The History of Golf on Amelia Island

Amelia Island is filled to the brim with lovely golf courses and clubs. By just exploring the small and lively island atmosphere, you can dig up some excellent places to just walk in and play the day away.

Alongside the many Amelia Island vacation rentals are some top-of-the-line courses with a fascinating history.

Why is golfing on Amelia Island so revered? What makes this quaint and isolated island one of the top golfing attractions in the country? Golfing is ingrained in Amelia Island culture, and the history behind it all sheds some light on why this pastime has become so popular here.

golf locker room

The Beginning of Sport Golfing

Any discussion of the history of golf should start with a bit about its creation. Though there is no clear-cut answer on where golf as we know it today truly began, documents from 1261 and 1297 suggest the play of a game with a stick or leather ball. The term “golf” was not firmly in place. It was known as colf – “to play the ball with a club.”

So who invented golf? No one really knows, but it is often cited that Scotland is the origination of a close version of the sport of golf today. Kolven is a Dutch term for a game where you win with the lowest number of strokes to hit a ball with a mallet over a specified distance.

Golfing was documented in a 1457 Act of the Scottish Parliament. Ironically, this first official documentation of the sport prohibited its play. It was declared an unprofitable sport and was subsequently banned multiple times on different governmental occasions.

Regardless, Musselburgh Links was a popular place to visit and is often regarded as the oldest golf course in the world. Mary, Queen of England, was said to play there in 1567.

Florida’s First Coast of Gulf

A handful of community leaders founded a dedicated golf following in Northeast Florida on Amelia Island. With the beautiful year-round weather, slightly cooler in the dredges of summer compared to south Florida, and its close proximity to the breezy Atlantic, the northeast region of Florida became a prime place to play some good and classic golf.

Naturally, Amelia Island became North Florida’s golfing ground zero. With stunning vistas, an island atmosphere, and silky smooth grasses, Amelia Island cultivated a distinct golfing culture. This is in small part to Florida’s First Coast of Golf, a 501© non-profit established by tourist boards, lodging and golf clubs, and some independently-minded enthusiasts in 1992.

The organization is based in St. Augustine, but they have helped craft a powerful golf identity for Amelia Island and the surrounding region by focusing on course preservation, accessibility for snowbirds, public relations, and a high standard of course quality.

woman golfing

Amelia Island Golfing, Now

Currently, there are six golf courses on Amelia Island. You can visit the Golf Club of Amelia Island, the Amelia River Golf Club, and a number of other private and public courses for your golfing pleasure near Fernandina Beach.

LINKS Magazine ranked Amelia Island as one of the top 25 golf islands in the world. With an extra touch of accomplishment, it is the only United States location to make the list. Overall, Amelia Island has just over 100 championship-caliber golf holes for you to attempt, with about one golf course every two miles on average.

Coursing with expansive fairways and greens, challenging obstacles, and the subtle winds from the gulf, Amelia Island is the place to be for some of the finest golfing in the state. Play your first golf course on Amelia Island as an enthusiastic novice or come on over as an experienced veteran fine-tuning the sport. The island has it all, and with a history to prove it.