Throwback Thursday: When golf was banned... in Scotland!

The Scoop

NCG's weekly look back through the archives throws up a tale of woe from 1457...

The Background

On the March 6, 1457 King James II of Scotland brought in an Act which banned golf and football.

The move was made due to the male population being distracted from their duties within the army.

Due to the constant threat of invasion it was compulsory for all males over the age of 12 to have military training. It was argued that the art of archery was falling by the wayside due to the growth of the game of golf especially.

The Scene

The sport had become so widespread that people would practice in streets and churchyards which was enough for parliament to pass the legislation.

There were several instances of people being caught playing golf when they should have been at work or church which in one case resulted in a fine and an order to make ‘public repentance’.

Golf was considered ‘unprofitable’, dangerous and generally thought of as a waste of valuable time.

The Legacy

The ban was clearly a failure having been needed to be brought back into place in 1471 and 1491 as a desperate attempt to refocus the need for a strong military.

Overall, the Act was a complete disaster and ‘ordinary’ people continued to spend much of their free (and work) time playing the game.

We owe a great debt to those who rebelled for our game!

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