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A golf course is the grounds where the sport of
golf Golf is a club-and-ball sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases ...

golf
is played. It consists of a series of holes, each consisting of a tee box, a fairway, the rough and other
hazards A hazard is a potential source of harm Harm is a moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area aro ...
, and a green with a cylindrical hole in the ground, known as a "cup". The cup holds a flagstick, known as a "pin". A standard round of golf consists of 18 holes. Most courses contain 18 holes; some share fairways or greens, and a subset has nine holes, played twice per round. Par-3 courses consist of nine or 18 holes all of which have a par of three strokes. Many older courses are
links Link or Links may refer to: Places * Link, West Virginia, an unincorporated community in the US * Link River, Klamath Falls, Oregon, US People with the name * Link (singer) (Lincoln Browder, born 1964), American R&B singer * Link (surname) * ...
, often
coast The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Anot ...

coast
al. The first golf courses were based on the topography of sand dunes and dune slacks with a ground cover of grasses, exposed to the wind and sea. Courses are private, public, or municipally owned, and typically feature a
pro shop A pro shop is a sporting goods, sporting-goods Retailing, shop within a public or private-membership amateur sports, amateur sporting activities facility of some kind, most commonly a golf course, where it will typically be located in the country ...
. Many private courses are found at
country clubs A country club is a privately owned club, often with a membership quota and admittance by invitation or sponsorship, that generally offers both a variety of recreational sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physica ...
.


Design

Although a specialty within
landscape design Landscape design is an independent profession and a design and art tradition, practiced by landscape designers, combining nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, u ...
or
landscape architecture Landscape architecture is the design of outdoor areas, landmarks, and structures to achieve environmental, social-behavioural, or aesthetic outcomes. It involves the systematic design and general engineering of various structures for construction ...
, golf course architecture is considered a separate field of study. Some golf course architects become celebrities in their own right, such as Robert Trent Jones, Jr.; others are professional golfers of high standing and demonstrated appreciation for golf course composition, such as
Jack Nicklaus Jack William Nicklaus (born January 21, 1940), nicknamed The Golden Bear, is an American retired professional golfer. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest golfers of all time. He won 117 professional tournaments in his career. Ove ...
. The field is partially represented by the
American Society of Golf Course Architects The American Society of Golf Course Architects (abbreviated as ASGCA) is a professional organization of golf course designers in America. Founded in 1946, its members are actively involved in the design of new courses and the renovation of existi ...
, the
European Institute of Golf Course Architects European, or Europeans, may refer to: In general * ''European'', an adjective referring to something of, from, or related to Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by conven ...
, and the
Society of Australian Golf Course Architects A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same Politics, political authority an ...
, although many of the finest golf course architects in the world choose not to become members of any such group, as associations of architects are not government-sanctioned licensing bodies, but private groups. While golf courses often follow the original landscape, some modification is unavoidable. This is increasingly the case as new courses are more likely to be sited on less optimal land. Bunkers and sand traps are always built in by architects unless the formation of such items are already in the course's natural terrain. The layout of a course follows certain traditional principles, such as the number of holes (nine and 18 being most common), their par values, and the number of holes of each par value per course. It is also preferable to arrange greens to be close to the tee box of the next playable hole, to minimize travel distance while playing a round, and to vary the mix of shorter and longer holes. Combined with the need to package all the fairways within what is frequently a compact square or rectangular plot of land, the fairways of a course tend to form an oppositional tiling pattern. In complex areas, two holes may share the same tee box, fairway, or even green. It is also common for separate tee-off points to be positioned for men, women, and amateurs, each one respectively lying closer to the green. Eighteen-hole courses are traditionally broken down into a "front 9" (holes 1–9) and a "back 9" (holes 10–18). On older courses (especially links courses, like the Old Course at St. Andrews), the holes may be laid out in one long loop, beginning and ending at the clubhouse, and thus the front 9 is referred to on the scorecard as "out" (heading out away from clubhouse) and the back 9 as "in" (heading back in toward the clubhouse). More recent courses (and especially inland courses) tend to be designed with the front 9 and the back 9 each constituting a separate loop beginning and ending at the clubhouse. This is partly for the convenience of the players and the club, as then it is easier to play just a 9-hole round, if preferred, or stop at the clubhouse for a snack between the front 9 and the back 9. A successful design is as visually pleasing as it is playable. With golf being a form of outdoor recreation, the strong designer is an adept student of natural landscaping who understands the aesthetic cohesion of vegetation, water bodies, paths, grasses, stonework, and woodwork, among other elements.


