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Golf 101

How does Golf work? What are the basic fundamentals of the game? Get ready to learn about Golf 101. You don't need any prior knowledge to start learning.

Golf 101

Table of Contents


Golf The Basics

Golf is played on a golf course, where participants try to hit a small hard ball into a hole in as little shots (strokes) as they can. One golf game is called a round, and a round of golf consists of 18 holes. Every hole has a "par" which is a set amount of shots that it should take to get it in the hole. If you hit less shots than par it is called being under par and if you hit more, you are over par.

Golf is not a team sport, it is played by individuals who compete in tournaments. A tournament has a certain amount of golfers who play four rounds of golf trying to get the best score. Scoring is a little weird in golf, with the lowest score winning. Your score gets lower by scoring under par. One shot under par is called a birdie, two shots is an eagle, and three is an albatross. One shot over par is a bogey, two shots is a double bogey, and three is a triple bogey.

Golf Basics

Golf Equipment and Gear

Golf is a sport that requires several pieces of equipment in order to play it. For starters, an actual golf course is needed. On top of that a player must have a golf bag filled with golf clubs. The golfer is allowed to select which clubs they put in their bag, but they cannot exceed 14 clubs.

There are different types of clubs: the driver, woods, irons, wedges, and putters. Each is used in different settings and situations on the course. Drivers and woods are good for long shots, either from the tee or fairway. Irons are useful for mid range shots, and are effective from the fairway rough. Wedges are designed for short shots, bunker shots, and deep rough shots. Finally, the putter is used when on the green.

Other pieces of equipment include golf balls, golf tees, and golf carts. Golfers also must wear collared shirts, and most wear either a hat or a visor.

Golf Equipment List

Golf Penalties and Rules

In golf there are several ways that you can be penalized. Penalties can result in lost strokes or disqualification. Lost stroke penalties are less severe and occur more often. For example golfers lose a stroke for hitting the ball into hazards (water) or out of bounds. They would also lose strokes for hitting the ball twice, hitting out of turn, or having too many clubs in their bag. When this happens, the golfer's score increases by either 1 or 2 strokes (low score is better). In extreme cases such as a player writing in the wrong score and reporting it, they can be disqualified.

Golf Penalties

Golf Positions

Although there are no traditional positions in golf due to it being an individual sport, there are different terms used to describe the golfers. The golfer with the lowest score is called the leader.

Golfers are also positioned based on their current place in the tournament. The higher you are up the leaderboard the later you start your round. You play your round alongside other golfers with similar scores to your own. These are called pairings or groups and the leaders are in what is known as the final pairing.

A golf swing also has positions, with different parts of the swing being considered a different position. The image below helps explain that. There is lining up the golf ball, taking the club back, top of the swing, swinging down on the ball, and following through. Golf Positions

Important Golf Concepts

  • How the scoring works in golf
  • When to hit each club
  • How to hit a wedge
  • How to hit from the sand
  • How to hit a driver
  • How to read the green and make putts
  • What to wear when playing a round of golf
  • How to hit a fade or a draw
  • Match play versus tournament play
  • How to grip the club
  • What a golf swing should look like, from the start to the follow through

Golf 101 Terms

  • Drivers, woods, irons, wedges, putters
  • Flagstick, hole
  • Fairway, rough, and bunker
  • Sand trap, water hazard, and out of bounds
  • Golf course, golf cart
  • Golf ball and tee
  • birdie, eagle, bogey, albatross, double bogey, and par
  • Scorecard, leaderboard, tournament, match play
  • Greens in regulation and greens in under regulation
  • Handicap


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