where was golf invented


Golfer swing.jpg

After striking a tee shot, a golfer is in the finishing position.

Highestgoverning body The R&A
First played 15th century, Kingdom of Scotland
Contact No
Type Outdoor
Equipment Ball,clubs,tee
Glossary Glossary of golf
Olympic 1900,1904,2016,[1]2020[2]

Golfis a club-and-ballsportin which players use variousclubsto hitballsinto a series of holes on acoursein as few strokes as possible.

Golf, unlike mostball games, cannot and does not use a standardized playing area, and coping with the varied terrains encountered on different courses is a key part of the game. Courses are normally either 18 or 9 weeks long.holes, regions of terrain that each contain acup, the hole into which the ball is inserted. Each hole on a course contains ateeing groundto start from, and aputting greenThe cup is contained inside. There are several standard forms of terrain between the tee and the green, such as the fairway, rough (tall grass), and varioushazardssuch as water, rocks, or sand-filledbunkersEach hole on a course is distinct in its design.

Golf is played to see who can make the fewest number of strokes.stroke play, or a person’s or team’s lowest score on the most individual holes in a whole round, known asmatch play. Stroke play is the most commonly seen format at all levels, especially at the elite level.

The modern game of golforiginated in 15th century Scotland. The 18-hole round was created at theOld CourseatSt Andrewsin 1764. Golf’s firstmajor, as well as the world’s oldest competition, isThe Open Championship, popularly known as the British Open, was originally contested at the in 1860.Prestwick Golf Clubin Ayrshire, Scotland. This is one of the fourmajor championshipsThe other three are played in the United States in men’s professional golf:The Masters, theU.S. Open, and thePGA Championship.

Origin and history

While the current game of golf began in the 15th century,ScotlandThe game’s ancient beginnings are unknown and much discussed.

Some historians[3]trace the sport back to the Roman game ofpaganica, in which players whack a filled leather ball with a bent stick. One theory asserts that paganica spread throughout Europe as the Romans conquered most of the continent, during the first century BC, and eventually evolved into the modern game.[4]

Others citechuiwan(; “chui” means “to strike,” and “wan” means “little ball.”)[5]as the progenitor, aChineseBetween the seventh and fifteenth centuries, a game was played.[6]AMing Dynasty“The Autumn Banquet,” a 1368 scroll by Youqiu, depicts a member of the Chinese Imperial court hitting what seems to be a golf club towards a little ball with the intent of sinking it into a hole.[5]The game is said to have originated in Europe during the Middle Ages.[7]

Another early game similar to contemporary golf was named ascambucain England and chambot in France.[7]The Persian gamechowkanis another probable old origin, albeit it is more recent.polo-like. In addition,kolvenBeginning in 1297, an annual game featuring a ball and bent bats was performed in Loenen, Netherlands, to honor the apprehension of the murderer ofFloris V, a year earlier.

The modern gameoriginated in Scotland, where the first written record of golf isJames II‘s prohibition on the game in 1457, seeing it as an unwanted diversion from studying archery.[8]James IVabolished the restriction in 1502 when he became a golfer himself, with golf clubs first mentioned in 1503-1504: “For golf clubbes and balles to the King that he playit with”.[9]To many golfers, theOld CourseatSt Andrews, alinks courseIt is a pilgrimage place that dates back to before 1574.[10]St Andrews’ conventional 18-hole golf course was founded in 1764 when members changed the course from 22 to 18 holes.[11]Golf is documented as being played onMusselburgh Links, East Lothian, Scotland on March 2, 1672, which is recognized as the world’s oldest golf course byGuinness World Records.[12][13]The oldest survivingrules of golfwere created in March 1744 for the Company of Gentlemen Golfers, afterwards called the Company of Golfers.The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which was played atLeith, Scotland.[14]The oldest golf event in existence, as well as golf’s first major, is the Masters.The Open Championship, which debuted on October 17, 1860, at Prestwick Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland, withScottish golfers winning the earliest majors.[15]Two Scotsmen fromDunfermlineIn 1888, John Reid and Robert Lockhart showed golf in the United States by establishing a hole in an orchard, and the following year, Reid established America’s first golf club.Saint Andrew’s Golf Clubin Yonkers, New York.[16]

Golf course

A golf course is made up of 9 or 18 holes, each with its own unique challenge.teeing groundor “tee box” delineated by two markers indicating the permissible tee area,fairway,roughand otherhazards, and theputting greenThe pin (often a flagstick) and cup are encircled with fringe.

The grass levels are altered to add difficulty or, in the case of the green, to enable for putting. While many holes are designed with a direct line-of-sight from the teeing area to the green, some holes may bend either to the left or to the right. This is usually referred to as a “dogleg,” after the knee of a dog. The hole is termed a “dogleg left” if it angles left and a “dogleg right” if it angles right. A “double dogleg” occurs when the direction of a hole bends twice.

A typical golf course has 18 holes, however nine-hole courses are frequent and may be played twice for a complete round of 18.[17][18]

Early Scottish golf courses were primarily laid out on links land, soil-covered sand dunes directly inland from beaches. The term “links” comes from the Scots language and the Old English word “links.”hlinc(“rising ground, ridge”): generally coastal sand dunes, but also open parkland.[19]This gave birth to the name “golf links,” which was used to describe both seashore and inland courses constructed on naturally sandy terrain.[20]

In the United States, the first 18-hole golf course was built on a sheep farm.Downers Grove, Illinois, in 1892. The course is still there today.[21]

Play of the game

1 means teeing ground, 2 means water hazard, 3 means rough, 4 means out of limits, and 5 meanssand bunker6 denotes a water hazard, 7 a fairway, 8 a putting green, 9 a flagstick, and 10 a hole.