Par

Most golf courses have only par-3, −4, and −5 holes, although some courses include par-6 holes. The Ananti CC and the Satsuki golf course in Sano, Japan, are the only courses with par-7 holes. Typical distances for the various holes from standard tees are as follows. Men :*Par 3 – and below :*Par 4 – :*Par 5 – Women :*Par 3 – and below :*Par 4 – :*Par 5 – Harder or easier courses may have longer- or shorter-distance holes, respectively. Terrain can also be a factor, so that a long downhill hole might be rated par 4, but a shorter uphill or severely treacherous hole might be rated par 5. Tournament players will usually play from a longer-distance tee box (the Championship or Tournament tee) that is behind the standard men's tee, which increases the typical distance of each par; a par-3 hole can be up to , and longer par-4 holes can measure up to , which can also be accomplished by converting a par-5 hole into a long par-4 hole for tournament players. This compensates for the generally longer distance pro players can put on tee and fairway shots as compared to the average "bogey golfer".


Features


Teeing area

The game of golf is played in what is called a "round". This consists of playing a set number of holes in an order predetermined by the course. When playing on an 18-hole course, each hole is played once; whereas, on a nine-hole course each hole can be played twice to complete a round. To begin a hole, players start by striking the ball off a tee. Playing the ball off a tee can only be used on the first shot of every hole although it is not required to use a tee on the first shot. Tees are a small wooden or plastic peg used to hold the ball up, so that when hit by the club the ball travels as far as possible. The first section of every hole consists of the
teeing ground The teeing ground is the area where play begins in a hole of golf. The terms tee, tee box, and "teeing ground" are synonymous. The name derives from the tee used to elevate a golf ball before striking it to commence play. The boundaries of the ...
, or tee-box. There is typically more than one available box where a player places his
ball A ball is a round object (usually spherical of a sphere A sphere (from Greek language, Greek —, "globe, ball") is a geometrical object in three-dimensional space Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional s ...

ball
, each one a different distance from the hole (and possibly with a different angle of approach to the green or fairway) to provide differing difficulty. The teeing ground is generally as level as feasible, with closely mown grass very similar to that of a putting green, and most are slightly raised from the surrounding fairway. 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 two-club lengths behind the markers. A golfer may play the ball standing outside the teeing area, but the ball itself must be placed and struck from within the area. A golfer may place his ball directly on the surface of the teeing ground (called hitting it "off the deck"), or the ball may be supported by a manufactured
tee Tee, tees, or TEE may refer to: Common meaning *, an item of sports equipment, used a.o. in golf *, a language spoken in Nigeria *, a shell command in various operating systems *, symbol used in mathematics, logic and computer science *, or tee ...

tee
(limited to a height of four inches), or by any natural substance, such as a mound of sand placed on the teeing surface The tee markers are often color-coded for easy identification of the tee box; the order of colors, their names where appropriate, and the distance of each tee to the hole is provided on the scorecard and/or on signs identifying each hole. Most U.S. courses have four tee boxes: * Red – Closest to the hole and often placed to minimize the influence of major hazards like water; typically used by ladies of all ages, juniors (up to age 12), and novice players of any age/gender. * Gold- Next farthest, typically used by teenage boys, low-handicap ladies, and senior or high-handicap men. * White – Farther still, typically used by low-to-average-handicap men and low-handicap teenage boys. * Black or Blue – The farthest tee from the hole and with the most exposure to any major hazards; typically used only during tournaments or by zero-handicap ("scratch") male players. There may be additional tees available, depending on the course, and they may be labeled or colored differently depending on the club and its normal patronage. A club catering to senior players, for instance, may offer an additional tee further forward of the ladies' tee, labeled for "senior ladies". A municipal course may label a similarly placed tee the "junior" or "novice" tees. Silver and gold may be used to denote senior ladies' and men's tees, with the regular men's tee being white and the tournament tee being blue. In recent years, many golf courses have introduced mixed or "combo" tee boxes. A combo consists of playing some holes from one color of tee box and the remainder from one tee box ahead (or back). The selected tee box for each hole in a combo configuration is shown on the scorecard. Each combo tee configuration normally has its own course and slope rating. The use of combo tees allow courses to offer one or more additional options with respect to total yardage at a minimal cost. They can be effectively used when there is a large difference in total course distance between two traditional tee levels. In casual play, the tee a player hits from is usually their prerogative (there is no rule prohibiting a man from hitting off the closest tee box, nor any prohibiting a woman from using the tournament tee), but players will generally gravitate toward the traditional tee for their gender and/or age, as this will provide the best results given a player's nominal drive distance. Groups are often encouraged to compromise on one tee box, as this speeds the group's play. In tournaments, golfers generally tee off from the box one level further from the "normal" box for their class (men use the tournament tee, ladies use the senior or men's tee, and juniors use the ladies' tee).


