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Golf Course Terms and Definitions
Golf is a universal game that is enjoyed around the world.  You can travel just about anywhere # north, south, east, or west # and find a great golf course that's favored by the best athletes in the game.

A golf course is the playing field of the sport.  Unlike games like baseball or hockey, the area of play is not strictly measured and restricted.  In principle, a golf course is comprised of a series of holes, with fields of varying elevations.  

There is a great deal of flexibility in designing a golf course and there is obviously a great deal of variation from one course to the next, but there are certain elements that must be included:

Hole:  The term "hole" is used in two different ways.  There is the literal hole, in which the ball will rest upon completion of the course.  "Hole" is also used to describe the distance from the tee to the green.  

Tee:  Again, this term has two slightly different meanings.  It can be the hole from which the initial hit is made, or it may be a small plastic or wooden device used to hold the golf ball in place while swinging.  

  The green is the surrounding area of the literal hole.  After a series of hits, the ball will come to rest on the green.  At this time, precision shots are made to "stroke" the golf ball into the literal hole.  

Terrain:  Golf courses are composed primarily of fairways and roughs.  The fairway is more manicured, with the grass cut low, allowing the players to enjoy greater visibility.  On the rough, however, the grass is much longer or may even be uncut.  

Grain:  The direction of the individual blades of grass on the golf course can have some effect on the rolling of the golf ball along the field.  The grain most often comes into play while putting on the green.

Unlike most sports, the player with the lowest score is the winner.  In golf, less is definitely more.  Mastering the game means taking fewer precise shots to sink the ball.  Hazards, however, can mean big trouble for even the most skillful golfer:

Bunkers and Sand Traps:
  These types of hazards can result in additional and unwelcome strokes.  If the onto the sand, the club the player is using must not come into contact with the ground before playing a ball, even if only for a trial swing.

Water Hazards:  Balls that fall into water hazards may be played as they lay, or another ball may be dropped next to the water and played from that point.  Depending on your rules of play, this may result in a penalty.

A golf course with feature either nine or eighteen holes.  Each hole must be 100mm deep and 108 mm in diameter. The holes are marked with flags attached to poles, also called pins.  These pins make it easier for each player to see the position of the hole on the golf course. In most cases, several strokes are required before the ball reaches the pin.

In playing golf, each hole features a designated "par".  The par is the estimated number of strokes a professional golfer may require to reach the hole.  According to the regulations of the game, an expert golfer should reach the green of the golf course using just two strokes, and will require another two putts to hit the ball into the hole.  An average 18-hole golf course is estimated at 72 par, with at least four par 3, ten par 4 and four par 5 holes.

Some golf courses will also feature man-made obstructions.  Such structures will impede the golfer from playing the game, place the ball in abnormal conditions, and ultimately affect the outcome of the game.

In addition to the actual playing field, many golf courses feature extra amenities such as practice courses, member clubs, driving ranges and putting greens.   

While all golf courses boast the same basic features, there are unique qualities to each one.  Try a few in your area, and you may find that the right golf course can bring out the best in your game.
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