Golf is usually regarded as a Scottish invention, as the game was mentioned in two 15th-century laws prohibiting the playing of the game of "gowf". Some scholars, however, suggest that this refers to another game which is much akin to shinty or hurling, or to modern field hockey. They point out that a game of putting a small ball in a hole in the ground using golf clubs was played in 17th-century Netherlands. Primatively, the action of using a stick with a boxed attachment to hit stones close to a marked target, similar to that of bocce, originated in Italy. The term golf is believed to have originated from a Germanic word for "club". It has been hypothesised that golf is actually an acronym for gentlemen only; ladies forbidden, but this is believed to be an urban legend.
Tiger Woods currently the leading professional golfer
Golf was being played officially throughout Scotland from 1502. The dates below represent the first record of golf at the sites mentioned. Most of the early references to golf in Scottish official records are either to ban it or to condemn those playing it. The first documented mention, as is widely quoted, is in Edinburgh on 6th March 1457, when King James II banned ‘ye golf’, in an attempt to encourage archery practice, which was being neglected. This royal ban was repeated, for the same reasons, in 1471 by his son, James III, and again in 1491 by his grandson, James IV.
Even when the ban was effectively lifted in 1502 in Perth, there was over a century of complaints and convictions by the Kirk from 1580 until 1724 against golf on the Sabbath (Sunday). The official (royal) line, voiced by King James VI in 1618, was that golf on the Sabbath was acceptable, so long as it was not during the times of service, because Sunday was the only day the great mass of people would have free to play. It was not a view shared by the Kirk. Indeed Sunday golf at St Andrews only began at all during the Second World War and is still not permitted on the Old Course, though this is more to do with preserving the course rather than religious strictures.
In any event, it has been fairly well established that the game actually was devised by the Scots in the 14th or 15th century. The game became so popular in Scotland that in order to keep people from playing golf and football during time that should have been employed in practicing archery, a military necessity, the Scottish parliament in 1457 passed a law prohibiting both games. The Scottish people, however, largely ignored this and similar laws, and early in the 16th century James IV, king of Scotland, took up the game of golf. His granddaughter Mary, later Mary, queen of Scots, took the game to France, where she was educated. The young men who attended her on the golf links were known as cadets, "pupils"; the term was adopted later in Scotland and England, becoming caddy or caddie. (Caddies, once an integral feature of the game, have now been largely superseded by golf carts and buggies.) In England the game was made popular by the attention given it by James VI of Scotland, later James I of England, and his son Charles I.
the 18th century the first golf associations were established.
Company of Edinburgh Golfers in Edinburgh, Scotland, is often
recognized as the first organized golf club. It was established in
1744 and set down the first written rules of the game. These
rules were developed to govern play and settle disputes. The
Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews was
founded in 1754 as the Society of St. Andrews Golfers. It was
the leader in setting golf's rules and standards. For example, it set
the standard round of golf at 18 holes, in 1834 it took its present
name, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. The Royal
Blackheath (1766), near London, where according to tradition
golf was introduced to England in 1608. The popularity of golf
spread from Scotland and England to parts of the British Commonwealth.
The first clubs established outside Britain were the Calcutta
Golf Club (1829) and the Royal Bombay Club
(1842). The first golf club established in the western hemisphere was
Montreal Golf Club, founded in 1873.
It is an urban legend that golf courses contain 18 holes because that was the number of shots it took to polish off a fifth of scotch. According to the USGA however, this is incorrect. The links at St. Andrews occupy a narrow strip of land along the sea. As early as the 15th century, golfers at St. Andrews established a customary route through the undulating terrain, playing to holes whose locations were dictated by topography. The course that emerged featured eleven holes, laid out end to end from the clubhouse to the far end of the property. One played the holes out, turned around, and played the holes in, for a total of 22 holes. In 1764, several of the holes were deemed too short, and were therefore combined. The number was thereby reduced from 11 to nine, so that a complete round of the links comprised 18 holes.
The oldest playing golf course in the world is The Old Links at Musselburgh. Evidence has shown that golf was played on Musselburgh Links in 1672 although Mary Queen of Scots reputedly played there in 1567. The major changes in equipment since the 19th century have been better mowers, especially for the greens, better golf ball designs, using rubber and man-made materials since about 1900, and the introduction of the metal shaft beginning in the 1930s. Also in the 1930s the wooden golf tee was invented. In the 1970s the use of metal to replace wood heads began, and shafts made of graphite composite materials were introduced in the 1980s.
