Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Brief History of Golf during the 20th Century

Towards the end of the 19th century golf was established in America. The first American golf courses ensured a burgeoning golf industry, and a new generation of golfers for an exciting era. With this, the professional game took off and golf became one of the most prominent sports.

It was in the UK that the PGA (Professional Golf Association) was first established in 1901. This was the first professional golf body that represented club professionals.

Advances in golf balls came in 1908. Taylor patented the first dimple design for golf balls in 1908. Such a design enhanced golf ball aerodynamics, and so allowed for players to hit balls further than they had before.

The U.S. Open was first established toward the end of the 19th century. However, in the 20th it continued to be dominated by UK golfers up until 1911. As such, it was John McDermott who was the first American golfer to win the U.S. Open, and indeed a major, on American soil.

This would be followed by the emergence of the PGA of America in 1916. The PGA of America was founded by Robert White, and would represent American professional golfers. In addition, the first PGA Championship coincided with the emergence of the PGA of America in 1916. Held in 1916, the PGA Championship was first won by Jim Barnes.

Match-play matches involving UK and U.S. golf teams the early '20s would see the emergence of new match-play event in 1926. Founded by Samuel Ryder, the Ryder Cup began in 1927 as a biannual match-play championship between the best American and UK golfers. The first Ryder Cup was won convincingly by the U.S., and up until '37 the championship remained relatively even.

In the early '30s the Augusta National course was opened. With this, the Masters golf championship began as the Augusta National Invitation on March 22nd 1934. The first championship was won by Horton Smith, and then Gene Sarazen in 1935 with the course layout reversed.

In the post-war era, with four major golf championships established, TV coverage of the game began. The U.S. Open was one of the first golf championships to be given such coverage by CBS.

Conferences between the USGA and R & A in 1951 would go some way to standardising the game. The golf bodies reviewed and revised the rules surrounding the sport. In addition to this, the centre-shafted putter was also introduced for the first time.

As the '50 gave way to the '60s, new golf stars would soon emerge on the PGA Tour. Players such as Ben Hogan and Sam Snead had set golfing standards in the '50s. Then, in 1962 the promising golfer Jack Nicklaus won his first major at the U.S. Open. It would be the first of 18 majors, a record set at the 1986 Masters.

The game became increasingly dominated by Americans in the '60s and 70's. However, in the '80s golfers like Ballestoros, Faldo and Norman would start to offer some more serious competition. This was reflected in the Ryder Cup by some great EU teams, as well as at some of the Majors won by European players.

By the end of the 20th century, the game of golf had more sophisticated clubs and balls. With more sophisticated clubs, and perhaps also better players, new golf records were set by the likes of Woods at the U.S. Masters.

Today, the game of golf is much cherished and one of the more widely played sports. In the 21st century, the sport should continue to excite and inspire.

1 comment:

Meghu said...

Here you know History of Golf People believe that Scots started to playing Golf,few Dutchmen played a game with a stick and a leather ball, and the winner is one who reaches the target with lowest number of strokes. History says thet this game is popular in Scotland later whole UK and then US.In China, they call it Chuiwan, they played using 10 different golf colors.