Golf is an outdoor game .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.
The Golf Course :
A golf course is divided into 18 sections, called holes. The standard course is about 6,500 to 7,000 yd (5,900 to 6,400 m) long, and individual holes may vary in length from 100 to 600 yd (90 to 550 m). Each hole begins at a tee and ends at a cup, or hole, which is 4.2 in (10.8 cm) in diameter and embedded in the ground. The ball must be propelled into the cup in order to complete a hole.
From the tee each player tries to drive the ball onto the fairway, a carefully tended strip of land with rough areas of long grass, bushes, or trees on either side. Artificial hazards also may be constructed, including sand-filled bunkers, also known as traps, and water hazards such as ditches and ponds. At the end of the fairway opposite the tee is the putting green, a smooth area of closely cropped grass surrounding the cup. It is designed to allow the ball to move easily after it has been given a gentle stroke known as a putt.
Golf Strokes and Golf Clubs :

In addition to the putt, the two main types of shots are the drive, which is a long shot from the tee, and the approach shot, which is the shot used to hit the ball onto the green. Different shots 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 is divided into those known as woods, with heads made of wood or metal, and those known as irons, with heads made of steel. The shafts of all clubs are made of metal or fibreglass. The woods are customarily numbered 1 to 5, the irons 1 to 9. Other specialized clubs include the sand wedge and the pitching wedge. The woods and the so-called long irons (those with low numbers) are used for making drives and distance shots, and the other irons are used for approach shots to the green. The putter normally is used only on the green or the fringe of the green.
Forms of Competition :

Two basic forms of competition exist in golf: match play and medal, or stroke, play. In match play the player taking the fewest strokes to sink the ball into the cup wins that hole. The contest is won by the player or team winning the most holes. In medal play, the more popular kind of play in major tournaments, the winner of the contest is the team or player taking the fewest strokes over the total number of holes.
The term "par" refers to the number of properly played strokes an expert golfer would be expected to use in completing a particular hole. Par generally ranges from three to five strokes. The aggregate for all of the holes is called par for the course. On a shorter hole a player occasionally makes a hole in one-that is, drives the ball from the tee into the cup in one stroke-although this is rare. A score of one less than par is called a birdie; two less than par is called an eagle; three less is called a double eagle. One stroke over par is called a bogey; two over par is a double bogey.
Background :
It has been well established that golf was devised in the 14th or 15th century in Scotland, where it became very popular. In the 18th century the first golf associations were established, including the St Andrews Society of Golfers (1754), now known as the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. The popularity of the game in the United States and Great Britain reached great heights by the 1920s and steadily increased over the years. Golf is also popular in many other parts of the world.
Governing Bodies and Tournaments :
The organizations that establish golf rules are the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and the United States Golf Association (USGA). The Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) was organized in 1916, and each year several hundred professional players tour the country competing in major tournaments. The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) also has several hundred tournament players. Major professional tournaments for men include the Masters, the US Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship, which collectively form the grand slam of golf. For women, the grand slam consists of the LPGA Championship, the US Women's Open, the du Maurier Classic, and the Dinah Shore.


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