Wednesday, December 03, 2014


American golf is actually four years older than we thought it was - Charleston was birthplace

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

If you're planning on playing a round with a know-it-all golf historian sometime soon, here's some wonky knowledge you can impress them with: The earliest signs of golf being played in America actually came in 1739, not 1743, as we previously thought.
The earliest piece of evidence linking golf to the United States had previously been a document detailing a shipment of 432 balls and 96 clubs from Scotland to Charleston, South Carolina in 1743. 
But, suspecting there was more information out there, Professor  David Purdie (pictured) of Edinburgh University decided to go digging -- and he was right. Purdie found a document describing how a man named William Wallace shipped £1 18/- (shillings) worth of golf clubs to Charleston on June 29, 1739.
"The cradle of golf in America is this city," Professor Purdie told The Charleston Post and Courier, who first reported the story. "The oldest continuous golf club in America is the Saint Andrews Golf Club in Yonkers, New York. They were founded in 1888. But 150 years earlier, this was going on in Charleston."

And just to give you an idea of what was going on in 1739: The first train was nearly 100 years away from being conceived, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews was 15 years away from being founded and George Washington was just seven years old.

+Professor David Purdie is a medical Professor Emeritus and a former Clinical Dean of the Leeds University medical school. He was appointed an Honorary Fellow of IASH last year by the late Susan Manning, his fields of interest being in the scientific and literary components of the Scottish enlightenment – specifically the works of Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns and David Hume.



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