Strandhill Golf Club in Ireland is an example of a coastal links
has enjoyed a growth similar to that of men's golf. From about
1900 through the 1920's, British amateurs dominated women's golf. Joyce
Wethered was the top British golfer during the 1920's, and
some experts consider her the greatest woman golfer in history. By the
1930's, United States women golfers had become important. Top U.S.
golfers included Patty
Didrikson Zaharias, and Betty
Deer exercising their right to roam sometimes damage the course
The following is a partial timeline of the history of golf:
Golf is a game where individual players or teams hit a ball into a hole using various clubs. It is defined in the Rules of Golf as "playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules."
Golf originated in Scotland and has been played for several centuries in the British Isles. The oldest course in the world is The Old Links at Musselburgh. Golf has been played on Musselburgh Links since 1672. Although often viewed as an elite pastime, golf is increasingly popular and continues to attract ever more players around the world.
Anatomy of a golf course
Golf is played on a tract of land designated as "the course". The course consists of a series of "holes." The "hole" means both the hole in the ground into which the ball is played, as well as the total distance from the tee (a pre-determinied area from where a ball is first hit) to the green (the area surrounding the actual hole in the ground). Most golf courses consist of 9 or 18 holes. (The "nineteenth hole" is the colloquial term for the bar at a club house). After the player first hits, or "strokes," the ball, he continues to do so from the fairway (where the grass is cut so low that most balls can be easily played) or from the rough (grass which is cut much longer than fairway grass, or which may be uncut) until the ball comes to rest in the hole in the ground. When the player strokes the ball, and it comes to rest in the hole, he has completed play on that hole. Skilled players require fewer strokes to hit the ball into the hole.
Many holes include hazards, namely bunkers (or sand traps), from which the ball is more difficult to play than from grass, and water hazards (lakes, ponds, rivers, etc.). Special rules apply to playing balls that come to rest in a hazard, which make it highly undesirable to play a ball into one. For example, a player must not touch the ground in a hazard with a club prior to playing a ball, not even for a practice swing. A ball in a water hazard may be played as it lies or may be replaced by dropping another ball outside the water, but a penalty is incurred in the latter case.
The grass of the putting green is cut very short so that a ball can roll easily over distances of several metres or yards. "To putt" means to play a stroke, usually but not always on the green, where the ball does not leave the ground. The direction of growth of individual blades of grass affects the roll of a golf ball and is called the grain. The hole must have a diameter of 108 mm and a depth of at least 100 mm. Its position on the green is not static and may be changed from day to day. This hole on the green has a flag on a pole positioned in it so that it may be seen from some distance, but not necessarily from the tee. This flag is often called "the pin".
The borders of a course are marked as such, and beyond them is out of bounds, that is, ground from which a ball must not be played. Special rules determine how a golfer may proceed when his or her ball is very close to certain man-made objects on the course (obstructions) or resting upon ground in abnormal condition.
Every hole is classified by its par. The par of a hole is primarily but not exclusively determined by the distance from tee to green. Typical lengths for par three holes range from 100 to 224 m, for par four holes from 225 to 434 m, and for par five holes 435 m and greater. Par is the theoretical number of strokes that an expert golfer should require for playing the ball into any given hole. The expert golfer is expected to reach the green in two strokes under par (in regulation) and then use two putts to get the ball into the hole. Many 18-hole courses have approximately four par-three, ten par-four, and four par-five holes. The total par of an 18-hole course is usually around 72.
At most golf courses there are additional facilities that are not part of the course itself. Often there is a practice range, usually with practice greens, bunkers, and a driving area (where long shots can be practiced). There may even be a practice course (which is often easier to play or shorter than other golf courses). A golf school is often associated with a course or club.
Each course is measured out and has its own course rating. This rating defines how many strokes you get on top because of the difficulties. For example if a course is very high rated, you will get, depending on your handicap, one or two strokes as a bonus. So, if you have a handicap of 7, you should be able to play a 79 in a tournament. If it is a high rated course and you get two strokes as a bonus, you can even play a 81 and still have played your handicap 7.
Play of the game
Every game of golf is based on playing a number of holes in a given order. A round typically consists of 18 holes that are played in the order determined by the course layout. On a nine-hole course, a standard round consists of two successive nine-hole rounds. A hole of golf consists of hitting a ball from a tee on the teeing ground (a marked area designated for the first shot of a hole), and, once the ball comes to rest, striking it again, and repeating this process until the ball at last comes to rest in the cup. Once the ball is on the green (an area of finely cut grass) the ball is usually putted (hit along the ground) into the hole. The aim of holing the ball in as few strokes as possible may be impeded by various obstructions, such as bunkers and water hazards.
