Golf is known as a club-and-ball sport in which players use clubs to hit a ball and hit a certain hole in as little tries as possible. It’s a very popular sport in the USA and people often refer to it as the “Rich People Sport”. On top of that, the sport is popular in Scotland as well. That’s the county where it originated.
There is no standardized area for playing golf because there are many different courses. Each course has a different terrain and coping with that challenge is what makes the sport exciting. Professional tournaments are played on 18 holes; however recreational courses are much smaller and are usually played on 9 holes. Keep reading to find out more about this sport.
As we mentioned above, the modern game of golf originated in Scotland in the 15th century. However, it’s ancient origins are still up to debate. Certain historians believe that the roots of this sport go all the way back to ancient Rome. People there were playing a game known as Paganica. The participants used a bent stick to hit a stuffed leather ball.
Other historic theories suggest that a similar sport to was played by the Chinese Imperial Court. Participants were swinging something that resembles a golf club at a small ball with the intention of putting the ball in a hole. Nevertheless, all these examples don’t prove anything about the history of the sport since they don’t provide any decisive information.
The only proven facts about golf can be traced to Scotland in the 15th century. The sport was banned by James II because he believed it distracted people from training archery. James IV lifted the ban in 1502 when he became a professional golfer himself. With time, the sport evolved to the one we know today. The courses were adjusted and the game was reduced to 18 holes instead of the initial 22.
The rules of golf are same everywhere, there is a standard that is followed. They are governed by two bodies, the R&A (Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews) and USGA (United States Golf Association). There is only one saying that must be followed: “Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, and if you cannot do either, do what is fair”.
This is the only thing players need to follow in order to play golf. However, it’s more complicated than that. There are several different golf clubs that are used for players depending on how they want to hit the ball. The idea is for the ball to reach the hole in as little tries (strokes) as possible. That’s how the points are awarded with a “hole in one” being the outcome that awards the most points.
Last but not least, there are penalties even in golf. There are several things that can cause a penalty:
- A lost ball or a ball hit out of bounds result in a penalty of one stroke and distance.
- One stroke penalty is awarded if a piece of equipment falls from him and hits and moves the ball.
- A one-stroke penalty is assessed if a player’s ball results into a red or yellow staked hazard.
- Two stroke penalty is awarded if a player hits the wrong ball or if he hits an opponents ball with a putt.
How to Play
In professional tournaments, golf players take turns at hitting the ball through 18 holes. They get points according to how fast they put the ball in each hole. When all 18 holes are played all the points are collected and the player with the most points win.
Pitch Rules, Players, and Equipment
As we mentioned above, the courses in golf are very different. The terrain is different but the holes are usually placed in a grassy place. Each one has various grass levels which determine the difficulty of the game. There are holes that are placed directly in the eye of sight of the player while others can be to the left or to the right, making a hole in one impossible.
So far everything seems pretty simple with golf; however, that’s not all. The equipment is where it gets a bit messy. Each player carries around several different types of clubs. Each club is used to hit the ball in a certain way, to achieve the needed outcome. The Clubs are divided in several categories:
- Woods – Large headed, long shafted clubs which are used to propel the ball a long distance.
- Irons – Shorter clubs with a flat head that are used for short distances or to get the ball out of a tricky situation.
- Putters – These clubs are used at the end, when you need to get the ball across the green and in the hole.
- Hybrids – Clubs that are a combination of Woods and Irons. However, they are not used all the time.
All these clubs are placed in a golf bag so they will be easier to carry. On top of that, players wear special shoes that have increased traction which helps the players when they hit the ball.
Golf is a sport where everyone expects the players to follow the rules. Not following them, can lead to penalties and even disqualifications can occur. In professional tournaments, players are accompanied by tutors and mentors who help them with the gameplay. The game is followed by people who count the score, the time, and the holes; however, there are no official referees that are judging the game.
Golf Organisations and Tournaments
The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) is the main governing body when it comes to golf tournaments. Check their website for more information. The most important ones are known as tours, where players tour the country and play several games which ultimately decides a champion for that tour. There is the PGA Tour, the European Tour, Asian Tour, Canadian Tour, etc. Other important tournaments include the FedEx Cup and the Challenge Tour.
Like in tennis there are 4 major tournaments, known as the
Men’s major golf championships. This is where sports betting comes handy for this sport because people get to bet on various things. The major championships are the four most prestigious men’s tournaments of the year. In chronological order they are: The Masters, the U.S. Open, The Open Championship (referred to in North America as the British Open) and the PGA Championship.
There are Women’s golf championships as well; however, they are not globally accepted. Women have been fighting for recognition in this sport but they haven’t won a lot of ground. When it comes to the tournaments, women winners are seriously underpaid compared to the men.
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