Spain has a wide range of golf courses available to suit all tastes and all levels of play, ranging from Valderrama on the Costa del Sol, home of the Volvo Masters, site of the Ryder Cup 1997, to a host of commercial clubs mostly in the coastal regions. Inland clubs are mostly members' clubs but all offer green fees to visiting golfers.
Group and individual tuition by qualified professionals can be booked at most courses.
Scotland is normally considered as the birthplace of golf, but there is a great debate about the earliest origin of the game. Some historians believe that golf descended from a game that the Romans brought with them to Britain. Another idea is that golf was a Dutch game and there are paintings from the 18th century by Dutch painters showing a game similar to golf being played on ice and land. However, it is believed that by this time some forms of golf had been played in Scotland for three hundred years. The name 'golf' may have been derived from the old Scottish verb 'to gowff' meaning 'to strike hard'. In 1457, King James II was worried that his citizens were so involved in this leisurely pastime that they were forgetting the Royal and vital sport of shooting arrows, which would protect him from the enemy. But in 1502 the Scots were finally allowed to practise golf and other similar pastimes. Even Mary Queen of Scots was known to play golf and by the end of the 16th century it was observed that people attended church less regularly in order to enjoy their favourite pastime. Eventually, with the Union of the Crowns of England and Scotland in 1603, King James VI and his court took golf to London.
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