Golf Player Putting Golf Ball on Golf Tee

A Complete Guide To Golf

Driver, chip, handicap, putter and so on. These things can be a rather confusing to the beginners who are not familiar with golf terminology. So we have prepared a thorough guide through the world of golf.

First – Check Out The Infographic

Complete Guide To Golf

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History Of Golf

The Beginning Of Time

Since the beginning of time, there has been a game consisting of objects and sticks. So the question is “what country invented golf?” Well, Scotland claims to the origination of golf and so do, Rome, Belgium, France, England and Holland. Every region has its own game consisting of sticks and balls but there is no one particular country where golf actually began.

Golf Player And His Caddy

One theory suggests that fisherman invented the game to keep themselves busy on the east coast of Scotland. The Romans, on the other hand had a popular game called “KHI” in Laos which included some kind of a target, a ball and of course, a stick.

Interestingly, the Roman Emperors often played a game that involved hitting a soft feather stuffed ball with a bent stick. The Chinese propose that a local game “beating a ball or WAN” was played during 300 BC which is the precursor of modern golf.

Chole, a game which still exists in Belgium is actually a halfway stage between hockey and golf. This game is known as ‘Soule’ in Northern France. One side got three chances to whack the object. The opponents then got three strokes at the object in the opposite direction.

The Name “Golf”

The origin of the word ‘Golf’ is believed to be ‘Colf’ – a Dutch word for clubs.

Playing Golf

Steven J. H. van Hengel traced the use of the term “Colf” back to December 26, 1297. The locals played four holes of the game and the tradition continued until the early 18th century. “Colf” was replaced by “Kolf” - which was played on a 25-yard course.

The earliest evidence of golf being played in England is said to date back to 1340. The sketch shows a man trying to hit the ball in the golf like manner. Experts suggest it probably was not golf, but the old fame of “Chole.” This sketch however is more than 100 years old than the first official Scottish golf record.

The Early Years Of Golf

The Scots were the first to make a hole when playing the game involving the stick and the ball. These holes most likely were made by rabbits that roamed freely on the Scottish coasts. Furthermore the game was far more popular on the east coast than the west coast and the golf balls used to get damaged by moisture since they were stuffed with feathers.

Playing Golf at St. Andrews

According to records, golf was played around the turn of the 15th century at St. Andrews and it has been played in one form or the other much before that as well, since 1300. It was during the 16th century that golf became a widely recognized game in Scotland, especially around the East Coast.

The 18th And 19th Century

The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh, Scotland puts forth a claim to have been the first golf club. The St. Andrews Society of Golfers on the other hand reached royal status in 1834. One of the first professional ‘golfers’ in 1800 was David Robertson of St. Andrews. His son, Allan Robertson also emerged as a great professional player.

David Robertson Photography

The father – son duo were also ball makers and would stuff leather feathers into leather spheroids. Allan Robertson, as stated earlier was an exceptional golfer. His matches were watched by one of the largest sporting crowds in Scotland during the 19th century.

Allan’s assistant, Morris used GUTTA PERCHA ball that gained popularity during the mid-1800s. It was harder and survived the abuse better than the softer feather ball. Allan Robertson made one contribution to the game which is prominent even today. It was Allan who introduced the iron clubs as the right way to approach the course. The golfers only used wooden clubs for extrication from ruts and such.

Golf In The US

The US started producing great golfers during the 20th century, when in fact the sport had been played there since the mid 17th century. Russell Montague founded a course in 1884, having studied in Britain earlier. He and his friends kept the course busy for a couple of decades but the game saw a decline around 1910.

J Hamilton Gillespie Posing with Golf Iron

During the same time, golf made its mark in Sarasota. J. Hamilton Gillespie founded a two-hole course there in 1885 but the game never took off. The first club to feature 18 holes was the Chicago Golf Club, which was founded in 1893. This led to golf being played on an amateur level in tournaments in the US.

Golf Since 1900

Thanks to some serious training by the Scots, the Americans began to excel at golf at the start of the 20th century. John J. McDermott won the US Open in 1911 and repeated his victory the next year. Until then, only British golfers had won the event.

John McDermott Holding Golf Iron

The PGA of America was founded in 1916 when a group of professionals met in New York to form the organization. Among the early golfing greats from the US was Byron Nelson, who won 18 games in 1945, including 11 consecutive victories. Sam Snead won the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open, aged almost 53 and also set a record with 81 victories.

Among their contemporaries was Ben Hogan, considered the best ever golfer. He won the only British Open he participated in to go with two PGAs and 4 US Opens.

