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Golf is a  sport in which an individual player, using several types of clubs, has the ultimate objective of getting a ball into a hole in the fewest number of strokes possible. Golf is one of the few  ball game  that does not use a fixed, standardised playing field or area; rather, the game is played on golf courses, each one of which has a unique design and consists of either 9 or 18 separate holes. Golf is defined in the rules of golfas "playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules."
Golf is a very old game of which the exact origins are unclear. The origin of golf is open to debate as to being  Chinese, Dutch or  Scottish . However, the most accepted golf history theory is that this sport originated from Scotland in the 1100s.
A game somewhat similar to golf was first mentioned in Dōngxuān Records ( Chines: 東軒錄), a Chinese book of 11th Century. It was also mentioned on February 26,1297  in the Netherlands in a city called Loenen aan de Vecht. Here the Dutch played a game with a stick and leather ball. Whoever hit the ball into a target several hundreds of meters away the most number of times, won.
However, modern golf is considered to be a Scottish invention,as the game was mentioned in two 15th century laws prohibiting the playing of the game of gowf. Some scholars have suggested that this refers to another game which is more akin to modern shinty ,hurling or field hockey  than golf. A game of putting a small ball in a hole in the ground using clubs was played in 17th century Netherland  . The word golf derives from the Dutch  kolf meaning stick, club or bat Flourishing trade over the North Sea during the Middle Ages and early Modern Period led to much language interaction between Scots , Dutch, Flemish and other languages. There are reports of even earlier accounts of golf from continental Europe.
The oldest playing golf course in the world is The Old Links at musselburgh Racecourse. Evidence has shown that golf was played on Musselburgh links in 1672 although Mary,Queen of Scots reputedly played there in 1567.
Golf courses have not always had eighteen holes. The St Andrews links  occupy a narrow strip of land along the sea. As early as the 15th century, golfers at St Andrews  , in Fife, established a customary route through the undulating terrain, playing to holes whose locations were dictated by topography. The course that emerged featured eleven holes, laid out end to end from the clubhouse to the far end of the property. One played the holes out, turned around, and played the holes in, for a total of 22 holes. In 1764, several of the holes were deemed too short, and were therefore combined. The number was thereby reduced from 11 to nine, so that a complete round of the links comprised 18 holes.
The major changes in equipment since the 19th century have been better mowers, especially for the greens, better golf ball designs, using rubber and man-made materials since about 1900, and the introduction of the metal shaft beginning in the 1930s. Also in the 1930s the wooden golf tee was invented. In the 1970s the use of steel and then titanium to replace wood heads began, and shafts made of "graphite" (known more commonly elsewhere as carbon fiber) were introduced in the 1980s. Though wooden tees are still most popular, various designs of plastic tees have been developed in recent years, and the synthetic materials composing the modern ball continue to be developed.
Golf balls are famous for "dimples". These small dips in the surface of the golf ball decrease aerodynamic drag which allows the ball to fly further. Golf is also famous for the use of flags. These show the position of the hole to players when they make their first drive and are too far away from the hole to aim accurately. When all players in a group are within putting distance, the flag is removed by a "caddy" or a fellow player to allow for easier access to the hole.
 Golf course
golf is played in an area of land designated a golf course. A course consists of a series of holes, each consisting of a teeing area, fairway, rough and other hazards, and the green with the pin and cup. A typical golf course consists of eighteen holes, but many have only nine.
 Play of the game
Every game of golf is based on playing a number of holes in a given order. A round typically consists of 18 holes that are played in the order determined by the course layout. On a nine-hole course, a standard round consists of two successive nine-hole rounds. A hole of golf consists of hitting a ball from a tee on the teeing box  (a marked area designated for the first shot of a hole, a tee shot), and once the ball comes to rest, striking it again. This process is repeated until the ball is in the cup. Once the ball is on the green (an area of finely cut grass) the ball is usually putted (hit along the ground) into the hole. The goal of resting the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible may be impeded by hazards, such as bunkers and water hazards.
Players walk (or drive in motorized carts) over the course, either singly or in groups of two, three, or four, sometimes accompanied by caddies who carry and manage the players' equipment and give them advice. In most typical forms of gameplay, each player plays his or her ball from the tee until it is holed.
Each player often acts as marker for one other player in the group, that is, he or she records the score on a score card. In stroke play (see below), the score consists of the number of strokes played plus any penalty strokes incurred. Penalty strokes are not actually strokes but penalty points that are added to the score for violations of rules or utilizing relief procedures.

