Golf is usually regarded as a Scottish invention, as the game was mentioned in two 15th-century laws prohibiting the playing of the game of "gowf". Some scholars, however, suggest that this refers to another game which is much akin to shinty or hurling, or to modern field hockey. They point out that a game of putting a small ball in a hole in the ground using golf clubs was played in 17th-century Netherlands. Primatively, the action of using a stick with a boxed attachment to hit stones close to a marked target, similar to that of bocce, originated in Italy. The term golf is believed to have originated from a Germanic word for "club". Many old wives tales state that golf was an acronym for Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden.
The first golf club established outside the United Kingdom was the Royal Calcutta in India in 1829. The modern game evolved in the second half of the 19th century in Scotland. The rules of the game and the design of equipment and courses greatly resembled those of today. 1873 saw the establishment of the first North American golf club, Royal Montreal Golf Club in Canada. The major changes in equipment since the 19th century have been better mowers, especially for the greens, better golf ball designs, using rubber and man-made materials since about 1900, and the introduction of the metal shaft beginning in the 1930s. Also in the 1930s the wooden golf tee was invented. In the 1970s the use of metal to replace wood heads began, and shafts made of graphite composite materials were introduced in the 1980s.
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