. And it’s not just exciting to play – it’s also interesting to watch and bet on, no matter if you prefer betting online or at brick-and-mortar shops.
Are you curious to find out some intriguing facts about golf? If yes, check these stats and bits of trivia we’ve compiled for you. We hope you’ll have fun and learn something new along the way.
Facts About Golf – Highlights
- 27% of all European golf courses are in England.
- 3.6% of children in the UK aged 11 to 15 play golf.
- Playing golf was banned between the years 1457 and 1744.
- Mary, Queen of Scots, was among the first women to play golf.
- Golf balls were initially made of feathers and leather.
1. 27% of all European golf courses are in England.
England has the most golf courses in Europe – 27% of them. It’s followed by Germany, which has 11%. The statistics on the distribution of golf courses in Europe further inform us that Sweden has 9%, and France 8%.
2. 3.6% of children in the UK aged 11 to 15 play golf.
Although England has the highest number of active adult golf players (883,500), one of the facts about golf for kids is that the popularity of golf among children aged 11 to 15 is in a slight decline: In 2017/18, only 3.6% of kids in this age group were regularly playing golf, compared to 7.4% in 2014.
As expected, the most popular sport for this age group was football, with 44.7% of children playing it regularly. The popularity of golf, on the other hand, was comparable to that of darts, horse riding, and ice skating.
3. British golf balls have 330 dimples.
Golf balls can have anywhere from 300 to 500 dimples. They are usually round but can be in other shapes as well. The number of dimples depends on the country where the ball was produced, with UK-made balls usually sporting 330 dimples.
4. The first-ever 18-hole golf course was constructed at St Andrews in Fife, Scotland, in 1764.
When did golf history begin? Facts tell us that modern golf originated in 15th-century Scotland, from a game played on sand in which players would try to hit a pebble using a bent stick. It was also in Scotland, at St Andrews in 1764, that the first-ever 18-hole course was built.
Before this, courses usually had 22 holes, so we can say that the St Andrews golf course established the now recognised standard for the game.
5. In 1457, playing golf was banned in Scotland.
Speaking of Scotland’s relation to golf, the game was actually so popular there that it got banned. It happened in 1457 when King James II’s Parliament decided to put an end to golf playing since the game proved to be a huge distraction from military training as ordinary Scots would rather play golf than practice archery.
At the same time, and due to the same reasons, football was banned as well. It wasn’t until 1502 that the ban was lifted.
6. Mary Queen of Scots was among the first women to play golf.
Another one of interesting golf facts about royalties is that Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587) was probably the first female golf player. It was during her reign that the aforementioned St Andrews golf course was built.
According to some sources, Mary also introduced the term “caddie,” which refers to people who carry players’ bags and clubs. The word was supposedly derived from the French word “cadet” she used for her military aides.
7. The first golf tournament for women was held in 1811 in Scotland.
On January 9, 1811, the first recorded golf tournament for women was held in Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland. The tournament was initially organised for fishermen’s wives of the two neighbouring towns, Musselburgh and Fisherrow.
Fans of golf and fun facts about it will appreciate the following piece of information: The prize for the winner was a creel and a shawl, while the second-ranked golfer got two handkerchiefs from Barcelona as a reward.
8. Golf balls were initially made of feathers and leather.
(Scottish Golf History)
Let us now move on to facts about golf balls: Did you know they were originally made of leather wrapped around feathers? In northern continental Europe, wooden balls prevailed. The origins of leather-stitched golf balls in Scotland can be traced back to 1554.
It wasn’t until 1848 that this complicated method of making golf balls was replaced by a more advanced technology. The new balls that replaced the feathery were made of gutta-percha gum and dubbed “gutties.”
9. One out of every three Americans played golf, watched it, or read about it in 2020.
(National Golf Foundation)
What about the United States? How is golf faring there? US golf facts and stats indicate that one out of every three Americans aged six or older played golf on-course or off-course, watched the game, or read about it in 2020. That means that approximately 101 million Americans were somehow involved in the game of golf, directly or indirectly.
Out of that number, 36.9 million played golf actively on golf courses and at places like golf entertainment venues, driving ranges, or indoor golf simulators.