What Does Golf Stands for? Some sources claim that the origin or root of the word golf is “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden”. This assertion is false. Yet, this story gained credence in the last two decades as it has become a part of innumerable ‘Did you know?’ lists that flood the internet nowadays. However, the true value of the claim will never change. It is false.
What Does Golf Stands for?
Golf is an old word. The first appearance of this word in writing dates back to 1425. A popular theory asserts that the term golf comes from the Dutch word kolf, which is a generic word for a club, stick or mallet. The term kolf is common in numerous games such as hockey, tennis and croquet. But as per the Oxford English Dictionary, proposing that the Dutch term kolf is the origin of the word golf is too problematic. There are a number of reasons for this:
- No Dutch game identifies or associates with golf without dispute
- There is a lot of uncertainty regarding whether the term kolf refers to the name of a game
- The Scottish language does not contain any forms of the term golf that begins with a ‘k’ or a ‘c’
The Scottish Influence
Some theorists ascribe the word golf to the Scottish goulf, meaning “to cuff or strike.” This theory is credible as it places the origin or root of the term close to the inventors of the game. “Cuffing or striking” is a vital element of the game after all.
Games that bear a resemblance to golf have been present since Roman times. However, golf as we know it today dates back to about 1552. The St. Andrews Golf Course was built in 1552. People referred to the early Scottish variants of the game as “golf”. However, they addressed the activity using a different name on St. Andrews.
With respect to this wholly unfounded claim that attempts to link golf with “gentlemen only, ladies forbidden”, we can say that its appeal can be attributed to and reflects a gender based societal shift in nature of the people who take part in this game.
Many women nowadays take as many trips around the links as men do. Both genders enjoy the game and consider it as worthwhile pastime activity. It is therefore, in some respects pleasing to picture that the game is now free and egalitarian. Initially, only men played it. Women tend to enjoy this idea as they get plenty of satisfaction from the image of having successfully stormed and overcome a well-guarded male bastion. On the other hand, men prefer the specious origin of the word as it confirms that it is their game.
If we are to support one untrue word origin over another, we suggest spelling golf backwards as flog. This way, it is a far more accurate and less sexist representation.