Inspired by the stories and camaraderie of your friends and co-workers who play and even the pros on TV, you’ve borrowed some clubs, practiced on the driving range a few times and are now ready to venture out for your first round. So what do you need to know and do to make your initial foray on a real course something that will keep you coming back again and again?
The term “PGA” can take different meanings with respect to golf in the United States. The Professional Golfers’ Association of America, for example, is an organization of golf club and teaching professionals which runs numerous tournaments at the local level across the United States. The PGA Tour is a separate organization of professional players that runs elite men’s competition, including the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour. Top-level women’s competition is run by the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Rules for the organizations’ various events can differ slightly, but the basic guidelines are consistent.
Some things just go together: bread and butter, Laurel and Hardy, Forrest Gump's "peas and carrots." But golf and your steady who doesn't play? Well, that's just cats and dogs. Or Kardashians and talent. But ever since great pairings were first made, mankind has sought — and often struggled — to turn things that are good on their own into things that are great together. You love golf. You love your significant other. How do you introduce the two great loves of your life to one another? Hear this: It ain't no handshake introduction, but it doesn't take a miracle, either. Diehard golfers can convince their less enthusiastic partners to love — or at least tolerate — the game, and that can have serious benefits for your relationship. As life coach Leah Jantzen said, “The term ‘golf widow’ exists for a reason. Golf is a very time-consuming, all-encompassing sport that is more of a lifestyle than a hobby. A relationship can certainly suffer if two people are not on the same page, especially with an activity that takes so much time.” And as your round last week can attest, suffering is not good.
The way you hold your hands when you play golf can determine if you hit the ball straight or hook it into the water. The golf swing begins with your hands. Gripping the club properly is so important that it usually is the first thing golf instructors teach to new players. To master the grip you must hold the club without tension. Tension in your hands causes stiffness in your forearms and shoulders, making making it difficult to swing the club freely, resulting in wayward shots all over the golf course.
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Every golfer loves playing consistently well. Even the best golfers, such as Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, start tournaments hoping to achieve consistency. When their play is consistent they're capable of winning major championships because of their superior talent. Weekend players can't rise to that level, but you can significantly increase your enjoyment of the game and perhaps challenge for your club championship by becoming a more consistent player. Doing so takes training, hard work and lots of patience.
The PGA Championship is one of golf’s four major tournaments, along with the U.S. Open, the Masters and the British Open. The annual event, which is run by the PGA of America rather than the PGA Tour, is played on a variety of courses across the U.S. Through 2011, 71 courses in 25 states had played host to the PGA Championship. While most fans keep their eyes on the leaderboard as the players vie for the Wanamaker Trophy, for many players -- particularly the club pros who qualify each year -- the first goal is to make the cut and reach the final two rounds.
Whether it’s the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup or the World Golf Championships, match play can provide an exciting alternative to standard stroke play. The PGA Tour does not run any match-play events on its own but it is involved in events run in conjunction with other world golf organizations. The PGA of America and its sections also run match-play events for club professionals. The basic shot-by-shot game of golf remains the same in all PGA events, whether they're stroke play or match play competitions, but match play rules vary from stroke play rules.
Learning the basics of golf can help you get rid of an annoying slice or get off to a fast start if you're a beginner. How you learn is a matter of personal choice, according to professional players such as Bubba Watson. One of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, Watson has never had a golf lesson. He is completely self-taught and told "The Wall Street Journal" that he'll never take a lesson. Watson's obvious natural talent made him a quick study, but other pros such as Lee Trevino recommend taking a more structured approach to learning the game.
The Rules of Golf regulate both game play and the equipment used to play golf. Rule 4 and Appendix II outline the rules as they apply to all clubs, including drivers. Disobeying Rule 4 can result in penalties, but you also need to be aware of Appendix II. It's aimed primarily at manufacturers, but companies do build non-conforming clubs for weekend players. Knowing the basics can keep you from accidentally buying a club you can't use in competition.
Two-person or four-person team scrambles allow each player on a team to contribute good shots and putts while minimizing the individual's poor shots. As a result, lesser-skilled golfers usually are more comfortable playing a scramble format, since they can lean on their teammates for support. A two-person scramble, though, puts more pressure on each player, since there is only one teammate to lean on instead of three.
The Players Championship – held each May at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida – brings together most of the world’s top golfers each year. Indeed, the tournament's field is so elite that the event is often referred to as “the fifth major.” The PGA Tour, which runs the tournament, offers a number of avenues by which top professional players can qualify for The Players Championship.
