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Golf is an individual sport played by hitting a ball with a club from a tee into a hole. The object is to get the ball into the hole with the least number of swings or strokes of the club. Golf is a hugely popular sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages. Golf is often played competitively, but can also be played for relaxation and just to enjoy the outdoors.

Golfers on a golf course playing golf
Photo by Ducksters

The playing area for golf is called a golf course. Unlike many sports, the course is not a standard or fixed size. Courses vary in length and design. This is one of the many aspects of golf that have made it so popular and interesting. Many people enjoy trying out and experiencing different courses. Courses can be very different depending on the local terrain. Imagine how different a flat desert course is from a hilly forest course. Many golf courses are famous and known for their beauty or difficulty. Perhaps the most famous golf course in the United States is Augusta National in Augusta, Ga. This is where The Masters golf tournament is played each year.

Each golf course is made up of a number of golf holes. Usually 18 holes, but some courses only have 9 holes. On each hole the golfer first hits the ball from a tee area towards the hole. The hole is on a smooth area of short grass called the green. Typically it will take the golfer a number of shots to get to the green. Once the golf ball is on the green, the golfer will use a putter to roll or "putt" the ball into the hole. The number of strokes are counted up for the hole and recorded on a score card. At the end of the course all the strokes are totaled and the golfer with the fewest number of strokes wins.

Two couples ready to play golf
Source: Florida Memory Project

Short History of Golf

Golf was invented and first played in Scotland in the 15th century. Golf quickly spread to England and from there throughout the world. The first Golf Club, The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, was formed in Scotland in 1744. The first official rule guides were published not much later. In United States, the PGA was formed in 1916 ushering professional golf. Today golf is a very popular sport with major golf tournaments drawing huge crowds both live and on television.

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