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From Middle English camboke, from Late Latin cambuca ("hooked rod or stick") referring to the 'club' used to play the game. Compare cammock.


cambuca (uncountable)

  1. (historical) A 12th-century English game somewhat similar to golf in that it was played with a wooden ball similar to a golf ball.
    • 1801, Joseph Strutt, The sports and pastimes of the people of England, page 97:
      GOLF. - there are many games played with the ball that require the assistance of a club or bat [...] In the reign of Edward III. the Latin name cambuca was applied to the pastime [...] .
    • 1896, John Kerr, The golf-book of East Lothian, page 23:
      Thoug golf as it has been played, from time immemorial in Scotland, is more closely allied to the French game jeu de mail, and the Roman game cambuca, an opinion has been long held by writers on the subject that we owe golf to Holland [...] .
    • 2001, Paul B. Newman, Daily life in the Middle Ages[1], page 162:
      [...] there were actually several golf-like games played from the mid-13th Century onwards. One of these games was pell mell, the forerunner of modern croquet, which involved hitting the ball back and forth over a short distance and having to drive the ball through a hoop at either end of the course. Among the everyday activities recorded in the stained glass of cathedrals, one window at Gloucester Cathedral preserves the image of a cambuca player about to strike his ball.
    • 2008, Adam Sherman, Golf's Book of First, page 7:
      The next incarnation of golf shows up in England while Edward III was in power. In cambuca or cambuta a curved stick similar to the one use[sic] in paganica, was used [...] .

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