After eighteen years of imprisonment in the Tower of London, a hot, dust-bearing confinement that stifled his sense of sports, James was finally released upon payment of ransom. King of Scotland in name only, he returned to find it in chaos. Formally crowned in a service at Scone Abbey, he began to wield his authority. Among his first acts was an attempt at the banning of golf.
James I was a cultured man, a patron of the arts. A strong and forceful leader, his reign was a turning point in the constitutional history of Scotland. But he was a failure on the links. He couldn't drive the fairways, putt the greens, or hole out. He knew of nothing when asked whether he preferred irons or woods; par to him was a term of stock value.
In 1437, a group of noblemen, resentful of the laws James had passed, conspired to put an end to his rule. The King was holding a party when the dissenting nobles showed up without invitation. Fearing for his life, he used a secret stone in the floor to escape, but was discovered beneath the castle and stabbed four times with a dagger by a Lord with a handicap of two.
Unfortunately for the conspirators, James wife, Queen Joan, was no golfer either. She did, however, keep a scorecard. Every time the anvil fell, she pulled it out and recorded on it a single stroke. It was a game she was destined to win.