There are about 4 million people in the United Kingdom that play golf, and with over 60 million golf players in total around the globe, it is one of the world’s most popular and wide-played sports.
What Exactly is Golf?
The aim of the game, so to speak, is for a player to hit a golf ball using a golf club into a small hole in as few strokes as possible.
Strokes (or “shots”) are made by a player standing sideways to the target, beginning from a teeing ground. These shots are struck using one of many different golf clubs, each suitable for a specific task or distance.
In golf there are different types of game that can be played, such as match play or stroke play:
- Match Play – refers to a game where a player competes against a couple of other players;
- Stroke Play – refers to a game where the only competitive limit is the number of hours in the day.
These are just two of many different game formats played both in Britain and globally.
Why Play Golf?
Golf is a great game for people of all ages, and for both able-bodied and disabled people to learn and enjoy.
Many individuals who aren’t a fan of contact sports such as football or rugby prefer the relative calm and serenity that a game of golf offers, and even though it requires physical activity like other sports, golf is a game that requires a lot of practice, skill, thought and most importantly, correct decision-making.
British Airways wrote an interesting article a couple of years ago on their “Business Life” website about how golf can teach us stuff about the business world – which is probably why you see a lot of corporate types playing golf!
Business skills aside, golf is only one of a handful of sports that has a handicapping system, so that players with different skill levels can easily and evenly compete against each other.
Golf is a game that can be played on virtually any type of surface, regardless of whether the terrain is flat or mountainous. Golf courses usually have nine or eighteen holes, and play starts from a teeing ground, finishing when the player hits the ball in a hole on the green.
Holes are classified by their “par” – or the number of shots a skilled player should be able to make to get their ball into the hole, and all holes have a minimum of par three (a tee shot stroke and two putts).
Here are the different types of golf club you will need in order to play:
- Drivers – used for the teeing ground, designed to hit the ball as far away as possible;
- Fairway Woods – used for hitting balls sitting on the ground;
- Wedges – designed for high spin and high accuracy;
- Irons – golf clubs such as the Mizuno MP 4 are used for shots nearer the green.
There is a full set of official rules governing the correct play of golf; these can be obtained from the R&A website, although you probably shouldn’t worry too much about digesting all of the rules when you first start to play golf!