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They merged in 2015 into a new organization, Scottish Golf.
The Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue gives the etymology of the word golf or gouf (with many alternative spellings) as probably from the Dutch kolf (see Kolven, a Dutch indoor ballgame); although the dictionary also records the noun golf (with alternative spellings golfe or golph) as deriving from Middle English golf or goulf or Old French golfe, meaning "a deep pool or hollow; an abyss"; a cognate of modern English gulf.
The word golf was first recorded in the 15th century, appearing twice in an Act of the Scots Parliament of 6 March 1457, in the reign of James II.
The Act, which ordered the holding of wappenschaws (English: ) four times a year for the purpose of archery practice, stated that "the fut bal ande the golf" (football and golf) were to be "vtterly criyt done" (condemned; lit.
and Scots golfers have the most victories at the Open at 42 wins, one ahead of the United States.
Although golf is often seen as an elitist sport elsewhere in the world, in the land of its birth it enjoys widespread appeal across the social spectrum, in line with the country's egalitarian tradition.
The course that emerged featured eleven holes, laid out end to end from the clubhouse to the far end of the property.
One played the holes out, turned around, and played the holes in, for a total of 22 holes.
Evidence has shown that golf was played on Musselburgh Links in 1672, although Mary, Queen of Scots reputedly played there even earlier in 1567.
The parish register for neighbouring South Leith records the appearance of four parishioners before the kirk session on 7 December 1610 who "confessed they had prophaned the Sabbath be playing at the gowffe in tyme off preaching and thairfore was ordained to mak thair publict repentance the nixt Sabboth." Golf courses have not always consisted of eighteen holes.
The modern game was spread by Scots to the rest of the world.
The earliest reference to golf is the purchase of a set of golf clubs by James IV from a bowmaker of St Johnston (Perth) in 1502.
In 1764, several of the holes were deemed too short, and therefore combined.