Players commonly drive motorized electric carts, or walk, over the course, either singly or in groups of two, three, or four, sometimes accompanied by caddies who carry and manage the players' equipment and give them advice. Each player plays a ball from the tee to the hole, except that in the mode of play called foursomes, two teams of two players compete, and the members of each team alternate shots using only one ball, until the ball is holed out. In all modes of play, when individual players have all brought a ball into play, the player whose ball is the farthest from the hole is next to play. In some team events, a player who is farthest from the hole may ask his or her partner who may be closer to the hole to play first. When all players of a group have completed the hole, the player or team with the best score on that hole has the honor, that is, the right to play first on the next tee.
Each player acts as marker for one other player in the group, that is, he or she records the score on a score card. In stroke play (see below), the score consists of the number of strokes played plus any penalty strokes incurred. Penalty strokes are not actually strokes but penalty points that are added to the score for violations of rules or for making use of relief procedures in certain situations.
If you wish to play on a golf course, you have to pay a certain fee. There are two different fees: the range fee, which is for the driving range; and the green fee, which allows play on the golf course itself. The green fee differs from 20$ up to 425$ Pebble Beach Golf Links for 18 holes.
The two basic forms of playing golf are match play and stroke play.
A foursome (defined in Rule 29) is played between two teams of two players each, in which each team has only one ball and players alternate playing it. For example, if players A and B form a team, A tees off on the first hole, B will play the second shot, A the third, and so on until the hole is finished. On the second hole, B will tee off (regardless who played the last putt on the first hole), then A plays the second shot, and so on. Foursomes can be played as match play or stroke play.
A four-ball (Rules 30 and 31) is also played between two teams of two players each, but every player plays his own ball and the lower score on each hole is counted. Four-balls can be played as match play or stroke play.
There are also popular unofficial variations on team play. In a scramble, or ambrose, each player in a team tees off on each hole, and the players decide which shot was best. Every player then plays his second shot from that spot, and the procedure is repeated until the hole is finished.
In a greensome both players tee off, and then pick the best shot as in a scramble. The player who did not shoot the best first shot plays the second shot. The play then alternates as in a foursome.
A handicap is a numerical measure of an amateur golfer's ability. It can be used to calculate a so-called "net" score from the number of strokes actually played, thus allowing players of different proficiency to play against each other on equal terms. Handicaps are administrated by golf clubs or national golf associations.
Handicap systems are not used in professional golf. Professional golfers typically score several strokes below par for a round.
Golf rules and other regulations
The rules of golf are internationally standardised and are jointly governed by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A), which was founded 1754 and the United States Golf Association (USGA). By agreement with the R&A, USGA jurisdiction on the enforcement and interpretation of the rules is limited to the United States and Mexico. Because the rules of golf continue to evolve, amended versions of the rule book are usually published and made effective in a four-year cycle.
The underlying principle of the rules is fairness. As declared on the back cover of the official rule book: "play the ball as it lies", "play the course as you find it", and "if you can't do either, do what is fair". Some rules state that:
The Decisions on the Rules of Golf are based on formal case decisions by the R&A and USGA and are published regularly.
The etiquette of golf, although not formally equivalent to the rules, are included in the publications on golf rules and are considered binding for every player. They cover matters such as safety, fairness, easiness and pace of play, and players' obligation to contribute to the care of the course.
There are strict regulations regarding the amateur status of golfers. Essentially, everybody who has ever taught or played golf for money (or even accepted a trophy of more than a modest monetary value) is not considered an amateur and must not participate in amateur competitions.
Golf course architecture and design
While no two courses are alike, many can be classified into one of the following broad categories:
In the United States design varies widely, with courses such as the entirely artificial Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, where a course complete with waterfalls was created in the desert, and on the other end of the spectrum, Rustic Canyon outside of Los Angeles, which was created with a minimal amount of earth moving resulting in an affordable daily green fee and a more natural golfing experience.
Hitting a golf ball
To hit the ball, the club is swung at the motionless ball on the ground (or wherever it has come to rest) from a side stance. Many golf shots make the ball travel through the air (carry) and roll out for some more distance (roll).
Every shot is a compromise between length and precision, as long shots are inevitably less precise than short ones. Obviously, a longer shot may result in a better score if it helps reduce the total number of strokes for a given hole, but the benefit may be more than outweighed by additional strokes or penalties if a ball is lost, out of bounds, or comes to rest on difficult ground. Therefore, a skilled golfer must assess the quality of his or her shots in a particular situation in order to judge whether the possible benefits of aggressive play are worth the risks.
