Golf is the most popular and fastest-growing sport in many countries today. People of all ages can
(and do) play golf, at many different levels of skill. Why is golf so popular? It’s relaxing, it’s good
exercise and it’s played in pleasant surroundings. It presents challenges,yet isn’t too taxing to be
played at an amateur level. Golf is also a great spectator sport. Thousands of viewers watch the
sport on television, while thousands more follow their favorite golf pro to tournaments.
HISTORY OF GOLF
According to legend, a shepherd in Scotland hit a stone with a stick and watched the
stone soar in the air. Thus the game of golf was born!
Golf flourished first in Scotland and later in England. The first golf balls used in England
around the fifteenth century were called “feathery” because they were made of
leather and stuffed with feathers.
The game of golf grew in popularity, especially among the wealthy because it was seen
as a game played and controlled by the upper classes. Although many people still consider golf
“a rich man’s game,” public courses in contemporary America are open to the population at large.
Golf first became popular in America around 1895, when the first U. S. Open Tournament
was held. The first 18-hole golf course opened in Wheaton, Illinois in 1893.
HOW GOLF IS PLAYED
Golf is played on a golf course. Full-sized courses have 18 holes, while smaller courses have only 9 holes. Golf balls are
placed on small wooden or plastic supports called “tees,” which are pressed into theground on a “teeing ground.” Golf clubs
are used to hit the balls off the tees in the
direction of the next hole, which is on what
is called a “green” or “putting green.” The area between the tee and the green is calledthe “fairway.” Trees, lakes, streams, sand, and other obstructions may be on either side
of the fairway. Sometimes, fairways are shaped like arms that are bent at the elbows.
The object of the game is to hit the golf ball off the tee, up
the fairway, to the putting green, and into the hole with the
fewest number of strokes possible. Each hole has a designated
number of strokes. This designated number of strokes
is called “par,” from which we get the popular expression,
“par for the course.” Thus, a good player can move theball from the tee to the hole on a “par 4” hole in four strokes.
Par can vary from three to five strokes, depending on the
difficulty of the course and the distance of the hole from
An excellent player may put the ball in the hole with fewer or greater strokes than are
assigned as par for a particular hole. When this is done, there is a name for it:
BIRDIE Hitting the ball into the hole with one stroke under par.
BOGIE Hitting the ball into the hole with one stroke more than par.
EAGLE Hitting the ball into the hole with two strokes under par. An
Eagle is possible on any hole above par 3.
ACE Hitting the ball into the hole with one stroke. An “ace” is also
called a “hole in one.”
According to golfing rules, once the ball is placed on a tee, it cannot be touched by
anything other than a golf club until it is taken out of the hole. Most golfers strive to keep
the ball on the fairway, the area between the teeing ground and putting green. If a ball is
hit badly, it may end up “in the rough,” or the area near the fairway with bushes, trees
and tall grass. Balls which are hit inaccurately also may end up in bunkers or sand traps.
All sports require that the participant practice sportsmanlike behavior. Part of the goal of
sports is learning how to be both a good winner and a good loser. Golf is no exception.
Always observe the following six rules of golf etiquette:
1. Don’t talk or move around when a player is
about to hit the ball. All players should keep
their distance from the golfer who is about
to hit the ball. She or he should not be distracted
by talking or movements by other
2. Replace any damage done to the course. If
your golf club digs up a chunk of grass (a
“divot,” in golfing terminology) on a shot,
put the grass back where it came from. Also,
rake a sand trap smooth after stepping out of
3. When a group of players is particularly slow, the group behind should be
allowed to move ahead.
4. Technically, each group should be allowed to finish the hole before the next
group starts. No one can tee off when another group is finishing up on the
putting green. On holes of great distance, a group may tee off when the
party in front of them is still on the fairway, but at a safe distance.
5. Help keep the putting green in immaculate condition. Keep carts and golf
cars away from the greens.
6. Learn the proper way to warn other players about an approaching ball. If a
player hits a ball too hard, inaccurately or carelessly and it heads for another
player, the golfer who hit the ball should yell out “Fore!” to warn
The grip is an important element in golf since the hands are the only parts of the body
that touch a golf club. There are three types of grips in golf, as follows:
The interlocking grip. This type of grip is good for persons with
shorter fingers. The little finger of the right hand locks between
the index finger and the middle finger of the left hand. This is an
extremely stable grip, and keeps the hands and fingers in the same
position throughout the swing.
