What is Golf?

Golf is considered the most expensive and popular game in the world. The game is played at various professional levels, and it has largely following in almost every country. Golf attracts a huge number of golfers as it can be played by people of all ages. Millions of people around the globe are obsessed with it. The game involves putting a ball into a hole by hitting it with a club in as few strokes as possible.

Golf is a very challenging game, and it takes years to become a master golfer. There are numerous interesting aspects related to golf, its different game variations and formats, the golf course, clubs, and balls. The game of golf is a club and ball sport where golfers use various clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course in as few strokes as possible.

Golf does not require any standardized playing area. It is played on a course which has either 9 or 18holes in it. Every hole consists a “tee box”. The tee box is the point from the game is always started. A hole also contains a “putting green” which contains the actual cup. The terrain between the holes has standard forms, like fairway, rough, and hazards. Each hole designed on the course comes with its unique layout and arrangement.

In order to hit a ball, you need to have a golf club, or you can have several golf clubs. Based on your shots and the distance which is to be covered, you can use different clubs. You are allowed to carry a maximum of 14 clubs. Generally, 9 clubs are sufficient to play a round of golf.

There are a number of rules associated with golf. If you want to become a professional golfer, then you have to put a lot of efforts in learning and practicing them. The basic rules may appear quite simple. However, you will face a lot of odd situations while playing a round of golf as when balls end up in areas where they can’t be played or get lost.

The rules of golf etiquette are more important than the official rules of golf. The rules of golf etiquette are designed to ensure that every golfer on the golf course enjoys his game separately. The game of golf is enjoyed all over the world by both, golfers and fans. This game requires a lot of concentration and precision. It is played by athletes and amateurs. Golf can be played anywhere, theoretically. You just need a hole, a teeing ground, a club and a ball.

All about the Golf Course

The golf course is a ground where the game of golf is played; it has a series of holes. Every hole consists a teeing ground, a fairway, and the rough and other hazards. The standard round that is being played in golf comprises of about eighteen holes. These golf courses are private, public and municipally owned.

golf course
Photo Credit: http://heritagegolfgroup.com/GolfCourses.aspx

The golf course usually consists either nine or eighteen holes. The game starts on a teeing ground and ends when the golfer gets the ball into the Hole cut on the putting surface. The flagship displays the location of every hole. Every hole has a ‘par’ of three, four or five. There are exceptions to this rule. When playing with ‘par-four’ or ‘par-five’ hole, golfers aim to hit the fairway with their first shot before attempting to reach the green with their next strokes.

The course is maintained by cutting the grass of different heights, between the teeing ground and green to increase the difficulty. The tee not only renders level stances to the golfers but they also supervise the grass carefully in order to make sure that each and every golfer gets a fair chance in making an attempt for the very first stroke at each of the hole. Also, the fairway is responsible for giving short grass and good lies while the rough gives longer grass and other forms of vegetation that increase the difficulty.

A Staff generally takes care of the golf course. The staff consists of highly trained individuals who are responsible for the facilities of prime assets. Maintaining a golf course requires a set of skills and techniques for best results and smooth game.

Golf courses generally follow the original landscape, but some modification is unavoidable. There are always some artificial hazards like bunkers and sand traps. A golf course may also have natural hazards. The layout follows certain traditional principles which include a number of holes (9 or 18), the par values, and the number of holes of each par value.

The greens are arranged close to the tee box of the next playable hole in order to minimize the travel distance while playing around, and to vary the mix of shorter and longer holes. In some cases, two holes may share the same tee box. Holes often include hazards, which are special areas that have additional rules for play.

Types of Golf Formats

1. Stroke Play

Stroke Play is the most common format of the golf. It is played by both, professional and amateurs. Stroke play involves every golfer competing all over 18 holes. The total numbers of strokes are counted, and the team with lower total net score wins.

2. Match Play

In Match Play, either two golfers or two teams play at least one time for every hole as a separate contest. The golfer or the team with the lowest score wins the hole. If both the teams and golfers have same scores, then the hole is drawn. The team or the golfer that wins more holes wins the game. It is very common and popular at club level.

3. Foursome

Foursome is played between 2 golfers in a format of partnership. Here the ball is hit alternatively by the golfers. A golfer here tees off on holes that are numbered odd, and the other golfer tees off even numbered holes. The shots are played until the hole is completed. Stroke play or match play may be played under these rules.