The Contribution Of African Americans

People from all walks of life and from every corner of the globe play golf. You might not know that the person who invented the golf tee was African-American. The golf tee was incepted in 1899 by George F. Grant, but he never got the chance to benefit from his creation.

African American Kids Playing Golf

Joe Bartholomew was one of the first great golf course designers of color. By the time he turned 7, he was in the caddie ranks in his hometown of New Orleans. At college, he studied golf course architecture, before returning home. He built and designed a number of golf courses in New Orleans but due to the laws at the time, was never allowed to play there.

Golf And The Olympic Games

Golf was first included in the Olympic Games in 1900. In 1914, golf was added to the list of optional sports, as there were some issues regarding the rules of the game and its relevance to the Olympic program at the time. Eventually, it was removed from the list. However, in 2009, the committee decided to reintegrate golf into the Olympics in time for the 2016 Games.

Rules Of Golf

When you start playing golf, there are a number of rules that you should adhere to. Learning all the rules can seem overwhelming at first especially if you are new to the game.

Man Holding Book Rules of Golf

Rules Of Golf – An Overview

There’s a difference between a leisurely round of golf and playing a tournament. In fact, the tournament might feel like an entirely different game because there are RULES! Remember that the USGA rulebook is absolute, there’s no scope for discussion. Unfortunately, if you don’t follow the rules, you won’t be able to continue with the competition.

While it is impossible to describe the entire rulebook, this section looks at some basic golf rules you definitely need to know before playing in the tournament. Remember, this is just an overview and you need to refer to the official rulebook for more detailed explanations.

Preparing For The Game

  • Bringing the right equipment to the game is one of the basic rules. There’s a limit when it comes to the number of clubs you can carry – yes, make sure you don’t have more than 14 sticks in the bag before teeing off. Interestingly, you should have plenty of tees and golf bags in your bag and borrowing clubs from other golfers isn’t the best thing to do.
  • Most golf courses require players to wear formal golf pants, shoes. You can wear a golf glove to prevent blisters on your hands. Some players use collared shirts and khaki shorts as part of their golf wardrobe.
Golf Equipment on Grass
  • You should find out whether tipping is a common practice at the course you’re playing. Remember that while playing at a private course; it is necessary to tip caddies, cart jockeys and people taking care of beverage carts.
  • Before showing up at a golf course, you need to call ahead and reserve a tee time. If you miss your time, your spot might be lost.

Some Basic Rules

  • The holes on a particular golf course must be played in order. You can either go for holes 1 through 9 or 1 through 18.
  • You should mark your ball so that you can identify it easily on the course.
Relaxed Rules of Golf
  • The golf ball can only be hit with the head of the golf club. Never push or rake the ball. In addition, you cannot strike the ball if it is moving.
  • You must always use the correct handicap.

Teeing Off

  • The golf balls need to be placed between the tee markers. These markers usually are small colored cones. Remember that the golf balls can be even with the markers or two club lengths behind them. You can never place the golf ball in front of the tee markers.
  • For the first hole, the player with the honor tees can go off first. This can be determined randomly.
Golf Teeing Off
  • For the remaining holes, the player with the best score on the preceding hole can go first.
  • When making a shot from the tee marker to the green, the player with the ball farthest from the hole goes first.
  • You should never try to move the golf ball while playing. Where the ball comes to rest is the place where you should play your next shot.

Hitting The Ball

  • A stroke is added to your score if you hit the ball out of bounds.
  • When your ball is still (on the green), you can brush away loose impediments such as leaves or sticks.
Golfer Hitting The Golf Ball
  • You’re not allowed to test the surface of the green by rolling the ball or even scraping the surface.
  • You can wait for about 10 seconds to see if the ball will drop in the hole.
  • You have five minutes to search for a lost ball. The clock will record the time from when you start looking for the ball. Once 5 minutes are gone, the ball will be considered lost.
  • You should be prepared to play when it’s your turn. Don’t keep other golfers behind you waiting and make sure you have your club, tee and golf ball ready.

Course Safety

  • You should be aware of the whereabouts of other golfers before you start swinging your club.
  • If you decide to use a golf cart, make sure you keep the cart only on the designated paths.
  • You can get golfing advice on the course while hanging out with friends on the weekend. However such behavior is considered illegal in competitive play. What’s worse is that if you are involved in asking someone about the line they just hit, you will receive a penalty of two strokes. You can discuss strategy with your team partner during a team match.

