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 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.
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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. Most U. 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. When the ball is in play and not out of bounds or in a hazard you must play the ball as it lies.
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. Just as there are good-quality grasses for putting greens, there are good-quality grasses for the fairway and rough. 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. 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. 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. As in putting-green grass types, not every grass type works equally well in all climate types. 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.
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.
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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 most common types of greens for cold winter, but warmer summer regions i. 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. 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 s the controversial decision was made to convert the greens from Bermuda to bent grass. This has affected the speed and playing of Augusta National. Bermuda is more common in regions that have very warm summers and mild winters, such as the Southern and Southwestern United States.
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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. The hole, or cup, is always found within the green and must have a diameter of millimeters 4. 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.
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The hole has a flag on a metal pole positioned in it so that it may be seen from a distance, but not necessarily from the tee. 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. By collecting sample measurements, golf courses can be compared in terms of average green speed.
Water hazard, sand trap, and dense vegetation on the 13th hole at Ridgefield Golf Course, Connecticut. 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. If it cannot be played from the hazard, the ball may be hit from another location, generally with a penalty of one stroke.
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. 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.
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 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. 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.
Two main types exist:. 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 game is played from raised artificial teeing surfaces using a tee and it has its own handicap system. There are three main categories of ownership and management of a golf course: private, commercial, and municipal. 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.
Others allow visitors at certain times but may insist on advance booking and proof of golfing competency. A commercial course is owned and managed by a commercial organisation and is operated for profit. A municipal course is owned and managed by a local government body for the benefit of residents and visitors. 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.
Many commercial and municipal establishments have associated golf clubs, who arrange competitions for their members on the courses and may provide clubhouse facilities. The United Nations estimates that, worldwide, golf courses consume about 2. Many golf courses are now irrigated with non-potable water and rainwater. 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 both water and chemicals on courses. 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 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. 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.
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.
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Where a 7,yard course used to be a great rarity, courses measuring 7,yards are now not uncommon, and courses of 8,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 hole golf courses occupy as much as 60 hectares acres of land, the average course has 30 hectares 74 acres of maintained turf.
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