English outdoorsman William Willet is largely credited with the current spring-forward-fall-back Daylight Saving Time model, which he proposed in 1905.
A similar idea was proposed independently about ten years earlier, in 1895, by New Zealand entomologist George Hudson, but 1) he proposed a two hour shift, 2) he was a New Zealander, and 3) he wasn’t a golfer (that we know of), so his proposal went nowhere.
And to be sure, the idea has been around for centuries, from the Romans adjusting meeting times during the summer to Ben Franklin’s “early to bed, early to rise…”
Willet WAS an avid golfer, and he suggested the time change to provide more time in the evening for leisure activities (such as golf).
The first city in the world to enact this new Daylight Saving Time (or Summer Time, as it was/is know in most of Europe) was Port Arthur, Ontario – leave it to those crazy Canadians to jump into the fire first!
The first country to adopt DST nationwide was Germany, at the outset of the Great War. This was done largely to conserve coal – longer days meant less coal burned in the evenings. Britain and other Allied Nations saw the advantages of this and quickly followed suit.
It became common practice again during World War II to adopt DST again, for much the same reason, and then became widely adopted by most countries not already observing full time (the U.S. and most of Europe included) during the 1970’s oil crisis, and it’s been a mainstay ever since.
In 1986, Ronald Reagan, at the urging of the Golf Lobby (yes, that’s a thing), moved DST from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in April. By some accounts, this single action added $400 million to the golf industry alone.
Currently, DST runs from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in October.
Golfers: getting shit done since 1905!