A story from the desk of Laura G. Bueno

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While some people are attracted to places in the world that are considered cultural centers, others choose destinations that resemble paradise where they can submerge themselves in the world of golf. Just as St. Andrews, Scotland, the birthplace of golf, is an attractive destination for anyone who loves golf, Los Cabos is not far behind. The quality of play offered by the 14 golf courses make Baja California Sur, another mecca of the sport. 

The peninsula’s excellent weather with sunny days and close contact with nature can turn a round of golf into a memorable experience. I have proof. Just like the whales that migrate from the north to the Sea of Cortez, golf enthusiasts return every year to the same courses traced by the best designers in the world. Each day represents a new challenge for golfers. The mind and body must work together to correctly address the ball.

Golf is a sport with so many rules and such a complex technique that it is better to not take it too seriously and just play. How many times have we held a golf ball in hand while preparing for a swing? On how many occasions have we held the regulations in hand?

Golf dates back to the 15th Century and the list of rules and regulations have grown so complex that I would not dare to write about them. We learn the rules by practicing, in the best of cases, with expert golfers or in golf clinics and private lessons. Nevertheless, official regulations do exist. 

 

Royal and Ancient Golf Club House (R&A) en St. Andrews.

Fife County, Scotland in front of hole number 1 on the Old Course, one of the oldest courses in existence.

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laura-g-bueno-golf-023-02

 

Articles & Laws in Playing at Golfî. National Library of Scotland. ACC.112082

The Dutch word KOLF means stick. It is thought to be the origin of the word “golf.”

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laura-g-bueno-golf-023-01

 

At present the renowned Royal and Ancient Club of St. Andrews (R&A), Scotland, and the United States Golf Association (USGA) are the organizations in charge of the rules of golf.

 

How well do we follow these sport maxims?

Golf is played, most of the time, with no supervision other than the parties that are playing. There are no referees or judges. In fact, the game is based on the individual’s integrity and the respect extended to other players and the rules of the game. Every player should demonstrate discipline, show courtesy and be a good sport at all times. This is the true spirit of the game of golf.

Of course, in the majority of cases, golfers are not in a tournament but just out for a good time. Even though they are not interested in tormenting themselves with rules and regulations, basic rules regarding clothes, courtesy and safety should be observed. 

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Golf club: golfer arranging the ball on the tee

 

Where does this regulation come from? To whom is golf as it is played today attributed? 

Even though there is evidence of a game being played in Rome and in the Netherlands using a curved stick and a ball to aim at a target, the game of golf as we know it originated in Scotland in the 15th Century. In the beginning, written rules did not exist. 

We owe the written rules to the gentlemen golfers of Leith, Edinburg who, in 1744 presented a total of 13 articles and laws for playing Golf. The first golfer to win an award was a surgeon named John Rattray. 

New golf clubs that sprang up in Scotland continued establishing their own rules, while using the Leith rules as a reference. By the 19th Century, the golf society of St. Andrews had become the most influential. 

 

Please Always Let A Faster Group Play Through

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Golf was so popular in Scotland that king James II was forced to pass an act in 1457 that limited play during the time people should have been practicing archery. It is the first written document that mentions Golf. However, the law was not much of a success. It and others were ignored. At the beginning of the 16th Century, king Jacob IV of Scotland officially santioned the game of golf. 

In 1897, the Royal & Ancient Club of St. Andrews was asked to create a series of rules that were common to all clubs. During the first half of the 20th Century, both the R&A and the USGA basically applied the same rules. Minor interpretation differences were finally resolved at a conference in 1951. Every four years, the USGA and the R&A meet to protect the uniformity of the regulating criteria.

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laura-g-bueno-golf-023-06

Eighteen Holes and the Nineteenth Hole

Golf courses didn’t always have eighteen holes. The St. Andrews course occupies a stretch of land on the perimeter of the North Sea in the territory that was ruled by Mary, Queen of Scots. Since the 15th Century, golfers at St. Andrews have left their mark on the undulant terrain while playing through holes dictated by the natural topography. The course happened to have 11 holes from the clubhouse to the property limits. Golfers played the 11 holes, then turned around and played back to the clubhouse for a total of 22 holes.

In 1764, several of the holes were considered to be too close to each other. They were combined and the number reduced to nine holes. The complete course became 18 holes. Due to the status of St. Andrews as the golf capital, all the other courses were modified in a similar way and the 18-hole course became the standard.

Finally, the famous 19th hole is associated with the clubhouse bar where the players’ memories and experiences are treasured.

 

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