Golf is practised on a course generally made up of 9 or 18 holes. Each hole is of a variable length and may include a number of natural or artificial obstacles: lakes, trees, hills, rivers or bunkers (a depression filled with sand). Each course is divided into four areas: the teeing ground; the fairway, where the turf is short; the rough, which is made up the edges of the course and where the turf is higher; and finally the green, where the grass is very short and where the hole is.
A golfer may have up to a maximum of 14 clubs in his bag. Golf clubs may be classed in four categories: woods are clubs used for long shots, generally at the teeing ground; irons are for more precise intermediate shots also called approach shots; putters are reserved for the final shots once on the putting green; and finally, wedges are specific clubs used for more control closer to the green or to get out of certain difficult situations, such as when the ball is in a bunker.
A golf ball must weigh no more than 45.93 grammes, and its diameter must be at least 42.67 millimetres. Its shape is that of a sphere, but contains small indentations (between 300 and 450) which help keep the ball in the air.
Par” is the average number of strokes to finish a hole. It is determined by the distance that separates the teeing ground from the flag that indicates the position of the hole on the green. Generally “pars” are done in three, four or five strokes, i.e. “pars 3, 4 or 5”. The game of golf consists of reaching each hole with a minimum of strokes - the score is established according to the number of strokes made in comparison to “par”. Making “par” means a player has taken as many shots to putt the ball in the hole as was deemed par for that hole in advance (for example, taking four strokes on a hole determined to be a par 4). A “bogey” is equal to one shot above par (+1); a “double bogey” is two extra strokes (+2) and a “triple bogey” is three more (+3). Making a “birdie” means finishing the hole with one stroke below par (-1). An “eagle” corresponds to two strokes below par (-2), while an “albatross” is the term for three strokes below par (-3) and is obviously very rare. At the end of the round of 18 holes, the score is calculated by taking the sum of strokes made in relation to par.
At the teeing ground, the player may first place the ball on a small piece of wood or plastic in the shape of a nail, known as the “tee”. This allows him to elevate the ball to hit it better and avoid missing a stroke and damaging the grass with the club. Putt and swing: The “swing” is the action of striking the ball with the club in order to make it fly in the direction of the green. The “putt” is the action of striking the ball to make it roll along the grass (generally on the green) in order to get it in the hole or closer to it.
Rules and etiquette
Golf is a sport with many rules on how to play depending on the situation, but also on how to behave vis-à-vis other players, the course and its environment. There are 34 rules in total, divided into 11 sections.
Shoes and clothes
Golf shoes have a special sole with small protrusions (metal or plastic spikes) to assist the player in obtaining a firm stance, while avoiding any damage to the turf. The structure of the shoe must not contain features that might otherwise assist the player in making a stroke or in his play. Golf's dress code for competition usually requires men to wear trousers and a collared tee shirt while women will often wear shorts or a skirt with a similar style of shirt to the men's players.