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1200-1450 | 1450-1700 | 1700-1885 | 1885-now
   
     
Colf - Kolf - Golf
 
 
     
History of colf and kolf
Low Countries and Scotland
14th century: the first charters
15th century: Growth
16th century: Further growth and extension
17th century: The zenith and the end
Game of kolf
 
History of golf
 
Colf (early golf) in America
 
 
 
 
 
Kolf video in english (1984 | 8:14 min)
   
     
Before reading further…
Concerning the origin of golf a lot of theories exist, with 'Golf, The True History' of Michael Flannery as last (2009). At this place we tell you the tale of Steven van Hengel, however adapted to the most modern insights.
     
     
8. History of golf  
 
A continental origin of golf is also suggested by a linguistic analysis of golfing terms and a recently discovered Dutch description of golf from the first half of the 16th century. Golf historians have long surmised that the terms tee and stymie are based on the Dutch word tuitje (a diminutive of tuit, meaning 'snout') and the phrase stuit me (meaning 'hinders me'), but these derivations have been questioned on phonological grounds and therefore have never been accepted by historical dictionaries. However, a Dutch origin of tee is still plausible, as a variation of the Flemish tese, meaning “target” (as in curling); the word originally referred to the hole but eventually came to mean a 'pile of sand taken from the hole'. There are also good reasons to posit a Dutch origin for the words putt (from putten, 'put into a hole') and bunker (a possible back-formation of bancaert kolve).
 
However, the source most likely to tip the scales in favour of a Dutch origin is a phrase booklet written by a Dutch schoolmaster, Pieter van Afferden, or Petrus Apherdianus (1510–1580). The book, Tyrocinium latinae linguae (Recruits’ Drill in the Latin Language, 1545), was intended to impart a knowledge of Latin in everyday situations by matching Latin phrases with Dutch ones. This source predates the earliest Scottish description of golf —the 1636 Vocabula by Scotsman David Wedderburn— by almost a century. Its remarkable feature, however, is that in a chapter titled 'De Clauis Plumbatis' ('On the [Game with the] Leaded Clubs') it is much more explicit than other early sources. In the Tyrocinium the club is indeed called a kolf, and the game as such is referred to as kolven (the infinitive of a verb used as a noun). This confirms that the Scots word golf is indeed based on kolve or kolf. In the course of a dialogue in this text, the fictitious players also give the first indication of the existence of rules. For instance, a golfer who misses the ball is said to lose the right to strike (wastes a stroke); to step onto the teeing ground before it is one’s turn is against the rules because a certain order of play has to be adhered to; a player must be allowed to swing freely, necessitating that other players step back; a golfer is not allowed to stand in the light of his partner; and, lastly, in order to putt, the ball has to be struck—merely pushing it is forbidden and is called a knavish trick. The hole, however, is called not a put but a cuyl. Generally speaking, then, the Tyrocinium proves that, by the middle of the 16th century, golf in the Netherlands was a firmly established and rather sophisticated game.
 
Read more:
History of colf and kolf
Low Countries and Scotland
14th century: the first charters
15th century: Growth
16th century: Further growth and extension
17th century: The zenith and the end
Game of kolf
Colf (early golf) in America
 
By courtesy of the Early Golf Foundation (Steven J.H. van Hengel's book Early Golf, 1982). 
     
 
Royal Dutch Kolf Union | St. Eloy's Hospice | Early Golf Foundation
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