While most novice golfers simply started playing golf for the fun of it, a knowledge and understanding of the game of golf will add greater pleasure of playing the game. An introduction to some golf basics for beginners of how golf is played and the rules of the game will go a long way in helping the novice golfer starting on the exciting game of golf.
The game of golf is best described as the objective to hit a ball with a club from the teeing ground, to the fairway, to the green and into the hole in the fewest number of strokes possible. A round of golf normally consists of 18 holes and the player with the fewest number of strokes (i.e. with the lowest score) to complete the 18 holes wins the game. Most courses have 18 holes but some smaller course may have only 9 holes. Hence, the golfers would normally play the round twice to complete the 18 holes. There is another form of scoring for the game, i.e. match play whereby the golfer is concerned only of winning or tying one hole at a time against his opponent.
Each of the 18 holes is allocated a par figure depending on its length and the number of strokes required to complete the hole. Hence, a par three hole normally requires three stokes for the experienced golfer to complete the hole. The length of the hole is less than 240 yards and is termed as short hole. Likewise, a par four hole is termed as a medium hole of length between 240 to 475 yards and requires four strokes to complete the hole. There are also the par five holes or long holes of length over 475 yards. The par five holes would normally required the experienced golfer five strokes to complete the holes.
Just like other competitive sports, there are a few basic rules and etiquette that the novice golfer should understand and be aware of. These rules are set by the United States Golf Association and are followed by most clubs all over the world. However, some clubs also includes in additional local rules for the golfers. Some of the more common rules include the following:-
1. You are not allowed to touch you ball once it is in play until it is on the green. When your ball is on the putting surface, you are to mark it with a marker and pick the ball up. When you replace your ball, you are to put it back exactly where it was earlier.
2. If you lose your ball after it is play or hit it out of bounds, you must take a stroke and distance penalty, meaning that you count the original stroke, plus the penalty stoke plus the replay stroke as well.
3. If you hit your ball into a water hazard, it is a one stroke penalty.
As there are several other rules in the game of golf, it would be a good idea to keep a small rules book in your golf bag.
Golf is a unique game in that the golfers must police themselves especially in friendly competition where there are no referees, umpires or officials. Hence, it is important for golf beginners to have a good understanding of how golf is played and to know the golf basics including the basic rules of golf so as not to have any misunderstandings with their fellow golfers.