There are several possible causes of poor shots, such as poor alignment of the club, wrong direction of swing, and off-center hits where the clubhead rotates around the ball at impact. Many of these troubles are aggravated with the "longer" clubs and higher speed of swing. Furthermore, the absolute effect of a deviation will increase with a longer shot compared with a short one.
Poor shots include the hook, in which the ball curves to the left (for a right-handed player), and a slice, in which the ball curves to the right (for a right-handed player; the reverse are true for left-handers).
As a point of safety for other players, and those further down the fairway, or anywhere you might hit the ball, yelling "Fore!" is considered a warning to beware of the ball so as to not be hit when it comes their way.
Types of shots
An approach shot is played into the green from outside the green, usually over an intermediate or short distance. Types of approach shots are:
The golf swing
Putts and short chips are ideally played without much movement of the body, but most other golf shots are played using variants of the full golf swing. The full golf swing itself is used in tee and fairway shots.
A full swing is a complex rotation of the body aimed at accelerating the club head to a great speed. For a right-handed golfer, it consists of a backswing to the right, a downswing to the left (in which the ball is hit), and a follow through. At address, the player stands with the left shoulder pointing in the intended direction of ball flight, with the ball before the feet. The club is held with both hands (right below left), the clubhead resting on the ground behind the ball, hips and knees somewhat flexed, and the arms hanging from the shoulders. The backswing is a rotation to the right, consisting of a shifting of the player's body weight to the right side, a turning of the pelvis and shoulders, lifting of the arms and flexing of the elbows and wrists. At the end of the backswing the hands are above the right shoulder, with the club pointing more or less in the intended direction of ball flight. The downswing is roughly a backswing reversed. After the ball is hit, the follow-through stage consists of a continued rotation to the left. At the end of the swing, the weight has shifted almost entirely to the left foot, the body is fully turned to the left and the hands are above the left shoulder with the club hanging down over the players' back.
Relatively few golfers play left-handed (i.e., swing back to the left and forward to the right), with even players who are strongly left-handed in their daily life preferring the right-handed golf swing. In the past, this may have been due to the difficulty of finding left-handed golf clubs. Today, more manufacturers provide left-handed versions of their club lines, and the clubs are more readily purchased from mail-order and Internet catalogues. A golfer who plays right-handed, but holds the club left-hand-below-right is said to be "cack-handed". It is difficult to obtain the same consistency and power with this arrangement as is possible with conventional technique.
The full golf swing is an unnatural, highly complex motion and notoriously difficult to learn. It is not uncommon for beginners to spend several months practising the very basics before playing their first ball on a course. It is usually considered impossible to acquire a stable and successful swing without professional instruction, and even highly skilled golfers may continue to take golf lessons for many years. Much has developed around how hard the golf swing is to learn and execute, and how one must be persistent to keep at it.
Besides the physical part, the mental aspect of the golf swing is very difficult. Golfers play against the course, not each other directly, and hit a stationary object, not one put into motion by an opponent. This means that there is never anyone to blame but oneself for a bad result, and in most competitive formats there are no teammates to directly help one out. Knowledge of this creates a great deal of psychological pressure on the golfer; this pressure exists at all levels of play. Even the best professional golfers sometimes succumb to this pressure, such as getting the "yips" and being unable to make short putts, or having collapses of their full swing.
Physics of a golf shot
A golf ball acquires spin when it is hit. Backspin is imparted in almost every shot due to the golf club's loft (i.e., angle between the clubface and a vertical plane). A spinning ball deforms the flow of air around it and thereby acts similar to an aeroplane wing; a back-spinning ball therefore experiences an upward force which makes it fly higher and longer than a ball without spin would. The amount of backspin also influences the behavior of a ball when it hits the ground. A ball with little backspin will usually roll out for a considerable distance while a ball with much backspin may not roll at all or in some cases even roll backwards. Sidespin occurs when the clubface is not aligned perpendicularly to the plane of swing. Sidespin makes the ball curve to the left or right, a hook or slice respectively for a right-handed player; this effect can be made use of to steer it around obstacles or towards the safe side of a difficult fairway. However, it is difficult to control the amount of sidespin, and many poor shots result from uncontrolled or excessive spin that makes the ball curve sharply.
