Early Women's Golf

Early Women's Golf charts women in golf from classical times to the changing fashions of the early 20th century, including details of the early women's golf societies the first national golfing association.

The involvement of women in golf may go back further than people think, given that the early historians traced the precursor of the golf ball to legendary classical female characters.

Though there are references to women playing golf in 15th century, and other related stick and ball games, care needs to be taken as these may not refer to golf or to the game as we know it.

The first secure mention of women playing golf is at Bruntsfield Links in 1738 and the first reference to  links golf is in 1811 at Musselburgh, though women's golf societies were not formed until the last quarter of the 19th century. Then came an explosion of interest in women's golf and golf clubs.

Recently, a reference was found to the first woman golf club maker from 1820-1823, also at Bruntsfield. She was Isobel Denholm, widow of David Denholm.

Several events in women's golf history are significant for golf history in general. They include the formation of LGU in 1893, the first UK golfing association, and the creation of a proper national handicapping system, which the men's associations subsequently adopted.