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Golf - played for over 500 years - did it originate in Scotland, Holland or China?

Listings for Golf

This is a game which has been played for centuries, but in recent years golf has become increasingly popular across all sections of society, including the disabled. Although played by all ages it is frequently the sport chosen by the active older generation. Golf has all the elements needed from an outdoor activity - it provides exercise, skills to master, the enjoyment of being outside in beautiful scenery along with the company of like minded people.

The oldest course in the world is the Musselburgh Links course in Scotland where golf has been played since 1672. Earlier versions of the game were played before this in both Britain and Northern Europe. There is also some evidence that a game very similar to modern golf was played in China 500 years before this!

Basic elements of the game
The area of land where the game of golf is played on is known as the course and the place where the first stroke is played is called the tee. After teeing off a player hopes the ball will land on the fairway where the grass is kept short and it can be hit with a clean stroke. If it lands in the rough, the balls exit will be far less predictable. Even worse it could land in a hazard - lakes, rivers and sand bunkers where special rules apply.

The player is aiming for the putting green, the area of manicured grass around the hole. Once on the green the ball is putted into the hole. Most courses have 18 holes and each hole is classified by its par. This is the number of strokes a skilled golfer needs to complete the hole from the tee. Holes are normally graded as three, four or five par. A typical 18 hole golf course may consist of 4 par three, 10 par four and 4 par-five holes making up the par 72 course.

The aim of the game is to play each hole in as few shots as possible. The well known term birdie is where the hole has been completed in one stroke under par whereas a bogey is one stroke over par. Then we have the double bogey, triple bogey and quadruple bogey!!

There are two forms of play - match play where each hole is a separate contest and stroke play which counts the number of strokes for the whole round is added up.

Types of Golf Course

Links Course - a tradition type of course with many long standing ones to be found in Britain. They are usually in the dunes between the beach and the farmland and contain few water hazards and few trees.

Parkland Course - The typical inland course resembling a British park. They contain lots of trees and the fairways are cut as lawns.

Xerisacpe Course - These are similar to parkland but with more utilisation of native plants to reduce the need for irrigation.

Heathland Course - As the name suggests these are to be found on heathland and therefore feature heather and gorse. They are also less manicured than the parkland courses.

Desert Course - A heavily irrigated course found in the desert. These are popular in the Middle East, Australia and the USA. These do raise environmental concerns though - are they an oasis in the desert, or a waste of water?

Sand Course - Again found in the desert and in areas of low rainfall but they are not heavily irrigated.

Browns Course - Similar to sand courses but rather more technical with layers of gravel and tar under the sand to give firmness and support. The worlds highest golf course is a 9 hole browns course in Leh maintained by Indian army.

Snow Course - A recent invention, played with brightly coloured balls.


Golf Course at Great Torrington - North Devon - UK

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