The Great Game of Golf
Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world. Itís a sport of all ages, three to ninety-three. It is one of the most frustrating games and you need to have a strong mental game if you want to be successful. Bobby Jones said, "Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course, the distance between your ears." ("Quote garden") This wonderful game originated in England. The exact date is not known, but it began sometime before the 15th century. Earliest known reference from the game comes from a ban in 1457, but this game would be nothing without the rules. There are so many rules to the game of golf, and thatís what makes is special and fun. In 1744 the first rules were developed and since then many rules have been added. What makes the game what it is today is the tournaments, courses, and the equipment. ("Did you know")
There are two types of golfers. They are amateur and professional golfers. The amateur status is anyone who has not declared themselves professional, and they can shoot anywhere from playing like a pro to never have played the game. The professional golfer is somebody who has declared themselves a professional and is eligible to win money at tournaments. With golf as popular as it is these days, there are many professional tours going on worldwide and year long. The most prestigious tour is the Professional Golfers Association Tour, or the PGA Tour. This tour is ten weeks long with a tournament every week. They play four rounds from Thursday to Sunday. Of all these events going on there are four that are called the majors. The majors have the highest purse, largest fields, and most history. The first of these four majors is The Masters. This is held on the first week of April in Augusta, Georgia. It is played on Augusta National Golf Club designed by Bobby Jones. Bobby Jones is one of the first legends of golf. The next major is the U.S. Open. This is held in the middle of June at the most prestigious courses across the U.S. The U.S. Open is the second oldest major and is rich with history. The third major of the year is the British Open. This is the oldest major and you can understand why it is in the place where golf originated. This is held in the middle of July at the oldest and most prominent golf courses in England. The winner receives the most outstanding award in golf, the Claret Jug. The final major of the year is the PGA Championship. It is held in the middle of August on a variety of courses across the U.S. The slogan of the tournament is "Gloryís Last Shot." This is because it is the last major of the year and everybody that hasnít won yet is gunning for it. This is what makes the PGA Championship so fun to watch. Every player is out there trying their hardest to bring home the hardware.(Kelley)
What fun would this game be without the astonishing golf courses it is played on? With all the marvelous courses around the world one doesnít have to travel too far to find one that makes this game even more special. The two types of golf courses are links style and regular style. Links golf courses have absolutely no trees. Links style courses are older courses mostly in Europe, which brings back the way the game was traditionally played. Links courses are famous for their history. There are not many new links courses, but are a few newer ones created to feel like the historic European Courses. The other type of course is a regular course which includes trees. These courses are very common around the world and especially in the U.S. Some unique courses are Augusta National Golf Club, which I have already talked about. More include Bethpage Black in New York which was created for Black people that were not allowed to play on other courses. Now it is open to everybody and has hosted U.S. Opens and is known across the world as one of the most premier golf courses. Another famous course is Pebble Beach. This is located is Monterrey Country, California. Pebble Beach isnít a town, but is shaped like one. All the residents pay for everything and Pebble Beach is a very private course. This is in my opinion the most superior golf courses in the U.S.
Now we go across the pond as they say, to England. The home of golf is also home to some of the most astonishing golf courses in the World. The most historically known by everyone is St. Andrews. This links course is home to the British Open every five years. This course was created sometime six centuries ago. What makes this course so special is that itís enriched with history, from the first British Open to Tiger shooting twenty under par to win. It is nicknamed the Old Course because of all this history. When the course was first created it consisted of twenty-two holes. "The Royal and Ancient Golf Club decided some holes where too short and created what is known as a standard round of golf these days, eighteen holes. One of the most famous characteristics of the old course is the double greens. The greens from different holes are combined onto one large green. To relieve congestion on greens, a white flag was put up on the front nine, and a red flag was put up on the back nine. The British Open was first played on the Old Course at St. Andrews in 1873." The British Open has been played an astounding twenty-seven times on the Old Course. That is the more than any other golf course in Major history, except for The Masters. That is the only major to be played on the same course every year. The rich history of St. Andrews is what makes it known as the Home of Golf. ("St. Andrews Links")
One thing needed to play is golf equipment. With the technology advancing in everything these days equipment needed can range from a ball, to a satellite range finder. The most important utilities needed to play are clubs. A player can have fewer, but no more than fourteen clubs in their bag. There are many different ways to organize clubs. The most common is a driver, metal wood, three iron through pitching wedge, two or three wedges, and a putter. Golf sets vary depending on the course and the way a player plays. The driver is used on the tee box because it has a low degree of loft which helps the ball travel farther. The technology of the driver has changed drastically. Back in the mid 1900ís drivers were made out of wood and now they are made of titanium, which makes the ball travel immensely farther.
The next club in the bag is the metal wood. This is either a three or five wood usually. The higher the number the more loft it has, and is easier to hit. These can be hit anywhere on the course depending on how far a player hits them. Most people hit them from the fairway, but some talented players hit them from the rough and the tee box for more accuracy than the driver. The most important long range clubs in the bag are the irons. Most people have them in sets from three to pitching wedge, but the talented players carry a two iron. The two iron is a very low loft and enormously tough to hit. The irons are how a good golfer scores. This is because the irons are used to determine how close you are to the hole and thus creates a better chance of holing the first put.
When a player misses the green though he will have to use a wedge. There are three main wedges: the fifty-two, fifty-six, and sixty degree. The wedge is used for a variety of things from chipping to pitching. Pitching is when one is thirty to sixty yards away and take a half to three quarter swing. Chipping is when the player is right next to the green and take a less than half swing.
Once one has have chipped onto the green, it is time to putt. Putting is known as one of the hardest skills in the game of golf. It requires a great sense of touch and feel. Putters have changed in technology about as much as drivers. Now there are mallet type putters, blade, and belly putters. Mallet putters are large putters which are for beginning golfers because they are easier to use. Blade putters are a bar-like putter and for more experienced golfers. Belly putters are also very easy to use. They are mallet shaped with a long shaft that comes to the stomach and helps the golfer make a good stroke.
The final piece of equipment that one must have is a golf ball. There are many types of golf balls, with prices ranging from fifteen to sixty dollars. A golf ball is characterized by how many layers or pieces it has. There are between one and four layers to a golf ball. The more layers the higher the price. Another thing a golf ball is characterized by is the feel. This is determined by how soft the golf ball is. The softer the ball the higher quality it is. ("Brent Kelly")
The popularity of the game is rising at an incredible rate. Golfing is now very appealing to younger players and even more appealing to male players. The number of golfers in America is now up to an incredible 26 million. There have been plenty of new courses created to provide a place to play for these people. There are good and bad golfers who play on good and bad courses. And then there are rich and poor golfers who play on nice and absolutely terrible courses. Some are going for health reasons and others are going because of their fond love for the game. The game appeals to more people because it is now more accessible to them. More kids are brought into the game because their parents want to teach them good principles. Jack Nicklaus said, "A kid grows up a lot faster on the golf course. Golf teaches you how to behave." With the popularity rising, along with the great tournaments, phenomenal courses, and technologically sound equipment you know why some people call this the greatest game on Earth. ("golf craze")