Golfing Rules - Explained

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The rules of golf are relatively simple once you know them, but they take a while to explain. If you are not even sure of the basics, read this: the object of the game is to hit your ball from the start (tee) of each of the 18 sections of the course (holes) into the hole itself. The hole is situated on a particularly short and well-maintained piece of grass (the green), and once you are on the green you must use a putter (a club with a slab-like end) instead of a normal golf club.

Each one of the holes has a certain target number of shots, known as the par. On a par 4 hole, for example, you are trying to get the ball into the hole in four shots or fewer. If you take exactly that number of shots, you have scored par. One under par is a birdie, while two under is an eagle. Three under is very rare, and is called an albatross and it is only possible if you get the ball in the hole with two shots on a par 5 hole. The best score of all, however, is a hole in one, which is when you hit the ball straight from the tee into the hole.

By the same token, if you don't make par, there are special words for that too. One over par is a bogey, while two over par is a double bogey, and so on. If you ever go over 12 shots, you forfeit the hole, and have to move on to the next one.

Along the way, though, you will have to deal with various hazards. If you hit the ball into long grass (the rough), you might find it very hard to get out again, and trees are also often placed on courses to make them more difficult. The worst hazards are ponds and lakes, as hitting the ball into one will cost you both the shot you just took and an extra one shot penalty, making it very difficult to even reach par on that hole.

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