Fairway and rough

After the first shot from the tee ("teeing off"), the player whose ball is farthest from the green hits the
ball A ball is a round object (usually spherical of a sphere A sphere (from Greek language, Greek —, "globe, ball") is a geometrical object in three-dimensional space Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional s ...

ball
from where it came to rest; this spot is known as its "lie". When the ball is in play and not out of bounds or in a hazard the player must play the ball as it lies. The area between the tee box and the putting green where the grass is cut even and short is called the '. The area between the fairway and the out-of-bounds markers, and also between a mowed apron surrounding the green and out of bounds, is the ''rough''; the grass there is cut higher and is often of a coarser strain than on the fairways, making roughs disadvantageous areas from which to hit. On par-3 holes, the player is expected to be able to drive the ball to the green on the first shot from the tee box. On holes longer than par 3, players are expected to require at least one additional shot to reach their greens. While many holes are designed with a direct line-of-sight from the teeing ground to the green, a hole may bend either to the left or to the right. This is called a "dogleg", in reference to the similarity to a dog's ankle. The hole is called a "dogleg left" if the hole angles leftwards, and a "dogleg right" if the hole angles rightwards. A hole's direction may bend twice, which is called a "double dogleg". Just as there are good-quality grasses for putting greens, there are good-quality grasses for the fairway and rough. The quality of grass influences the roll of the ball as well as the ability of the player to "take a divot" (effectively, the ability to hit down into the ball, hitting the ball first, then hitting the turf and removing a portion of it as the club continues its arc). Fairways on prestigious tours, like the PGA Tour, are cut low. Mowing heights influence the play of the course. For example, the grass heights at U.S. Open events are alternated from one hole to the next in order to make the course more difficult. One example of this is the infamous roughs at U.S. Opens, which are often 3 to 5 inches high, depending on how close to the fairway or green the section of grass will be. This makes it difficult for a player to recover after a bad shot. Variants of grass used for fairways and roughs include
bent grass ''Agrostis'' (bent or bentgrass) is a large and very nearly cosmopolitan Cosmopolitan may refer to: Food and drink * Cosmopolitan (cocktail), also known as a "Cosmo" History * Rootless cosmopolitan, a Soviet derogatory epithet during Joseph ...
, Tifway 419
Bermuda grass ''Cynodon dactylon'', known as Bermuda grass, ''Dhoob'', ''dūrvā'' grass, ''ethana grass'', ''dubo'', dog's tooth grass, Bahama grass, devil's grass, couch grass, Indian ''doab'', ''arugampul'', ''grama'', wiregrass and scutch grass, is a gras ...
,
rye grass ''Lolium'' is a genus of tufted grasses in the bluegrass subfamily of the grass family. It is often called ryegrass, but this term is sometimes used to refer to grasses in other genera. They are characterized by bunch-like growth habits. ''Loli ...
,
Kentucky bluegrass ''Poa pratensis'', commonly known as Kentucky bluegrass (or blue grass), smooth meadow-grass, or common meadow-grass, is a perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives more than two years. The term ('' per-'' + '' ...
, and Zoysiagrass. As in putting-green grass types, not every grass type works equally well in all climate types.


