Swing, Succeed, Repeat – Golf in Paintings

Magda Michalska 9 April 2024 min Read

Did you know golf was born in Scotland? Well, not exactly, but Scotland, especially the town of St. Andrews, is known worldwide as the “home of golf.” No wonder various Scottish artists depicted this sport! Not only that but even Rembrandt was inspired by golf players! Are you ready to explore golf in art?

The Netherlands

Golf paintings: Rembrandt, The golf player, 1654, private collection, golf painting
Golf paintings: Rembrandt, The Golf-Player, 1654, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY, USA.

Surprise, surprise! The first golf work we present to you is not Scottish at all! I thought that golf was born in the UK. However, nowadays, it is generally accepted that golf developed from other ancient games such as the ones played in China! Another early version of golf was kolven (or kolf), which was played in the Netherlands in the Middle Ages. I had no idea that Rembrandt made etchings of golfers! But here it is!

Golf paintings: Adriaen van de Velde, Golfers on the Ice Near Haarlem, 1668, National Gallery, London, UK.

Yet another Dutchman depicts golf. This time, it’s a winter edition on ice! Why didn’t we really associate golf with the Netherlands? It’s probably because the game did not find international popularity until the late 19th century when it spread into the British Empire and the United States.


Golf paintings: David Allan, William Inglis, Surgeon and Captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, 1787, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

The painter David Allan and his subject, the surgeon William Inglis, were keen members of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, the oldest golf club in the world. Inglis and his caddy (the boy carrying golf clubs) stand on Leith Links, about two miles from the city center, where the club was then located. Behind Inglis, we can see the annual trophy parade. Here, a golf club with silver balls attached to it is presented to the city and carried across the Links.

Golf paintings: Charles Lees, The Golfers, 1847, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, golf painting
Golf paintings: Charles Lees, The Golfers, 1847, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

This painting shows the climax of a match played on the Old Course at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews (my town!). Sir David Baird and Sir Ralph Anstruther play against Major Hugh Lyon Playfair and John Campbell of Glen Saddel. This complex scene, which includes over fifty individual portraits, was painted with the help of photographs of some of the golfers.


Golf paintings: Sir John Lavery, The Golf Course, North Berwick, c.1920, private collection. Christie’s.

Sir John Lavery RA was born in Belfast, Ireland, but he studied painting in Glasgow. Therefore, he is associated with the Glasgow School. He is best known for portraits and wartime depictions. However, he often painted people being active and playing sports like tennis.

Golf paintings: Sir John Lavery, R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A., Lady Astor Playing Golf At North Berwick, 1921, Private collection, golf painting
Golf paintings: Sir John Lavery, Lady Astor Playing Golf At North Berwick, 1921, private collection. Sotheby’s.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our little selection of golf paintings. Golf is a great sport that requires spending a lot of time outdoors. It’s always good for you, especially when the sun is shining and the grass is green (which on the golf course is always the case!). Enjoy the game!

Get your daily dose of art

Click and follow us on Google News to stay updated all the time



Skiing in Art History

Artists have long captured the magic of snow. During the 19th century, when winter sports like skiing, skating, and sledding became more popular in...

Louisa Mahoney 31 January 2024


It’s Tokyo Olympics! The Greatest Moments in the History of Summer Olympic Games

It’s Tokyo Olympics! It’s time when the greatest athletes gather in one place and compete against one other. If transported to the...

Marina Kochetkova 23 July 2021


Ice Skating Artwork – A Visual Journey on Ice

Ice skating is a beloved winter activity and I’ve been an avid participant (all year round) since I was a little girl. As such, I really enjoy...

Alexandra Kiely 31 January 2024


Modern Sports Played in Ancient China

The history of Chinese sports can be traced back thousands of years, revealing many achievements, innovations, and surprises. While some sports may...

Marina Kochetkova 23 August 2023