All About Golf Rules, Equipment, Safety, and History that you were afraid to ask

For most people, golf is not as action-packed as other sports like basketball, boxing, or football. But for golf enthusiasts, this sport gives them adrenaline rush like no other. Interesting also is some golf facts. Read on.

  • The longest drive ever is a whopping 515 yards, while the longest putt is an outrageous 375 feet.
  • Phil Mickelson plays left-handed, but he is really right handed. He started playing golf by mirroring his father’s golf swing. Since then, he’s been using left handed golf clubs.
  • You have one in 67 million chances of achieving two holes-in-one in one round of golf.
  • Tiger Woods got his first ever ace at the very young age of eight.
  • Balls travel considerably further on hot days than on cooler days. A golfer who swings a club at about 100 mph will often carry the driver eight yards longer for every increase in air temperature of 25°F.
  • The par 77 International Golf Club in Massachusetts is the world’s longest golf course, measuring a monstrous 8325 yards
  • The Tactu Golf Club in Morococha in Peru is the world’s highest golf course, sitting mightily 4,379 meters above sea level at its lowest point.
  • The 7th hole (par 7) of the Sano Course at Japan’s Satsuki Golf Club is the world’s longest golf hole, measuring a fearsome 909 yards.
  • The Hell’s Half Acre on Pine Valley Course’s (New Jersey) 585-yard 7th hole is the world’s largest bunker.
  • An average lady golfer makes a driver swing of about 62mph, while an average LPGA professional makes 96mph. On the other hand, an average male golfer makes a driver swing of about 84mph, while an average PGA Tour golfer makes108mph. Tiger Woods makes an average driver swing of 130mph, and from 148mph to152mph for a national long drive champion.
  • A regulation golf ball has 336 dimples.
  • Feather balls were the first golf balls. They were made of thin leather tightly packed with feathers. This kind of golf ball flew the farthest. The sports used feather balls until 1848.
  • Coby Orr was the youngest golfer to have a hole-in-one feat. It happened in 1975 in Littleton, Colorado. He was five at the time.
  • Scotland banned its people to play golf from 1457 to 1502. This was to make sure they wouldn’t waste crucial time when preparing for the English invasion.
  • Where did the golf term “birdie| come from? While playing 1899, American Ab Smith played what he described as a “bird of a shot.” This then became “birdie.”

History

There is consensus that people in Scotland were the earliest golf enthusiasts, but little is known about who actually invented the sport. There are suggestions that bored shepherds who tended flocks of sheep clos to St. Andrews became skillful at hitting stones into rabbit holes using their wooden crooks.

But we know for sure that it has been around for at least 5 centuries years – James II of Scotland, had football and golf banned, in a March 6, 1457, Act of Parliament, because they were a distraction. These sports interfered too much with war preparations badly needed by the defenders of the Scottish territory.

The ban was again introduced in 1470 and 1491, but this didn’t dampen the spirits of its citizens to play golf. The Scots ignored the ban and the popularity of this sport continued to flourish. Scotland is the home of the world’s oldest golf course, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews, which was founded in 1754.

Many forms of games that resembled golf were played in the 14th century by sportsmen in Belgium, France, and Holland, and also in Scotland. For many years they played the game on rough terrain that lacked proper greens, just unpolished holes carved into the ground where the surface was flat.

Also, the Early Romans played a game similar to golf by hitting a feather-stuffed ball using club-like tree branches. Many art and history books also show pictures of the Dutch playing a golf-like game on their frozen canals in the 16th century. By the 1600s, the sport became very established in Great Britain when James VI of Scotland, later to become James I of England, began to play the game

During the 19th century, the “gutty” or the gutta-percha ball was used as replacement to the feather-stuffed golf ball that had been in use for centuries. The 1st British Open was played in 1860 at Prestwick, Scotland. It was opened to professionals and amateurs alike the next year.

Rules and Regulations

The sport of golf has internationally standardized rules. It is jointly governed by the R&A, spun off in 2004 from St. Andrews’ Royal and Ancient Golf Club and the US Golf Association. Fairness is the fundamental principle of the rules and regulations in golf. As written on the back cover of the official golf 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.”

The sport implements strict rules and regulations regarding a golfer’s amateur status. Basically, any player who has ever played golf for money or received compensation or payment for giving instruction, is not an amateur and is disqualified to participate in competitions for amateur golfers. But amateur players may receive expenses that comply with strict guidelines and accept non-cash prizes within the limitations set by the Rules of Amateur Status.

There are also guidelines known as golf etiquette that every player must abide. These guidelines encompass matters like fairness, safety, pace of play, as well as a golfer’s obligation to contribute to the maintenance of the golf course. Although players are not penalized for violating etiquette rules, they generally follow these guidelines in an effort to improve the playing experience of all.

Players are penalized in certain situations. Penalties are counted towards a golfer’s score as if there was extra swing at the golf ball. Strokes are added for striking one’s ball into an unplayable situation or for rule infractions. A ball hit out of bounds or a lost ball results in a penalty of one stroke and distance. (Rule 27-1) Rule 18-2 states that a one stroke penalty is assessed if a golfer’s equipment causes the ball to move or the removal of a loose impediment causes the ball to move.

Players incur a two stroke penalty if they hit a fellow golfer’s ball with a putt (Rule 19-5) or make a stroke at the wrong ball (Rule 19-2). Most rule infractions lead to stroke penalties, but they can also result in disqualification. A player could be disqualified from rule infractions that result in improper play or if he or she cheats or signs for a lower score.

