The Loop

American golf is actually four years older than we thought it was

December 02, 2014

If you're planning on playing a round with a know-it-all golf historian sometime soon, here's some wonky knowledge you can impress them with: The earliest signs of golf being played in America actually came in 1739, not 1743, as we previously thought.

The earliest piece of evidence linking golf to the United States had previously been a document detailing a shipment of 432 balls and 96 clubs from Scotland to Charleston, S.C., in 1743. But suspecting there was more information out there, Dr. David Purdie of the University of Edinburgh decided to go digging -- and he was right. Purdie found a document describing how a man named William Wallace shipped 1 pound, 18 shillings-worth of golf clubs to Charleston on June 29, 1739.

"The cradle of golf in America is this city," Purdie told The Charleston Post and Courier, who first reported the story. "The oldest continuous golf club in America is the Saint Andrew's Golf Club in Yonkers, N.Y. They were founded in 1888. But 150 years earlier, this was going on in Charleston."