Following article is for the benefit of those people who may not have been exposed to the game of golf, yet interested to have a basic understanding of the game so that they can enjoy reading newspaper articles, books on the game, results of various championships and of great players in the history of golf.

I will not claim to be an expert on the subject of golf nor would I claim to be a very good golfer but having played the game for the past 40 years I feel that I am sufficiently qualified to jot down a few notes for the benefit of others who are, possibly, interested to know more about the the game of golf.

Golf is essentially an individual sport but team events have erupted over the years of which Ryder Cup which is been played every two years between the U S A and Europe is, by far, the most popular golf team event in the world. International events such as one country playing against  another are not as popular as in other sports.

Golf has two main governing bodies responsible for the rules of golf. R&A rules Limited based at St Andrews in Scotland and the United States Golf Association. These two establishments discuss and agree on all rules prior to publication so that every rule is uniform throughout the world.

Golf terminology is somewhat unique and has been developed over a many number of years. Some of these terms are used by golfers when ever they play a round of golf. Following terms and explanations are for the benefit if the reader.

GOLF COURSE:  This is an area where the game is played. A full size golf course should have 18 holes of varying lengths.
TEEING GROUND: This area is where a player plays his first shot on any particular hole. Player may place the ball on a tee peg for his first shot. Once the player makes a stroke at the ball he/she is deemed to have put the ball into play even if he/she misses the ball altogether and will count as one stroke. His/Her next shot whether from the same spot or from elsewhere will count as the 2nd stroke.
CLUBS:  These are the sticks with which a player strike the ball. The heads ( striking area) are made of either metal or wood with varying lofts to control the flight of the ball and the distance. A player may carry a maximum of 14 clubs in his bag during a round of golf.
BALL:  Weighs 1.620 ounces and 1.680 inches in diameter.
THE GREEN: Is a very closely- mown area where the flag is situated in the hole. To complete any one hole the player must put the ball into the hole with a club.
THE PUTTER: is a flat faced club usually used once a players ball has reached the green.
THE FAIRWAY: is a closely-mown area between the Teeing Ground and the Green.
BUNKER: is a hole in the ground, usually man made but not necessarily, filled with sand. A player is not permitted to ground his club in a bunker before a stroke is made.
WATER HAZARDS:  These areas may or may not contain water but they are clearly marked areas where a ball may be lost or may not be easily recoverable. Player is not permitted to ground the club in a water hazard. There are rules applicable to take relief from a water hazard whether the ball is found or not.
PAR:  is the number or strokes a very good player is expected take to complete any one hole. A par 3 hole is usually less than 240 yards in length it can be longer. A par 4 is longer and a par 5 is even longer all depends on the course design and the contours of the course. Par for the course is the total number of pars for all 18 holes.
STROKE INDEX:  is based on the difficulty of any particular hole. The most difficult hole on the course is Stroke Index 1 and the easiest hole
will be Stroke Index 18 and the others in between are given a Stroke Index depending on the element of difficulty.
SCORE CARD:  will have the holes numbered 1 to 18  giving the lengths of each hole, par for the hole and the stroke index and a space to write the players score.
STROKE PLAY: total number of strokes taken by a player to complete all 18 holes and the winner is the one who completes the course in the least number of strokes.

More about other forms of play will be published in future articles.

S. Kasturiratne

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