Every round of golf consists of completing a certain number of holes in a specific sequence. A “round” is normally comprised of 18 holes played in the sequence specified by the course layout. On a regular 18-hole course, each hole is played once throughout the round. The game may be played by any number of individuals, however a normal group would consist of 1-4 persons. The typical amount of time required for pace of play is two hours for a 9-hole round and four hours for an 18-hole round.

A hole on a golf course is started by placing a ball in play by hitting it with a club on the green.teeing ground(often known as the tee box or just the tee). For this first shot on each hole, it is allowed but not required for the golfer to place the ball on ateebefore hitting it. A tee is a tiny peg that may be used to raise the ball a few millimetres above the ground. Tees are often made of wood, although they may be made of any material, including plastic. Traditionally, golfers utilized sand mounds to elevate the ball, and sand containers were given for this purpose. To avoid trash and damage to the teeing area, a few courses still require sand to be used instead of peg tees. Tees eliminate the interference of the ground or grass on the movement of the club, making the ball simpler to hit, and they also position the ball in the exact center of the striking face of the club (the “sweet spot”) for more distance.

When the first shot on a hole is meant to move the ball a great distance, often more than 225 yards (210 m), the shot is referred to as a “drive” and is normally made with a long-shafted, large-headed club.woodA “driver” is a club. Shorter holes may be initiated with other clubs, such as higher-numbered woods orirons. Once the ball comes to rest, the golfer strikes it again as many times as necessary using shots that are variously known as a “lay-up”, an “approach”, a “pitch”, or a “chip“, until the ball hits the green, at which point the golfer “putts” put the ball in the hole (commonly called “sinking the putt” or “holing out”). The goal of getting the ball into the hole (“holing” the ball) in as few strokes as possible may be impeded by obstacles such as areas of longer grass called “rough” (usually found alongside fairways), which both slows any ball that contacts it and makes it harder to advance a ball that has stopped on it; “doglegs”, which are changes in the direction of the fairway that often require shorter shots to play around them;bunkers(or sand traps); andwater hazardssuch as ponds or streams.[17]

In stroke play competitions played according tostrict rulesEach player plays their ball until it is holed, regardless of how many strokes it takes. It is legal in match play to simply pick up one’s ball and “surrender the hole” if a player has made enough strokes that it is mathematically impossible for the player to win the hole. In informal stroke play, it is also acceptable to surrender the hole after hitting three strokes more than the hole’s “par” rating (a “triple bogey” – see below); while technically a violation of Rule 3-2, this practice speeds play as a courtesy to others and avoids “runaway scores” and excessive frustration.

The total distance from the first teeing ground to the 18th green can be quite long; total yardages “through the green” can be in excess of 7,000 yards (6.4 km), and when adding in the travel distance between the green of one hole and the tee of the next, even skilled players may easily travel five miles (8 km) or more during a round. Electricity is available on certain cartsare used to move between shots, which may speed up play and enable players who are unable to walk a full round to participate. Players on other courses walk the course, either carrying their bag on a shoulder strap or utilizing a “golf cart” for their bag. These carts may or may not be powered by batteries. At many amateur tournaments including U.S. high school and college play, players are required to walk and to carry their own bags, but at the professional and top amateur level, as well as at high-level private clubs, players may be accompanied bycaddies, who carry and handle the players’ equipment and are permitted by the regulations to provide guidance on course performance.[22]

Rules and regulations

Golf regulations are globally standardized and jointly overseen byThe R&A, spun off in 2004 fromThe Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews(founded 1754), and theUnited States Golf Association(USGA).[23][24]The USGA and R&A completed a comprehensive rewriting of the regulations in 2017 with the goal of simplifying them.[25]In January 2019, the revised rule book went into force.[26]

The underlying principle of the rules is fairness. According to the official rule book’s back cover:

Play the ball as it lays, the course as it is, and if you can’t do either, do what’s fair.

Golfers’ amateur status is subject to stringent rules.[27]Anyone who has ever accepted payment or remuneration for providing lessons or played golf for money is not regarded an amateur and may not compete in amateur-only championships. However, amateur golfers may receive expenses that comply with strict guidelines and they may accept non-cash prizes within the limits established by the Rules of Amateur Status.

In addition to the officially established regulations, golfers follow a set of standards known as thegolf etiquetteEtiquette rules encompass topics such as safety, fairness, tempo of play, and a player’s need to pay to the course’s upkeep. Though there are no penalties for breach of etiquette rules, players generally follow the rules of golf etiquette in an effort to improve everyone’s playing experience.


Penalty strokes are awarded in specific circumstances and are added to a player’s score as though they took an additional swing at the ball. Either one or two strokes are added for most rule infractions or for taking relief from various situations, with the “general penalty” defined as two-strokes, and disqualification for severe or repeated rule breaches. Here are several examples:

  • A lost ball or a ball struck out of bounds (OB) results in a one-stroke and distance penalty (Rule 18.2).
  • A one-stroke penalty is issued whenever a player causes their ball to move, with the exception of specified instances (Rule 9.4).
  • If a player chooses to seek relief when their ball comes to rest inside a red or yellow penalty area (Rule 17), or from an unplayable lie, a one-stroke penalty is applied (Rule 19).
  • Making a stroke at the incorrect ball results in a two-stroke penalty (Rule 6.3c).
  • If both balls lie on the green previous to the stroke, a two-stroke penalty is imposed for striking a fellow player’s ball (Rule 11.1a).
  • Cheating, signing for a lesser score, or failing to follow one or more regulations that lead to illegal play may all result in disqualification.[28]


Golf clubsare used to hit thegolf ball. Each club is made up of a shaft with a lance (or “grip”) at one end and a club head at the other. Long clubs have a lesser degree of loft and are designed to push the ball a greater distance, while short clubs have a higher degree of loft and a greater distance. The physical length of each club varies depending on the distance the club is meant to push the ball.

