What is Golf?


Golf can be played at many different levels and at any age. Golf is played casually or competitively, and is fun either way. The goal is to get your ball into the hole in as few shots as possible. Golf can be played by yourself, or in a group, and is typically played with stroke play or match play formats. Golf has been played for a very long time and is played and enjoyed all over the world.


golf history

The sport of golf has been around for hundreds of years and has lots of history associated with it. The game originated in Scotland in the 1400s and the first tournament was played in 1860 in England, and the sport grew globally from there. The first American course, The Chicago Golf Club, was opened in 1893 in Wheaton, Illinois and the USGA began operating in 1894. As the sport grew globally, it over time became an extremely popular sport because it can be played by all ages. Golf is still even growing today and seems to be a sport that will live on forever.

Playing Surface

golf course

Most golf courses play to a total par of 72. This includes a mix of par three, four, and five par holes set to mix up the distance played every few holes. Par fours are the most common, but each are difficult in their own ways. Each hole includes a tee box, fairway, and green, and can also feature hazards such as bunkers, water, and woods. There are many famous courses around the world such as Augusta National that are instantly recognizable.


golf equipment list

While in many sports you can walk into a store and in a few minutes have everything you need, golf is complex and it is always important to make sure what you have is comfortable and works for your game. Getting fitted for clubs is also very common to make sure your clubs are the right measurements. While every golfer may have different versions of everything, these are the basic equipment items every golfer needs:

  • Golf Bag
  • Driver
  • Woods/hybrids
  • Irons (4,5,6,7,8,9 irons)
  • Wedges (Pitching, Sand, Gap)
  • Putter
  • Golf Glove
  • Golf shoes
  • Tees
  • Golf balls
  • Ball Marker
  • Golf clothes (polo shirt, golf pants/shorts, golf skirt, hat)


golf gameplay

Golf requires lots of focus and patience. It can be slow-paced at times, but it is important to find your tempo and stick with it. Each golfer has a different swing, so it is important to practice and find what is comfortable for you. The objective of golf is to get your ball into the hole in as few shots as possible. Each hole starts with a tee shot, where you will hit whatever club you are most comfortable with for the distance of the hole. Ideally, your tee shot will end up in the fairway, where you will then hit an approach shot with a smaller club to the green. Once on the green, you putt the ball and try to get it in the hole. While the game plan sounds simple, it is very hard to have the results look like that.

Golf is played mainly as a solo game where each player keeps track of their own scores, but that can change in some casual games. Lowest score wins, and the goal is to be as close to par as possible, or even below par. On most courses, par for an 18 hole round is 72. This is the total of each hole's par added together, and every course will feature par 3, 4 and 5 holes. A par 3 is the shortest hole and ideally takes three shots to finish, and par 5 holes are the longest and can take around five shots to finish.

Positions and Roles

golf positions and roles

While golf does not have specific positions, as it is an individual sport, the two different types of people in a golf event are players and caddies. The player is the one hitting the shots and playing golf, while their caddie is there to carry their clubs, give advice, and help them decide on what shots to hit in certain situations. Caddies are very important to pro players as they are a huge help on the course. Many pro players hire their own caddies to make sure they are someone they can trust to know golf. However, even if the caddie is good at their job, it is up to the player to make the desired shot come to life.

Rules and Regulations

golf rules and regulations

Unlike other sports, golf rules can be enforced well after they are broken. If something is under dispute, officials can look over the situation on tape and enforce it a few holes later or after the round, but the player will be notified of such a situation. Golf has many different rules and is a complicated game; listed below are some of the most common/popular rules in golf.

RULEPENALTY (Stroke Play)PENALTY (Match Play)
No more than 14 clubs in your bag at a time2 strokes for each hole you carry too many clubsLoss of hole for each hole you carry too many clubs
Grounding club in a hazard2 strokesLoss of hole
Lost ball out of bounds2 strokes2 strokes
Ball found, but unplayable1 stroke and drop at nearest location1 stroke and drop at nearest location
Playing out of turnNo penalty, but frowned uponNo penalty, but opponent has the option to make you replay the shot

Referees and Officials

golf referees and officials

At professional events, officials are placed all over the course at every hole to be ready to help with any decisions or questions. Officials are required to know every rule and be ready to enforce them. While they do not carry whistles and interfere immediately like other sports, it is common for players to approach officials with a question about something they did or are about to do. However, officials can also step in if they see something or hear something that is found on the TV broadcast.

