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  Know The Basics Of Golf  
The aim of golf is simple: hit a small ball into a hole with the fewest possible shots, 18 times! Unlike other sports, here the enemy is never his/her opponent but his/her own self, and the golfers surrounding! Possibly this is why the game has managed to keep sportsmanship at its centre, due to the fact that even at the top level, golfers are united in their battle against the course as against each other. If you’re new to the sport either as a player or a spectator, our guidelines to the basics will tell you, what it’s all about.

The Course: A standard golf course is made up of 18 holes. From a teeing area (also known as a tee) the first shot is usually played. The ball is usually placed on a plastic or wooden keg (also known as a tee). The rest of the hole consists of a rough or a stretch of grass (closely mown) known as the fairway, which leads to the green, where the hole is. Apart from the rough, there are other hazards to contend with such as bunkers or streams. A “flagstick” sits in the hole to show the target. These flags are usually yellow in the first nine holes and red on the second nine. The standard course is around 6000 yards long and it takes about four hours to play 18 holes. You may walk around five miles!

Scoring: Your score on a golf course is made up of the number of shots you take; add to it any penalties you can incur. So, if you take 80 shots to go around the course and your friend takes 90, you’re the winner! Scoring center around the ‘par’ for the course, which is usually the number of shots that it takes for a top golfer to go around, usually 70 or thereabouts. Each hole has a par according to its length or difficulty. A par-four hole lets you have four shots. If you can score 92 on a par 72 Course, then your score will be 20 over par.

On the other hand, if you score five on a par-four hole, you will be one over par for the hole. On the other hand, golf allows you to play against better players by giving you extra shots, almost like handicapping, or a head start.
The Rules: Golf has many rules, but unlike other sports, golf has no need for a referee or an umpire, unless it’s a tournament. Players must know the rules themselves, and be honest about the number of shots they take. Then they must play the ball as it lies, moving the ball around or interfering with it is a big No-No. But, there are a few exceptions. If you lose your ball or swipe it into the lake, you will have to add strokes to your score, before you can proceed to play.

Etiquette: The great Golfer Bobby Jones used to say, “In golf the customs, decorum and the etiquette are as important as the rules of play.” In golf, there are a number of do’s and don’ts especially at the elite clubs. But, it is this code of conduct that has allowed golf to keep its sporting values. At the heart of the rules, it boils down to-”Respect the course and respect your fellow golfers.” A few are not talking during a player’s swing, not walking on the line of their putt on the green, repairing pitch marks etc.

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