As stated earlier, you should always refer to the official rule book to settle any disputes.

Anchoring Ban

Anchoring was banned effectively in 2012. The USGA and the R&A decided to include the ban in the official rules of golf. The organizations outlined the different reasons for the rule change. They explained why change in rule was made at a particular time, exceptions to the rule, if any, and the definition of what is considered an anchor.

If you want to know more about the anchoring rule, check out the video and the various documents here.

Male Golfer Anchoring Putter

To sum it up, anchoring is when a player uses his/her body to stabilize the hand when executing a shot, or uses his/her body to support the forearm.

Equipment And Accessories

What Golf Equipment Do I Need

Even if you have never played golf before, you know that you need to arrange some golf clubs before you start playing. In addition to the sticks, you will need lots of spare golf balls, golf tees, pen for marking balls, golf towels and of course, the official golf rule book.

Equipment For Golf on Grass

What else do you need to carry? Continue reading to know more about golf equipment and golf accessories you need to carry in your bag.

Golf Balls

Your golf clubs are no good without high quality golf balls. If you want to get some extra practice and master your swing, damaged golf balls are great for the purpose. Most professional golfers store ‘out of service’ balls safely for use on a bad day. After all, throwing your golf balls in the water or woods is not the best idea.

Golf Balls on Grass

A wide variety of golf balls are available in market. Some balls are designed to assist driving distance and there are golf balls that have been especially designed to improve swing accuracy. When you’re first starting out, you can invest in a couple of boxes of low cost golf balls since most of the balls won’t make it back into your golf bag.

Premium, expensive multi-layer golf balls available in the market are superior because they perform well. For example, you would find that the balls spin more and offer greater feel and control on shots near the green. This interestingly can make a great deal of a difference if you’re playing a short game.

If you decide to participate in a tournament, make sure you use the products listed in the USGA’s conforming list. This list is updated the first Wednesday of each month and can be accessed via the official USGA website. To check the status of the golf balls you’ve purchased, click here.

Golf Clubs

There are many different kinds of golf clubs. There are a range of clubs designed to help players of different skill levels and to enable players to hit the ball over varying distances. This is why professional players carry a combination of golf clubs.

Golf Clubs in Bags on Golf Court

Wood golf clubs are the best choice if you want to hit the ball really far, i.e. 200 to 350 yards. Earlier, the head of this type of club was made of wood. However, with the passage of time, the wooden head has been replaced with metals such as steel and titanium. The wood club has a big club face and its head is large and rounded.

Iron golf clubs are used if you want to hit the ball fewer than 200 yards from the green. These clubs posses a higher degree of loft than the woods and are numbered 1 through 9. The long irons, i.e. 1, 2 and 3 have little loft and can send the ball far. Middle iron or 4, 5 and 6 are used when the ball is 150 to 170 yards from the hole. The shorter irons (7, 8 and 9) get the ball in the air quickly due to their loft.

Hybrid clubs, as the name suggests combines the features of both iron and woods. The club face is similar to what you find in an iron club and the head is rounded like a wood. Hybrid golf clubs are one of the most versatile clubs any player can use.

Golf Irons in Row

Wedges can be used to strike the ball and make it fly in the air. You should select a wedge if the hitting distance is as far as 130 yards to the green.

Putters perhaps are the most widely used golf clubs. You can use putters to roll the ball along the green so that it reaches the hole. The good thing is that putters come in different sizes. You can use taller putters if you’re having problems using a standard putter.

Golf Bags

If you go shopping for a golf bag, you would notice that there are several different types available. Before you start shopping for golf bags, make sure you think about how many golf clubs you want to carry with you. More importantly, you also need to look at how you will transport the bag.

Golf Bags on Golf Court

Those of you who plan to carry the clubs yourself can go for carry bags. They are usually made of nylon and plastic and can hold a basic set of clubs along with few golf accessories such as tees, towels and ball marker.

Car bags are designed to be carried on a hand cart and have more storage area than carry bags. A stand bag looks like a cart bag however it has two additional ‘legs’ that allow the bag to sit while you’re busy taking your shot. Most stand golf bags have a carrying strap, but there’s little room for extra golf equipment and supplies.

If you have a caddy at your disposal, you can use staff bags. These bags are huge and are designed to hold the 14 club set as well as all other accessories you might have. Staff bags are made of leather and there’s a prominently featured logo on the side.

Golf Shoes

Golf shoes are important to the success of your game as you will be walking around 4 to 5 miles during a road. Before you buy new golf shoes, make sure you try them with the socks you intend to wear during the game.