Lingo and Terminology

golf lingo and terminology

Golf has an extensive list of lingo that is used on the course for many different occasions. It is not hard to learn and using it makes your round even more fun. Some of the most common golf terms are listed below.

  • Ace: Hole in one
  • Birdie: To score one less than par on a hole
  • Dance floor: The putting green
  • Fore: Shouted when a ball is hit towards a person/group of people, a "heads up" of sorts
  • Gimmie: When everyone in your group agrees that your ball is close enough to the hole that you can pick it up instead of playing the shot (not allowed on tour)
  • Honors: The right to hit the first tee shot
  • Lie: The position/location of your ball
  • Nineteenth Hole: The bar/restaurant area in the clubhouse
  • Pin: The flagstick


golf coaching

Coaching in golf is extremely important, as it is nearly impossible to learn the game by yourself. Having a coach or even taking occasional lessons is a key part to learning and developing your game. When beginning to learn the game, most players want to go straight to hitting their driver to hit the long ball, but most coaches will be there to help you start simple and develop your swing first before you try your driver. Golf is a game you should take your time to learn, and one where every lesson helps. Big or small, each tip can help take your game to the next level.

Skills and Techniques

golf Skills and Techniques

Golf also requires many skills, but can be played without most of them as they are developed. However, the one skill that every golfer should focus on is patience. Golf takes time to get used to and you will not become good overnight. Practice is key and having patience with your game and taking it step by step will help you in the long run. It will be very hard to develop other skills such as chipping, reading the greens, and hitting straight shots if you have little patience.


Golf Strategy

Golf is a game that requires lots of strategy. Every aspect of the game from driving to putting has its own strategies associated with it. However, some of the best and simple strategies to have are know where you want your ball to land, make sure your aim is good, and do not think about the next shot, focus on the shot you have now.

It is also a good strategy to hit the ball to an area you are comfortable with. For example, if you are going to hit a drive that will leave you 90 yards from the hole, but are much more comfortable from 150 yards, consider hitting a lower club to leave you in the 150 range you like.


Golf Drills

There are many different drills that a golfer can do to improve their game. Drills can be done with any aspect of the game and so many different kinds of drills can help in so many ways. The great part about golf drills is some can be done on the course, in practice, or even at home. Almost any putting and chipping drills can be done at home and in the long run are a huge help. Even if it's simply putting a ball into a cup or watching your own swing, it helps! It is also very common to do various drills with your swing. This can be for swing tempo, impact drills, or simply just taking a few soft swings to get a feel for your swing after time off.

Olympic Golf

olympic golf

Golf returned to the Rio Olympics in 2016 after 112 years of not being part of the summer games. The United States is widely regarded as having the best golfers in the world, but Justin Rose of Great Britain won the gold medal in 2016, with Henrik Stenson of Sweden winning silver and Matt Kuchar of the US winning bronze. Olympic golf is played the same as any regular PGA event, using a stroke play tournament format.

Golf Courses

golf course

Golf courses can be found all over the world, and through watching the PGA tour events, there are many courses that are known by just about every fan. Some of these courses are listed below, and are known for their history, prestige, and unique aspects. These courses are some of the most well known in all of golf:

Augusta National Golf ClubAugusta, GA
Old Course at St. Andrews St. Andrews, Scotland
Pebble Beach Golf LinksPebble Beach, CA

Golf Coaches

golf coaches

Golf coaches are people who are with you to help you improve your game in every way possible. Golf coaches are unique because unlike many other coaches, they do not have an entire team to coach, when they are coaching you they are all in on you and the needs for your own game. Golf coaches can be hired for full time coaching, as many professional golfers do, or can be hired every now and then for an occasional lesson, as many amateurs do. Golf coaches have tips that will improve your scores no matter who you are, and it can never hurt to take a lesson as well.

Golf Players

golf players

The game of golf has been around since the 1400s, with professional golf beginning in the 1800s. Since then, the game has grown exponentially and has developed a great history of elite talent and excellent players. Tiger Woods and Sam Snead lead the all time field with 82 total wins each, while Jack Nicklaus leads in major wins with 18. Winning on the PGA tour is extremely difficult, and listed below are some of the all time wins leaders on tour, the best of the best.

