Golf is a sport in which players use long wooden or metal clubs to move a small ball across large, grassy spans. To score points, players must get their ball into a pre-assigned hole before opponents can complete the same task. Though many believe that the sport of golf originated in Scotland, it is now enjoyed by individuals living in countries across the globe. This sport requires not only significant amounts of muscular strength and fine-motor dexterity, but also high levels of mental concentration and focus, making it one of the most challenging sports in existence. Many experts agree that it can take years, decades, or even a lifetime to become proficient in this challenging activity.
History of Golf
Unlike other sports, some of which have only been around for a hundred years, golf is considered to be quite ancient. Though its specifics origins remain unclear, historians agree that it was played in Scotland as early as the medieval period. From Scotland, golf soon spread to the rest of the United Kingdom and eventually throughout Europe. Finally, golf reached the United States in the late 1800s.
Outline of the Golf Course
The typical golf course is divided into a number of areas. Traditionally, most golf courses consist of at least nine holes, though facilities which feature 18 or even 27 holes are not unheard of. Each hole on a golf course contains a number of specific features, including a teeing ground, fairway, green, rough, sand traps and water hazards. Players start each hole at the teeing ground, which is typically quite flat and may be slightly elevated from nearby fairways. Ideally, when the ball is first hit from the teeing ground, it will travel from this area towards the putting green, in a space known as the fairway. In most cases, the grass in the fairway is relatively short and well-trimmed, making it an ideal location from which to perform further shots. Finally, players end each hole on the putting green, where they must get their ball into the hole or “cup.”
Not all areas on a golf course are considered ideal. Most players try to avoid the rough, which is found between the putting green and the fairway and out-of-bounds markers and the fairway, as it often features grass which is long, tough, and unyielding. Sand traps and water hazards, which are usually located on the outer edges of the fairway, are also commonly avoided at all costs. These areas can spell disaster for most golfers, as they can lead to poor scores and penalty shots.
Rules of the Game
Golf is considered by many to be a “gentleman’s game,” and therefore is composed of a number of regulations. One of the most important rules of golf requires players to always “play the ball as it lies,” instead of moving it to another, more advantageous location. According to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which is considered by many to be the governing body of the sport of golf, players must always play the course as it is found. Finally, doing what is fair and adhering to specific etiquette guidelines is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all golfers.
Golf is generally identified as quite an expensive sport. This is due not only to high fees associated with accessing golf courses and driving ranges, but also with the purchase of clubs, shoes, balls, and other pieces of equipment. Beginning golfers will require at least a wood, which is used to move the ball from the tee to the fairway, a iron, which can be used for a variety of shots—including moving the ball from the fairway to the green, a putter, which is used to shoot the ball into the hole once it already on the green, golf balls, and tees. Traditionally, standard sets of golf clubs include between three and four woods, up to nine irons, and at least one putter. More advanced players may require a sand wedge, which is beneficial when removing balls from sand traps, a golf bag to hold the clubs and other pieces of equipment, specialty shoes and gloves.
As with other sports, golf is characterized by a number of professional championships. Some of the most common of these include the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship. While these events limit participation to men, a number of women’s professional championships are also in existence. These include the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA Championship, the U.S. Women’s Open, and the Women’s British Open. In 2013, the Evian, an event designed specifically for women, is scheduled to start.