The Origin of A KOLF Course
HOW THE NUMBER OF GOLF HOLES WAS ESTABLISHED
A Dutch historian named van Hengel claimed that golf was started in Holland about 1297. The original name of the sport was Spel Metten Kolve, later shortened to Let Kolve and then to Kolf. Kolf was first played on a 4 hole course with each hole measuring 1000 yards. To commemorate the relief of Kronenburg Castle the holes were located on the doors of a windmill, a kitchen, an outhouse and the castle itself. There is evidence a game of this type was played in Holland on ice in the winter, in towns (where it was banned because of damage) and in the country side. Van Hengel’s theory is that Kolf was played by Dutch Seamen who brought their clubs to Leith on Scotland’s East Coast when they traded with Scotland during the 14th Century.
The length of early golf courses depended on the type of course, a Churchyard Course or a Links Course. When Links Courses were closed on Sundays, because of the compulsory attendance at church which was mandated, the Churchyard Course was founded. Churchyard Courses were 50 – 100 yards long, where the ball was hit at a target with one club. This type of game continued to be banned on Sundays. The Links Courses were originally designed at the Leith Course in the middle of the 15th Century and it was 5 holes long with lengths of 414, 461, 426, 495 and 435 yards. Blackheath Golf Course originally had 7 holes while St. Andrews in 1764 had 22 holes (11 out and 11 back). St. Andrews Old Course was played by a gentleman named William St. Clair in a score of 121 strokes. The members decided that the first 4 holes and the last 4 holes were too short and should be combined into 4 total holes (2 in and 2 out), now making the course 18 holes. This has been the standard for golf course design. Originally the holes out were the same holes played back, but the course became crowded and additional fairways were added and the greens were enlarged. This can be seen at St. Andrews #2 & #16, #3 & #15, #4 & #14, #5 & #13, #6 & # 12, #7 & # 11, #8 & #10 which are very large double greens.
No matter how many holes there are on a Kolf Course the difficulty still remains to get finished with the first one, while keeping the composure needed to play the next. With all the advances in golf today the object is clear and 90 strokes remains a great score for many.
Source — The Complete Golfer published by Acropolis Books and Wikipedia.