Golf season is upon us, and it’s time to dust off the clubs and get your butts down to the course for an early start. For some people, golf is a great way to relax, get in shape and have a fun day outdoors. For others, it’s an obsession; a lifestyle choice that bridges both playtime and business. You might think you’re a Pro, but read along to find out just how many of these amazing golf facts you already know!
1) POSSIBLE CHINESE ORIGINS
Most people equate the origins of golf with the rolling green hills of Scotland, but that might not be the case. It’s up for debate, but University lecturer Martin Hahn (PhD) believes that the Chinese Song Dynasty might have been responsible for the first iteration of golf, known as “Chuiwan,” way back in A.D. 943. He goes on to theorize that the Mongolians may have imported the game to Europe between the 12th and 13 centuries. Though not universally accepted as fact, it’s an interesting thought!
2) LOONEY TOON RULES
During WWII, the Richmond Golf Club amended the official rules of the game to include collecting lawnmower-damaging shrapnel from any German bombs that might fall mid-game, or diving for cover during heavy gunfire. When the violence had ended, golfers were allowed to replace any golf ball knocked out of position during the enemy attack without suffering a penalty, and continue on through their game. Naturally.
3) NO GOLF FOR YOU!
The Scottish Parliament has banned golf several times throughout history. In 1457, both golf and football were banned under pain of punishment in order to preserve the historical and cultural strength of archery. Both were given the heave-ho again in 1491, as Parliament believed that it would distract soldiers from a possible English invasion. Golf would be banned in Scotland several more times, in 1589, 1592, and on American streets in 1659.
4) LEATHERED N’ FEATHERED
One of the first golf balls ever invented were made of thin leather stuffed with tightly packed feathers. This allowed the golf balls to travel the farthest possible distance at the time. Three pieces of leather were stitched together and then turned inside out before feathers were packed within. Both materials were wet during creation, allowing the feathers to expand while the leather shrank, creating a very tight fit. It was a painstaking process, as well. A typical ball maker would only finish a maximum of 2 to 3 balls per day!
5) LIGHT-HEADED GOLFING
Before it was abandoned in the mid-90s, avid golfers were hitting the Tuctu Golf Course in Morococha, Peru. At 14,335 feet above sea level at its lowest point (!!!) Tuctu held the world record for the highest golf club in the entire world. As expected, golfing at Tuctu was no easy feat, and many golfers reported suffering nosebleeds due to the increased elevation.
6) STUPIFYING STATS
Did you know that the chances of scoring two holes-in-one in a single round of golf are approximately 1 in 67 million? How about Tour Pros missing 85% to 95% of their three-footer putts? Finally, 80% of all golfers never reach a handicap less than 18.
7) SOME LIKE IT (REALLY) HOT
Golf balls travel farther in hot weather, thanks to greater elasticity which creates much higher force when struck with a club. During a 100 mph swing, a golfer will carry the driver up to eight yards longer for each increase in temperature of 25°C. If you’ve ever wanted to play your best round of golf, it might be time to consider taking a trip to Dubai!
8) IT’S A HOME RUN!
64 year old Mike Austin hit the longest drive in history in 1974 at a staggering 515 yards (471 meters). His weapon of choice? A 43.5″ steel shafted persimmon wood driver. The longest golf putt in history goes to Fergus Muir, who sent a golf ball traveling a ridiculous 375 feet from the tee to a cup. This amazing feat was exhaustively checked, re-checked and TRIPLE-re-checked by the Guinness Book of Records team, earning him an honorary spot in the annals of mind-blowing accomplishments. Coincidentally, it was Muir’s first hole in one, EVER! His weapon of choice? A hickory-shafted putter made by Condie of St. Andrews. To put things in perspective, the longest TELEVISED golf putt ever recorded was a pitiful (depending how you look at it) 200 feet by Dave Pelz.
9) DON’T BLINK!
The fastest golf drive ever recorded was 204 miles per hour. Calgary World Long Drive Champion Jason Zuback accomplished this breakneck feat, but it’s been estimated that under the right conditions, Zuback can drive a ball 468 yards out.
10) LUNAR LINKS
Apollo 14 astronaut Alan Shepard wasn’t content to plant another flag on the moon in 1971. Instead, he busted out a six-iron he’d smuggled on board the ship, and played one-handed golf on our planet’s craggy companion. Even with a cumbersome space suit, Shepard managed to knock his second of two balls out 200 yards, all thanks to the advantages of lower gravity and minimal atmosphere. Shepard would donate the iconic club to the USGA Musem, while a replica rests at the Smithsonian. After retiring, Shepard took up residence right near Cypress Point in Pebble Beach, California. Very fitting!
We hope you enjoyed our Most Amazing Facts About Golf! How many did you already know? Make sure to check out our Specials on Golf Shirts and other items to get you prepped for the new season. Whether it’s rain, shine (or snow…you never know!) we hope you have a fun season out on the links this year.