Tyrocinium linguae Latinae (1545)

This is where it all started.

That doubt whether the contemporary wave originated in Scotland, or elsewhere in the world, or as the German professor Heiner Gillmeister claims with great certainty: with us, in the Low Countries.

A dutch latin textbook from 1545, written by Pieter van Afferden.

In the Tyrocinium of Pieter van Afferden convincing evidence has been found that the current wave has its origin in colving with a c in “the Low Countries”. As a distinction with flasks with a k or brackets, this game is, freely interpreted: moving a ball with a stick over a longer distance to a pit or pit until the ball has come to rest there in as few strokes as possible.

The Tyrocinium contains a chapter on ball games including colven: ‘De Clavis Plumbatis’ or De loden colf. It describes, more than 200 years before the first rules of golf of the Royal and Ancient Club St. Andrews saw the light of day, a number of rules that bear a remarkable resemblance to the current wave and largely still apply today:

1.      ‘Die mist, die verliest sinen slach’ – Whoever makes an airshot loses a shot.

2.      ‘Ick zal voor v spelen. Dat is gheen manier/ een yegelijke houde zijn behoorte’ – Playing for your turn is against the rules, although from January 1, 2019, ready golf has been introduced for strokeplay.

3.      ‘Wijckt een weynich soo langhe als ick slae’ – A player should not be hindered in his swing.

4.      ‘Get wt dat licht. Wy en staen v niet int licht’ – If one wants to hit, others are not allowed to stand in his sight.

5.      ‘Ghy leyt den bal. Ic weet u boeverije wel’ – You may not push the ball when putting.

Moreover, a ‘hole’ is played very clearly: ‘ick en ben niet verre vanden cuyl’.

And for many very recognizable:‘Ic heb wel gespeelt, maer ten wilt niet wel ghelucken’.

Translation unnecessary!

In the fourth edition from 1604, the word ‘cuyl’ was even replaced by ‘put’. (see detail image 5)

Gillmeister’s theorem was so convincing that he received recognition in the Encyclopaedia Brittanica where his conclusion is taken: Holland is the home of Golf.

Pieter van Afferden completed his Tyrocinium in 1545 and the first edition was Cologne 1545. As far as is known, only three copies of the original remain, all bearing their own stamp. A second edition of Antwerp 1552 is in the University Libraries of Amsterdam and Munster and a third edition of 1556 in the University Library of Ghent.

From the original in Amsterdam, an accurate fascimile on calf parchment is made for the Dutch Golf Museum also provided with a unique stamp, specially made for the museum. Fascimile is an expensive word for replica. Book and stamp are in display case 1 in the 1st Room of the museum.