Golf clubs are typically classified into three kinds.Woodsare large-headed, long-shafted clubs meant to propel the ball a long distance from relatively “open” lies, such as the teeing ground and fairway. The is very significant.driveror “1-wood,” which is the lowest lofted wood club and has become highly specialized in contemporary times for producing extraordinarily long-distance tee shots, up to 300 yards (270 m) or more in the hands of a professional golfer. Traditionally, the heads of these clubs were composed of hardwood, thus the name, but almost all current woods are now made of metal, such as titanium, or composite materials.Ironsare shorter-shafted clubs with a metal head that has a flat, angled hitting face. The clubhead was traditionally forged from iron; current iron clubheads are investment-cast from a steel alloy. Irons of varying loft are used for a variety of shots from virtually anywhere on the course, but most often for shorter-distance shots approaching the green, or to get the ball out of tricky lies such as sand traps. The third category is theputter, which evolved from the irons to create a low-lofted, balanced club designed to roll the ball along the green and into the hole. Putters are almost often used on the green or in the rough/fringe around it. A fourth class, known ashybrids, which emerged as a hybrid of woods and irons, are often seen replacing low-lofted irons with a club that gives comparable distance but with a higher launch angle and a more forgiving character.

A maximum of 14 clubs is allowed in a player’s bag at one time during a stipulated round. The choice of clubs is at the golfer’s discretion, although every club must be constructed in accordance with parameters outlined in the rules. (Clubs that satisfy these criteria are sometimes referred to as “compliant.”) Failure to follow these regulations may result in disqualification.

The specific shot taken at any given moment on a golf course, as well as which club is used to achieve the stroke, are entirely at the discretion of the player; in other words, there are no restrictions on which club a golfer may or may not use at any time for any shot.

Golf ballsare spherical, generally white (though other colors are permitted), and minutely pock-marked with dimples that minimize aerodynamic drag by generating air turbulence surrounding the ball in motion, delaying “boundary layer” separation and reducing drag-inducing “wake” behind the ball
thereby allowing the ball to fly farther.[29]A soft “border layer” combined with a firm “core” allows for both distance and spin.

Ateeis only permitted for the first stroke on each course, unless the golfer is required to shoot a provisional tee shot or repeat their first shot from the tee.

Many golfers weargolf shoesfeatures metal or plastic spikes meant to improve traction, enabling for longer and more precise shots.

Agolf bagis used to carry golf clubs as well as other or personal items of the golfer. Golf bags include several compartments for transporting equipment and supplies including tees, balls, and gloves. Golf bags may be carried, towed on a trolley, or attached to a motorized cartwhile play. Golf bags usually have both a hand strap and shoulder strap for carrying, others may be carried over both shoulders like a backpack, and often bags have retractable legs that allow the bag to stand upright when at rest.

Stroke mechanics

A golfer takes an approach shot on the fairway.

Outwardly, the golf swing resembles many other actions that involve swinging a tool or playing object, such as an axe or a baseball bat. Unlike many of these movements, however, the swing’s outcome is largely reliant on multiple sub-motions being appropriately aligned and timed. These guarantee that the club goes up to the ball in the proper route, that the clubface is in the swing path, and that the ball lands in the center or “sweet spot” of the clubface. The ability to do this consistently over a full set of clubs with a broad variety of shaft lengths and clubface regions is a critical talent for any golfer to master, and it requires a lot of practice.


Stance refers to how the golfer positions themselves in order to play a stroke; it is fundamentally important in being able to play a stroke effectively. The posture is dictated by the stroke being played. Every posture has a small stoop. This enables a more effective striking position while alsoisometrically preloadingLeg and core muscles are strengthened, allowing the stroke to be played more dynamically and with more overall control. Golfers take their stance with their non-dominant side of the body towards the target (for a right-hander, the target is to their left). When the player’s torso and the centerline of the club face are parallel to the intended line of flight, with the feet either perpendicular to that line or slightly spread outward, this is known as being at address. For middle irons and putters, the feet are typically shoulder-width apart, narrower for short irons, and broader for long irons and woods. For lower-lofted clubs, the ball is often positioned nearer to the “front” of the player’s stance (closer to the leading foot), with the normal ball position for a drive being directly below the arch of the leading foot. As the loft of the club being used rises, the ball is moved farther “back” in the player’s stance (toward the following foot). Most iron shots and putts are made with the ball roughly centered in the stance, while a few mid- and short-iron shots are made with the ball slightly behind the centre of the stance to ensure consistent contact between the ball and clubface, so the ball is on its way before the club continues down into the turf.


