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Golf is:

Golf is a game believed to have been first played in Scotland, where each player has to hit his own small ball into a hole using various types of clubs. The club is swung at the motionless ball on the ground from a side-stance. Score is kept (a count of the number of strokes required) with the smallest score being the best.

A round of golf typically consists of 18 holes. Par is the number of strokes that an expert golfer needs to put the ball in any given hole, and is usually around 72 for the 18 holes. A hole has a teeing area, a fairway with a rough sideways and a green (a closely mown area around the hole). There are hazards to play over or around (sand traps called bunkers, water, etc.) Distances from the teeing ground to the hole vary, but typical values for a par three range from 130 to 230 yards (120-210 m), a par four from 300 to 475 yards (275-435 m), and a par five from 450 to 600 yards (410-550 m). The expert golfer will reach the green in two strokes less than par and then use those two strokes on the green to get the ball into the hole.

Hole In One
The first stroke sends a ball into the hole.
Double Eagle (AKA Albatros)
Three stokes less than par.
Two strokes less than par.
One stroke less than par.
One stroke more than par.
Double Bogey
Two strokes more than par.

Table of contents


There are three major types of clubs, known as woods, irons, and putters. A golfer usually carries a couple of woods, perhaps 10 irons, and a putter. The rules forbid the golfer to carry more than 14 clubs during the game. The parts of a club are the shaft and the head. The shaft is a tapered tube made of metal or fiberglass or graphite. The shaft is roughly 1/2 inch in diameter (12 mm) and they range from about 35 to 45 inches (89-115 cm) in length depending on the club. The head is the part that hits the ball. Each head has a face which contacts the ball during the stroke. Various clubs are designed with the face having differing "loft", the angle the face makes with the ground when the club is at rest. Typically, the greater the loft, the higher and shorter the resulting shot. The end of the shaft opposite the head is covered with a rubber or leather grip for the player to hold. A complete club weighs about 14 ounces. The clubs are numbered for identification with the smallest numbered clubs used to hit the ball the longest distances.

Woods are long clubs (about 40-45 inches or 100-115 cm) with large heads that are somewhat spherical in shape with a flattened face that contacts the ball and a flattened bottom that slides over the ground without digging in during the stroke. Originally the "wood" heads were made of wood but modern club heads are made of hollow metal, sometimes filled with foam. The shaft enters the wood off-center, in such a way that the face of the wood is roughly at a right angle to one side of the shaft. Woods are used for the longest shots, ranging from 200 to 300 yards (180-275 m). The typical loft for wood faces ranges from 6 to 26 degrees.

Irons are used for shorter shots than woods, especially including shots approaching the greens. Irons typically range from 36 to 40 inches (90-100 cm) in length. The iron heads are shaped like the face of a wood but without the rounded backs. They look more like a flat piece of metal sticking out sideways from the shaft. The typical lofts for irons range from 16 to 60 degrees.

Traditionally, most metal golf club heads were made by forging, which involves the carefull shaping of the club head through hammering and pressing of heated steel. Today, most modern golf club heads are cast, that is, molten metal is poured into inticate molds and allowed to cool. Forged clubs are still prized for feel while cast clubs often have modern game improvement characterists.

Putters resemble irons except that they are even shorter and have very low loft. They are used to roll the ball on the green when attempting to get the ball into the hole.


Golf is usually regarded to be a Scottish invention, as the game was mentioned in two 15th century laws prohibiting the playing of the game of "golf". Some scholars however suggest that this refers to another game which is actually much akin to the modern field hockey. The same scholars also point out that a game of putting a small ball in a hole in the ground played with "golf clubs" was played in the 17th century Netherlands.

What we think of as the modern game really came into being in the second half of the 19th century in Scotland. The basic rules of the game and the design of equipment and courses strongly resemble those of today. The major changes in equipment since then were better mowers, especially for the greens, better golf ball designs using rubber and man-made materials beginning around 1900 and the introduction of the metal shaft beginning in the 1930s. In the 1970s the use of metal to replace wood heads began, and shafts made of graphite composite materials were introduced in the 1980s. The major results of the equipment changes is that today's players can hit the ball much further and more accurately.


One consequence of the spread of golf worldwide, and the availability of more high-tech equipment to drive balls further, is that golf courses have tended to become larger. Also, many pesticides and lawn grooming aids, foreign grasses, and even in some cases genetically modified grasses, are used on golf courses.

The popularity of golf in such crowded countries as Japan and Korea has led in some cases to eviction or murder of farmers (e.g. in the Philippines) to gain access to lands they didn't wish to sell, and damage to the local agricultural economy due to pesticides, which are poorly regulated in developing nations.

Finally, most golf courses are on land that used to be forests, as opposed to the moors of Scotland or grassy hills of Ireland. This leads to charges that golf courses contribute to deforestation.

Although golf is a relatively minor issue compared to other land ethics[?] questions, it has symbolic importance as it is a game normally associated with the wealthier Westernized population, and the culture of colonialist invaders. Resisting golf tourism[?] and golf's expansion has become an objective of some land reform movements, especially in the Philippines and Indonesia.

External links See also: golfers, disc golf, Ryder cup

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