Trying Golf Shoes

Ideally golf shoes should fit tightly in the middle portion of your foot when compared to other shoes. Depending on the playing conditions, you may want to invest in a waterproof shoe which is slightly more expensive, but highly comfortable even in wet conditions.

Traditional golf shoes are the most popular style to choose from. The price usually depends on the shoe material (leather, polyester, GORE – TEX) and of course, the quality of craftsmanship. Golf sandals are light-weight and breathable and are a great choice if you would be golfing in warm temperatures.

Spikes are now becoming a thing of the past as they are not allowed on most golf courses. Metal spikes have largely been replaced with plastic which doesn’t tear up the green.

Golf Shirts

Strictness in dress codes depends on the policies of the golf course that you are playing. Generally short sleeve golf shirts, long sleeved golf shirts, roll neck shirts and turtle neck shirts are widely accepted at golf clubs.

Man Posing in Under Armour Mens Team Colorblock Polo

Golf shirts have sleeves; collar and three to four buttons. They are made in polyester, cotton or mercerized cotton. In fact, you can find golf shirts made with breathable fabric that would keep you dry even on the hottest days.

The essential golf shirt is offered in a much more flattering cut for women players and in a wider range of colors. The good thing is that the golf shirt or the polo shirt has now become an acceptable form of dress even at work. On the other hand, most golf courses, especially non municipal ones have dress codes, so always call ahead before playing and ask for any specifics to avoid trouble.

Golf Gloves

You can maintain your grip on the club in any weather with high performance golf gloves. While golf gloves are not essential, they are recommended to improve grip. The golf glove is traditionally worn on the non-dominant hand. This means left handed golfers wear the glove on their right hand and vice versa. There are three different types of golf gloves – leather, synthetic and hybrid in the market today.

Bionic Men's Golf Glove on Hand

Golf Hats

Golf hats particularly baseball style hats and visors are quite popular on the golf course. Their primary function is to protect you from the sun.

Golf Carts

You don’t necessarily have to use a golf cart when on the course. But it will be much easier for you to focus on your game when your back isn’t hurting from carrying a heavy bag around. There are two main types of golf carts – gasoline and electric.

Golf Cart on Golf Course

Most carts come fairly equipped from the factory, but depending on your personal needs, you can get them customized exactly as how you want them.

Learning To Play Golf

Well you can learn to play golf in order to enjoy your time out on the course. The best way to learn how to play golf is to simply pick up small bits and pieces of information along the way and practice the different areas of the game.

Man Teaching Woman How to Swing The Golf Ball

It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re starting out especially if you’re having a tough time with golf swings. Ideally, you should begin starting on a shorter or par 3 executive golf course where most holes are less than 200 yards long.

Perhaps the most overlooked aspect for most beginners is the ball’s position in relation to your stance or golf swing. You should always place the ball in line with the center of your stance when hitting with wedges. Remember that if you rip a small chunk of grass with your shot, you don’t have to be worried because you are actually achieving the right downward angle of attack.

How Can I Master A Driver Golf Swing

The driver, as you can guess is the golf club that can help you hit the golf ball the most distance. However, this is a difficult club. In order to master the driver swing, you should place your feet about shoulder distance apart and position the ball off the inside of your left heel. Tilt your spine slightly so that your right shoulder is lower than your left shoulder.

Man Swinging The Golf Ball

Now grip the club in your hands (take care not to grip the club tightly) and shift your body weight to the back foot. Take the club back so that your arms and the stick (club) are parallel to the ground and use a quick hip rotation to generate the power needed for hitting the ball a distance.

When the club makes contact with the ball, your arm should stretch out and you should finish the shot with a strong follow through. At the end of the swing, your back heel should be up and the back toe should be pointed toward the ground.

Most players make the mistake of using the same ball position for fairway woods that they used with the driver. Remember that fairway woods are shorter and you need to adjust your ball position slightly to get into a good spot.

What Are The Different Types Of Golf Grips

The three most common types of golf grips are:

  • Overlapping Grip
Showing Golf Grip
  • Interlocking Grip
  • Ten-Finger Grip

The overlapping grip is the most common grip. The interlock or interlocking grip involves locking the hands together and this is the exact reason why this grip is preferred by beginners. The baseball grip is the least preferred grip among professionals, but it is still used by beginners. The ten finger grip can also be used by people who experience joint pain or have small, weak hands.

If you’re learning to play golf, it is important that you are patient and consistent. Remember, everything will get easier with regular practice.

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