If you’ve ever heard that the word ‘golf’ is an acronym for ‘Gentleman Only, Ladies Forbidden’, then forget it! This is a big misconception of the origination of the word golf, most likely an old husband’s tale, not an old wives tale.
There is no derivation that is universally accepted in the golf community, but research into the history books has pulled up some interesting facts…
Like most of the words used in today’s modern languages, they have derived from ancient languages and dialects that have been used for centuries. In this particular case, the word golf derives from medieval dutch, and old Scots dialects.
The medieval Dutch meaning of the word ‘club’ meant ‘kolf’ or ‘kolve’. It is understood that this word was taken up by the Scots, whose dialect altered the pronunciation of the word to ‘golve’, ‘gouf’ and ‘gowl’.
It was then centuries later that this word was then altered to ‘golf’ as we know it today.