The overlapping grip. In this grip, the little finger of the right
hand overlaps the index finger and middle finger of the left hand
(the opposite if you are left-handed). This is a stable grip, but not
as stable as the interlocking grip.
The baseball grip. In this type of grip, all ten fingers are on the
club (as one would do in holding a baseball bat), with no interlocking
or overlapping. This grip is not as stable as either of the
other two grips.
No one type of grip is absolutely superior to the others. Different people have different
skeletal lever systems, and different muscular development. Some people like the interlocking
grip because of its stability. Others find it too confining and difficult to use. The
choice of grip depends on which one best suits the individual golfer.
THE GOLF SWING
In order to hit a golf ball accurately from a specific distance, a player must know the
fundamentals of the golf swing. The correct way to swing can be broken down into
steps, as follows. However, note that the swing, when performed properly, is one con
tinuous smooth motion:
1. Stand before the ball with the face (flat area) of the golf
club head positioned next to the ball. This is called “addressingthe ball”. If you are right-handed, your left side
will be turned toward the green. The opposite is true if
you are left-handed. Keep your eye on the ball as you
start your backward swing.
2. Swing the club in an arc backward away from the ball.
When the club is at about waist height, your wrists will
remain stable as you grip the club. The shoulder facing
the green will come up under the chin and the hips will
begin to rotate away from the green. Keep your eye on
3. When the golf club is brought back as far as it can go in
the backswing, your shoulders should be turned about
90 degrees from the direction your toes are pointing. Your
hips should be turned about 45 degrees. Don’t take your
eye off the ball.
4. Start the downward motion of the club with a rotation of
your hips toward the direction of the green. Keep your
eye on the ball.
5. Follow the hip motion with the arms coming down with
the wrists still stable. Do NOT lead the motion with the
arms; lead with the hips. Keep your eye on the ball.
6. As the arms straighten, the club face hits the ball. Follow
the ball with your eyes.
7. The swing does not stop at this point. The club continues to follow its path
in the direction of the green as you finish off the swing. This is called the
8. Make every swing a full swing.
If a golf swing is properly done, it should look and feel smooth, effortless, and powerful,
accomplished in a single smooth motion in the backswing, then a single smooth motion
through the arc of the forward swing and into the follow-through.
Strength doesn’t necessarily mean a great deal in the game of golf. Having strong armsdoesn’t necessarily mean that the ball will travel a great distance when you hit it. To get
the maximum distance when hitting a golf ball, you must coordinate the movements of
your hips, torso, arms and wrists.
Think of your body as a whip, starting in the hips and ending in the head of the golf club.
When the face of the club connects with the ball, that point of impact should be the point
at which the swing has achieved its fastest motion and greatest energy. That energy is
imparted to the ball by the face of the club. The greater the energy, the farther the ball
will go. The smoother and more coordinated the swing, the greater the energy.
Putting is done when the ball is on the green and must now be
hit into the hole. The ball may be near to, or far from the hole.
Also, the green may slope off at an angle, may have rough and
smooth grassy sections, and may be wet or dry. Each of these
conditions will affect accurate putting.
When spectators are watching golfers on the putting green, they
often think “It looks so easy!” However, this isn’t usually the
case. Putting is often the critical factor in a golf game. Many a
golfer has lost a tournament because his or her putting wasn’t
Good putting requires a delicate touch and good judgment. There are many different
styles of putting, and many different conditions on the putting green. But three things are
Keep your eye on the ball.
Keep your head absolutely still.
Move the putter along the line of the putt as if it were going through the
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING
Different golf clubs are designed to perform different tasks. Drivers are designed to hit
the ball long distances, and are usually used on the teeing ground. Drivers are made of
wood or composition material. “Irons” (which are made of plated brass and/or steel, not
iron) are usually used on the fairway. Putters are used on the green.
Golf clubs have varying degrees of angles on their faces. This angle is called “loft.” The
angle is measured from the vertical. Hence:
A wedge has the greatest loft and a very severe angle, and is used to
scoop a ball out of the sand.
