Although golf-like games were played in other parts of Europe as early as the 1200's, it is thought that Scotland is where the modern game of golf as we know it was invented. The first written mention in Scotland was in 1457 prohibiting the play of golf since it distracted from practicing archery, a skill used for military purporses. But the real spread of golf happened in the late 1800's when train service from London to Edinburgh was much improved. Golf spread across the British Isles and then further to the entire British Empire. Even with the expansion of golf courses worldwide, it is still a rite of passage for many golfers (professional and amateurs alike) to head to the wind swept coastlines of Scotland to play on some of the most famous courses in the world. This illustrated map shows just a few of these top courses.