Golf: Defining the Sport

Learning the Lingo of Golf

Learning basic golf

Golf is a sport that is not as active, or as exciting as most sports.  There are not a lot of fast movements, more concentration and focus above all else.  It does take some skill, some of which can be learned, and with practice become well skilled.  Others are born with a natural talent for the sport, and therefor they make a name for themselves.  There are a lot of terms that are different in this sport and here we outline some of them for you:

Clubs – These are the items you are going to be swinging to lift your ball out to the hole.  There is a large variety of them to choose from.

Green – The green is the area of grass that is cut low and contains the hole you are aiming for.

Fairway – The fairway is the space in between the green and your starting point.  Distances can range from 30 feet all the way past 600 feet.

How the golf is played

Handicap – This is a term used to describe a player’s proficiency in the sport in relationship to another player.  The higher the handicap the poorer the player is.  It is used so that even a poor player can play with a more proficient one on even terms, by allowing the handicap score to reflect in the total score.

Hole – This consists of a hole in the ground where a cup is placed, and often a flag marking the number of the hole.  It is your goal to land your ball into the hole.

Par – This is the number of strokes that the hole is rated at.  If the hole is a par 3, then if you make it in the hole in 3 strokes you made par.

Par 3 – This is what is referred to as a partial course or smaller course.  Mostly irons are used on this course instead of woods since the distance is shorter.  It might only contain 9 holes instead of the average 18-hole course.  This also refers to the number of strokes on a hole needed to sink the ball in the hole.

Bogey – This term is used for those that made it in the hole in 1 less stroke than par.

Eagle – This term is used for those that made it in the hole in 2 less strokes then par.

Hole-in-one – The ultimate goal in golf is to get that ball into the hole on the first swing.  A difficult thing to do, although not impossible.

Driving Range – This is the place you go to, to swing your clubs and hit balls, increasing your skill.  You can purchase a bucket of balls to hit, and they get cleaned up later.  Some course has targets so you can work on accuracy, while others only have distance markers so you can see how far you drive the ball.

Tee – The tee is the place you start and consists of a wooden nail with a slightly rounded head so it can hold the ball.

Stroke – Every time you swing the club at the ball, even if you miss, this counts as a stroke.

Mulligan – A term meaning to do over again.  If someone calls a mulligan your stroke doesn’t count.  Some games are played with mulligan in mind as they make it to the green.

Keep in mind that there are over a thousand different golf terms, many of which you will learn or hear while you are playing.  Not all of them will make sense, but feel free to ask another player as they will always have advice to pass on.

How the Sport is Played

how to play golf

Golf is played during the spring, summer and fall months.  The winter months have rain and other conditions that can make it very difficult, although not impossible to play.  Since it is played in the warmer months, players are often wearing shorts when they play, at least comfortable, non-restrictive clothing.  This is because of the swing, which can cause it to be uncomfortable if a player is wearing tight clothing.  A player starts off at the tee, placing his/her ball on the tee to tee off.  They then swing their club and try and drive the ball as close to the hole as possible.  The object is to get the ball in the hole for each hole (9 on a par 3 course, and 18 on a standard course.) in as few strokes as possible.

A player will switch clubs (as described below) depending on where their ball landed.  This will continue until the player gets the ball in the hole, at which point they record how many strokes it took to get the ball in the hole for that hole number.  They then move on to the next hole number and continue until they reach the end of the course.  Depending on the size of the course this could mean a lot of walking or riding in a golf cart to get from hole to hole.

What You Need to Play the Sport

what do you need to play golf

The main thing you are going to need is a set of golf clubs.  You will also want a bag to carry them in, and gloves in case your hands sweat.  A full set of clubs range in price from about $150 to $12000.  It depends on whether you want a new set, a used set, or purchase your clubs separately.  When you go to play on a course there is always a store there that will sell clubs and balls, and you can often find some really good clubs, albeit used, at great prices.  Clubs contain Irons of varying levels (a set of 8), Woods (generally 3 is enough, but there are sets of 5), putter, and a sand wedge.   There are more choices and as you get into the sport they will become more familiar to you.  You are going to need several balls at least, as sometimes they get lost.  You will need tees, and comfortable clothing that is not restrictive to your movements.  You will also want some comfortable shoes, as you will be doing a lot of walking.

Practice Makes Perfect

Like with any sport it takes practice to master the swing and the skill of the putter.  There is patience that is required in this sport, knowing which way the wind is blowing, and at times waiting for other players in front of you.  Hit the driving range often, as you will learn to practice your swing, and you can try out the different clubs that way.  If you are still learning the sport and not sure what to use, or how to swing there are always people willing to give lessons, and numbers posted to call.  Putting is easier to practice as you can practice in your house, and there are putting greens.  Miniature golf courses are always fun and give you a chance to practice your putting skills too.

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