Tiger Woods82 Wins, 15 Majors
Sam Snead 82 Wins, 7 Majors
Jack Nicklaus73 Wins, 18 Majors
Ben Hogan64 Wins, 9 Majors
Arnold Palmer62 Wins, 7 Majors

Golf Leagues

golf leagues

In professional golf, the best of the best compete on the PGA Tour. This is the highest level of golf and is played mostly in America. The PGA Tour includes the top male golfers, while the top females compete on the LPGA Tour. In Europe, there is the European Tour which is similar to the PGA Tour, but is not as popular and typically features lower quality players. However, it is still a professional tour. Both tours feature senior and champions tours. The Korn Ferry Tour is also played in the US and is a tour for amateurs trying to get on the PGA tour and is also a developmental tour.

PGA TourUnited StatesPro
LPGA TourUnited StatesPro
European TourEuropePro
Korn Ferry TourUnited StatesAmateur/Development

Golf Teams

golf teams

While professional golf is mostly played as an individual sport, it occasionally has events that switch into team events. There are two main team events that are showcased once every season; the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup. Each are held every two years, with one being in even years and one in odd years. The teams are based on country of the player's birth, with the formats listed below:

Ryder Cup: 12 American golfers vs 12 European golfers

Presidents Cup: 12 American golfers vs 12 International golfers (except Europe)

Golf Events

Golf Events

Professional golf seasons go from October to August, and typical seasons have had 46 total events, but the PGA changed the schedule to make it 49 events for the 2019-20 season and beyond. Events are typically played in stroke play format over four days (Thursday-Sunday) with practice rounds and travel days Monday-Wednesday. During the season, there are four "Major" tournaments that are played by the top golfers in the world and are held to a higher standard than other events. Winning a major is considered a great accomplishment, and the four majors are as follows:

  • The Masters
  • PGA Championship
  • U.S. Open
  • The Open Championship

Golf Tournaments

Golf Tournaments

Golf tournaments are played almost every weekend during the peak of the PGA Tour season. There are 49 different tournaments played during their season and each is very important. The PGA also plays the FedEx Cup, which is a season-long point tally of where players finish in events, and leads to the playoff tournaments at the end of the season. Some of the most popular tournaments are listed below. The location for most tournaments changes each year for many tournaments, with The Masters as one of the few exceptions. Some of the most popular golf tournaments are:

  • The Masters
  • U.S. Open
  • Open Championship
  • PGA Championship
  • The Players Championship
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational
  • The Memorial
  • AT&T; Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • Waste Management Phoenix Open

Golf Books

golf books

Golf is a sport that has had many different books of all kinds written about it. Many players choose to write their own books on various topics such as how to play the game or what it was like being a pro, such as Ben Hogan's Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf written by Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers ever. Other books are written about players or certain historical moments in the game, but some books every golfer should read are listed below:

Ben Hogan's Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of GolfBen Hogan
The Greatest Game Ever PlayedMark Frost
The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger WoodsHank Haney
Golf is Not A Game of PerfectBob Rotella

Golf Websites

Golf Websites

There are many different golf related websites that each serve their own purpose to the game. Sites have information about players, events, equipment, and some just simply have general information about golf. Some of the most popular golf websites are listed below.


What are the objectives of golf?

The objective of golf is to get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible. Always remember to keep track of your scores on a note card as you will need to tally up your score once you are done playing.

What is the equipment used in golf?

The first step to playing golf is making sure you have a set of golf clubs. A regulation set of golf clubs consists of a driver, a three wood, a five wood, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 irons and lastly a putter and pitching wedge. It also helps to have a glove to wear to improve your grip on the club and to not get any blisters on your hands. Once you get to the course, you will tee off at the first hole.

Which golf club do you use?

Before teeing off, make sure to know where the hole is located. Courses will have signs at the beginning of each hole to tell you how many yards away the hole is. Make sure to also keep in mind the par for the hole. The lower the par the closer the hole is to you. For example, if the hole is a par three then you know the hole will be closer and you may not need to use a driver to tee off. If the hole is a par five it might be a good idea to use a driver to tee off to reach it. There are different scores (and names) for each hole that you complete. Dig the tee into the ground and gently lay the ball on top of the tee and you are all set to tee off.

How does scoring work in golf?

If a player scores two holes before par (i.e. shooting a two on a par four) then it is scored as an Eagle. If a player scores one under par (i.e. scoring a three on a par four) it is called a birdie. If a player scores even with the par it is called par. If a player scores one over the par (i.e. scoring a five on a par four) it is called a bogey. If a player scores two over par (i.e. scoring a six on a par four) it is called a double bogey. If a player scores three over par it is called a triple bogey, and so on.