Possible Predecessors of Golf

There are a number of sports from various parts of the world that may have been predecessors to golf or influential in its development. One or more of these may represent an early form of the game; however, golf’s ‘true’ origins are disputed by historians and remain unclear. Examples include:

  • Paganica, a Roman stick and ball game, may have spread during the first century BC in the course of the Romans’ conquest of Europe. 
  • Chuiwan, a Chinese game involving a club, small ball and hole, was played during the 8-14th centuries in China. It’s thought to have spread to Europe during the Middle Ages.
  • Cambuca, an early English game (also known as chambot in France) bears a resemblance to modern golf, as does the Persian game chaugán.
  • Kolven, a Dutch game involving a curved bat, was played the Netherlands from 1297.