Hey there Rock Heads! So I was digging through the attic the other day and found an old report I did for college a few years back. So of course I had to share it! I won’t share the grade I got though…hopefully you like it a bit better than the professor did. Keep in mind that in the report below me and my friends may be referred to as "historians", "professors" and "scientists" *cough cough*.
570 million years BC
The Cambrian period begins and spans 78 million years. It is the earliest period of the Palaeozoic era. Golf is not yet known, leading golf historians to call this, “The First Dark Period." 78 million years of boredom ensues.
38 million years BC
The Eocene epoch begins and spans 17 million years. Rodents become the dominant small mammal. Golf groundskeepers wage war on the pesky rodents in what’s commonly referred to by golf historians as the "17 Million Year War". Ultimately the groundskeepers prevailed, driving the rodents underground where they continue to live today. Despite the war ending millions of years ago, skirmishes between groundskeepers and rodents continue until this very day. On a more positive note, many common tools, including the hose and shovel, were the direct result of this war.
20-12 million BC
The chimpanzee and hominid lines evolve with chimpanzees becoming the dominant spectator class – the first golf claps are heard around this time. Oddly enough, no shouts of "Get in the hole!" can be traced back to this time period, leading scientists and historians alike to believe that this was a more "civilized" era in the golfing timeline.
10,000 years BC
Holocene epoch – end of the last Ice Age – the first golf course is aptly named Saber Tooth Tiger Woods. Scientists believe this is where the word "hazard" first stems from. It’s also widely accepted that the first speed golf was played here, as it was important to stay one step ahead of the "cats" on the course.
2 million years BC
Widespread use of stone tools leads to the development of golf course accessories such as the divot tool, ball marker and crude weapons to scare away "hazards" (see previous excerpt). The actual use of these tools quickly leads to the widespread adoption of the caddy.
Period known as the Acheulean, when H. erectus made large stone clubs out of flint and quartzite. During this period the first composite drivers are made. Quite crude at first, MOI is discovered and new club head designs are developed, leading to what golf experts refer to as the “Great Leap Forward
Illus. © Oakley, K. P. (1973). Fossils collected by the earlier palaeolithic men. In Mélanges de préhistoire, d’archéocivilization et d’ethnologie offerts à André Varagnac, pp. 581-584. Paris: Serpen. Plate 1B.
130,000 – 22,000 BC
The Neanderthals and Modern humans were contemporaneous species and the archeological record reinforces the conclusion that the Neanderthals were not merely swept away by advancing modern humans. It is at this time the first controversies about Overlapping Hand Grip and the Interlocking Hand Grip are thought to begin.
© Brian Kelley
4800 – 4600 BC
Early Neolithic Linear Ceramic cultures are found to have built large arrangements of circular ditches. These are thought to be the first “sand traps”, which quickly lead to the use of the first swear word.
Carnoustie’s 13th © Brian Ewen
It is determined that Oetzi The Iceman – a naturally well-preserved mummy of a man that is found in 1991 – died while looking for a golf ball he hit out-of-bounds. This leads to new rulings about “provisional-ball” play.
1200 – 500 BC
Iron Age begins and the dominant European Hallstatt culture is divided by archaeologists into four phases – during the last phase we find the first appearance of high-quality, low-cost irons allowing the average worker to start playing the game. Wives throughout the world are furious as men begin to disappear throughout the weekends.
800 – 1100 AD
The Viking Age and their domination of Western Europe leads to over a thousand words becoming part of standard English, among them; stroke, score, skin, landing, again, give, take. The earliest plans for links golf courses also come from this period. The development of these courses directly leads to over a thousand more curse words being added to the English language. I won’t provide examples here.
The first documented mention of golf, as is widely quoted, is in Edinburgh on 6th March 1457, when King James II banned ‘ye golf’, in an attempt to encourage archery practice, which was being neglected. This proves once and for all that a bad day golfing beats a good day at work.
"Featherie" (or "feathery") golf ball comes into play. Wet feathers are stuffed into a leather sphere, which is sewn tightly shut. The feathers expand as they dry, creating a rock-hard golf ball.
For the next 200 years or so, the rock dove of the English Isles teeters on the edge of extinction.
The St. Andrews Society of Golfers (later to become known as the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews) is formed. The wind at St. Andrews often causes men to lose their fashionable powdered wigs from which arose the term “to wig out”. Sadly enough, these are not the days when the golf dress code is at it’s worst.
Steel-shafted clubs are first advertised. The first major Father’s Day golf equipment sale happens the following year in this bustling downtown Arlington, Texas location. The most popular clubs are quickly sold out, and riots ensue. Over the next few years, the steel industry booms as supply struggles to catch up with demand. Thousands of jobs are created, and soon steel is found to have more purposes than simply being used to create golf club shafts.
The Spalding Kro-Flite is the first liquid-center golf ball. Its liquid center is covered with wound rubber and a balata surface. The liquid center is long-rumored to be 17 year-old scotch.
Ralph Guldahl wins the U.S. Open. He is the last person to win the Open while wearing a necktie during play. The relaxing of rules leads to widespread performance-enhancing substance abuse by many competitors. Rules for professional golfers are quickly put in place…baseball continues unchecked.
The Tam O’Shanter World Championship is the first golf event to be televised. Thousands of people instantly agree that while golf on TV is ok, they’d much rather be playing 18 themselves.
Grandstands are first used at the British Open. Polyester soon becomes de rigueur while “garish” becomes the buzz word. And while over the next few decades the trend seems to fade, some certain golfers, to the delight of this Caveman, are making sure the legacy lives on.
Tiger Woods is born and Jack Nicklaus was PGA’s money leader at $298,149.17. If Jack knew then what we know now…,
Softspikes are introduced, signaling the demise of metal spikes. Softspikes are easier on the golf course, particularly greens. Moms everywhere love ‘em because Softspikes also track less dirt in the house. Consequently, the introduction of soft spikes leads to a much more relaxed appearance all around the golf course. Sightings of shorts are reported on golf courses. Sandals with spikes are invented. All this leads up to a very relaxed look which is now referred to as the "Sorensen". Consisting of nothing more than boxers/breifs and a golf glove, golf courses across the world race to quickly implement dress codes.
The first four-wheel drive Monster Truck golf cart becomes commercially-available. Gun racks are modified to accomodate golf clubs. Bunkers and shallow ponds are no longer referred to as "hazards". This is also the year "Get In The Hole" tatoos are first reported.
Golf clubs finally become standard issue in the military. New recruits are issued a sand wedge along with all other basic gear, which they are expected to polish three times a day. Camo fatigues become common on the golf course. And somewhere Boo Weekley has a big smile on his face.
As old naval vessels are mothballed, entrepreneurs repurpose them as floating golf resorts touting their overall security.
Champions Tour expands to 35 events in Tiger Woods’ first year on tour. Tiger Woods wins his first three events on the tour, including The Scooter Store Open in New Braunfels, TX.