Exploring France's golfing roots

With Ryder Cup fever hitting France this month, Samantha David explores the country’s golfing roots... and the current state of play

The golf course in Pau is proud to be the oldest-established in continental Europe. Golf was not invented in France, however; it might even have its distant origins in Holland.

People have been playing various games with balls and sticks since the dawn of time. But modern 18-hole golf is generally agreed to have developed in Scotland during the Middle Ages.

Scottish records show that golf was prohibited in 1457 as being a distraction from archery, and in 1592 Edinburgh council declared it should not be played on the Sabbath. The Old Links golf course in Musselburgh is accepted as being the oldest golf course in the world, the story going that Mary Queen of Scots played there ...

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