The Solheim Cup a women's team match play competition that began in 1990 and is the women's equivalent of the Ryder Cup. LPGA professionals from the United States play against their counterparts from Europe. The tournament's location alternates between United States and Europe. Matches are held every two years and are played over a three-day period. In match play format, the lowest score posted on each hole wins the hole. The winner of the match is the player, or team, that wins the most holes. A point can be won in each of 28 Solheim Cup matches played. The team with the most points wins.
The Chicago style golf format rewards competitors for great play on individual holes and not just for their total scores in a round. It also has a unique way of taking the handicap difference among players into account in the scoring formula, giving players of varying abilities the opportunity to compete against one another.
If you have serious game and you want to play on the PGA Tour or Nationwide Tour, you must play in the PGA Tour Qualifying School, which is commonly known as Q School. A rigorous test of golf skills in tournament conditions, Q School identifies players who have the physical and mental abilities to compete at the highest levels of professional golf. You'll be competing against other aspiring professionals and, if you advance, the field will be increasingly populated by veteran Tour professionals who've lost play privileges and must attend and succeed at Q School to reclaim those rights.
Chances are, just about everybody who has ever shot par or under on a championship golf course has at least momentarily had visions of playing professional golf. After all, the lure of playing a game for a living on lush green fairways is tantalizing and exciting. Rest assured, though, before you can stroll the fairways competing against Tiger and Phil, you must follow a process to become a professional golfer. Once you've developed sufficient skills under tournament conditions, you should take certain, defined steps to compete professionally and then later play at the highest level, the PGA Tour.
The Professional Golfers' Association was the brainchild of Rodman Wanamaker, a retailer in New York, who saw the opportunity for further sales by establishing the association and a major tournament in 1916. Walter Hagen was one of the 35 attendees at the first meeting to explore the concept of an organization of professional golfers. The first PGA Championship was played a few months later at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York. World War I prevented the tournament from being played in 1917 and 1918, but it resumed in 1919.
Amateur golfers all over the world use handicaps. They allow players of widely differing skill levels to have competitive games against each other. Unlike stroke play, the actual number of strokes taken in a match isn't the recorded score. Handicaps are used a little differently in a match-play competition.
The United States Golf Association established its handicap system in an effort to allow players of different skill levels to compete on an equitable basis. For example, this system allows a player with a handicap of 12 at a licensed golf club to receive the assistance of one stroke on the 12 most difficult holes of a course when competing against a scratch player and using the same set of tees.
A golf scramble is a format for a golf tournament. Two or more players form a team, with the rules emphasizing fun without the pressure of players keeping individual scores. Each player hits a tee shot on each hole, but everyone plays from the spot of the best shot, subject to certain criteria. Rules for playing in a scramble are informal, with tournament organizers modifying basic rules as they wish. For example, organizers may require a group to select each player's tee shot at least twice. The scramble format is not covered under the official Rules of Golf.
In golf, every club has a specific purpose. Without a variety of different clubs in your bag, it is hard to achieve success on the golf course. The specific clubs you use depend on your skill and style of play, but the constants in every golfer's bag are a driver, woods, hybrids, irons and a putter. The maximum number of clubs allowed in your bag is 14; pick and choose from different types of clubs to keep under the club limit.
A golfer with an impressive set of physical skills who cannot focus adequately during a round might struggle as much as an average golfer with high focus. Although many other sports require athletes to make split-second decisions, golf is a slow-paced game that requires careful planning and focus before making every shot. Fundamentals are vitally important in golf, but so too is being mentally strong enough to block out distractions while you are playing.
Chances are good that you've heard players talk about their pre-shot routines for putts. There are things every player needs to do before making a putt. A good pre-shot routine on the green gives you confidence because, once it's finished, you know that you're ready to give the putt your best shot. A consistent, relaxed pre-shot routine can improve your ability to make putts.
The FedEx Cup is the PGA Tour's season-long competition in which players accumulate points to reach a four-tournament playoff that culminates in the Tour Championship. The FedEx Cup season begins in January and runs through mid-August. The playoffs then begin, with fields being reset by points as the size of the fields dwindles after each of the first three tournaments. The final 30 players after the third playoff event qualify for the Tour Championship, with a $10 million prize going to the FedEx Cup winner.
Although most golf fans think of stroke play first when they think about the game, match play is probably the oldest form of the game. Even though most of the golf we watch on TV are stroke-play events, team competitions such as the Ryder Cup and the Solheim Cup have long used the match-play format – an entirely different approach to golf.
