How Badminton Began
June 1976

“How Badminton Began,” Friend, June 1976, 41


How Badminton Began

Most games owe their birth to an adaptation of some earlier game and so it is with badminton. In 1873, in Gloucestershire, England, the Duke of Beaufort gave a party at his country home in Badminton. It began to rain and the guests were forced indoors. Several army officers who had just returned from India were at the party and they began to talk about how much fun it was to play the Indian game of poona.

The guests asked for a demonstration. Some of the officers took tennis rackets, stuck feathers into a cork, and began hitting the feathered cork back and forth to each other. The game was so much fun that others asked to play. This was the beginning of the sport known as badminton.

Keeping only some of the rules used for playing poona, the game of badminton spread quickly throughout the British Isles. By 1890 it was popular in Canada, but it was not until the 1920s that it spread to the United States. Today more than eight million people throughout the world enjoy the fun-filled game of badminton.

Badminton can be played either inside or outside. The net is placed five feet off the ground and small, light rackets are used to hit the shuttlecock or bird across the net. Two or four people play in a regulation game. The official game ends at fifteen points, but it can also be played until a score of twenty-one points is reached.