A player usually carries several clubs during the game (but no more than fourteen, the limit defined by the rules). There are three major types of clubs, known as woods, irons, and putters. Wedges are irons used to play shorter shots. Woods are played for long shots from the tee or fairway, and occasionally rough, while irons are for precision shots from fairways as well as from the rough. A new type of wood known as a "hybrid" combines the straight-hitting characteristics of irons with the easy-to-hit-in-the-air characteristics of higher-lofted woods. A "hybrid" is often used for long shots from difficult rough. Hybrids are also used by players who have a difficult time getting the ball airborne with long irons. Wedges are played from difficult ground such as sand or the rough and for approach shots to the green. Putters are mostly played on the green, but can also be useful when playing from bunkers or for some approach shots.
Golfball with a tough rubber core
The minimum allowed width of a golf ball is 42.67mm and its mass may not be greater than 45.93g. Modern golf balls have a two, three, or four layer design constructed from various synthetic materials. The surface usually has a pattern of 300-400 dimples designed to improve the ball's aerodynamics. The method of construction and materials used greatly affect the ball's playing characteristics such as distance, trajectory, spin and feel. Harder materials, such as Surlyn, usually result in the ball's traveling longer distances, while softer covers, such as Balata, tend to generate higher spin and greater stopping potential.
Sometimes transport is by special golf carts. Clubs and other equipment are carried in golf bags. Golfers wear special shoes with exchangeable spikes (or little, plastic claws termed soft spikes) attached to the soles. They also often wear gloves that help grip the club. Tees resemble nails with a flattened head and are usually made of wood or plastic. A tee is pushed into the ground to rest a ball on top of for an easier shot; however, this is only allowed for the first stroke (tee shot or drive) of each hole. When on the green, the ball may be picked up to be cleaned or if it is in the way of an opponent's putting line; its position must then be marked using a ball marker (usually a flat, round piece of plastic or a coin). Scores are recorded on a score card during the round.
Social aspects of golf
In the United States, golf is the unofficial game of the business world. It is often said, in fact, that board meetings merely confirm decisions that are actually made on the golf course. For this reason, the successful conduct of business golf (which extends beyond merely knowing the game) is considered a useful business skill; various schools, including prestigious universities such as Stanford, have started both undergraduate and graduate-level courses that teach "business golf." The PGA of America, an organization separate from the PGA Tour, helps to sponsor these programs at universities nationwide.
Golf is not inherently an expensive activity; the cost of an average round of golf is USD $36, and the game is regularly enjoyed by over 26 million Americans and many more world-wide. In fact, most regions of the country feature public courses which strive to be affordable for the average golfer. But the perception of golf as a game for the wealthy elite and country clubs as a haven for corrupt businessmen is common among many. Films such as Caddyshack perpetuate this belief. It is also probably fair to say that the snobbish attitude of many golf club patrons (and particularly members) cannot be denied.
This being said the social status of better (and usually more expensive) equipment cannot be overlooked. In order to be outfitted with the latest equipment (including rather expensive clothing, shoes and gloves) one can end up spending quite a sum. Also, greens fees at some of the more picturesque and prestigious courses can be quite sizeable.
In 2005 Golf Digest calculated that there were nearly 32,000 golf courses in the world, approximately half of them in the United States. The countries with most golf courses in relation to population, starting with the best endowed were: Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Canada, Wales, United States, Sweden, and England (countries with less than 500,000 people were excluded). Apart from Sweden all of these are countries where English is the main language, but the number of courses in new golfing territories is increasing rapidly. For example the first golf course in the People's Republic of China only opened in the mid-1980s, but by 2005 there were 200 courses in that country.
The professional game was initially dominated by British golfers, but since World War I, America has produced the greatest quantity of leading professionals. Other Commonwealth countries such as Australia and South Africa are also traditional powers in the game. Since around the 1970s, Japan and various Western European countries have produced leading players on a regular basis. The number of countries with high-class professionals continues to increase steadily, especially in East Asia. South Korea is notably strong in women's golf.
Golf is played professionally in many different countries. The majority of professional golfers work as club or teaching professionals, and only compete in local competitions. A small elite of professional golfers are "tournament pros" who compete full time on international "tours".
There are at least twenty professional golf tours, each run by a PGA or an independent tour organisation, which is responsible for arranging events, finding sponsors, and regulating the tour. Typically a tour has "members" who are entitled to compete in all of its events, and also invites non-members to compete in some of them. Gaining membership of an elite tour is highly competitive, and most professional golfers never achieve it.
