Let’s admit it! For most of the Indians, the knowledge of the game of golf is limited to either Tiger Woods or the occasional snippet that they chance upon while flipping sports channels. We hardly wait a few seconds as we watch golfers swinging their sticks or walking in what appears as a vast picturesque field; and that’s about it! Such is the story of golf in India; a sport patronized just by a handful when compared to the country’s vast populace. It is definitely not one of the most accessible sports in the country, but hey! It never harmed anyone to follow a sport. Don’t we all watch sports that we might not actually be playing in person? Besides, golf is one such sport that can be taken up at any age and can be played for the longest possible time, just saying!

Contrary to common perception, there is more to the sport than wielding sticks and walking a long distance. Since it’s an individual effort, it involves careful strategizing and conceptualization, not to mention, a good amount of physical strength. It is known to become addictive for it is no ordinary game, my friend!

So, we decided to break it down for you, to get you acquainted with the sport so that the next time you are flipping channels, you might just be tempted to give it a view.

The Golf Course

A golf course typically consists of 9 or 18 holes.  18 holes make one round of golf.  It is a must to point out, here a ‘hole’ means the entire area from the tee box, all through the fairway to the putting green.

A tee box is the starting point of a Hole; it is a flat surface (slightly elevated) to enable a clean shot.

A fairway is the area between the tee box and the green which has a closely mowed grass from where it is easier to hit a ball. At the periphery of the fairway is the Rough, the area with longer grass than the fairway which makes it more difficult to hit a ball.

The green is the patch that holds the hole/cup. The grass here is mowed absolutely fine like a carpet which enables the ball to roll easily into the when a golfer is putting. The edges of the green have slightly longer grass is called a fringe.

Hazards are the objects that make the process of playing a hole more challenging and difficult to complete the hole in the prescribed number of shots. The different types of hazards are

  • Bunkers: sand pits in the fairway or near the putting green
  • Water hazards: lake, ponds, ocean, river or any other open water body on the Course
  • Trees or bushes

Every hole differs in layout in terms of distance/ length. The shortest length is called a Par 3, mid-length is called a Par 4 and the longest is a Par 5. In this context, Par means, the estimated number of shots an expert golfer needs to finish the hole. Thus, a par 3 needs 3 shots, par 4 needs 4 shots and a par 5 needs 5 shots for a skilled golfer to play that hole in order to attain a par score.

Thus, to sum it up, you start by hitting the ball from the tee box to place it strategically on the fairway and then to green, where you putt/sink the ball into the cup to finish one hole. All this is done while making the best attempt to avoid the hazards so that the hole can be completed in the minimum number of shots.

SCORING

The scoring is done hole wise and then the final score is the aggregate of all the individual holes. The success of an entire round is determined by the (-) Under score i.e the lowest number of shots taken to finish the whole round. Yes, minus is good, plus is bad.

If you finish the hole in the designated number of shots/the par, the score is called EVEN.

If you are able to finish it in one less shot than the designated par it’s called -1 or 1 UNDER

If you finish the hole in one more shot than the designated par, it’s called +1 or 1 OVER.

A general addition of all the pars of the 18 holes called Par to the Course comes to 70-72. A player’s score is thus expressed in terms of UNDER, EVEN or at PAR to the course.

For example; if the addition of all holes is 66 on a par 72, the player’s score is 6 under par or minus 6.

If the addition of all the holes is 80 on a par 72, the player’s score is 8 over par or plus 8.

If you finish 72 on a 72, the score is par/even for the course.

SCORING TERMINOLOGY:

  • BIRDIE = -1, when you finish a hole in 1 less shot than the designated par.
  • EAGLE = -2, when you finish a hole in 2 less shots than the designated par.
  • DOUBLE EAGLE/ALBETROSS = -3, when you finish a hole in 3 less shots than the designated par.
  • BOGEY = +1, when you finish a hole in 1 extra shot than the designated par.
  • DOUBLE BOGEY = +2, when you finish a hole in 2 extra shots than the designated par.
  • HOLE IN ONE = when you finish a hole in just 1 shot. (ONLY POSSIBLE IN PAR 3)

IN THE GOLF BAG

A golfer is allowed 14 clubs (golf sticks) in his/her golf bag

Driver: to hit the longest distance

Putter: to sink in the ball into the hole

Irons: clubs of different sizes to hit different distances

PLAYING FORMAT

Each round is allowed maximum players. Larger groups are divided into groups of 4 or less depending upon the number of people playing. There are also different formats of playing which are described below:

MATCH PLAY; the golfers compete hole by hole and the golfer who wins the most number of holes wins the match.

STROKE PLAY; the golfers count the number of shots used to finish each hole and add them up after 18 holes. The golfer with the lowest number of shots taken to finish the round, wins.

STABLE FORD;

It is a points system wherein the golfer is awarded points based on their strokes on each hole. A fixed score (often par) is decided as the demarcation, and then points are allotted accordingly depending upon the number of shots taken in relation to the fixed score. Here the object is to get the highest score as the lowest number of strokes have the highest point.

PROFESSIONAL GOLF TOURS:

Tours held in INDIA:

  • PGTI – Professional Golf Tour of India. (MEN)
  • WGAI – Women’s Golf Association of India.

            Eligibility; through qualifying school.

  • Tour held in ASIA

ASIAN TOUR: men’s professional golf tour in Asia except Japan, which has its own Japan Golf Tour.

LADIES ASIAN TOUR.

Eligibility; through qualifying school. Professional golfers from any part of the world may participate.

  • Tour held in EUROPE

EUROPEAN TOUR

LADIES EUROPEAN TOUR

Eligibility; through qualifying school. Professional golfers from any part of the world may participate.

  • Tour held in the USA

PGA TOUR (men)

LPGA TOUR (women)

Eligibility; through qualifying school. Professional golfers from any part of the world may participate.

The MAJORS

There are four Grand Slams in golf called the Major Championships.

  • MASTERS; an invitational event hosted by AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB in the United States.
  • U.S. OPEN; hosted by United States Golf Association at different locations in the United States.
  • THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP; hosted by the R & A on a links course at one of the 10 locations in the UK.
  • PGA CHAMPIONSHIP; hosted by the Professional Golfers’ Association of America and played at various locations in the United States.

So, that’s golfing in a nutshell. Its nuances brought forth as simply as possible. So that the next time when you are flipping channels, you might want to stop a bit longer before switching to some other channel.

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