Golf Equipment

Golf equipment covers the many items used to play the sport. Equipment include the ball itself, devices designed to strike the golf ball, items that help in playing a stroke, and those that enrich the playing experience in some way.

Ball

The smallest allowable golf ball has a diameter of 42.67 mm. Its mass may not go heavier 45.93 g. Golf balls today have a two-later, three-layer, or four-layer design made from a variety of synthetic materials. Usually the surface has a pattern of 300 to 450 dimples specifically designed to improve the aerodynamics of the ball.

Clubs

A golfer often carries several clubs (at most 14 according to the rule) during the game. There are three key types of clubs: woods, irons, and putters. The first type is usually played for long shots from the fairway or tee, and sometimes from the rough. The second type is played for precision shots from the rough and fairways. The third type is used on the green, but it can also help when you play for some approach shots or from bunkers.

Clubhead covers

Golfers use clubhead covers to protect their clubs from hitting each other. This equipment also protects the clubs from incidental damage while in the golf bag and also from weather. In addition, it provides a personal touch to a golfer’s clubs and makes them more identifiable.

Tee

A golf tee is that object you place on or push into the ground to rest a golf ball on top for an easier shot. This is, however, only allowed for the first stroke of each hole. A traditional tee looks like a nail with a small cup on its head. Golf tees are usually made of plastic or wood.

Ball markers

The golf ball may be picked up to be cleaned when on the green; it may also be picked up if it is in the way of a challenger’s putting line. The position of the ball must then be marked with a ball marker.

Golf bag

When playing, a player usually transports his or her clubs in a nylon or leather golf bag. They are constructed cylindrically around a plastic frame. They have a number of pockets specifically tailored to carry some supplies and equipment needed during a round of golf.

Towels

Many golfers use bags that have a ring to which they can clip or tie a towel. Golf towels are used to clean club faces and balls, as well as to wipe hands. Other cleaning products include motorized ball cleaners and a variety of brushes for different types of balls, clubs, and shoes.

Golf cart

Golfers also need golf carts when playing. These motorized vehicles are used to transport the players and their clubs along the course. Traditionally, golfers walk during a round of golf, but using carts is now becoming more and more common.

Safety

Golf is one of safest sports. Only so if you follow a few basic and common-sense safety rules. Injuries can occur when you ignore those rules. The sport involves swinging hard clubs that propels hard balls at very high speeds, and you are in danger if you are in the way of the balls or the clubs. You could also be in danger if you have no respect for the power of the sun, if you play despite lightning warnings, or if your body does not get the right kind and amount of fluids on summer days. Here are some things to follow to ensure your safety and that of people around you on the course.

When you are holding a golf club and are preparing to swing, make sure your playing partner is in a safe distance from you. After all, it is not too difficult to keep track of where people are when you are in a group of just four golfers. Do not swing your club when another person is next to you. Also be a little extra careful on practice swings (this is the time when it is easy for a golfer to let his or her guard down).

Also, look to your left and to your right of the area where you aim your shot. Look ahead of you. Do not strike the ball until you are sure that any golfer up ahead is out of your range. But while it is your responsibility to make sure it is safe to take your stroke, you cannot always rely on other golfers to be extra careful. So even when it is not your turn to hit, be alert of your surroundings. Be very careful if you are near the adjoining fairway and players on that hole are hit toward you. Also be cautious if you are venturing into an adjoining fairway to play or retrieve an errant shot.

There will come a time when golfers hit their drive farther than they expected, or slices or hooks come out of nowhere and take the ball toward an adjoining fairway. There are also times when you play a stroke thinking the fairway ahead is clear, only to see golfers up ahead who had been covered by trees or a hill. If such things happen, yell “Fore!” as loud as possible. This is the word of warning in the world of golf. It lets other golfers know that an errant ball might be toward them, and that they must take cover.

So what to do upon hearing the warning? Do not just stand up and try to spot the speeding golf ball! It just makes you a bigger target. What you need to do is cover up. Get behind a tree or your golf bag, use your arms to cover your head, or hide behind the cart. Protect your head.

Forms of Golf Play

Contrary to what many think, golf is really an exciting sport. And like many other sports, it has a number of forms of play, including match play, stroke play, ambrose, foursomes, three ball, four ball, greensome, and bogey/par.

Match play. It is a competition on a hole-by-hole basis that takes into consideration handicap. The winner is the golfer or the team who wins the most holes in the round. If a golfer leads by more holes than are left to play, then he or she is pronounced the victor at that point

Stroke play. This type of play refers to the number of strokes and the penalty strokes needed to complete the round less any handicap strokes allowed.

Foursomes. Here, two golfers are up against two other golfers. Each team plays one ball and each player alternatively play shots. Penalty shots do not affect the order of play.

Ambrose. after every player has driven, the best tee-shot is selected and everyone takes his or her second shot from this point, and so on into the hole. Ambrose can by played by teams of four or more or with two-person teams playing against one another.

Bogey/Par. Bogey and Par games are very similar to match play, wherein a player either wins, loses, or halves the hole. The result is marked with a + (nett score better than par) sign for a win, a – (nett score worse or equal to bogey) for a loss, and a 0 for a half (nett score equal to par). The plus and the minus signs are totaled at the end of the round and the nett result read as up, down or all square.

Three ball and four ball. In the three ball play, three golfers play match play against each other. In the four ball play, to golfers are up against two other golfers. The winner is determined by the best score of every combination This play is often played in match play type.Greensome. In this form of golf play, two golfers play against two other golfers. Each one tees off at every hole. Thereafter, however, only one ball from each team shall be played alternately by each golfer on the respective team until completion of the hole.

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