The golfer selects the proper golf club, grip, and stroke for the distance:

  • The “drive” or “full swing” is used on the teeing ground and fairway to create the most distance possible with the club, often with a wood or long iron. In severe cases, the windup might conclude with the club shaft parallel to the ground over the player’s shoulders.
  • The “approach” or “3/4 swing” is used in medium- and long-distance situations where an exact distance and good accuracy is preferable to maximum possible distance, such as to place the ball on the green or “lay up” in front of a hazard. The windup or “backswing” of such a shot usually results in the club shaft pointing straight up or slightly towards the golfer.
  • The “chip” or “half-swing” is used for relatively short-distance shots near the green, with high-lofted irons and wedges. The goal of the chip is to land the ball safely on the green, allowing it to roll out towards the hole. It may also be utilized from other locations to correctly position the ball into a better lay. The backswing usually finishes with the club head between hip and head height.
  • The “putt” is used in short-distance shots on or near the green, typically made with the eponymous “putter”, although similar strokes can be made with medium to high-numbered irons to carry a short distance in the air and then roll (a “bump and run”). The backswing and follow-through of the putt are both shorter than in other strokes, with the club head seldom reaching beyond the knee. The goal of the putt is usually to put the ball in the hole, although a long-distance putt may be called a “lag” and is made with the primary intention of simply closing distance to the hole or otherwise placing the ball advantageously.

Having chosen a club and stroke to produce the desired distance, the player addresses the ball by taking their stance to the side of it and (except when the ball lies in a hazard) grounding the club behind the ball. The golfer then takes a backswing, turning the club, arms, and upper body away from the ball, before starting their swing, bringing the clubhead back down and around to strike the ball. A correct golf swing is a complicated series of actions, and little changes in posture or placement may have a significant impact on how effectively the ball is struck and how straight it travels. The general goal of a player making a full swing is to propel the clubhead as fast as possible while maintaining a single “plane” of motion of the club and clubhead, to send the clubhead into the ball along the desired path of travel and with the clubhead also pointing that direction.

Accuracy and consistency are often prioritized above sheer distance. A player with a straight drive that travels only 220 yards (200 m) will be able to accurately place the ball in a favorable lie on the fairway, and can compensate for the shorter distance of any given club by simply using “more club” (a lower loft) on their tee shot or subsequent fairway and approach shots. A golfer with a drive that can travel 280 yards (260 m) but frequently does not fly straight will be less able to position their ball advantageously; the ball may “hook,” “pull,” “draw,” “fade,” “push,” or “slice” off the intended line and land out of bounds, in the rough, or in hazards, requiring many more strokes to hole out.


A golf stroke uses the muscles of thecore(especiallyerector spinae musclesandlatissimus dorsi musclewhen turning),hamstring,shoulder, andwristStronger wrist muscles may keep them from twisting during swings, while stronger shoulders boost turning power. Weak wrists may also transfer stress to the elbows and possibly the neck, resulting in damage. (When a muscle contracts, it pulls equally from both ends and, to have movement at only one end of the muscle, other muscles must come into play to stabilize the bone to which the other end of the muscle is attached.) Golf is a unilateral activity that may disrupt body balance, necessitating muscle balance workouts.[30][31]

Types of putting

Putting is often regarded as the most crucial aspect of the game of golf. As the game of golf grew, several various putting methods and grips were developed to offer players the greatest chance of making putts. Golfers used to putt with their dominant hand on the bottom of the grip and their weak hand on top of the grip when the game first began. The term “conventional” refers to this grip and putting technique. There are many variations of conventional including overlap, where the golfer overlaps the off hand index finger onto off the dominant pinky; interlock, where the offhand index finger interlocks with the dominant pinky and ring finger; double or triple overlap and so on.[32]“Cross handed” putting has recently become popular among both professional and amateur golfers. The concept of cross handed putting is that the strong hand is on top of the grip and the weak hand is on the bottom. This grip limits your dominant hand’s mobility and avoids the chance of wrist breakdowns during the putting stroke.[33]

Other prominent putting methods include “the claw,” which has the grip squarely between the dominant hand’s thumb and index finger while the palm faces the goal.[34]The putter was generally held in the weak hand. Anchored putting, a style that requires a longer putter shaft that can be anchored into the player’s stomach or below the chin; the idea is to stabilize one end of the putter thus creating a more consistent pendulum stroke. Since 2016, this technique has been prohibited on professional circuits.[35]

Scoring and handicapping


A stone showing that this is a par-5 hole.

A hole is characterized by its par, which indicates how many strokes a good golfer is likely to need to accomplish the course.[17]The distance from the tee to the green is the key criteria in categorizing the par of a generally straight, hazard-free hole, and it estimates the number of strokes a good golfer is predicted to take to reach the green.greenwith an extra two putts. As such, the minimum par of any hole is 3; one stroke for the tee shot and two putts. Par 3, 4, and 5 holes are quite frequent on golf courses; par-6 and even par-7 holes are uncommon.