4. Four Ball

This game is same as the Foursome except the golfer here plays with individually assigned ball, and the better scores of the team are counted. It can be played either under stroke play or match play.

5. Stable Ford

It is a form of Stroke Play. Here the scoring is made by the points awarded for the fixed score at each hole.

Hole Played In Points

  • <1 more than fixed score —> 0
  • 1 more than fixed score —> 1
  • Fixed score —> 2
  • 1 below the fixed score —> 3
  • 2 below the fixed score —> 4
  • 3 below the fixed score —> 5
  • 4 below the fixed score —> 6

In golf, the one who has the highest number of points is declared as the winner.

6. Bogey and Par Competitions

Bogey and Par competitions involve scoring as in Match Play. If a golfer doesn’t return to any hole, then it is counted as a loss. Winner of the game is decided by the aggregate of holes, the golfer most successful in winning holes win the match.

7. Scramble

In a scramble, each golfer of the team tees off on each hole and the best shot is decided by the golfers itself. The same process is repeated for the remaining golfers till the hole is not finished. The balls which are lifted are placed with one scorecard’s width of the selected position.

8. Ambrose

It is a form of Scramble. Here Ambrose Handicaps are used like the Stroke Play.

  • Total Net Score = Total Gross Score – Adjusted Handicap
  • Adjusted Handicap = Total Handicaps / 2 x (No. of Golfers of the Team)

9. Texas Scramble

Texas Scramble is a combination of both team play and individual play. Here set a number of drives are rewarded to each golfer throughout the course of the round. The beginner golfer is used first so as to reduce the pressure from the remaining game.

10. Skins

Skins are the variation of Match Play where each hole has rewarded some points or money. You can win money or points only after you win the hole outright. If more than one golfer achieves the best score for any hole, then the money or points are carried away to the next hole.

golf format
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11. Green some

Green some is a Foursome variation. Here both teammates make tee shot, and the best shot is selected by the golfer of both the teams. The remaining golfer whose shot is not selected plays the second shot in addition to all the even numbered shots on this hole.

12. Patsome

Patsome is the combination of various games played together. There the first six holes are played in Four-Ball format, the next six in Green some format and the last six are played in Foursome format.

13. Chapman

Chapman is the Four-Ball variation format where each golfer targets the assigned tee shot and then swaps his position to target the second ball. After playing the first shot, it is decided this of the two balls will be played for remaining hole. After selecting the best position, the golfers alternatively play the strokes in anticipation of holing out.

14. String

In the string, every golfer is allowed a length of the string for improving the bad lies. The string length depends on the golfer’s handicap. When a bad lie occurs, the golfer cuts off the string length that is equivalent to the distance they move to a new position. After moving the ball from its position, the length can no longer be used. A golfer can use his string at any point in the game.

15. Flag Tournaments

In Flag Tournaments, every golfer is provided with a small flag, and the number of strokes is allocated equally to par plus 2/3 of his handicap. If a golfer runs out of his stroke, he plants his flag where the ball lands. The golfer going furthest wins the game.

Rules for Playing Golf

The basic rules of Golf states “play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find, and if you can’t either, do what is fair.”

Rules entitled under “Articles and Laws in Playing Golf” are as follows:

  1. The golfer should tee his ball within the length of the hole that is set by the club.
  2. The golfer should make sure that his tee is upon the ground only.
  3. The golfer is not allowed to have another ball when you have to strike your tee.
  4. The golfer is not allowed to get rid of stones or bones in order to play their ball nicely.
  5. If there is a case where the ball goes in the water, the golfer is totally allowed to bring back their ball and also tee Also, the golfer can play with any of the clubs associated with golf playing and then allow their adversary for a stroke.
  6. If there is a case where it is found that balls are touching each other, the golfer should lift his first ball and then play with it till he plays the last.
  7. The golfer should play quite fairly during the time of holing.
  8. If in case the golfer loses his ball then h d struck the ball he should return back to the spot where he had struck his ball last and then drop the next ball. The golfer can also allow their adversary for a stroke.
  9. At the time of holing, no presence of any human being is allowed.
  10. If in case the ball is stopped by an animal or something else then that ball should be left untouched.
  11. The golfer, whose ball lies at the maximum distance from the hole, is allowed to play first.

