King James Bans Golf March 6, 1457

A dark day in the history of golf: On March 6, 1457, King James of Scotland banned the playing of golf (and also, incidentally of football, aka soccer) because it interfered with archery practice.

The edict read, in part:

….that fute-ball and golfe be utterly cryed downe, and not be used…”

The Scots, you see, had been on the losing end of a series of conflicts against the English from the South, and their commanders blamed it on the tactical advantage given the English by the longbow. The Scots preferred to fight in a densely packed, hedgehog-like wall of spears known as a schiltrum.

The ban was renewed in 1471 by his son, James III, and again in 1491 by his grandson, James IV.

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1 thought on “King James Bans Golf March 6, 1457”

  1. The King Jameses were a bunch of a$$holes.  My Great^14 (give or take a few greats) Grandfather was a Lord in the highlands and we lost our title to these jackballs due to some conflict over taxes.  I am guessing that as a sidenote that my ancesters were ticked about having to give up the game.  Anyhow they left Scotland for Ireland and after 100 years of potatoes and cabbage they came to America in the early 17th century. 

    On another note, I bought a kilt last week and will be wearing it for a St.Patricks day scramble this weekend and then in the Golf Tournament of the Arkansas Scottish Festival in April.  My regular golf group is very concerned that I may be wearing my kilt in the proper tradition this Saturday, but since it looks to be 50-55 degrees, I doubt I will go without insulation.

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