The Sport of Golf
Golf is an outdoor game in which players use specially designed clubs to propel a small, hard ball over a field of play known as a course or links. The object of the game is to advance the ball around the course using as few strokes as possible. Golf is a very popular sport throughout the world.
The Golf Course
A golf course is divided into 18 sections, called holes. The standard course is about 5,900 to 6,400 m (about 6,500 to 7,000 yd); the individual holes may vary in length from 90 to 550 m (from 100 to 600 yd). Each hole has at one end a starting point known as a tee and, embedded in the ground at the other end, marked by a flag, a cup or cylindrical container (also called a hole) into which the ball must be propelled in order to complete play at each hole. The cup is usually made of metal or plastic, 10.8 cm (4.2 in) in diameter, and at least 10 cm (4 in) deep.
Play begins at the first tee, a level area of turf, generally raised slightly above the surrounding terrain. From here each player tries to drive the ball on to the fairway or main part of the golf course, a carefully tended strip of land, 27 to 90 m (30 to 100 yd) wide, on which the grass has been cut to provide a good playing surface for the ball.
On either side of the fairway is the rough, which consists of areas covered with long grass, bushes, or trees, and which sometimes contains sandy, rough, or marshy land that compel golfers to use additional skill and judgment in playing their shots. In the absence of such natural obstacles, artificial hazards may be constructed. Among these are bunkers, also known as traps, which are hollows dug in the earth and usually filled with loose sand; mounds and other earthen embankments; and water hazards, such as ditches, streams, ponds, or lakes.
At the far end of the fairway from the tee is the putting green, an area of closely cropped grass surrounding the hole or cup. The smooth surface of the putting green is designed to facilitate the progress of the ball into the cup after the ball has been given a tap or gentle stroke known as a putt.
Golf Strokes and Golf Clubs
In addition to the putt, the specialized stroke used on the green, two main types of shots are used in playing each hole: the drive, which is a long shot from the tee on to the fairway; and the approach shot to the green. Both types demand great accuracy. Shots of various lengths are played with different clubs, according to the distance to be covered and the lie (position) of the ball.
A standard set of 14 golf clubs (the maximum that may be carried in tournament play) is divided into two main types: those known as woods, with heads made of wood or metal; and those known as irons, with heads made of forged steel, usually chromium plated. The shafts of both types usually are made of metal and sometimes of fibreglass. Formerly, each club was known by a distinctive name, but today most are designated by numbers. The woods are customarily...