For men, a typical par-3 hole is less than 250 yards (230 m) in length, with a par-4 hole ranging between 251–450 yards (230–411 m), and a par-5 hole being longer than 450 yards (410 m); for women these boundaries are lower, and for professionals they are much increased. Rare par-6s may go beyond 650 yards (590 meters). These measurements are based on an average scratch golfer’s drive distance of 240 to 280 yards (220 to 260 m). Although length is the most important component in determining par, other criteria are considered; still, the number of strokes a scratch golfer should take to make the green remains the most important. The computation is influenced by height, terrain gradient from tee to green, and forced “lay-ups” as a result of dog-legs (sharp bends) or impediments (e.g. bunkers, water hazards).[36]

Making “green in regulation” or GIR refers to getting the ball onto the green in two strokes less than par and so fulfilling the par calculation criterion.[37]Missing a GIR does not necessarily mean a golfer will not make par, but it does make doing so more difficult as it reduces the number of putts available; conversely, making a GIR does not guarantee a par, as the player might require three or more putts to “hole out”. Professional golfers often hit 60% to 70% of their greens in regulation.[38]

Eighteen-hole courses typically total to an overall par score of 70 to 72 for a complete round; with most holes having a par of 4, and a smaller number of par-3 and par-5 holes. Furthermore, courses may be rated based on their play difficulty, which can be used to determine a golfer’s handicap.handicap.[39]The Course Rating, which is the expected score for a zero-handicap “scratch golfer,” and the Slope Rating, which is a measure of how much worse a “bogey golfer” (handicap around 20) would be expected to play than a “scratch golfer” relative to their handicap, are the two primary difficulty ratings in the United States.


Golf-themed decorativenest box“Birdies Welcome”

The idea is to play as few strokes as possible each round. A golfer’s number of strokes in a hole, course, or tournament is compared to its respective par score, and is then reported either as the number that the golfer was “under-” or “over-par”, or if it was “equal to par”. Ahole in one(or an “ace”) occurs when a golfer sinks their ball into the cup with their first stroke from the tee. There are also special phrases for common hole scores.[17]

Numeric term Name Definition
−4 Condor four strokes under par
−3 Albatross (Double eagle) three strokes under par
−2 Eagle two strokes under par
−1 Birdie one stroke under par
E Par equal to par
+1 Bogey one stroke over par
+2 Double bogey two strokes over par
+3 Triple bogey three strokes over par

In a typical professional tournament or among “scratch” amateur players, “birdie-bogey” play is common; a player will “lose” a stroke by bogeying a hole, then “gain” one by scoring a birdie. Eagles are scarce but not uncommon; nonetheless, just a few exist.18 players have scored an albatrossin a major men’s title. One of the rarest feats in golf is the condor, which has never occurred in a professional tournament. Only five condors have been verified to have ever occurred, although none of the courses involved were professionally accredited.[40]

Basic forms of golf

There are two basic forms of golf play, match play and stroke play. Stroke play is more common.

Match play

Each hole is played as a separate battle between two individuals (or two teams) in what is known asmatch play. The party with the lower score wins that hole, or if both players’ or teams’ scores are equal, the hole is “halved” (or tied). The side that wins more holes than the other wins the game. If one team or person takes a lead that cannot be overcome in the number of holes left, the match is declared won by the party in the lead, and the remaining holes are not played. For example, if one side has a six-hole lead and only five holes remain on the course, the match is declared finished and the winning party is judged to have won “6 & 5”. If the lead is equal to the number of remaining holes at any given point, the party leading the match is said to be “dormie,” and the match is continued until the party increases the lead by one hole or ties any of the remaining holes, thereby winning the match, or until the match ends in a tie with the lead player’s opponent winning all remaining holes. When the game is tied after a certain number of holes, it may be prolonged until one side has a one-hole advantage.[17]

Stroke play

The total score is calculated by adding the scores for each hole in the round or tournament, and the player with the lowest total score wins.stroke play. Stroke play is the most popular game among professional golfers. In a professional competition, if there is a tie after the required number of holes, a playoff is held amongst all tied players. Playoffs are either sudden death or a set number of holes, ranging from three to a full 18. A player who scores lower on a hole than all of their opponents wins the match in sudden death. If at least two players remain tied after such a playoff using a pre-determined number of holes, then play continues in sudden death format, where the first player to win a hole wins the tournament.

Other formats of play

There are many variations in scoring and playing formats in the game of golf, some officially defined in the Rules of Golf. The popular Stableford scoring system and different team forms are examples of variations. The following are some frequent and popular instances.

There are other variants on the standard beginning process, in which everyone starts at the first tee and plays all holes in sequence until the eighteenth. In large field tournaments, especially on professional tours, a two tee start is commonplace, where the field will be split between starting on the first tee and the tenth tee (sometimes the eighth or eleventh depending on proximity to the clubhouse).Shotgun startsare mostly employed in amateur tournaments or social play. In this variant, each of the groups playing starts their game on a different hole, allowing for all players to start and end their round at roughly the same time. For example, a group beginning on hole 5 will play through to the 18th hole before returning to hole 1 and concluding their round on hole 4.

Bogey or par competition

A bogey or par competition is a scoring system that is sometimes used in casual competitions. It is scored similarly to match play, except that each player compares their hole score to the par rating of the hole rather than the score of another player. The player “wins” the hole if they score a birdie or better, they “lose” the hole if they score a bogey or worse, and they “halve” the hole by scoring par. A player may shrug off a really poorly-played hole with a single “-” note and go on by recording simply this basic win-loss-halve score on the sheet. In contests, the individual or combination with the greatest win-loss difference wins.


TheStablefordThe system is a stroke play simplification that gives points depending on a player’s score relative to the hole’s par; the score for a hole is derived by taking the par score, adding 2, and then deducting the player’s hole score, with the result being zero if negative. A double bogey or worse is worth zero points, a bogey is worth one point, par is two, a birdie is three, an eagle is four, and so on. The advantages of this system over stroke play are a more natural “higher is better” scoring, the ability to compare Stableford scores between plays on courses with different total par scores (scoring an “even” in stroke play will always give a Stableford score of 36), discouraging the tendency to abandon the entire game after playing a particularly bad hole (a novice playing by strict rules may score as high as an 8 or 10 on a single difficult hole; their Stableford score for the hole would be zero, which puts them only two points behind par no matter how badly they played), and the ability to simply pick up one’s ball once it is impossible to score any points for the hole, which speeds play.

