There are conflicting ideas of when and where in the world golf originated. The confusion tends to arise when examining what exactly constitutes golf. There are many examples of games involving getting a ball to a target by using a stick – going back so far in time that these were literal ‘sticks’ or tree branches.
Stories of games that could have been the very beginnings of golf stretch from places as distant as Rome and China. However, if we consider golf in the modern sense, this can be traced to around 1457 in Scotland. The first recorded mention of modern golf is actually a Scottish Act of Parliament banning golf. It’s thought that this was to focus young men’s free time on progressing at other skills like archery – essentially skills that are more useful in conflict. The ban was lifted in 1502 and King James IV himself even bought a set of clubs.
Irish Golfing History
Golf has a rich history in Ireland, making its way to us from Scotland by the mid-1800s. To this day it is a popular draw for tourists and visitors to the island, which boasts many world-class courses. If you are looking for golf gifts for men and women who love the sport, we think a memento which draws on Ireland’s long relationship with golf makes an ideal present.
Ireland is host to some very significant golf tournaments. The Irish Open first took place in 1927. While there have been some breaks in the 90+ years since the inaugural event, it has consistently taken place each year since 1975. Allowing for a break during World War I, The Irish PGA Championship has taken place every year since 1907, when it was known as the Irish Professional Championship.
Golf has long been a part of Irish leisure and competition. The Irish Ladies Golf Union was established in 1893, and the Golfing Union of Ireland is recognised as the oldest golf union in the entire world, dating all the way back to 1891. At the time of its founding, there were 28 golf courses on the island of Ireland. Today we have 425 golf courses.
Ireland’s oldest golf club, The Royal Curragh Golf Club, is actually one of the oldest in the world and golf has been played here since 1852. Some of Ireland’s famous golf courses are Portmarnock Golf Club in Dublin, Rosses Point in County Sligo, the K Club in Kildare and Lahinch in County Clare.
The love of golf in Ireland is represented by the fact that we are one of the countries with the most golf courses per capita in the world. We may be small, but we love our golf!
Famous Irish Golfers
With such a grá for the game, it’s no wonder that this island has produced so many elite golfers.
Pádraig Harrington – from Rathfarnham in Dublin, Pádraig has won the PGA Championship and is twice winner of the British Open.
Rory McIlroy – Rory shot to dizzying heights of success at a very young age, and now possesses four Major Championship wins, achieving three of these before the age of 25.
Rhona Adair – Rhona contributed a chapter to the 1904 book Golf for Women and went on to become president of the Irish Ladies Golf Union.
Fred Daly – originating from Portrush in County Antrim, Fred was the first player from the island of Ireland to win the British Open in 1947. It took another 60 years for Pádraig Harrington to become the second.
Both Christy O’Connors, Senior and Junior! – this uncle and nephew combo keep the success in the family, both making the cut as two of best Irish golfers of all time.
Twins Leona and Lisa Maguire – the talented families just keep coming, with the Maguire twins from Cavan both turning professional at the age of 23.
Des Smyth – hailing from Louth, Des won the European Tour eight times, with his wins stretching from the 1970s to the noughties, and in more recent years he has gathered a number of Senior wins.
Philomena Garvey – Ireland’s first professional female golfer, Philomena traded in her amateur status in 1964. She returned to her amateur status two years before her retirement from international golf in 1970.
Darren Clarke – With 21 tournament wins under his belt, Darren also appeared on five consecutive Ryder Cup teams, with the European team emerging victorious on four of these occasions.
Graeme McDowell – 2010 was a big year of wins for Graeme, perhaps most notably at the U.S. Open, when he was the first European to win since 1970 and the first player from Northern Ireland to win ever.
Ronan Rafferty – Ronan has many professional wins under his belt but a standout career moment has to be when he topped the European Tour Order of Merit in 1989.
Gavin Moynihan – Looking to the future of Irish golf, Gavin turned pro in 2015 at the age of 20 and already has two professional wins to his name.
Personalised Golf Gifts
If there is a golfer in your life and you are searching for personalised golf gifts, our Irish Golf Newspaper Book is a superb choice.
For a special occasion, you could treat your golf-lover to a round on a course they’re been wanting to play for years, or even top up their kit with some accessories. For truly personalised golf gifts, the Irish Golf Newspaper Book is perfect if you need golf gifts for men and women who play the game themselves, or even just enjoy watching the pros. In particular, if you’re looking for golf gifts from Ireland, this is the ideal option.
An unforgettable gift, the Irish Golf Newspaper Book includes newspaper reproductions from significant events like Ireland’s appearances in the Ryder Cup, Ireland’s Major wins, and various international golfing moments. For the ultimate personalised golf gift, you can also emboss the cover with the recipient’s name and a unique message to mark the occasion.