The skins-game format in golf has long been a staple of friendly competitions among amateurs, but it reached national prominence in 1983 when a skins game was televised with four legends competing: Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. The match was played over Thanksgiving weekend on the rugged and difficult Desert Highlands course in Scottsdale, Arizona. Viewers got to experience all the drama and excitement of the skins format – how the stakes can rise as the match progresses and a player who has been struggling all day can rise up and win by having a great hole or series of holes at the end.
Golf by itself is a fascinating game, offering the challenge of trying to shoot your best score while battling the natural elements and hazards presented by the course. However, sometimes golfers like to mix it up a bit and try different scoring formats. In Lone Wolf golf, the objective is to accumulate the highest number of points. On each hole, 1 to 4 points are awarded for the lowest score. The player designated "the wolf" has the opportunity to earn up to 4 points. Each player of the foursome has the chance to be the wolf at various holes in the match.
A horse race might seem out of place on the golf course, but this form of competition, also known as a shootout, is played at country clubs nationwide. In the golf horse race, one player is eliminated per hole until only one player is left at the end of 18 holes. Think of it as match play in the extreme.
Nancy Lopez is a former standout on the LPGA Tour whose winning personality matched her amazing golf talent – a combination that tremendously raised the popularity of her sport among golf fans everywhere and encouraged countless young women to take up golf. She had a magnetic smile that came across as well on TV as it did in person, drawing new fans to women's golf. In 1978, she burst onto the LPGA tournament scene with an historic run of five consecutive victories in her first full season, and by year's end, she had won nine times, including first place at the prestigious LPGA Championship. She is an enduring star who would go on to win more than 50 tournaments in her career.
In golf, a tee time is the time you set with a golf course to begin your round of golf. Also called a tee-off time, virtually all courses require golfers to set tee times before visiting the course. Setting up a tee time by telephone is quick and easy, and many clubs also offer the ability to set up a time over the Internet.
Most people who play golf regularly have faced the prospect of being grouped with people they don't know. This situation is especially common when you play alone or with one other person. The pro shop or starter will create groups of four to expedite play and get more players on the golf course. Having to spend the next few hours with complete strangers can be nerve-racking, but it can also lead to new friendships or a business connection.
Although every golf course has a unique dress code for its players, several universal rules concerning formal golf attire exist. When preparing to play at a new course, always note the course's dress code before showing up. What might have been allowed at one course won't necessarily be acceptable at another course. If you have any doubt, dress more formally to ensure you fall within the guidelines.
For kids just learning the game, however, understanding etiquette is just as important as the fundamentals. And kids can learn the etiquette even before they learn to play. If your golf course allows, bring your child along as a spectator and teach the etiquette as situations arise.
Scramble is a tournament format with teams of four players. All four players hit a ball from the tee. Each member of the team then hits his next shot from the best landing position of these four shots. All four players putt from the spot where the closest approach shot to the hole ended up. This format continues over 18 holes. Scramble events typically have low winning scores, because with four chances of executing each shot, it is likely at least one of them will be good, and the team will have a low score for the hole, often par or better. Within the scramble format, there are fun variations to play in tournaments.
Professional golf remains one of the few sports where showboating and trash talking has not become mainstream. As a leisurely endeavor enjoyed by millions, golf is still considered something of a gentleman's sport, and as such there are certain rules of etiquette that are expected. While breaking etiquette may not necessarily get a person tossed off the course, there is a certain expectation that once you understand that you have transgressed, you don't let it happen again.
Ideally, your golf score is nothing more than the number of shots it took you to complete your round. But there are plenty of rules in place that can add to your score, such as penalty strokes for hitting the ball out of bounds or into water hazards. If it's a casual golf round among friends, you might not follow these rules to the letter, but if you're ever in competition, you'll want to know how to make sure your final scorecard is official.
Under traditional stroke play scoring, the winner of a match is decided through a tally of the total strokes for each player over an entire round. Match play scoring uses the number of holes won by each player to determine a winner. This can help inconsistent players because they are not penalized as much for poorly played holes. A triple bogey in match play can only cause a player to lose one hole, but it can me more damaging in stroke play.
Golf is a sport that is steeped in tradition, and it can be intimidating for a beginner to take that first step toward learning how to play the game. From basic swing techniques to golf etiquette and proper attire, there is a lot to learn. Fortunately, getting started is easy if you go to a PGA teaching professional right at the start.
