Golf is considered a national cultural icon in its homeland of Scotland, having first been played there in the late middle ages. There, the game does not carry the reputation for elitism with which it is widely associated elsewhere, and readily accessible, low-cost public courses are commonly seen wherever landscape factors permit. This is aligned with Scotland’s tradition of social egalitarianism.
James II appears to have banned the game in 1457 on the grounds of it taking away from the practice of archery. This ban represents the first representation of golf in writing. The ban was eventually by James IV when he took up golfing around half a century later, suggesting that the game continued to be played despite the ban.
In 1764, the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland became the first 18-hole round, as played today in professional tournaments. As its name suggests, this is thought to be the oldest golf course in the world, and widely considered by golfing enthusiasts to be a place of pilgrimage. The well-known British Open tournament, or The Open Championship, is considered the world’s oldest golf tournament, having begun in 1860 in Scotland.