April 2012


This year it is 30 years ago that the late Steven J.H. van Hengel, the Netherlandish colf and golf historian, published his study ‘Early Golf’. It was the first ever research on the continental colf game and its relation to Scottish golf. His findings stirred the international golf history community as no other ‘golf history’ book had done before.
The reactions on the research of Steven van Hengel were and still are divers.
The majority of authors have accepted the research as genuine and used the information in their own publications. Others just burked the information probably because the findings were not of interest in the history of golf. Again others fulminated against the research outcome because it did not fit in the conservative conclusive ideas of golf history.
On the occasion of this anniversary we republish an article about Steven van Hengel, previously published in the December 2007 issue of the magazine ‘Through The Green’.
There are still copies available via Rick van den Boom, rvdboom@xs4all.nl, the author of the article.

Since the Scots have started to research the history of their golf game it became clear to them that golf was ‘invented’ between 1424 and 1457. In 1457, for the first time the word golf was used in the well-known act of Scottish parliament, in which the game was banned together with football.
However, some years ago the linguist Dr. Heiner Gillmeister from the English, American and Celtic Studies Department of Bonn University, Germany, disassociated himself from this Scottish conclusion. After linguistic research he concluded that golf mentioned in 1457 was not golf at all but a medieval, fairly aggressive kind of hockey in which two teams tried to gain possession of a ball. According to Heiner Gillmeister golf was much later introduced into Scotland from the Low Countries. The full text of the article was printed in the magazine ‘Sportimonium’ in 2003.
The article is written in the Netherlandish language with summaries in English and French.