Although Scotland’s claim to be the home of golf is globally recognised, it’s also (fairly) well known that the origins of the game lie (variously) with the Romans, the Chinese and the Dutch. However, the modern game was undoubtedly developed in Scotland and the earliest reference to a golf hole was made in local Aberdeen records dating back to 1625. Naturally, the Annals of Aberdeen (from which we have previously discovered so much about the history of our locality) cover the introduction of the game to our area…
“The game of golf appears to be peculiar to Scotland, and to have been an ancient species of amusement and recreation. At an early period it was exercised at Aberdeen by the younger citizens, and still continues to be a favourite amusement in the summer months. The game is played in the links, in parties of one or two on a side. Each party has a hard ball of leather, stuffed with compressed downs, weighing about an ounce and a half. This they strike with a slender elastic club, about four feet long, which made heavy in the butt end by an addition of lead. A ball struck with this club will fly upward of two hundred yards; and the game is gained by the party that puts the ball into a certain number of holes with the fewest number of strokes.
“In the year 1780, a society was instituted by a number of gentlemen, for the encouragement of this amusement under established rules.”
That ‘society’ still exists today: it became the Aberdeen Golf Club in 1815 and was granted Royal patronage in 1903. Royal Aberdeen is the sixth oldest club in the world and one of 55 in the county. This means that you can play a different Aberdeenshire course in every week of the year (and still have a three left over).
Of course, there are many other leisure and sporting facilities here (not least at RGU), but for those who love the challenge of endeavouring to get a ball into a hole in the fewest number of strokes, there is no end of “amusement and recreation” in and around Aberdeen.