When discussing a modern, 18-hole game, golf’s history dated back to Scotland in the 15th century. In medieval Scotland, records dating from the 15th century indicate that the game of golf existed. Golf as we know it continued to evolve over decades and centuries in Scotland, up to 1744, when the first known rules for the sport were written in Edinburgh. After a few further bans during the 15th century, and with golfs history being criticised as a losing sport, restrictions on playing the game were lifted when the Treaty of Glasgow came into force in 1502.

By the end of the 17th century, rules were developed for the game of golf, including how to lie down and swing a stick. Throughout the 19th century, multiple accounts indicated that the game was widespread, with proscriptions including the no-playing of golf on Sundays. However, by this time, the game was much more accepted within the establishment. In the United States, while the game of golf has roots dating back to the 15th century, it remained unpopular primarily throughout most of the 19th century. Golf was initially more of a socially elite sport, though it has since grown to become more of a game played by all.

Golf has been a popular game from its early days, particularly in Europe. The intensely competitive team game has steadily increased its popularity through the fifteenth century, becoming a global phenomenon during the late 50s and 60s. Golf became a leisure activity in 17th-century Great Britain and a familiar subject worldwide. In different parts of the world, antecedents to golf were becoming pastimes.

By 1500, a game resembling modern golf was being played along Scotlands shores. Golf during the 16th century was primarily played as an informal, highly social game at matches held in Scotland, with links being common land. The 18th century saw the proliferation of golf clubs, including those in Glasgow, St. Andrews, and Edinburgh.

There are a fair number of variations on the earliest ball-and-stick games, dating from as far back as the 12th century. The first records of depicting the game of golf are medieval paintings in the 15th century, and an early book called Tyrocinium linguae Latinae talks about everyday life in Holland, in which people played the game using sticks, and holes appear to have been used by that time, in which balls were thrown down holes. The first explicit records that mention using balls and clubs are from 1503, which states the Scottish King used a set of golf clubs and balls for playing.

The First British Open was the first tournament to gain prominence within the game. The first Grand Slam of Golf, the oldest existing tournament worldwide, was The Open, also known as The British Open, first held at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland in 1860.