Golf is a game that, for some four centuries, was almost exclusively confined to Scotland, where it had been played at least from the reign of James II., for we find the Scots Parliament, alarmed at the decay of archery, enacting in 1457 that golf be "utterly cryit down and nocht usit." About the year 1881, however, the game sprang into universal favour throughout the British Empire. In theory the game is as simple as in practice it is difficult. Baldly stated, the object of the player is to drive a small guttapercha ball from hole to hole over a given course in the fewest strokes. The course consists usually of downs or links by the sea, or of commons or parks inland. The holes are from 200 to 500 yards apart, and a full-sized course contains eighteen holes. Between the holes "bunkers," either natural or artificial, are interposed. The most frequent obstacles are ponds, running streams, sandhills, pits, gorse, heather, and bracken, which are to be skilfully evaded or surmounted by the player. To the account of such difficulties must be laid the quantity of objurgation that is often alleged to be audible in the vicinity of most bunkers. The hole is surrounded by a sheet of closely-cropped, well-tended turf, known as the putting-green. The players use a variety of clubs, according to the "lie" of the ball, but the following may be regarded as forming the golfer's kit, which is usually carried by a "caddie" - the driver, brassey, cleek, lofter, mashie, and putter. St. Andrews is the golfers' Mecca, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of the venerable city being the law-giver of the game. Amongst some of the best greens may be mentioned St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Gullane, North Berwick, the Braid Hills, Prestwick, Troon, in Scotland; and in England, Sandwich, Westward Ho, Hoylake, Felixstow, Ashdown Forest, Wimbledon, Mitcham, Blackheath, and Furzedown (Tooting); while there is a sporting course at Howstrake, near Douglas, in the Isle of Man. Games are usually played one or two a side, the latter formino a "foursome"; and women are as keen players in their way as men. On greens with gravel, chalk, or sand subsoil, golf can be played all the year round, red balls being used when the links are under snow. The rules of the game will be found in most text-books, or can be had from the "Royal and Ancient," as it is affectionately styled, of St. Andrews.