The USGA and R&A sanction a “Modified Stableford” system for scratch players, which makes par worth zero, a birdie worth 2, eagle 5 and double-eagle 8, while a bogey is a penalty of −1 and a double-bogey or worse −3. As with the original system, the highest score wins the game, and bad scores on one or two holes do not affect a player’s overall score, but this system rewards “bogey-birdie” play more than the original, encouraging golfers to try riskier birdie putts or eagle chipshots rather than simply parring each hole.[17]

Basic pairs formats

Junín Golf Club, inJunín, Argentina

  • Foursomes(also known as Alternate Shot): This is a pair game described in Rule 22, in which each team has just one ball and players alternate playing it. If players “A” and “B” form a team, “A” tees off on the first hole, “B” plays the second shot, “A” the third, and so on until the hole is completed. On the second hole, “B” will tee off (regardless of who played the final putt on the first hole), followed by “A,” and so on. Foursomes may be played in either match play or stroke play format.[41]
    • Greensomes (also known as Scotch Foursomes): also called modified alternate shot, this is played in pairs; both players tee off, and then pick the best shot. The second shot is taken by the player who did not make the greatest initial shot. The game then rotates like a foursome.[42]A variation of greensome is often played in which the opposing team picks which of their opponent’s tee shots to utilize.
  • Four-ballAs described in Rule 23, this is likewise played in pairs, but each player plays their own ball, and the lesser score on each hole counts for each team. Four-ball may be played as a match or stroke game.[43]

Team formats

  • Scramble: also known as ambrose or best-shot, each member of a team tees off on each hole, and the players vote on whose shot was the best. Every player then plays their second shot within a clublength of where the best shot came to rest (but no closer to the hole), and the process is repeated until the hole is completed. This system is very common at informal tournaments such as charity tournaments because it speeds play (due to the reduced number of shots taken from bad lies), allows teams of varying sizes to participate, and allows players of widely varying skill levels to participate without significantly affecting team score.[44]
  • Best-ball: similar to four-ball, each player plays the hole normally, but the lowest score of all the team members counts as the team’s score for the hole.[45]This format has various versions, each of which counts a different amount of scores on each hole.

Handicap systems

A handicap is a numerical representation of a golfer’s projected scoring ability over the course of 18 holes. It allows players with significantly disparate ability to compete against one another. Better players have the lowest handicaps, and anybody with a handicap of 0 or less is commonly considered to as a beginner.scratch golfer. Handicap systems varies across the globe and use various methodologies to evaluate courses and compute handicaps. To overcome the challenges in translating between different systems, the USGA and The R&A developed a new handicapping system in collaboration with the several current handicapping bodies.World Handicap Systemwhich was introduced globally starting in 2020.[46]

Golf courses are evaluated and ranked based on the average good score of a scratch golfer, taking into consideration a variety of elements influencing play such as length, obstacles, undulations, and so on. A player’s handicap indicates the amount of strokes above par.course ratingthat the golfer will make during a “average best” round of golf, i.e. scoring near or over their capability.[47]Lower handicap players are generally the most consistent, so can be expected to play to this standard or better more often than higher handicappers. Some handicap systems additionally account for scoring difficulty disparities between low and high handicap golfers. They do this by means of assessing and rating courses according to the average good score of a “bogey golfer”, a player with a handicap of around 20. This is used with the course rating to compute aslope rating, which is used to modify a golfer’s handicap in order to obtain aplaying handicapfor the course and set of tees being used.[48]

Handicap systems may be abused by players who purposely play poorly in order to raise their handicap (sandbagging) before demonstrating their abilities in a significant event with a large reward. For this reason, handicaps are not used in professional golf, but they can still be calculated and used along with other criteria to determine the relative strengths of various professional players. Touring pros, being the greatest of the best, have negative handicaps; they may be anticipated to score lower than the Course Rating on any course more frequently than not.


Part of a golf course in western India

An aerial view of a golf course in Italy

In 2005Golf DigestScotland, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Canada, Wales, the United States, Sweden, and England had the most golf courses per population, in that order (countries with fewer than 500,000 people were excluded).

The number of courses in different areas has grown, as seen by the development ofgolf in China. The first golf course in China opened in 1984, but by the end of 2009, there were roughly 600 in the country. For much of the 21st century, the development of new golf courses in China has been officially banned (with the exception of the island province ofHainan), yet the number of courses increased between 2004 and 2009; the “ban” was avoided with the government’s implicit agreement simply by not including golf in any expansion plans.[49]

Women made up 25% of golfers in the United States in 2021, up from 19% in 2011, while junior female golfers account for 35%, or 1.1 million golfers.[50]

The number of persons who play golf twenty-five times or more per year in the United States fell from 6.9 million in 2000 to 4.6 million in 2005.[51]according to theNational Golf Foundation. The NGF reported that the number who played golf at all decreased from 30 to 26 million over the same period.[51]

In February 1971,astronautAlan Shepardbecame the first person to golf anyplace other than the United StatesEarth. He sneaked a golf club and two golf balls into the plane.Apollo 14with the intent to golf on theMoon. He tried two drives. He shanked the first attempt, but it is estimated his second went more than 200 yards (180 m).[52]

Golf courses worldwide

As of 2019, the top 20 nations with the most golf courses are shown below.[53]

