Therefore, golf courses, whether public or private, are far more common in the Lowlands than in the Highlands and Islands, where shinty (a game which may share a common ancestry with golf) It is frequently used to market the country to potential visitors, for example for the Homecoming year in 2009, and golf tourism accounted for approximately 2% of overall Scottish tourism spending in 2004.
The parish register for neighbouring South Leith records the appearance of four parishioners before the kirk session on 7 December 1610 who "confessed they had prophaned the Sabbath be playing at the gowffe in tyme off preaching and thairfore was ordained to mak thair publict repentance the nixt Sabboth." Golf courses have not always consisted of eighteen holes."cried down") and "nocht vsyt" (not engaged in; lit. Offenders were to be punished by the barony courts, otherwise they were "to be tane be the kingis officiaris" (arrested by the king's officers).Football (see Football in Scotland) and golf are again both explicitly named and forbidden in two further 15th century Scottish statutes encouraging archery practice, in 14.and Scots golfers have the most victories at the Open at 42 wins, one ahead of the United States.Although golf is often seen as an elitist sport elsewhere in the world, in the land of its birth it enjoys widespread appeal across the social spectrum, in line with the country's egalitarian tradition.
the spelling changed from Medieval golf to Early Modern gowf, and then back again.