The historical origins of golf is much disputed and argued over by sport scholars. Some say the game originated in the Netherlands in a city called Loenen aan de Vecht where the Dutch walked a leather ball around with a stick. Recent speculations further shook up the debate when they claimed the game was actually started in China predating all other claims by over 500 years. Other scholars nay-say such boldly inaccurate proclamations shouting that the game without a doubt began in Scotland sometime during the Middle Ages.
Well that narrows it down. Forget the boring logistics, because in fact golf only recently garnered mass appeal in the late nineteenth century when the Brits and Americans adopted it, sanctioning it as ‘officially cool’ for the rest of the world.
For those golfers looking to play on a historically legitimate course, look no further than Exec’s top picks for Historical Golf Courses.
Pinehurst, North Carolina
Pinehurst is the oldest golf resort in the United States and it has played host to kings, presidents, actors and athletes making it a must stop course for the obsessed golfer. The famous course has also hosted two U.S. opens, and is set to initiate another open in 2014. However, to keep up with their high-caliber reputation as the opulent course to beat, Pinehurst completed major renovations that have since received great acclaim.
They are celebrating their renovations with a package for the committed golfer who wants to escape the non-golfing dullness of their everyday lives, by retreating into a 30 day Golf Sabbatical.
The Sabbatical will serve as the golfer’s home away from home –if his home is a massive mansion on a green gorgeous plot of serene land—and will include personalized instruction and analysis and unlimited golf. Sessions with a renowned sports psychologist are included to improve the golfer’s game, and a club fitting and a thirty day supply of ProVs are provided for the use on the resort’s eight courses.
The Sabbatical is sure to improve the game of the golfer in profound ways, and offer supreme relaxation. The package is priced at $29,500 and it also includes accommodations in one of Pinehurst’s premier suites, laundry service, meals and the use of a fully-loaded Acura, plus a two-day trip for a guest to join you. A personal therapist and a personal service coordinator are also included in the package.
If that is not enough to whet your appetite for a month long fairway binge at the nation’s greatest course, then perhaps lunch with the mayor of Pinehurst will. This is also included in the Sabbatical, along with your very own locker and engraved locker plate.
Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland
Known to golf aficionados as ‘one of the oldest and most prestigious golf clubs in the world, the historic course has hosted such famous golfers as King William IV in 1834, and it is also the site where the rules of golf where codified. Referred to as ‘The Home of Golf’ the luxury course was founded in the 1400s and even survived King James IV of Scotland’s ban of golf in1502 which he issued because he believed young men were playing too much golf and ought to be practicing their archery. Well doesn’t he seem like a charming and easy going ruler? The ban was lifted again in 1552 and the site grew to become one of the world’s most charming courses.
Featuring large double greens and the seven hundred year old Swilcan Bridge and the infamous ‘Hell Bunker’ and ‘Road Hole Bunker’ which famously trap Open Championship contender’s dreams of winning, the course is also home to The Road Hole – one of the world’s most famous golf holes.
So for those golfers who thank the heavens for rigid rules, and want to pay homage to the codification of golf, St. Andrews ought to be a dream place to whack a few balls, while still running the risk of being penalized.
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Long Island
It claims to be the oldest formal organized golf club in the United States (1891), to have the oldest golf clubhouse in the U.S. and to be the first golf club to admit women into its league. For those innovative golfers who love the thrill of knowing they are golfing where social history was made, Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, Long Island is the place to putt.
The legendary Shinnecock Hills Course was initially an idea of William K. Vanderbilt in 1889 who visited the south of France and wished for a similar golf course in the United States. Since coming into course fruition, the site has hosted the U.S. Open four times in three different centuries, and is set to host the championship yet again in 2018.
The eighteen hole course was designed by famous course designer William Flynn but also includes original holes form Charles MacDonald and Seth Raynor so it is truly a living tribute of historic golf design legends.
Muirfield Golf Course, Scotland
Home of the oldest golf club in the world: The Honourable Company of Edinburg Golfers, this site claims it was the place where the original 13 rules of golf where penned, not St. Andrews. The incredible course has also garnered much fame by being the only site to host the British Open fifteen times.
The odd course is laid out with two loops of nine holes with one inside the other, and no two holes follow the same direction. The course is also hit with heavy winds, and the course is home to one of the world’s toughest opening shots in golf, a 444 yard par 4 at the 1st.
So for those golf enthusiasts who are interested in golf for more than just the flashy clothes and golf carts, and who actually want to pay homage to the game’s history, consider taking a trip to one of these famed golf courses which have played a major role in shaping the game into the glorious pastime we all enjoy today.