A nine iron has a large loft or angle, so it can propel a ball
upwards in an arc over obstacles.
The five iron has less loft and a shallower angle, and is
commonly used to hit the ball on down the fairway toward
A driver has little angle and loft, and is used to drive the
ball from the tee down the fairway.
A putter has almost no angle, since it is used for short, precise shots on the green.
A professional golfer usually owns four different wood clubs and ten different iron clubs.
An amateur, however, can usually play with about half that number. A good amateur bag
could carry the following clubs: Driver, Five iron, Seven iron and Putter
Golf balls weigh slightly over an ounce in weight. They are made of rubber and silicone,
and other synthetic materials. The surface of golf balls are covered
with tiny round indentations, spaced at regular intervals. These
indentations are aerodynamic, and give the ball accuracy
in flight—a far cry from the old feather-stuffed
balls first used in the game!
GOLF NOTES AND NEWS
One doesn’t ordinarily associate golf with strong emotional experiences. Instead, golfers
seem cool and detached as they walk the links, concentrating on the ball and honing
their skills. But while golf does not present the spectacle offered by football or basketball,
the drama is there. 1997 offered some of the most dramatic moments ever in golf,
especially with the electrifying appearance of Tiger Woods. He started the 1997 professional
tour with a victory at the Mercedes Championships in January, and then went on
to set the course on fire in Augusta, Georgia at The Masters. In 1998 and 1999, however,
he faded a bit. A recent Official World Golf Ranking showed Tiger Woods as the number
one ranked golfer in the world, with David Duval ranked second and Colin Montgomery
third. Tiger continues to be a money leader in 2001 with earnings over four million after
13 events. Annika Sorenstam leads the LPGA money winners with earnings over one
million after 15 events.
2001 Major Tournaments and Winners:
Bob Hope Chrysler Classic Joe Durant
Players Championship Tiger Woods
The Masters Tiger Woods
Mercedes Championship Jim Furyk
Houston Open Hal Sutton
Nissan Open Robert Allenby
Buick Invitational Phil Mickelson
Phoenix Open Mark Calcavecchia
Honda Classic Jesper Parnevik
Pebble Beach Davis Love III
One of golf’s great accomplishments was Tiger Woods’
win at Augusta on April 8, 2001. This gave Tiger four
majors in a row which included the U.S. Open, the British
Open, and the PGA. Woods is the only man to hold
all four of golf’s major trophies at the same time. “I understandwhat I’ve accomplished,” said Woods. “I have a
better appreciation for what this means. You have to have
your game peak at the right time.” Tiger finished the 2001
golf season earning well over five million dollars while
participating in 18 events. Second in earnings was Phil Mickelson who played in 23
events and accumulated over four million dollars.
WHAT TO DO:
The following questions will help you to have a greater appreciation and understanding
of golf. Write your answers in the spaces below the questions. If there is not enough
room, write on the backs of these sheets. Be neat, spell correctly, and write in complete
1. What physical benefits can be derived from playing golf?
2. Is golf really just “a rich person’s game?” Explain your answer.
3. What is a birdie? a bogey? an eagle?
4. What does it mean to say that a ball ends up “in the rough?”
5. Why does a professional golfer usually own many types of clubs?
6. Name three types of grips in golf.
7. Name six steps in making a smooth swing.
8. What two things are fundamental to good putting?
9. How should you warn other players of an approaching ball?
10. What should you do after you step out of a sand trap?
Short Answer Questions:
1. This grip reminds one of holding a bat
2. The number of clubs in a good amateur golf bag
3. Usual number of holes on golf courses
4. The area between the tee and the green
5. Type of grip where fingers are entwined
6. Hitting a ball into a hole two strokes under par
7. Name of gadget on which the golf ball is placed
8. The club with the greatest loft
9. Hitting a ball into a hole one stroke under par
10. Rated strokes for a particular hole
11. The first US _____ tournament was held in 1895
12. Type of grip where fingers of one hand are on top of fingers of the other
13. Hitting a ball into a hole one stroke over par
14. A fifteenth century English name for golf balls
15. This club is used on the green
16. Wood used to hit the ball off the tee
17. Where legend says golf was invented
18. The highest par rating on a hole
19. The hole is located here
20. Hitting a ball into a hole with one stroke