club-and-ball sport

Golf is a game played in an open field where the golfer plays his golf ball into a hole by using different types of clubs (golf instruments). The book Rules of Golf reads "The Game of Golf consists in playing a ball from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules."

A golf ball next to the hole

Play of the game


In golf, a golfer plays a number of holes in a given order. 18 holes played in an order controlled by the golf course design, normally make up a game. On a nine-hole course, two nine-hole rounds make up a normal game. Each hole starts from the teeing area. Golfers put the ball on a small stand called a tee and swing a club at it to try and hit it as straight and far as possible. Once each golfer in the group has done this, the person whose ball landed farthest from the hole hits his again, followed by everyone else, one person at a time, until everyone is on the green. The green is the area near the hole where the grass is cut very short. Once on the green the players will try to "putt" the ball into the hole. Putting is similar to a regular swing except it is not as hard and the player does not want the ball to go in the air. Once each player has put their ball into the hole, the group moves on to the next hole.

Each time a player swings at his ball, it is considered a "stroke". Each hole is a certain number of strokes that golfers are expected to need to get their ball into the hole. This is known as the "par". If a player gets his ball in the hole in less than the par he gets a "birdie". If it takes him one more shot then the par it is known as a bogey. Most holes have a par between 3 and 5.

The two common forms of playing golf are match play and stroke play. In match play, two golfers (or two teams) play holes one at a time. The golfer with the lower number of strokes (number of times the golfer used to get his ball in the hole) wins that hole. If the two have the same number of strokes, the hole is "halved" (drawn). The golfer that has the greatest number of holes wins. In stroke play, the golfer (or team) with the smallest number of strokes all together wins. There are different forms of these rules, some given in the "Rules of Golf" making them "official".

A golfer using a putter on a green to hit the ball into the hole.
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The four different types of clubs used in golf are woods, irons, putters and wedges. Woods are used to hit the ball very far, usually off the tee (but also on the fairway and a lay-up in Par 5s.). The name of woods is different every number, for example, No.1 wood is called "driver" it is the farthest in all the clubs you have, No.2 is "brassey", No.3 is "spoon" and so on. There are many types of irons, which can be used to hit varying distances. They are numbered 1-9 with a 1 iron hitting the ball farthest than shorter every club to a 9 iron. The 1 iron is no longer common in the game. Even the 2 iron is getting uncommon. Pitching wedge, 52 degrees and 58 degrees are the most common wedges to use. They are the most common used in around the greens for chipping. Putters are used when on the green. The rules do not let the golfer use over 14 clubs in a game.

The Majors


Golfers call the four (or five) biggest tournaments in professional golf "majors", and they play them at nearly the same time every year. The four majors are:

  1. The Masters
  2. U.S. Open
  3. The Open Championship (British Open)
  4. PGA Championship
  1. Kraft Nabisco Championship
  2. LPGA Championship
  3. U.S. Women's Open
  4. Women's British Open
  5. The Evian

In 2013, women's golf added the fifth major. The Evian Masters, held in France.

Vincent Clark won the first ever open championship which was held in St Andrews in 1860.


  • Adams, Mike; Tomasi, T. J. "Play better golf". London: Carlton, 1996.
  • Minton, Roland. "Golf by the numbers: How stats, math, and physics affect your game". Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012.

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