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The Sport of Golf

Golf is a precision club-and-ball sport in which competing players (golfer), using many types of clubs, attempt to hit balls into each hole on a golf course while employing the fewest number of strokes. Golf is one of the few ball games that does not require a standardized playing area. Instead, the game is played on golf “courses”, each of which features a unique design, although courses typically consist of either 9 or 18 holes. Golf is defined, in the rules of golf, as “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 competition is generally played for the lowest number of strokes by an individual, known simply as stroke play, or the lowest score on the most individual holes during a complete round by an individual or team, known as match play.

The origin of golf is unclear and open to debate. Some historians trace the sport back to the Roman game of paganica, in which participants used a bent stick to hit a stuffed leather ball. One theory asserts that paganica spread throughout Britain and Europe as the Romans conquered much of the continent, during the 1st century B.C., and eventually evolved into the modern game. Others cite chuiwan (“chui” means striking and “wan” means small ball) as the progenitor, a Chinese game played in the 8th – 14th centuries.[3] The game is thought to have been introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages. Another early game that resembled modern golf was known as cambuca in England and chambot in France.[4] This game was, in turn, exported to the Low Countries, Germany, and England (where it was called pall-mall, pronounced “pell mell”). Some observers, however, believe that golf descended from the Persian game, chaugan. In addition, kolven (a game involving a ball and curved bats) was played annually in Loenen, Netherlands, beginning in 1297, to commemorate the capture of the assassin of Floris V, a year earlier.

According to the most widely accepted account, however, the modern game originated in Scotland around the 12th century, with shepherds knocking stones into rabbit holes on the current site of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of Saint Andrews.

Rules and regulationsThe rules of golf[ are internationally standardised and are jointly governed by The R&A, spun off in 2004 from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of Saint Andrews (founded 1754), and the United States Giolf Association (USGA).

The underlying principle of the rules is fairness. As stated on the back cover of the official rule book: Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, and if you cannot do either, do what is fair.

There are strict regulations regarding the amateur status of golfers. Essentially, anybody who has ever received payment or compensation for giving instruction or played golf for money is not considered an amateur and may not participate in competitions limited solely to amateurs. However, amateur golfers may receive expenses which comply with strict guidelines and they may accept non-cash prizes within the limits established by the Rules of Amateur Status.

In addition to the officially printed rules, golfers also abide by a set of guidelines called golf etiquette. Etiquette guidelines cover matters such as safety, fairness, easiness and pace of play, and a player’s obligation to contribute to the care of the course. Though there are no penalties for breach of etiquette rules, players generally follow the rules of golf etiquette in an effort to improve everyone’s playing experience.

All-Time Greatest Golfers Leaderboard

1. Jack Nicklaus, 290* 6. Arnold Palmer, 199 11. Tom Watson, 120 16. Babe Zaharias, 74 2. Tiger Woods, 283 7. Byron Nelson, 196 12. Annika Sorenstam, 116 17. Gene Sarazen, 72 3. Bobby Jones, 265 8. Mickey Wright, 142 13. Harry Vardon, 106 18. Lee Trevino, 68 4. Ben Hogan, 231 9. Gary Player, 141 14. Young Tom Morris, 91 19. Old Tom Morris, 62 5. Sam Snead, 208 10. Walter Hagen, 124 15. Seve Ballesteros, 90 20. Billy Casper, 36 * (

Our Best Drill! Swing With Your Feet Together The Tip

After taking your normal address position, set your feet together and make swings without losing your balance.

Why It Works

This drill boosts distance by improving the quality of impact. It also helps you avoid an out-to-in swing path, since it’s hard to swing out-to-in from this position without falling over. We tested this drill with 117 golfers, and it gave test subjects an average of 13 yards extra carry — with a 6-iron!  ( Eric Alpenels October 2004)

The Top 100 Says

“If you need a drill to make your practice time real learning time, use this one. Swinging with your feet together allows you to feel how important knee and foot action are to your swing, and to get a sense of the proper hinging and unhinging action of your wrists. A solid swing is all about rhythm and flow and using momentum — not an all-out arms-and-hand swing — to generate effortless speed.” — Ted Sheftic

(October 2004

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