Urban golf is currently becoming popular across the world in many varying formats. Its origin is ambiguous but is believed to be started in Scotland in 1741 outside The White Hart Inn in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh by a Duncan Thomas.
There are now many organizations across the world actuating this seemingly destructive pastime. Shoreditch Golf Club formed the first 18 hole, par 72 open tournament in London in 2004. NW Urban Sports out of Portland Oregon help start World Urban Golf Day in 2007 and urbangolf.org currently in Portland, Oregon, USA (previously Oakland, California, USA) and the Urban Golf Associations Bi-Annual Charles Bukowski North Beach Invitational in San Francisco predate this by a few years with a smaller format. Other organisations are springing up including The Royal Urban Golf Club (RUGC, ) in Switzerland, the Chicago Urban Devils Golf Enthusiasts League (C.U.D.G.E.L.) in Chicago, Australian Urban Golfing , StreetGolfTeam , New Zealand Urban Golf, sponsored by the Idiot Institute in Auckland, and Urban Golf France in France. Unlike these organizations which use public city areas, Cross Golf, a variation on Urban Golf, exists across the world in the form of Natural Born Golfers and UrbanGolf.nl Cross Golf utilizes disused urban environments, building sites, rooftops, canals, hotel lobbies, school campus sites etc, etc, as courses.
Urban Golf Belgium (UGB, ) and Antwerp Urban Golf Club (AUGC, ) roam the streets, parks and beaches of Antwerpen, Flanders and the whole of Belgium. They play with the ALMOSTGOLF GolfBall, the ball most likely to become the international urban golf standard. Some courses: Antwerpen Skyline, Antwerpen Historisch, Antwerpen South Central, Gent Historisch. With more courses to come.
The Australian Urban Golfing style consists of a set target such as "play to the beach" or "play to the pub" lowest strokes the winner with the emphasis being on freestyle elements along the way such as "who can pop over that" "around that corner by bouncing off that tree" etc
The fundamental difference between Urban Golf and its verdant brother is the lack of nature and the high frequency of public houses. As in normal golf, many holes include hazards but these are natural to an urban environment and are not bunkers (or sand traps), but street furniture and drains. Often many unexpected situations can arise from the environment such as dogs not kept on leashes tend to chase balls, players dropping clubs down drains, traffic etc.
Urban golf is seen by many as social commentary on the nature of golf and its traditional opinions and attitudes. Considering golf pompous, dogmatic and quite often inaccessible, urban golfers worldwide have adopted many different urban environments as their new course to engage in this recreational pastime. Commonly, urban golf organisations tend toward using disused or under utilised urban areas to play golf, not just to reduce the risk of damage or injury, but also as a statement toward the development and reuse of the city. Some have found themselves being commended for this, such as the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment's (CABE) support of Shoreditch Golf Club in London.
Whilst there is a seemingly inherent disregard for public safety and damage to buildings, all organisations have one common rule, safety.
A standard set of golf clubs is used in urban golf. The three major club types; woods, irons, and putters are used to varying degrees depending on the urban golf format.
Australian Urban Golfers prefer to use a mixed bag which includes a nice high club around the S PW or 9 area a driving club which would be no lower than a 5 or 7 Iron and also a left handed club for getting out of tight situations where you have been turned around or up against an object.