Links to the Past

Carl Robinette

Fri July 31, 2015 11:04am

From batting around a stuffed leather ball with a bent stick in 100 B.C. Rome to the large-headed titanium drivers of today, golf has been delighting and maddening sporting folks for thousands of years.
August is National Golf Month and anyone who as ever played knows that the game has a way of getting under your skin. The second you feel the driver connect with the ball, it’s easy to get carried away in your own game.
“It’s all about your personal journey in the game,” said Marco Ochoa with Salt Creek Golf Course in Chula Vista. He said that popularity of the sport had dwindled in recent years as younger generations have been turned off by the country-club culture with strict dress codes and formalities.
With new technology changing the equipment and improving the way fans interact with the sport through television and the internet, Ochoa said golf is starting to gain new interest from younger crowds.
Where earlier generations of golfers joined traveling clubs and were more focused on the social aspects of the game, younger golfers are being captivated by golf’s ability to test both mental and physical skills.
“Younger generations are sort of doing it for themselves,” said Ochoa. “Which isn’t a bad thing. It’s about personal growth for them and improving their skill at one particular task.”
The most dramatic change to the game in recent years has come in the technology of the equipment as the clubs, shoes, balls and clothes have seen rapid advancement in the past 30 years, Ochoa said.
The sport as it is recognized today started to become standardized in Scotland in the 1400s, according to the International Golf Federation. In its early years golf did not exactly get a warm welcome.
Banned by Scottish Parliament in the middle 1400’s much like alcohol during the American Prohibition, golf did not begin to gain wide popularity until the ban was lifted in 1500 and in 1502 Scotland’s King James IV became an avid golfer.
Making its way to California in the early 1890’s, golf has become a staple for the state and San Diego County is home to some of the most coveted courses in Southern California.
Eastern Chula Vista offers a number of public courses and clubs where long-time enthusiasts and first-timers can tee off and enjoy the rich history and culture of golf. Here are a few of the local courses you should not miss:
Salt Creek Golf Course on Hunte Parkway just east of the South Bay Expressway.
Chula Vista Golf Course in Bonita near the Sweetwater Reservoir
Eastlake Country Club in Eastlake off of the 125 and Olympic Parkway
Bonita Golf Course in Bonita on Sweetwater Road