Greens

The ''putting green'', or simply the ''green'', is an area of very closely trimmed grass on relatively even, smooth ground surrounding the hole, allowing players to make precision strokes on it. To "putt" is to play a stroke on this surface, usually with the eponymous "
putter A putter is a club Club may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Club (magazine), ''Club'' (magazine) * Club, a ''Yie Ar Kung-Fu'' character * Clubs (suit), a suit of playing cards * Club music * "Club", by Kelsea Ballerini from the album ...
" club, which has very low loft so that the ball rolls smoothly along the ground, and hopefully into the cup. The shape and topology of the green can vary almost without limit, but for practical purposes the green is usually flatter than other areas of the course, though gentle slopes and undulations can add extra challenge to players who must account for these variations in their putting line. The green typically does not include any fully enclosed hazards such as sand or water; however, these hazards can often adjacent to the green, and depending on the shape of the green and surrounding hazards, and the location of the hole (which often changes from day to day to promote even wear of the turf of the green), there may not be a direct putting line from a point on the green to the cup. Golfers use a method known as "reading" the green to enhance their chances of making a putt. Reading a green involves determining the speed, grain, incline, decline and tilt of the green on the line of the putt. Most putts are not struck directly at the hole, instead they must be struck to take into account the characteristics of the green to arrive at the hole at the proper angle and speed. The best players will read the green by walking around the green and studying the characteristics of the green before addressing the ball. Reading the green and putting are considered by many golfers to be the most difficult part of the game. The green is typically surrounded by slightly higher grass, cut at a height between that of the green and fairway, and then by the fairway and/or rough. This longer grass surrounding the green is known as the ''fringe'' and is designed to slow and stop balls rolling along the green from an approach shot or errant putt, preventing them from exiting the green. Though putting strokes can be made on it, the higher grass can interfere with the path of the ball, so players often choose to use a lofted club such as an
iron Iron () is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behav ...
to make a " chip shot" or a "bump and run", where the ball carries in the air for a few yards and then rolls along the green like a normal putt. The grass of the putting green (more commonly just "green") is cut very short so that a ball can roll for a long distance. The most common types of greens are for cold winter, but warmer summer regions (i.e., not extremely warm, as in the Southern and Southwestern United States) are bent grass greens. A green may consist of a thin carpet so that bad weather is not allowed to become a serious factor in maintaining the course. These are considered the best greens because they may be cut to an extremely low height, and because they may be grown from seed. Bent grass does not have grain, which makes it superior as a putting surface. However, bent grass may become infested with ''poa annua'', a costly and time-consuming weed. Augusta National is one of many golf courses to use this type of green. The original design of Augusta National did not include bent grass greens, but in the 1980s the controversial decision was made to convert the greens from Bermuda to bent grass. This has affected the speed and playing of Augusta National. Many other golf courses subsequently made the decision to change from Bermuda to bent grass when they observed increased business at courses that had already changed over. Another type of grass common for greens is TifDwarf Hybrid Bermuda (other variants exist, but TifDwarf is one of the most common), or simply Bermuda grass. Bermuda is more common in regions that have very warm summers and mild winters, such as the Southern and Southwestern United States. Red Bridge Golf Course was the first course in North Carolina to utilize a special Bermuda called Mini Verde. A green is generally established from sod which has had the soil washed off of it (to avoid soil compatibility problems) and which is then laid tightly over the green, then rolled and topdressed with fine sand. Another common and more economical approach for establishing a putting green is to introduce hybrid Bermuda sprigs (the
stolon In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms ...
of the grass which are raked out at the sod farm), which are laid out on the green. Two downside factors of Bermuda greens are cost of maintenance, and also the existence of grain (the growth direction of the blades of grass), which affects the ball's roll and which is called "the grain of the green" and not to be confused with "the rub of the green" which are idiosyncrasies encountered getting through the hole. The slope or break of the green also affects the roll of the ball. The hole, or cup, is always found within the green and must have a diameter of and a depth of at least . Its position on the green is not fixed and typically is changed daily by a
greenskeeper A greenskeeper (or greenkeeper) is a person responsible for the care and upkeep of a golf course or a sport turf playing surface. Stadium Course. Greenskeepers keep ponds free of detrimental aquatic weeds and sometimes dye water blue. . Tees are ...
in order to prevent excessive localized wear and damage to the turf. A new hole will be cut by a device that removes a plug of the turf from the ground, and the reinforced cup is then moved, before the old hole is filled in with the plug cut from the new hole and levelled. The hole 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 location marker is officially called the "flagstick" but is also commonly referred to as the "pin". Flagsticks are made of either coated fiberglass, metal, or wood and have a metal or synthetic bottom (called a ferrule) that is designed to fit in the hole cup. Putting greens are not all of the same quality. The finest-quality greens are well-kept so that a ball will roll smoothly over the closely mowed grass. Excess water can be removed from a putting green using a machine called a water hog. Golfers describe a green as ''fast'' if a light stroke on the ball makes it roll a long distance; conversely, on a ''slow'' green a stronger stroke is necessary to roll the ball the same distance. The exact speed of a green can be determined with a stimp meter. By collecting sample measurements, golf courses can be compared in terms of average green speed. It is, however, illegal by the
Rules of GolfThe rules of golf consist of a standard set of regulations and procedures by which the sport of golf Golf is a club-and-ball sport in which players use various Golf club, clubs to hit Golf ball, balls into a series of holes on a golf course, cou ...
to test the speed of a green while playing by rolling a ball on it, or by feeling or rubbing the green. The cost of installing and maintaining grass greens constitutes a considerable proportion of the expense of installing and maintaining a golf course. To save money, many low budget courses catering to casual players have sand greens instead of real grass. In recent years,
artificial turf Artificial turf is a surface of synthetic fibers made to look like natural grass. It is most often used in arenas for sports that were originally or are normally played on grass. However, it is now being used on residential lawns and commerc ...

artificial turf
has also become an increasingly popular surface as a less costly alternative to grass which more closely resembles the appearance and feel of real grass compared to a sand surface.


