From its humble origins in Scotland the sport of golf has exploded to become one of the most practiced leisure activities in the world. The game is played everywhere from the Amazon to Siberia. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the best clubs, a decent collection of balls, or even access to a country club, the average person in much of the western world can just get out and play at their local course. It’s a fan favorite too and tournaments in the United States and Europe draw crowds in the hundreds of thousands. While the sport can be expensive and even downright snobbish in places, it is still a game of the people and for the people.

The basics

The basic idea of a golf game is hitting a small ball hundreds of yards with a metal club with the purpose of getting it in a small hole not much bigger than the ball. The object of the game is to knock the ball in the hole in as few strokes of the club as you possibly can. This doesn’t just happen with one hole or round, but 18 of them. You add up the amount of strokes you had for all 18 holes and that is your score for the game. That’s the basic jist of it. The fewer shots the better.

How that score relates to par is another concept that some may find tricky to grasp. Par is one of the basic concepts of the game. It is a score that isn’t above or below the standard. It is the absolute average. Every hole has a par number of 3, 4, or 5. A Par 3 is given to the shortest holes and a Par 5 is given to the longest holes. A Par 4 falls naturally somewhere in between. On a Par 3 to maintain the standard average you need to make the ball in the hole in three shots. If you make it in fewer shots it is even better ands it will help your average in the end. If you make a Par 3 in three shots you will have a score of 0. If you make a Par 3 in four shots you will score have a Plus 1. If you make a Par 3 in 2 shots you will have scored a negative 1. At the end of the game you want the highest possible negative number or the score most below 0 or Par. Par changes on every hole and every course. Every hole is different in lengths and the overall length of every course varies dramatically.

Options for beginners

For beginners there are several very easy activities you can do to improve your game. Apart from driving ranges and mini-golf, there is the nine-hole course. Aimed toward beginners, nine-hole courses are popular as well. These are mostly Par 3 holes and give the beginner a chance to practice his or her game without interfering with the experts over on the big course. In general beginners stick to local courses. They rarely travel to play a round. They want to practice, but their level of game is not at the point of where they play really matters.

Options for advanced

Advanced golfers like to stick to the best courses and travel to find even better ones. They buy the best sets of clubs, are always trying to improve their game and beat their best scores, they join top country clubs, and watch the pros play. They prefer the top facilities and often dream about breaking their best scores and hole in ones. These are the golfers that play every day during good weather. They really have the choice of any course in the world. They might need permission to enter an elite course, but somehow they find it. The advanced golfer is more likely to golf while on vacation and take a full fledged golf tour than the beginner.

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