The Dutch game also seemed to have an early version played with a stick and leather ball, while the Scottish game of 'goulf' was mentioned in two ancient laws prohibiting its play.
These games in their various forms are best considered to be the ancestors of golf, while the modern game as played today originated in Scotland in the 12th century, with shepherds knocking stones into rabbit holes, right upon the land where the famous St Andrews Golf Club is situated today.
The earliest, permanent, golf course originated there, along with the 1st written rules of the game, and the 18-hole circuit.
Competitions were arranged between different Scottish cities, and over time, the game spread to England and on to the rest of the world.
In 2005, Golf Digest calculated that the countries with most golf courses per capita, were: Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Canada, Wales, United States, Sweden, and England.