While you can get years of enjoyment from playing golf, for most people it takes a while to learn how to play the game. Start out by consulting a golf professional to get advice about buying the right equipment and to learn the proper swing. Once you have mastered the basics, don’t be afraid to get out there and play.
Sitting in the clubhouse waiting for a storm to roll through so you can tee off? Pass the time with some cards. Golf is a card game that requires players to have a good memory and to use strategy to create a winning hand. The game is so named because the objective is to achieve the lowest score possible.
Fields in golf tournaments are larger than the total number of places paid out. A cut is used to determine which players will make it to play into the weekend and, in doing so, will qualify to receive a check from the tournament based on their place of finish.
Unlike many other aspects of golf, a hole-in-one is "available" to low handicappers, beginners, high handicappers, men, women and young golfers. Another piece of good news: While some of the rules of golf can be a bit complicated and need some translation, a recognized hole-in-one is quite simple to verify. Here is a brief explanation of the rules.
The green is a sacred sort of place for the game of golf. It’s where the ball ends its journey and your score is final. Since putting is such a different part of the game, certain rules of etiquette apply. Breaking these rules doesn’t necessarily constitute an official violation, but it might earn you the ire of your playing partners.
For those who don't know much about golf but would like to learn the game, the learning process might seem a bit overwhelming. You might not feel entirely comfortable walking onto a golf course without knowledge of the game. There's a reason golf is considered one of the most difficult sports. It requires patience and money to truly get a good grasp on the sport. But if you are serious about learning, and stick with it, you'll be able to learn and enjoy the game of golf. And once you get the hang of it, you might never stop playing.
The game of golf has existed for centuries, evolving from simple games involving hitting rocks into holes with sticks into the modern game we see today. While the general form of golf has remained the same in modern times, that has not stemmed the creativity responsible for making multiple variations on scoring and playing.
Mental strength is needed for successful performance in any sport. Your ability to focus and control thoughts is directly related to success on the course, and you can improve your mental game with positive thoughts and confidence.
Golfers pride themselves on the etiquette that is displayed on the course, earning it the label "the gentleman's game." When attending a professional golf event, such as a stop on the PGA Tour, there are rules of etiquette that exist between players and their playing partners, between the other players in the tournament and between them and the fans in the gallery.
Children can enjoy golf because they see their moms and dads playing. They feel grown up that they're using the same clubs as adults. Children haven't yet been intimidated by the ball and consider golf a game, not a battle between themselves and the course. There are no special rules for kids' golf. The rules for adults apply.
To concede can mean multiple things. In golf, it typically means only one thing, particularly as it pertains to match and "skins" play. Fortunately, the definition of conceding a hole in golf is quite simple to comprehend.
The Masters Tournament, more commonly known as the Masters, is hosted annually by the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. The tournament is one of the four major tournaments in men’s professional golf, and is the only major championship held at the same course each year. The tournament was started in 1934 by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones, who helped design the course. The Masters is now a 72-hole tournament played over four rounds with a cut made after 36 holes. It also has a variety of features that distinguish it from other golf tournaments.
Match play is a variation of the more traditional scoring method of stroke play in golf. More emphasis is placed on the result of each hole as opposed to accumulating the lowest number of strokes for the entire round. Some professional tournaments - such as the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup and the Volvo World Match Play Championship - feature a match play scoring system.
Golf shoes are a part of the equipment needed for a successful golf game. Etiquette is also important when considering golfers on the golf course. From keeping the course maintained to avoiding scratching up the pro shop or restaurant floor, utilizing common sense and respect for the golf course grounds is an important part of the game.
Fantasy golf is a competition in which players can score points based on the performance of professional golfers in actual tournament play. The object is for a player’s “team” of golfers to accumulate the most points over the course of a season. Leagues are formed based on rules determined by the players, which allows for flexibility as to how the game is played.
The clothing in golf is a part of the decorum of the game, perhaps more so than any other sport. Not only is there an unspoken etiquette, but most golf courses have a dress code that requires particular attire in order to play. These dress codes are not as restrictive as the rules for PGA Tour or LPGA Tour players, but they are designed to ensure that amateur players adhere to a certain protocol to help maintain the game's traditions. It is always a good idea to check with course management about the club's dress code.
The United States Golf Association rules of golf cover topics from etiquette to equipment. There are so many rules, even the pros sometimes pause to ask a question. As an amateur golfer, you should familiarize yourself with some of the common rules of the game, so that you are fair and courteous to your fellow golfers. For tournament play, especially in the case of where a monetary prize may be at stake, you will have to read over the rules of the game so that you don’t hamper an opponent’s game, and also to be sure your opponents are correct when they quote a rule to you.
