St. Andrews
Golf History

Chronology, 1400-1800

1123 King David gives links land to the people of St Andrews.

1400s Golf first played on St Andrews Links.
Golf forbidden by Act of Scottish Parliament (James II).
1471 Ban repeated (James III).
1491 Ban repeated (James IV).

1502 James IV takes up golf and buys his first golf clubs.
1552 Archbishop John Hamilton given permission by the burgh to establish a rabbit warren on the links. The charter confirms the rights of townspeople to play golf over the links.
1583 Two St Andrews boys rebuked by Kirk Session for golfing on Sabbath.

1611 Archbishop Gladstanes grants a contract confirming Hamilton's charter.
1614 Gladstanes grants a charter confirming his contract.
1620 James VI grants a charter ratifying Gladstanes' contract and charter.

1726 William Gib granted permission to put rabbits on the links, with a proviso that the golfing area must not be damaged.
1754 Society of St Andrews Golfers founded.
1764 Standard round of golf established at 18 holes.
1769 Exchange of land between Laird of Strathtyrum and Town Council, with a condition that the golfing area is not to be ploughed up or enclosed.
1771 Fees of caddies fixed.
1797 St Andrews Town Council reported to be in financial difficulty. Robert Gourlay and John Gunn advance money to the Town Council on the security of the links.
Gourlay and Gunn exercise their right to sell the links by disposing of part of the land to Thomas Erskine of Cambo.
1799 Links sold to Charles and Cathcart Dempster, who introduce rabbits on a commercial scale.