Sunny laid back Sunday morning, extended weekends or a vacation, discussion on none of these is complete without a mention of golf. What exactly is Golf? Well it is an outdoor ball game wherein the aim is to hit the ball into a series of holes in the minimum possible strokes. A round of golf consists of 18 holes. Now the number of strokes you need to hit one hole is your Par. Each hole has a teeing area around it, which includes a fairway, a rough sideways and a green well-mown area around the hole. Then there are the “not so wanted” barriers like sand traps, water etc that are called the bunkers.
It is believed to have originated from an ancient game called chole, supposedly meaning, “ball”. Most of the people believe that Scotland is where Golf was born, probably out of a banned 15th century game called ‘gowf’. However many folklore relate it as an acronym for Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden. The modern Golf came into being again in Scotland in the later half of the 19th century. Later on over the 20th century golf saw a face-lift with a variety of golf equipment’s and techniques being invented.
Golf has woven itself in the social fabric as the game of the elite and high-end businessmen. Would you believe if we tell you that many US business school add golf to their management curriculum? It is a game of social status. After all one has to shell out huge sums on latest equipment, the right clothing and the green fees of the golf course. This has still kept golf away from the reach of common man. Nevertheless, the massive popularity of the game can be judged by the very fact that there are over 32,000 golf courses in the world!
Players move around the golf course with their caddies who manage the equipment’s of the players. The player whose ball is farthest from the hole gets a chance to play first when each individual player has had his chance of playing the ball once. The game is won by the person or the team that scores the maximum holes. It can be played by teams in foursome or by individuals. A very interesting term taking rounds in the golfing community is “Golf handicap.” This is the score of proficiency of different players, which affect their net score, thus allowing players of different capacities to play against each other.
People say golf is not played by rules but by etiquette. However, there are a few laid down rules. The most basic are “play the ball as it lies”, “play the course as you find it”, and “if you cannot do either, do what is fair”. A Golfer can play several types of shots such as tee shot, fairway shot, bunker shot, puts, pitch, flop, chip and a golf swing. A golf swing is the most complex shot that involves perfect coordination of the complete anatomy of the player.
Over the years golf equipment has grown in term of sophistication and technique. From golf balls, tees and clubs to golf carts, bags shoes, etc; it is a whole big market out there. The British officers first started professional golf. Now there are several Golf tournaments like PGA tour, Ryder Cup, U.S. Open etc. In this time and age when pollution is a big problem, the vast golf courses prove to be the breathing lungs of cities and towns where they are located. They nurture the local flora and fauna and provide a welcome respite from the concrete jungle.