Country Number of courses %
USA 16,752 43%
Japan 3,169 8%
Canada 2,633 7%
England 2,270 6%
Australia 1,616 4%
Germany 1,050 3%
France 804 2%
South Korea 798 2%
Sweden 662 2%
Scotland 614 2%
China 599 1%
Spain 497 1%
Ireland 494 1%
South Africa 489 1%
New Zealand 418 1%
Argentina 349 1%
Denmark 346 1%
Netherlands 330 1%
Italy 321 1%
Thailand 315 1%
Rest of the world 4,338 11%
Total 38,864 100%

Professional golf

The majority ofprofessional golfersOnly participate in local events as club or teaching professionals (“pros”). A select group of professional golfers are known as “tournament professionals,” and they play on international “tours” full-time. Many club and instructional professionals in the golf business begin as members.caddiesAlternatively, if you have a general interest in the game, getting work atgolf coursesand finally obtaining certification in their chosen career. These programs include those offered by independent institutions and colleges, as well as those that lead to Class A golf professional certification. Touring pros often begin as amateurs and advance to “pro” status via performance in large events that earn them prize money and/or publicity from corporate sponsors.Jack NicklausFor example, finished second in the 1960s and earned great attention.U.S. Opento championArnold Palmer, with a score of 282 after 72 holes (the best score to date in that tournament by an amateur). He played one more amateur year in 1961, winning that year’sU.S. Amateur Championship, before turning pro in 1962.


Golf instruction is the process of teaching and learning the game of golf. Teaching golf lessons needs not just technical and physical aptitude, but also understanding of the game’s regulations and etiquette. Golf teaching is best provided in certain nations by instructors accredited by the Professional Golfers Association. Some of the best instructors who deal with professional golfers have become household names in their own way. Professional golf instructors can use physical conditioning, mental visualization, classroom sessions, club fitting, driving range instruction, on-course play under real conditions, and review of videotaped swings in slow motion to teach golf to prepare the golfer for the course.

Golf tours

There are at least twenty professional golf tours, each run by a Professional Golfers Association or an independent tour organization, which is responsible for arranging events, finding sponsors, and regulating the tour. Typically a tour has “members” who are entitled to compete in most of its events, and also invites non-members to compete in some of them. Membership on an elite circuit is very tough, and most professional golfers never make it.

Gary Playeris usually considered as one of the best golfers in history.

Perhaps the most widely known tour is thePGA TourOutside of the four Majors and four World Golf Championships, which tend to draw the strongest fields. This is due mostly to the fact that most PGA Tour events have a first prize of at least 800,000USD. TheEuropean Tour, which attracts a substantial number of top golfers from outside North America, ranks second to the PGA Tour in worldwide prestige. Some top players from outside North America compete in enough events to keep their PGA Tour and European Tour memberships. Since 2010, the same person has won both circuits’ money championships three times, withLuke Donalddoing so in 2011 andRory McIlroyin 2012 and 2014. In 2013,Henrik Stensonwon theFedEx CupDespite winning the PGA Tour points race and the European Tour money championship, he did not win the PGA Tour money title (that honor went toTiger Woods).

The other leading men’s tours include theJapan Golf Tour, theAsian Tour(Asia outside Japan), thePGA Tour of Australasia, and theSunshine Tour(Established in southern Africa, particularly in South Africa). The Japan, Australasian, Sunshine, PGA, and European Tours are the charter members of the trade body of the world’s main tours, the International Federation of PGA Tours, founded in 1996. In 1999, the Asian Tour was admitted as a full member. TheCanadian TourIn 2000, it became an associate member of the Federation, andTour de las Américas(Latin America) joined the Federation as an associate member in 2007. The Federation underwent a major expansion in 2009 that saw eleven new tours become full members – the Canadian Tour, Tour de las Américas, China Golf Association, the Korea Professional Golfers’ Association,Professional Golf Tour of India, as well as the organizers of the world’s six main women’s tours. In 2011, the Tour de las Américas was effectively taken over by the PGA Tour, and in 2012 was folded into the newPGA Tour Latinoamérica. Also in 2012, the Canadian Tour was renamedPGA Tour Canadawhen the PGA Tour decided to take it over. All men’s tours that are Federation members, except the India tour, offer points in theOfficial World Golf Ranking(OWGR) to participants who place high enough in their tournaments.

Golf is unusual in that it provides profitable competition for elder players. There are various senior tours for men aged fifty and over, the most well-known of which is the one centered in the United States.PGA Tour Champions.

There are six principal tours for women, each based in a different country or continent. The most prominent of them is the one headquartered in the United States.LPGA Tour. All of the principal tours offer points in theWomen’s World Golf Rankingsfor high finishers in their events.

All of the leading professional tours for under-50 players have an official developmental tour, in which the leading players at the end of the season will earn a tour card on the main tour for the following season. The following are some examples:Korn Ferry Tour, which feeds to the PGA Tour, and theChallenge Tour, which is the European Circuit’s developmental tour. The Korn Ferry and Challenge Tours also offer OWGR points.

Men’s major championships

The major championships are the four most prestigious men’s tournaments of the year. They are listed in chronological order:The Masters, theU.S. Open,The Open Championship(known as the British Open in North America) and thePGA Championship.[54]

The fields for these events include the top several dozen golfers from all over the world. The Masters has been held inAugusta National Golf ClubSince its start in 1934 in Augusta, Georgia. It is the only major championship that is played at the same course each year.[55]The US Open and PGA Championship are held on courses around the United States, whilst the Open Championship is held on courses in the United Kingdom.[56]

Prior to the introduction of the PGA Championship and The Masters, the four Majors were the United States Open, the United States Amateur, the Open Championship, and the Ryder Cup.British Amateur.

