The aim of golf is to hit a ball into series of holes in the fewest strokes possible.
It is typically played outside with a bag of clubs.
Most golf courses include 9 or 18 holes. The 18 hole standard was introduced in 1764 at St Andrews in Scotland. Many see the Old Course at St Andrews as the oldest and most historically important golf course in the world, earning it the nickname “The Home of Golf”.
The first mention of golf in written form was in 1457, when it was banned by the Scottish Parliament, which saw it as a distraction.
Although its origins date further back, the modern form of golf that we know today can be traced back to 15th century Scotland.
The first golf courses located in the United States emerged in the late 19th century. Many consider Oakhurst Links, built in 1884, to be the oldest American golf course.
Each hole can include a range of challenging terrains and hazards such as tall grass, sand bunkers and water.
A hole that bends to the left or right is known as a “dogleg”.
Golf clubs have traditionally been split into “woods”, “irons” and “putters”. “Hybrid” clubs are also used in the modern game.
Woods have kept their original name but are now made from materials such as titanium, steel and graphite.
Irons have likewise kept their original name but are now more likely to be made from steel alloys.
Clubs that maximize distance off the tee are known as “drivers”.
Players are allowed a maximum of 14 clubs in their bags during a round.
Golf balls are covered in small dimples that help reduce aerodynamic drag and allow them to fly further.
Golfers might walk 8 km (5 miles) during a typical 18 hole round. Golf carts can sometimes be used, although not usually in competitions.
In 1971, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first person to play golf on the moon.
At the top levels, golfers may be assisted by “caddies” who carry their equipment and offer advice.
Golf scores have nicknames such as eagle (-2), birdie (-1), par (even) and bogey (+1).
Countries with large numbers of golf courses per capita include Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Canada and the United States.
There are over 16,000 golf courses in the United States.
The four major championships in men’s golf are the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship.
Famous golfers include Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Nick Faldo, Phil Mickelson, Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, Rory McIlroy, Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Annika Sorenstram, Karrie Webb, Inbee Park and Lydia Ko.