Hazards

Holes often include hazards, which are special areas that have additional rules for play, and are generally of two types: (1) water hazards, such as ponds, lakes, and rivers; and (2) bunkers, or sand traps. Special rules apply to playing a ball that falls in a hazard. For example, a player may not touch the ground or water with their club before playing the ball, not even for a practice swing. A ball in any hazard may be played as it lies without
penalty Penalty or The Penalty may refer to: Sports * Penalty (golf) * Penalty (gridiron football) * Penalty (ice hockey) * Penalty (rugby) * Penalty (rugby union) * Penalty kick (association football) * Penalty shoot-out (association football) Entertain ...
. If it cannot be played from the hazard, the ball may be hit from another location, generally with a penalty of one stroke. The
Rules of GolfThe rules of golf consist of a standard set of regulations and procedures by which the sport of golf Golf is a club-and-ball sport in which players use various Golf club, clubs to hit Golf ball, balls into a series of holes on a golf course, cou ...
specify exactly the point from which the ball may be played outside a hazard. Bunkers are small to medium areas, usually lower than the fairway but of varying topography, that are filled with sand and generally incorporate a raised lip or barrier. It is more difficult to play the ball from sand than from grass, as the ball may embed itself into the sand, and the loose nature of the sand and more severe sloping of many bunkers make taking one's stance more difficult. As in any hazard, a ball in a bunker must be played without touching the sand with the club except during the stroke, and loose impediments (leaves, stones, twigs) must not be moved before making the stroke. Courses may also have other design features which the skilled player will avoid; there are earth bunkers (pits or depressions in the ground that are not filled with sand but require a lofted shot to escape), high grass and other dense vegetation, trees or shrubs, ravines and other rocky areas, steep inclines, etc.; while disadvantageous to play from, these are typically not considered "hazards" unless specifically designated so by the course (a ravine or creekbed may be termed a "water hazard" even if completely dry)


Driving range

Often, a golf course will include among its facilities a practice range or
driving range A driving range is a facility or area where golf Golf is a club-and-ball sport in which players use various Golf club, clubs to hit Golf ball, balls into a series of holes on a golf course, course in as few strokes as possible. Golf, unlike ...
, usually with practice greens, bunkers, and driving areas. Markers showing distances are usually included on a practice range for the golfer's information. Driving ranges are also commonly found as separate facilities, unattached to a golf course, where players may simply hit balls into the range for practice or enjoyment. There may even be a practice course (often shorter and easier to play than a full-scale course), where players may measure the distance they can obtain with a specific club, or in order to improve their swing technique. Practice courses often consist of old holes of a previous design that are kept and maintained for practice purposes or as substitute holes if one or more holes become unplayable; a 21-hole golf course, for instance, will have three additional holes that can be used for practice or as substitutes for a flooded or otherwise damaged hole.


Types


Links

Links is a
Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotland *Scottish English *Scottish national identity, the Scottish iden ...
term, from the
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
word hlinc : "rising ground, ridge", describing coastal
sand dunes A dune is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the sc ...

sand dunes
and sometimes similar areas inland. It is on links land near the towns of central eastern Scotland that golf has been played since the 15th century. The shallow top soil and sandy subsoil made links land unsuitable for the cultivation of crops or for urban development and was of low economic value. The links were often treated as common land by the residents of the nearby towns and were used by them for recreation, animal grazing and other activities such as laundering clothes. The closely grazed turf and naturally good drainage of the links was ideal for golf, and areas of longer grass, heather, low growing bushes and exposed sand provided the hazards that are familiar on modern courses. Although early links courses were often close to the sea it was rarely used as a hazard, perhaps due to the instability of the dunes closest to the water and the high cost of hand-made golf balls precluding anything that could result in their irrecoverable loss. The land is naturally treeless and this combined with their coastal location makes wind and weather an important factor in links golf. Traditional links courses are often arranged with holes in pairs along the coastline; players would play "out" from the town through a series of holes to the furthest point of the course, and then would return "in" along the second set of holes. The holes may share fairways and sometimes greens (such as at
St Andrews St Andrews ( la, S. Andrea(s); sco, Saunt Aundraes; gd, Cill Rìmhinn) is a town on the east coast of Fife Fife (, ; gd, Fìobha, ; sco, Fife) is a council area{{Unreferenced, date=May 2019, bot=noref (GreenC bot) A council area is o ...
to economize on land use, but in modern times this is rare due to the potential for injury from balls coming the other way. Famous links courses include the Old Course at St. Andrews, often described as the "Home of Golf", and
Musselburgh Links Musselburgh Links, The Old Golf Course in Musselburgh Musselburgh (; sco, Musselburrae; gd, Baile nam Feusgan) is the largest settlement in East Lothian, Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kin ...
, which is generally regarded as the first recorded golf course. The
Open Championship The Open Championship, often referred to as The Open or the British Open, is the oldest golf tournament in the world, and one of the most prestigious. Founded in 1860, it was originally held annually at Prestwick Golf Club, Scotland, before evol ...
, the oldest of golf’s major championships, is always played on a links course. Links and links-style golf courses have been developed throughout the world, reproducing the broken, treeless terrain with deep bunkers of their Scottish prototypes.


