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A golf course consists of a series of holes, each consisting of a teeing area, fairway, rough and other hazards, and the green with the pin and cup. Because a round of golf consists of playing 18 holes, most golf courses have this number of holes. Some however only have nine holes and the course is played twice per round, while others have 27 or 36 and choose two groups of nine holes at a time for novelty and maintenance reasons. Many older golf courses, often coastal, are golf links, of a different style to others. For other than municipal courses, there is usually a golf club based at each golf course.
- 1 Teeing area
- 2 Fairway and rough
- 3 Hazards
- 4 Putting green
- 5 Par
- 6 Other areas
- 7 Driving range
- 8 Design
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Notes
Teeing areaTee for the first hole at The Links at Spanish Bay
The very first section of every hole consists of what is known as the teeing area or tee-box. There is usually more than one available box for a player to place their ball, each one a different distance from the hole. They are generally as level as feasible, and most are slightly raised from the surrounding fairway. The most common tee areas, in increasing order of length from the hole, are the ladies' tee, the men's tee, and the championship tee. Other common tee-boxes include the junior tee, closer to the hole than the ladies' tee, and the senior tee, generally between the ladies' tee and the men's tee. In tournaments, golfers generally tee off from the box one level further from the "normal" box for their class (men use the championship tee, ladies use the senior or men's tee, and juniors use the ladies' tee).
Each tee box has two markers showing the bounds of the legal tee area. The teeing area spans the distance between the markers, and extends from two-club lengths behind the markers up to the markers themselves. A golfer may play the ball from outside the teeing area, but the ball itself must be shot from within the area. A golfer may place his ball directly on the teeing ground (called hitting it "off the deck"), a wooden manufactured stick known as a tee, or any natural substance such as sand placed on the teeing surface.
Fairway and rough
After teeing off, the player again hits the ball towards the green from where it came to rest. The area between the tee box and the putting green is known as the fairway. The turf of the fairway is generally cut short and evenly and is an advantageous area from which to hit. The area between the fairway and the out-of-bounds markers and also between the fairway and green is the rough, the turf of which is cut higher than that of the fairway and is generally a disadvantageous area from which to hit. Holes with a par of 3 expect the player to be able to drive the ball to the green on their first shot from the tee box. Holes longer than par 3 are expected to require at least one extra shot made from the fairway or rough.
While many holes are designed with a direct line-of-sight from the tee-off point to the green, some of the holes may bend either to the left or to the right. This is called a "dogleg", in reference to a dog's knee. The hole is called a "dogleg left" if the hole angles leftwards, and vice versa; rarely, a hole's direction can bend twice, and is called a "double dogleg."
Many holes include hazards, which may be of three types: (1) water hazards such as lakes, rivers et cetera; (2) man-made hazards such as bunkers; and (3) natural hazards such as dense vegetation. Special rules apply to playing balls that fall in a hazard. For example, a player may not touch the ground with his club before playing a ball, not even for a practice swing. A ball in any hazard may be played as it lies without penalty. If it cannot be played from the hazard, the ball may be hit from another location, generally with a penalty of one stroke. The strict rules govern exactly from where the ball may be played outside a hazard. Bunkers (or sand traps) are shallow pits filled with sand and generally incorporating a raised lip or barrier, from which the ball is more difficult to play than from grass. As in any hazard, a ball in a sand trap must be played without previously touching the sand with the club.A golfer hits a ball from a bunker.
To putt is to play a stroke using the putter club. Usually, this stroke is played on the green where the ball does not leave the ground. Once on the green, the ball is putted (struck with the eponymous flat-faced club to roll it along the ground) towards the hole until the ball falls into the cup.The Famous 18th Green at Pebble Beach Golf Links
The grass of the putting green (more commonly just green) is cut very short so that a ball can roll distances of several yards. The growth direction of the blades of grass affects the ball's roll and is called the grain of the green. The slope or break of the green also affects the roll of the ball. The cup is always found within the green (at least ten feet from the edge), and must have a diameter of 108 mm (4.25 in.) and a depth of at least 100 mm (3.94 in.). Its position on the green is not fixed and may be changed from day to day. The cup usually has a flag on a pole positioned in it so that it may be seen from a distance, but not necessarily from the tee; this flag-and-pole combination is called the pin or less commonly the flagstaff.
Putting greens are not all of the same quality. Generally, the finest-quality greens are well kept so that a ball will smoothly roll over the closely-mowed grass. Golfers describe a green as fast if a light stroke to the ball makes it roll a long distance; conversely, a slow green is one where a stronger stroke is required to roll the ball the required distance. The exact speed of a green can be found with a stimp meter. By collecting sample measurements, golf courses can be compared in terms of average green speed. It is however illegal by strict rules to test the speed of a green while playing by rolling a ball on it, feeling or rubbing the green.
Most courses have only 3, 4, and 5 par holes although some courses include par 6 holes. Typical distances for the various holes are as follows.
- Par 3 250 yards (230 m) and below
- Par 4 251 - 470 yards (430 m)
- Par 5 471 - 690 yards (630 m)
- Par 6 691 yards (632 m) or more
- Par 3 - 210 yards (190 m) and below
- Par 4 - 211 to 400 yards (370 m)
- Par 5 - 401 to 575 yards (526 m)
- Par 6 - 575 yards (526 m) or more
Harder or easier courses may have longer or shorter distances, respectively. Terrain can also be a factor, where a long downhill hole might be rated a par 4, but a shorter uphill or treacherous hole might be rated a par 5.
Some areas of the course are designated as ground under repair ("G.U.R."), where greenskeepers are effecting repairs or where the course is damaged. A ball coming to rest in this spot may be lifted, then played from outside the G.U.R. without penalty. Certain man-made objects on the course are defined as obstructions (i.e. distance posts, gardens, etc.), and specific rules determine how a golfer may proceed when the play is impeded by these.
Driving rangePractice range with 43 tees (20 covered)
Often, there is a practice range or driving range, usually with practice greens, bunkers, and driving areas. Markers showing distances are usually included on a practice range to benefit the golfer. There may even be a practice course (often shorter and easier to play than full scale golf courses), where golfers practice to measure how far they can hit with a specific club or to improve their swing technique.
DesignPlease help improve this sectionby expanding it.
Further information might be found on the talk pageor at requests for expansion.
A specialty of landscape design or landscape architecture, golf course architecture is its own field of study. Some golf course architects become celebrities in their own right. The field is represented by the American Society of Golf Course Architects, the European Institute of Golf Course Architects and the Society of Australian Golf Course Architects.
See alsoGolf Portal
ReferencesWikimedia Commons has media related to: Golf courses
- ^ The Rules of Golf, as Approved by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and the United States Golf Association 2008-2011
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