Some of the “sub-rules” of Golf are:

golf rules
Photo Credit: http://usabuzz.net/page/video/golf-tournament-match-play-formats

Rule 1: About the game

The first rule in golf is about the basic meaning of the game which describes playing with a ball in various clubs, as per the rules. Also, it states that the golfers should not influence any kind of movement of the ball in the game and should not also change the course unless it is specified by some other rule or it is in favor of preventing the course from any sort of damage. If there is any violation of the rule, then the golfer is charged with a two-stroke penalty. All the rules for playing Golf should be followed as they are presented to the golfers.

Rule 2: About match play

The second set of rules states about match play where all the golfers compete with each other to have the lowest score on each and every hole. The golfers who have a tie have to divide the win of the hole amongst them. The rules also state about the conditions that are set for the golfer to win the match. Also, it describes various methods to resolve any kind of doubts or disputes among the golfers. Lastly, it states that if any kind of violation is observed by the golfer, he has to suffer the loss of a hole.

Rule 3: About stroke play

The third set of rules defines about the stroke play where the golfers compete in order to play an entire round with the minimum number of strokes. If any golfer refuses to follow the rule and that somehow affects the rights of the other golfer then the golfer is disqualified. As per the general rules for a penalty, the golfer is given a two-stroke penalty except for the case or override by some other rule.

Rule 4: Playing of ball as it lies

The ball in the golf should be played in the same position as it is kept lying on the course. The golfer is not allowed to alter the position of the ball or that particular area where he has to drop the ball as it is mentioned in the set of rules. The golfer should also keep his feel quite firmly on the course ground such that it does not change the position of the ball. If in case the ball is placed in some kind of hazard then the golfer should neither test nor touch the hazard with his hands or club. Some of the exceptional cases are mentioned in the rules.

Rule 5: Substituted ball

The golfer should be able to complete the hole with the same ball that was being played with from the teeing ground unless and until there is some introduction to a substitute ball as per the rules mentioned. The golfer can only introduce a substitute ball when it is permitted by the rules or during the time he has a two-stroke penalty. If in case the golfer hits a wrong hole then the golfer either suffers from a loss of the hole or a two-stroke penalty in the match play competition. The number of strokes that are made by the golfer when the ball was hit wrong is not counted in the total number of strokes.

Rule 6: Provisional ball

This set of rules defines about the penalty related to stroke and distance and also defines the use of the same penalty when the ball is hit outside the boundary or is hit in such a way that it is nowhere to be found within the time span of five minutes. In cases where the ball is not to be found anywhere, he can play with the provisional ball from exactly the same spot. Also, if the old lost ball is found later and the golfer wishes to play with it, he is allowed to do it without any penalty. If the golfer decides to play with the provisional ball in order to complete the hole, he gets one penalty stroke.

Rule 7: Practice

The golfer is allowed to practice on the course even on the day of the competition, but he should keep in mind that he is only allowed to practice in some specifically designated areas on the course only. Also, the golfer should be aware that he should not practice any strokes during the play of  a hole.

Rule 8: Regarding the advice

The golfer should neither render advice to another golfer, except for his partner nor seek advice from any of the golfer other than his partner. The golfer or his partner is allowed to point out a line where they will put while they are on their green but at the same time, they are not allowed to touch the green.

Rule 9: Cleaning ball

The golfers should be aware that the ball which is placed on the putting green needs to be cleaned every time is being lifted. Also, a ball that is placed somewhere else on the course should also be cleaned whenever it is lifted unless it is lifted under some exceptions mentioned in the set of rules. If a golfer does not clean his ball under this set of rules, he is liable for a one-stroke penalty.

Equipment for Playing Golf

golf kit
Photo Credit: https://www.etsy.com/listing/99940234/sports-collection-golf-equipment-green

There are various items which are used to play golf. All the equipment are specially designed for the comfort and smoothness of the game. The Clubs and ball are specially designed for playing best shots. Apart from Clubs and balls, there is other important devices and equipment which are vital for the sport of golf. They are:

  1. Balls
  2. Golf Clubs
  3. Ball Markers
  4. Tees
  5. Golf Bag
  6. Golf Cart
  7. Towels
  8. Club Head Covers
  9. Ball Mark Repair Tool
  10. Other Aids
  11. Gloves


Golf is one of the most difficult games that are played worldwide. It becomes easy for the golfers to play when they are made completely aware of the rules governing the game. We hope that the above-provided information about the rules and various techniques about the game were beneficiary to you.

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