Executive

An ''executive course'' or ''short course'' is a course with a total par significantly less than that of a typical 18-hole course. Two main types exist: * A "9-hole course", typically the type referred to as an "executive course", has only 9 holes instead of 18, but with the otherwise normal mix of par-3, par-4 and par-5 holes (typically producing a par score of between 34 and 36), and the course can be played through once for a short game, or twice for a full round. * A "par-3" course has either 9 or 18 holes, and the distance of each hole is a par 3 rating (typically 240 yards or less from the "men's" tee), with no par-4 or par-5 holes mandating shots through the green (though, occasionally, a "par-3" course may feature a par-4 or even a par-5 hole). As a result, the total par for 18 holes of a par-3 course would be 54 instead of a typical 68–72. Some par-3 courses still require the use of a
wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. ...
on some tee shots, and thus a "complete" set of clubs is used. ** A common standardized type of par-3 course is the "
Pitch and Putt Pitch and putt is an amateur sport Amateur sports are sports in which participants engage largely or entirely without remuneration. The distinction is made between amateur sporting participants and professional sports, professional sporting p ...
" course, where each of the 9 or 18 holes has a distance from tee to cup of less than 100 yards, with an overall 18-hole course distance no more than 1,200 yards (so each hole averages 67 yards). This allows the course to be played without a full set of clubs; typically only wedges are needed, possibly a 9-iron for the longest holes, along with a
putter A putter is a club Club may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Club (magazine), ''Club'' (magazine) * Club, a ''Yie Ar Kung-Fu'' character * Clubs (suit), a suit of playing cards * Club music * "Club", by Kelsea Ballerini from the album ...
, to play the course. The rules for formal Pitch and Putt competitions mandate a three-club limit, consisting of two irons and one putter. These types of courses provide a faster pace of play than a standard course, and get their name from their target patronage of business executives who would play the course on a long lunch or as part of a meeting. They are also popular with young professionals, because during the normal golf season, the course can usually be played in the time between the end of the work day and sundown. The popularity of the 9-hole course has waned in recent decades; a full 18-hole course still allows for the player to play only the "front nine" or "back nine" as a shorter game, while attracting more golfers seeking to play a traditional full round of 18 distinct holes. Many older executive courses have been upgraded "in-place" to 18 holes and a traditional par score, or the original course was sold for other development and new land was acquired and built into an 18-hole course. By contrast, par-3 courses, especially Pitch and Putt, are rising in popularity as a compromise between the long play time and high skill levels required of a traditional 18-hole course, and the artificial nature and single-minded putting focus of
miniature golf Miniature golf, also known as minigolf, mini-putt, goofy golf, crazy golf, or putt-putt, is an offshoot of the sport of golf focusing solely on the putting aspect of its parent game. The aim of the game is to score the lowest number of points. ...
. Pitch and Putt, specifically its governing association the IPPA, has received financial support and logo rights from the R&A. In 2014, the PGA Tour held a
Champions Tour PGA Tour Champions (formerly the Senior PGA Tour and the Champions Tour) is a men's Professional golf tours, professional senior golf tour, administered as a branch of the PGA Tour. History and format The Senior PGA Championship, founded in ...
event on a nine-hole par-3 course, the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf in
Ridgedale, Missouri Ridgedale is an unincorporated area, unincorporated community in southern Taney County, Missouri, Taney County, Missouri, United States. It lies approximately ten miles south of Branson, Missouri, Branson on U.S. Route 65 in Missouri, U.S. Route 65 ...
, with four (regular division) or three (over-65 division) rounds played over the par-3 course, and one round played on a nearby regulation 18-hole course with par of 71.


Pitch and putt

Pitch and putt is an
amateur An amateur (; ; ) is generally considered a person who pursues a particular activity or field of study independently from their source of income. Amateurs and their pursuits are also described as popular, informal, self-taught Autodidacticism ...
sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and Skill, skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entertainment to spectato ...

sport
, similar to
golf Golf is a club-and-ball sport Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" ...

golf
and is also known as chip and putt. The maximum hole length for international competitions is with a maximum total course length of . Players may only use three
clubs Club may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Club (magazine), ''Club'' (magazine) * Club, a ''Yie Ar Kung-Fu'' character * Clubs (suit), a suit of playing cards * Club music * "Club", by Kelsea Ballerini from the album ''kelsea'' Brands an ...
; one of which must be a
putter A putter is a club Club may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Club (magazine), ''Club'' (magazine) * Club, a ''Yie Ar Kung-Fu'' character * Clubs (suit), a suit of playing cards * Club music * "Club", by Kelsea Ballerini from the album ...
. The game is played from raised artificial teeing surfaces using a tee and it has its own handicap system.