A hole is classified by its par, the number of strokes a skilled golfer should require to complete play to the hole. For example, a skilled golfer expects to reach the green on a par-four hole in two strokes, one from the tee (the "drive") and another, second, stroke to the green (the "approach") and then roll the ball into the hole with two putts. Traditionally, a golf hole is either a par-three, -four or -five; some par-six holes exist, but are not usually found on traditional golf courses.
Primarily, but not exclusively, the par of a hole is determined by the tee-to-green distance. A typical length for a par-three hole ranges between 91 and 224 metres (100–250 yd), for a par-four hole, between 225 and 434 metres (251–475 yd). Typically, par-five holes are at between 435 and 630 metres (476–690 yd), and nontraditional par-six holes are any longer distance. These distances are not absolute rules; for example, it is possible that a 450 metre (492 yd) hole could be classed as a par-four hole, since the par for a hole is determined by its 'effective playing length'. If the tee-to-green distance on a hole is predominantly downhill, it will play shorter than its physical length and may be given a lower par rating. Par ratings are also affected by factors affecting difficulty; the placement of hazards or the shape of the hole for example can sometimes affect the play of a hole such that it requires an extra stroke to avoid playing into the hazard or out-of-bounds.
Eighteen hole courses may have four par-three, ten par-four, and four par-five holes, though other combinations exist and are not less worthy than courses of par 72. Many major championships are contested on courses playing to a par of 70 or 71. In some countries, courses are classified, in addition to the course's par, with a course classification describing the play difficulty of a course and may be used to calculate a golfer's playing handicap for that given course .

Penalty strokes are incurred in certain situations. Most often a penalty stroke is assessed because a player has hit into a situation from which they cannot or choose not to play the ball as it lies, or because they have lost their ball and must play a substitute. Penalty strokes are counted towards a player's score as if they were an extra swing at the ball.

In every form of play, the goal is to play as few strokes per round as possible. Scores for each hole can be described as follows:

Term on a

Specific term



Condor or vulture(or triple-eagle)

four strokes under par


Albatross(or double-eagle)

three strokes under par



two strokes under par



one stroke under par



strokes equal to par



one stroke more than par


Double bogey

two strokes over par


Triple bogey

three strokes over par

The two basic forms of playing golf are match play and stroke play.

  • In match play, two players (or two teams) play each hole as a separate contest against each other. The party with the lower score wins that hole, or if the scores of both players or teams are equal the hole is "halved" (drawn). The game is won by the party that wins more holes than the other. In the case that one team or player has taken a lead that cannot be overcome in the number of holes remaining to be played, the match is deemed to be won by the party in the lead, and the remainder of the holes are not played. For example, if one party already has a lead of six holes, and only five holes remain to be played on the course, the match is over. At any given point, if the lead is equal to the number of holes remaining, the match is said to be "dormie", and is continued until the leader increases the lead by one hole, thereby winning the match, or until the match ends in a tie. When the game is tied after the predetermined number of holes have been played, it may be continued until one side takes a one-hole lead.
  • In stroke play, every player (or team) counts the number of shots taken for the whole round or tournament to produce the total score, and the player with the lowest score wins.

There are variations of these basic principles, some of which are explicitly described in the "Rules of Golf" and are therefore regarded "official." "Official" forms of play are, among others, foursome and four-ball games.

One must pay certain fees to play on a golf course. There are two different fees; the cart fee, which is for the use of a golf cart, and the greens fee, which allows play on the course itself. On some courses, walking is prohibited, and the cart fee is often included with the greens fee.
The greens fee may vary from the equivalent of a few dollars for communal (also known as municipal) courses, up to that of several hundred dollars for public courses. Discounts on fees may be offered for players starting their round late (and on some courses, unusually early) in the day. Prices may also vary for seniors and minors, or depending on the season.

Team play
A foursome (defined in Rule 29) is played between two teams of two players each, in which each team has only one ball and players alternate playing it. For example, if players A and B form a team, A tees off on the first hole, B will play the second shot, A the third, and so on until the hole is finished. On the second hole, B will tee off (regardless who played the last putt on the first hole), then A plays the second shot, and so on. Foursomes can be played as match play or stroke play.
A Four ball (Rules 30 and 31) is also played between two teams of two players each, but every player plays his own ball and for each team, the lower score on each hole is counted. Four-balls can be played as match play or stroke play.