Women’s major championships

Lorena Ochoa, a former world number one female golfer, is seen here in 2007.

Women’s golf does not have a globally agreed set of majors. Majors recognized by the leading women’s circuit, theLPGA Tourin the U.S., has changed several times over the years, with the most recent changes occurring in 2001 and 2013. The (US) LPGA Tour, like the PGA Tour,[57]tour long had four majors, but now has five: theChevron Championship(formerly known as the ANA Inspiration, and most recently as the ANA Inspiration),Women’s PGA Championship(previously known as the LPGA Championship),[58]theU.S. Women’s Open, theWomen’s British Open(which replaced thedu Maurier Classicas a major in 2001) andThe Evian Championship(Added in 2013 as the sixth major). Only the last two are also recognised as majors by theLadies European Tour. However, the significance of this is limited, as the LPGA is far more dominant in women’s golf than the PGA Tour is in mainstream men’s golf. As an example, consider theBBChas been known to use the U.S. definition of “women’s majors” without qualifying it. Furthermore, theLadies’ Golf UnionAccording to, the governing organization for women’s golf in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Women’s British Open is “the only Women’s Major to be played outside the United States.”[59](This was before to The Evian Championship being elevated to major status).

For many years, the Ladies European Tour tacitly acknowledged the dominance of the LPGA Tour by not scheduling any of its own events to conflict with the three LPGA majors played in the U.S., but that changed beginning in 2008, when the LET scheduled an event opposite the LPGA Championship. The second-most-expensive women’s tour, theLPGA of Japan Tour, does not recognise any of the U.S. LPGA or European majors as it has its own set of majors (historically three, since 2008 four). Outside of Japan, however, these activities get little attention.

Senior major championships

Senior (aged fifty and over) men’s golf does not have a globally agreed set of majors. The list of senior majors on the United States-basedPGA Tour Championshas evolved through time, but always via growth. PGA Tour Champions now recognises five majors: theSenior PGA Championship,The Tradition, theSenior Players Championship, theUnited States Senior Open, andThe Senior (British) Open Championship.

The Senior PGA is by far the oldest of the five competitions, having been started in 1937. The other tournaments extend all the way back to the 1980s, when senior golf became a commercial success thanks to the first golf stars of the television age, such as Arnold Palmer.Arnold PalmerandGary Player, attained the appropriate age. The Senior Open Championship was not recognised as a major by PGA Tour Champions until 2003. TheEuropean Senior TourOnly the Senior PGA and the two Senior Opens are recognized as majors. The PGA Tour Champions, on the other hand, is perhaps more dominant in worldwide senior golf than the US LPGA is in global women’s golf.

Olympic Games

Golf was included in the official program of the Summer Olympic Games in1900and1904. After a 112-year absence, golf returned for the2016 Rio Games.[60]TheInternational Golf Federation (IGF)The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognizes as the international governing organization for golf.


The first lady golfer did not appear on the scene until 1552.Mary Queen of ScotscommissionedSt. Andrew’s Links.[61]However, it was not until the 20th century that women were taken seriously and eventually broke the “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden” rule. Many males thought women were unsuited to play the sport because of their alleged lack of power and talent.

In 1891 the newly builtShinnecock Hillsnine-hole course inSouthampton, New Yorkbecame the first club to accept female golfers as members. Four years later, in 1895, The U.S. Golf Association held the first Women’s Amateur Championship tournament.[61][62]

Just like professional golferBobby Jones,Joyce Wetheredwas considered to be a star in the 1920s.[63]Jones commended Wethered after they played an exhibition match in 1930. He doubted that there had ever been a better golfer, man or woman.[64]However, Bobby Jones’ remark was insufficient to persuade others to reconsider their attitudes on female golfers.

TheRoyal Liverpool’sclub refused entry ofSir Henry CottonIn the late 1940s, brought his wife into the clubhouse. The secretary of the club released a statement saying, “No woman ever has entered the clubhouse and, praise God, no woman ever will.”[63]However, American golfer and all-around athleteBabe ZahariasIt was not necessary to enter the clubhouse. She was able to prove herself on the course, going on to become the first American to win the British Women’s Amateur title in 1947. The next year, she became the first woman to try to qualify for the Olympics.U.S. Open, but her application was rejected by theUSGA. They asserted that the gathering was solely designed for guys.[65]

TheLadies Professional Golf Associationwas founded in 1950 to promote the sport and offer golfers with competitive possibilities.[63]The contests for men and women were not the same. It was not until 1972 thatU.S. Congresspassed theTitle IX of the Education Amendments“No individual in the United States will be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial support on the basis of gender.”[66]AmericanRenee PowellIn the 1970s, she relocated to the United Kingdom to advance her career, and in 1977, she became the first woman to compete in a British men’s competition.[67]

As of 2016,[needs updateWomen golfers were still vying for the same possibilities as men. The USGA still has a considerable salary disparity. The USGA has a long history of awarding more prize money to winners of the men’s U.S. Open than the U.S. Women’s Open.[68]

International events

See also


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  4. ^“paganica (game) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia”. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
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  10. ^Cochrane, Alistair (ed) Science and Golf IV: proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. Page 849. Routledge
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