Ownership and management

: There are three main categories of ownership and management of a golf course: private, commercial, and municipal.


Private

A private course is owned and managed by a golf club on behalf of its members, on a non-profit basis. Many of the courses opened during the golf booms in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are of this type. Some courses, such as
Augusta National Augusta National Golf Club, sometimes referred to as Augusta or the National, is a golf club A golf club is a club used to hit a golf ball A golf ball is a special ball designed to be used in the game of golf. Under the rules of golf, a go ...
, are highly exclusive and will only allow visitors to play at the invitation of and alongside a member of the club. Others allow visitors at certain times but may insist on advance booking and proof of golfing competency.


Commercial

A commercial course is owned and managed by a private organisation and is operated for profit. They may be constructed to provide a core or supplementary attraction for visitors to a hotel or commercial resort, as the centrepiece to a real estate development, as an exclusive
Country Club A country club is a privately owned club, often with a membership quota and admittance by invitation or sponsorship, that generally offers both a variety of recreational sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physica ...

Country Club
, or as a "Pay and Play" course open to the general public. Notable examples include Pinehurst in the USA and Gleneagles in Scotland.


Municipal

A municipal course is owned and managed by a local government body for the benefit of residents and visitors. Some of the historic Scottish golf courses, including
St Andrews St Andrews ( la, S. Andrea(s); sco, Saunt Aundraes; gd, Cill Rìmhinn) is a town on the east coast of Fife Fife (, ; gd, Fìobha, ; sco, Fife) is a council area{{Unreferenced, date=May 2019, bot=noref (GreenC bot) A council area is o ...
and
Carnoustie Carnoustie (; sco, Carnoustie, gd, Càrn Ùstaidh) is a town and former police burgh A police burgh was a Scottish burgh which had adopted a “police system” for governing the town. They existed from 1833 to 1975. The 1833 act The first p ...
fall into this category along with Bethpage in the USA and many others of less renown. It is increasingly common for the management of municipal courses to be contracted out to commercial or other organisations or the course to be sold or shut down completely.


Associated clubs

Many commercial and municipal establishments have associated golf clubs, who arrange competitions for their members on the courses and may provide clubhouse facilities. In the UK particularly, some older private members clubs have an associated "Artisan" club, originally established to provide low-cost golf with limited playing rights in exchange for unpaid work on the course. These associated clubs may be totally independent organisations from the course management, or may have various degrees of formal or informal links.


Environmental impact

Environmental concerns over the use of land for golf courses have grown since the 1960s. Specific issues include the required for
irrigation Irrigation is the agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in seden ...

irrigation
and the use of chemical
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests Pest or The Pest may refer to: Science and medicine * Pest (organism), an animal or plant detrimental to humans or human concerns ** Weed, a plant considered undesirable * Infectious d ...
s and
fertilizer A fertilizer (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American E ...

fertilizer
s in maintenance, as well as the destruction of
wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles ...

wetland
s and other environmentally important areas during construction. The United Nations estimates that, worldwide, golf courses consume about 2.5 billion gallons/9.5 billion litres of water per day. Many golf courses are now irrigated with non-potable water and rainwater. In 1988, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prohibited the use of
Diazinon Diazinon (IUPAC The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC ) is an international federation of National Adhering Organizations that represents chemists in individual countries. It is a member of the International Science Cou ...

Diazinon
on golf courses and sod farms because of its negative impact on bird species. Environmental concerns, along concerns with cost and human health, have led to research into more environmentally sound practices and turf grasses. Golf course superintendents are often trained in the uses of these practices and grasses. This has led to significant reduction in the amount of water and chemicals on courses. Golf course turf is an excellent filter for water and has been used in communities to cleanse
grey water Grey water (spelling differences, also spelled gray water in the United States) or sullage refers to wastewater generated in households or office buildings from streams without fecal contamination, i.e., all streams except for the wastewater from ...
, such as incorporating them into
bioswale Image:Bioswale.jpg, 300px, Two bioswales for a housing development. The foreground one is under construction while the background one is established. Bioswales are channels designed to concentrate and convey stormwater runoff while removing debris ...

