Category Archives: Golf History & Culture

The Rules of Golf Today

One of the key functions of the Mark Rivkin Golf Review is to ensure that other athletes have access to the most reliable resources in regards to the sport of golf, and in this Rivkin Golf edition we wanted to review the rules of the game as they are applied today. This post will cover the governing bodies that write the regulations and how they are determined, as well as point you in the right direction as far as the most modern rules of golf.
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The Earliest Rules of Golf

If you’ve been keeping up with the latest golf reviews from Mark Rivkin then you’d know that we’ve recently covered some historical aspects of the sport, like from where the game originates and how it was popularized. But what about the rules and regulations? Every sport/game has a set of standardized rules and regulations, without which organized competition would struggle, and likely not exist at all. So in this edition of the Rivkin Golf Review we wanted to once again take a look at the history of golf and see how today’s rules and regulations came to be.
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History of Golf, Part Two

In Part One of the Mark Rivkin History of golf review we gained some insight as to the origins of the game itself and how royal involvement during the 17th century contributed to its popularity. Picking up where we left off, we’ll have a look at how a game created in Medieval Europe evolved to become the sport as we know it today. But first a few notable tidbits:
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History of Golf, Part One

In this series of the Mark Rivkin Golf Review we wanted to take a step back and peer into the past of the sport we all know and love. Golf, as defined by Merriam-Webster is “a game in which a player using special clubs attempts to sink a ball with as few strokes as possible into each of the nine or eighteen successive holes on a course;” but what are the origins of the game itself?

The word ‘Golf’, according to the United States Golf Association Museum, is linguistically derived from the Dutch word ‘kolf’ or ‘kolve,’ which translates to ‘club’. But around the early 1500’s the Dutch term became ‘goff’ or ‘gouff’ from Scottish dialect, and sometime during the sixteenth century evolved into ‘golf’. So this of course puts any “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden” acronym arguments to rest!
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Golf Canada

Golf Canada is currently the governing body of golf in Canada and is a member-based organization which is overseen by the Royal Canadian Golf Association (RCGA). Golf in Canada has a rich history, but this is often overlooked by the more popular Canadian winter sports like hockey and competition on the slopes. The Mark Rivkin Golf review is maintained to serve as an online resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the world and the game of golf, and because Mark Rivkin is an entrepreneur from Canada where better to start than with a brief look into the history of golf in our fine country!

The initial stages of a Canadian Golf Association began with a meeting to discuss its formation at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club in 1895. Alex Simpson, who was the secretary of the club at the time, strongly supported the organization of a domestic entity to conduct national golf championships. This same year Simpson invited clubs from across Canada to attend the nation’s first such tournament, as well as discuss the development of an association with the authority to organize and conduct such events. It was a popular idea, and the golf clubs were in agreement that a Canadian association should be formed.

What resulted was the outlining of a constitution, purposing the organization’s objectives which were to “promote interest in the game of golf; the protection of the mutual interests of its members; establish and enforce uniformity in the rules of game by creating a representative authority; its Executive Committee to be a court of reference as a final authority in matters of controversy; to establish a uniform system of handicapping; to decide on what links the Amateur and Open Championship shall be played.” Ten clubs from across Canada signed the constitution: Royal Montreal Golf Club, Royal-Quebec Golf Club, Royal Ottawa Golf Club, Kingston Golf Club, Toronto Golf Club, Rosedale Golf Club, Hamilton Golf and Country Club, London Golf Club, Winnipeg Golf Club and Victoria Golf Club.

Queen Victoria granted the prefix “Royal” to the Canadian Golf Association in 1896, thus becoming the RCGA. There were two categories of membership when the RCGA was formed- Allied, which meant it was a regularly constituted golf club in Canada; and Associate, which meant the constituted golf club needed to maintain a golf course, clubhouse and at least 25 members.

Today the top priority of Golf Canada is to Grow the Game, and Love the Game, and the governing body of Canadian golf represents over 350,000 members at 1,600 clubs throughout the country. Recognized by Sport Canada as a National Sport Organization (NSO), Golf Canada is responsible for promoting participation in and awareness of the sport of golf in Canada. Golf Canada actively organizes championships, programs and services to help shape the game, and as the authority for golf in Canada, the association also administers the Rules of Golf, amateur status, handicapping and course rating.

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