Golf is a card game where players are dealt cards face down, and aspire to get the lowest possible score for the hand. While golf can be played with multiple different arrangements and amounts of cards dealt, 10 card golf is a popular variation, which differs in the way it is played from the most common four card golf.
Match play differs from stroke play in that each hole counts as one point. The individual or team with the lower score on a hole wins the point. If you win more holes, you win the match. Some of the terms used in match play may confuse you if you're not familiar with the format.
An important part of learning how to play golf properly is familiarizing yourself with the etiquette and rules of the game. This can prevent you from making an unintentional mistake that results in receiving a penalty stroke or causes you to disrupt the play of others. Certain rules apply to each area of the course, including the putting green.
You can hit the golf course and play stroke for stroke with your friends. But that might not be as fun if one player is far superior to the others. So apply some new rules to the game, making it more equitable for all involved. There are some simple games that you can play while golfing that will make everyone a contender.
A hole in one is the Holy Grail for many golfers, with just one in their life being cause for great celebration and a sense of accomplishment. After holing out from the tee box, there are rules a player should keep in mind when determining whether the shot is in fact a hole in one, as well as how to act in the wake of a successful ace.
Golf is unique among sports in that it relies on players to call penalties on themselves. While professional tournaments will have officials on hand to help spot violations and clarify rules, for local players, the onus is on the player to know and obey the rules of the game.
Learning to play golf takes time. Once you know the basic swing, you can practice on a driving range until it becomes second nature. To practice specific moves, golf drills can help. A good way to learn which clubs to buy is to get measured and visit your golf pro for advice.
One of the main reasons golf is such a popular sport is because it can be played by people of all ages, skill levels and abilities. It's not uncommon to see young people and senior citizens alike enjoying the game out on the course. For beginners who may be unfamiliar with the game, you'll need to know how to get started. And once you get the hang of the sport, it's something you can enjoy for the rest of your life.
While all styles of golf scoring use the same method of counting how many strokes a player has shot, the way a winner is determined based on those totals changes depending on the system. Match play is the most common variation from standard stroke play scoring.
Match play golf differs from stroke play in that one side or team plays another over the course of a round competing on each hole. Whichever golfer or team that holes the ball in the fewest number of strokes wins the respective hole. If handicaps are applied, the side or person with the lowest net score wins the hole. If a hole is tied during play, it is considered to be “halved” and the score remains the same. Match play concludes when one side leads the other by a total score greater than the number of holes remaining in the match.
Match play is a popular style of golf among spectators, as the head-to-head competition format can make for exciting showdowns. In match play, the overall score of a round does not matter; rather, a player simply must shoot better on more holes than his opponent.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) is the final authority on everything having to do with how the game is played, including having aegis over the equipment golfers can use. With regard to the shafts that are sanctioned by the USGA, there are three rules governing them. The rules set out what's allowed as to the straightness of shafts, their ability to bend or twist and how they should be attached to the club head.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) offers several alternatives to traditional stroke play scoring. One of the most popular variations is match play scoring, which is used in major events such as the Ryder Cup and the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. This format can make televised competitions more compelling because it focuses on the interaction between two golfers, instead of splitting air time among a large field of players.
A skins game or tournament can be played by a group of professionals on a weekend for charity or by friends on the local links. Whatever the level or location, a golf skins game involves a match-play-type atmosphere where money or bragging rights are on the line for the participants.
In his 1957 book “Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf” Ben Hogan presented his ideas about the essential elements of a proper golf swing. He condensed five concepts into individual lessons that addressed grip, stance, backswing, downswing, and finally the entire swing process. Many modern instructors believe that the book was a groundbreaking work that is relevant today, but only if taken in the proper context.
College golf is receiving more attention as the game of golf grows. As with all sports, college golf is bound by rules to ensure the matches are played fairly. While NCAA golf itself is regulated by rules set forth by the United States Golf Association, there are additions for college that go above and beyond. The NCAA reserves the right to enforce all rules regarding players and coaches, as evidenced by a March 2010 ruling on coach and player off-course misconduct at a member school.
Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer once said, “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” The rules of golf may seem complicated, with an intricate set of etiquette that compounds the problem. In reality, friendly games of golf follow three strict rules: do not mess with the ball, do not mess with other players and take care of the course. Stick with the basics when starting out, ask a lot of questions and you soon will look like a pro on the course.