The most widely known tour is the PGA TOUR (officially rendered in all caps), which attracts the best golfers from all the other men's tours. This is due mostly to the fact that most PGA TOUR events have a first prize of at least USD 800,000. PGA TOUR wins can mean endorsement deals, automatically provide the winner a minimum two-year exemption to play in other tournaments, and supply the prestige earned by beating the best of the best. The PGA European Tour, which attracts a substantial number of top golfers from outside North America, ranks only slightly below the PGA TOUR in worldwide prestige. Some top professionals from outside North America play enough tournaments to maintain membership on both the PGA TOUR and European Tour. There are several other men's tours around the world.
Golf is unique in having lucrative competition for older players. There are several senior tours for men 50 and older, the best known of which is the U.S.-based Champions Tour. There are five principal tours for women, each based in a different country or continent. The most prestigious of these is the U.S-based LPGA Tour.
Men's major championships
The major championships are the four most prestigious men's tournaments of the year. In current (2005) chronological order they are:
The fields for these events include the top several dozen golfers from all over the world. The Masters has been played at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia since its inception in 1934. The U.S. Open and PGA Championship are played at various courses around the United States, while The Open Championship is played at various courses in the UK.
The number of major championships a player accumulates in his career has a very large impact on his stature in the game. Jack Nicklaus is widely regarded as the greatest golfer of all time, largely because he has won a record 18 professional majors, or 20 majors in total if his two U.S. Amateurs are included. Tiger Woods, who may be the only golfer likely to challenge Nicklaus's record, has won ten majors, all before the age of thirty. Woods also came closest to winning all four current majors in one season (known as a Grand Slam) when he won them consecutively across two seasons: the 2000 U.S. Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship; and the 2001 Masters. This feat has been frequently called the Tiger Slam.
Prior to the advent of the PGA Championship and The Masters, the four Majors were the U.S. Open, the U.S. Amateur, the Open Championship, and the British Amateur. These are the four that Bobby Jones won in 1930 to become the only player ever to have earned a Grand Slam.
Women's golf does not have a globally agreed set of majors. The LPGA's list of majors has changed several times over the years, with the last change in 2001. Like the PGA TOUR, the LPGA currently has four majors:
Only the last of these is also recognised by the Ladies European Tour.
In 2003 Annika Sörenstam was the first woman after fifty years who started at a men's PGA Tour.
Environmental concerns over the use of land for golf courses have grown over the past 30 years. Specific concerns include the amount of water and chemical pesticides and fertilizers used for maintenance, as well as the destruction of wetlands and other environmentally important areas during construction.
These, along with health and cost concerns, have led to significant research into more environmentally sound practices and turf grasses. The modern golf course superintendent is well trained in the uses of these practices and grasses. This has led to reductions in the amount of chemicals and water used on courses. The turf on golf courses is an excellent filter for water and has been used in many communities to cleanse grey water. While many people continue to oppose golf courses for environmental reasons, there are others who feel that they are beneficial for the community and the environment as they provide corridors for migrating animals and sanctuaries for birds and other wildlife.
A major result of modern equipment is that today's players can hit the ball much further than previously. In a concern for safety, modern golf course architects have had to lengthen and widen their design envelope. This has led to a ten percent increase in the amount of area that is required for golf courses today. At the same time, water restrictions placed by many communities have forced many courses to limit the amount of maintained turf grass. While most modern 18-hole golf courses occupy as much as 60 ha (150 acres) of land, the average course has 30 ha (75 acres) of maintained turf. (Sources include the National Golf Foundation and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America [GCSAA].)
Golf courses are built on many different types of land, including sandy areas along coasts, abandoned farms, strip mines and quarries, deserts and forests. Many Western countries have instituted significant environmental restrictions on where and how courses can be built.
In some parts of the world, attempts to build courses and resorts have led to significant protests along with vandalism and violence by both sides. Although golf is a relatively minor issue compared to other land-ethics questions, it has symbolic importance as it is a game normally associated with the wealthier Westernized population, and the culture of colonization and globalization of non-native land ethics. Resisting golf tourism and golf's expansion has become an objective of some land-reform movements, especially in the Philippines and Indonesia.
In Saudi Arabia, golf courses have been constructed on nothing more than oil-covered sand. However, in some cities such as Dhahran, modern, grass golf courses have been built recently. In Coober Pedy, Australia, there is a famous golf course that consists of nine holes dug into mounds of sand, diesel and oil and not a blade of grass or a tree to be seen. You carry a small piece of astroturf from which you tee. In New Zealand it is not uncommon for rural courses to have greens fenced off and sheep graze the fairways.
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