bioswale
s. The use of natural creeks and ponds is generally desirable when designing a golf course for their aesthetics and the increase in playing difficulty. However, such areas also typically include wetlands within the flood plain that are unsuitable for golfing and are often filled in and raised to remain dry. In arid areas, dry creek beds can be marked as "water hazards", but the importation of non-native grasses and other plant life can have a detrimental effect on native landscapes, often requiring non-native soil and large quantities of water and fertilizer to maintain the course. In these areas, course builders are often prohibited from growing and maintaining non-native grass on areas of the course other than the fairway, or even on the fairway itself, in which case only greens are allowed to have grass. In the U.S., land administered by the Army Corps of Engineers, such as those bordering levees and lakes, is often desirable for building courses, due to the scenic natural views and the unsuitability of the land for other purposes due to it lying in a planned flood plain. In these cases, the course designer must work with the Corps of Engineers to plan a course layout that protects environmentally sensitive areas, provides for a means of quick escape in case of flooding, and does not invite players to hit into or toward controlled structures such as levees or dams. Some environmentalists and other activists continue to lobby against the building of new golf courses, claiming they may impede corridors for migrating animals and damage sanctuaries for birds and other wildlife, though some courses have become havens for native and non-native creatures. A result of modern
equipmentEquipment most commonly refers to a set of tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tool ...
is that today's players can hit the ball much farther than previously. As a result, because of demand from course customers who possess this enhanced equipment, and also out of an expressed concern for safety, golf course architects have had to lengthen and widen golf courses. Where a 7,000-yard course used to be a great rarity, courses measuring 7,500-yards are now not uncommon, and courses of 8,000-yards are being contemplated. All this has led to a ten-percent increase in the acreage required to build a typical course. At the same time, water restrictions established by communities have forced courses to limit the amount of maintained turf grass. While most modern 18-hole golf courses occupy as much as of land, the average course has of maintained turf. Golf courses can be built on sandy areas along coasts, on abandoned farms, among strip mines and quarries, and in deserts and forests. Many Western countries have instituted environmental restrictions on where and how courses are allowed to be built.U.S.
Federal Register The ''Federal Register'' (FR or sometimes Fed. Reg.) is the official journal A government gazette (also known as official gazette, official journal, official newspaper, official monitor or official bulletin) is a periodical publication that h ...
: 2 August 1995 (Volume 60, Number 148, Pages 39326-39337)
In some parts of the world, attempts to build courses and resorts have led to protests, vandalism, and violence. Populists perceive golf as an elitist activity, and thus golf courses become a target for popular opposition. Resisting golf
tourism Tourism is travel Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical location In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of th ...

tourism
and golf's expansion has become an objective of some movements, especially in the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
and
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
. In the
Bahamas The Bahamas (), known officially as The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a sovereign country within the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies in the Atlantic. It takes up 97% of the Lucayan Archipelago's land area and is home to 88% of the a ...

Bahamas
, opposition to golf developments has become a national issue. Residents of
Great Guana Cay Great Guana Cay is an islet in The Bahamas. It is a long, narrow islet, long. It is in the centre of the Abaco Islands and is near Gumelemi Cay. It is about 8 miles from Marsh Harbour. Approximately 150 people live on the island, mostly along t ...

Great Guana Cay
and
Bimini Bimini is the westernmost district A district is a type of administrative division that, in some countries, is managed by local government. Across the world, areas known as "districts" vary greatly in size, spanning regions or counties, seve ...

Bimini
, for example, are engaged in legal and political opposition to golf developments on their islands, for fear the golf courses will destroy the nutrient-poor balance on which their coral reef and mangrove systems depend. In
Saudi Arabia (''Shahada'') , national_anthem = "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia, " "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia" , image_map = Saudi Arabia (orthographic projection).svg , capital = Riyadh , coordinates ...

Saudi Arabia
and elsewhere in arid regions, golf courses have been constructed on nothing more than oil-covered sand. Players may use a roller on the "greens" to smooth the intended path before putting. A course in
Coober Pedy Coober Pedy () is a town in northern South Australia, north of Adelaide on the Stuart Highway. The town is sometimes referred to as the "opal capital of the world" because of the quantity of precious opals that are mined there. Coober Pedy is ...

Coober Pedy
, Australia, consists of nine holes dug into mounds of sand, diesel fuel, and oil, with no grass appearing anywhere on the course. Players carry a small piece of
astroturf AstroTurf is an American subsidiary A subsidiary, subsidiary company or daughter company is a company (law), company owned or controlled by another company, which is called the parent company, parent, or holding company. The subsidiary can be a ...

astroturf
from which they tee the ball. Other Australian golf courses in locations where water is scarce or water conservation is a priority sometimes feature "scrapes" in place of greens. These are made of fine dirt which requires raking between uses but does not require watering. In
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
, it is not uncommon for rural courses to have greens fenced off and sheep grazing the fairways.


Gallery


See also

* List of golf course architects


References


External links


USGA Course Rating Primer
at the website of the
United States Golf Association The United States Golf Association (USGA) is the United States national association of golf course A golf course is the grounds where the sport of golf Golf is a club-and-ball sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, comp ...
{{DEFAULTSORT:Golf Course Playing field surfaces