In Scottish golf history circles, it is considered that in the early days of golf, there were two golf games: a short game played in the streets of the towns by the commoners and a long game played mainly on the links of Scotland by the bourgeois and the aristocracy.
According to the above historians, the short game was also played in the European games of colf, crosse and mail. The Scottish long golf was the one and only real golf game.
We thought it of interest to research and analyse, based on written, drawn or painted evidence, how the continental games were played in ancient times.
Were the golf-like games on the continent divided into short and long games played by different kinds of people?
Was the short golf game the same as colf, crosse and mail in Europe?
Was the long golf game as played in the open fields of Scotland a unique game that never existed on the continent?
The following four blog posts will be devoted to the outcome of this research about games played short and/or long.
Click here for the story of golf.

On a toujours regardé le jeu de mail comme un jeu pour des gens courtois qui se détendent pour quelques heures sur le jeu de mail.
En annexe, deux anecdotes du jeu de mail aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles à Orange dans le sud de la France.
Il y a des personnes qui profitent, il y a des autres qui disent n’importe quoi, même des personnes bien élevées, avec des conséquences fatales.
Ici vous trouverez ces deux histoires.

In the course of the years, golf historians have written so often that golf is a royal game. Most golf history books emphasize the strong relationship between kings and golf, hence the ‘Royal and Ancient’ game. This indication has become a kind of trademark. It is remarkable that most British royals never played the game.
Without the shadow of a doubt, it is certain that the noble game of mail could have claimed the trademark ‘Royal and Ancient’. Most French royals were more or less avid mail players.
For details about the royals and their ‘palmail’ click here.

Le jeu de crosse est un jeu plus que centenaire, utilisant une balle et une canne, encore pratiqué dans certains endroits, à la frontière franco-belge. Ce jeu est mentionné dans pratiquement tous les livres d’histoire du golf, sous le nom de « cho(u)le » ou « soule » et est souvent considéré comme le ou un précurseur du golf écossais et du colf flamand/néerlandais. Cliquez ici pour lire le résumé de ce jeu séculaire.

2016

For ages the original crosse/crossage players in the ancient county of Hainaut – the northwest of France and the southwest of Belgium – were mainly farmers. In summer, they were too busy on the fields to play their favorite game. Only in the winter months, they had time to play. If you want to know more about the crosse season, click here.

Aux premiers siècles de l’histoire, les joueurs originaux de la crosse/du crossage sur le territoire de l’ancien comté de Hainaut – le nord-ouest de la France et le sud-ouest de la Belgique – étaient surtout des fermiers. En été, ils étaient trop occupés à labourer leurs champs pour jouer leur jeu favori. En hiver, il y avait plus de temps pour s’amuser aux jeux. Si vous aimerez savoir plus de la saison du jeu de crosse/le crossage tapez ici.

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Under the auspices of the ‘Stichting Nederlands Golf Archief Early Golf’ (Foundation Netherlandish Golf Archives Early Golf) the booklet ‘Colf Kolf Golf – Early Golf / Vroeg Golf’ has been published. The publication written by Do Smit (colf and kolf) and Michiel Eijkman (golf) explains the origin of the three games and what they have in common.
‘Early Golf / Vroeg Golf’ seems an excellent gift for any golf and sports enthusiastic.
The hardcover booklet contains 80 pages with some 40 pictures in full colour. The texts are both in English and Netherlandish. The price is 12 € 75 plus postage. For further information and ordering see www.colf-kolf.nl.

Some time ago an article was published in the French golf magazine ‘Golf Européen’ (March 2013), which explained the function and the importance of dimples on a golf ball. It was Rory McIlroy, one of the leading professionals in the world, who wanted to see how far he could hit a golf ball without dimples.
His experiment made us to have a look at the balls used in the long gone past in the games of colf, crosse, golf and mail. Here you can read about our findings.

In the history of European stick and ball games, women and children have hardly ever played a more than marginal role. It took until the end of the 19th century for women in sports to become notable, often under the patronage of men.
During the many centuries of the existence of the games of crosse, colf, mail and golf not much has been written, drawn or painted of women and children playing these games. It was far more the exception than the rule when references were made in words or pictures to women and children hitting balls with a club. Certainly for ages these games were considered (by men) as being unsuitable for women. Playing in the streets, churchyards, fields and in and around the towns was not an acceptable environment. In the Middle Ages, cursing, swearing, drinking and fighting were more common.
If you want to know more about women in mail history click hear.

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