A golfer in the finishing position after hitting a tee shot
Golf is a club-and-ball sport in which players use various clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course in as few strokes as possible.
Golf, unlike most ball games, cannot and does not utilize a standardized playing area, and coping with the varied terrains encountered on different courses is a key part of the game. The game at the usual level is played on a course with an arranged progression of 18 holes, though recreational courses can be smaller, often having 9 holes. Each hole on the course must contain a tee box to start from, and a putting green containing the actual hole or cup 4 1⁄4 inches (11 cm) in diameter. There are other standard forms of terrain in between, such as the fairway, rough (long grass), bunkers (or "sand traps"), and various hazards (water, rocks) but each hole on a course is unique in its specific layout and arrangement.
A caddie (alternatively, caddy) is an individual, most often at a private golf club or resort, who carries the golf bag of a player and offers him advice on play and moral support. A caddie is expected to be acquainted with the rules of golf generally and a golf course in specific and to be able to advise his player as to club selection, shot yardage, pin placement, and overall strategy. They serve also to perform a variety of common golf duties, such as the raking of bunkers and the repairing of divots.
The term is dated by historians to the late 16th century, when Mary, Queen of Scots, is thought to have brought the term to Scotland from her native France, where military cadets carried golf clubs for royalty.
Traditional caddying, in which a caddie walks a course with a player, remains the most common method of caddying used at public and private golf clubs and the only form permitted on major professional golf tours.
In professional golf, caddies are usually travel weekly with a single player, but at the club level are most often attached to a given club. Caddies who work on the professional level often draw large salaries. Sometimes they earn fans of their own right; Eddie Lowery (pictured, center) became a celebrated figure after he, aged 10 years, caddied for American Francis Ouimet in the 1913 United States Open, and Lowery was ultimately depicted prominently in the 2005 dramatic film The Greatest Game Ever Played.
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Although it is best known for its number two course, designed in 1907 by Scottish architect Donald Ross, which has hosted three men's major championships, two TOUR Championship events, and an iteration of the Ryder Cup matches, the Pinehurst Resort, situated in Pinehurst, North Carolina, comprises eight full golf courses, and through 2004 was listed by Guinness World Records as the world's largest golf resort.
Its first eighteen-hole course, completed in 1898 on land procured by Boston soda fountain magnate James Walker Tufts, featured square-shaped putting greens composed of oiled sand (pictured). It was home for a time to the North and South Open, during the former half of the twentieth century, one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the United States, and to the United North and South Amateur Championship, organized by the United States Golf Association, which was won in 1904 (pictured) by American Walter Travis, who became the first The Amateur Championship winner to capture the North and South title.
For more golf images, see the golf category at Wikimedia Commons.
Jack Nicklaus (born 21 January 1940 in Columbus, Ohio), nicknamed The Golden Bear, is an American professional golfer who was active between 1961 and 2005 on the PGA and then the Champions Tours and is widely regarded as one of the best ever to play the sport. He won a record 18 career major championships, while producing 19 second-place and 9 third-place finishes.
Nicklaus enjoyed early success at the amateur and collegiate levels, winning the United States Amateur Championship in 1959 and 1961, capturing the 1961 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I men's national championship whilst an Ohio State University Buckeye, and helping the United States to one Eisenhower Trophy and two Walker Cup Match titles.
Nicklaus formally joined the PGA Tour in 1962 and, at the United States Open at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, defeated countrymate Arnold Palmer in an eighteen-hole playoff to win his first major championship and to become the youngest-ever U.S. Open winner. A rivalry between Palmer and him would develop in subsequent years and be credited with popularizing professional golf as a televised spectator sport.
At the age of 46, Nicklaus claimed his 18th and final major championship at the 1986 Masters, becoming the tournament's oldest winner.
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Did you know...
- ...that, although Scotland is home to Musselburgh Links, the oldest golf course on which play has been continuous since its opening, and is generally recognized as the birthplace of golf, the history of variants of golf in China and the Netherlands may predate that in Scotland?
- ...that Uruguayan professional golfer Fay Crocker became the first non-American to win an LPGA major championship at the 1955 United States Women's Open and the oldest-ever winner of a women's major championship at the 1960 Titleholders Championship?
- ...that the Vardon grip, named for its progenitor English golfer Harry Vardon, features a player's resting his dominant little finger on his non-dominant index finger?
- ...that American Champions Tour player Bruce Fleisher holds that tour's record for prize money won in one's rookie season, having earned US$2,515,705 in 1999 en route to claiming the Arnold Palmer Award as the tour's leading money-winner?
- ...that the flop shot, in which a player uses a lofted club, such as a lob wedge, to launch a ball at a very high angle with much backspin in order to minimize its distance, was popularized on the professional level by American Phil Mickelson (pictured)?
- I look into [my opponents'] eyes, shake their hand, pat their back, and wish them luck, but I am thinking, ″I am going to bury you″. — Spanish professional golfer Seve Ballesteros, on his competitive nature and self-confidence
- Golf is an awkward set of bodily contortions designed to produce a graceful result. — Scottish-American professional golfer Tommy Armour, on the beauty of golf as produced by the unnatural machinations of the golf swing
- They say golf is like life, but don't believe them: golf is more complicated than that. — American professional golfer and golf course architect Gardner Dickinson
- Golf [is] the art of driving hard, avoiding the rough, surmounting traps and hazards, aiming straight, and arriving on the green at last, only to end up in a hole in the ground before your companions. The favored pastime of businessmen and their cronies, probably without a full appreciation of its metaphorical implications. — American humorist and essayist Rick Bayan, in his 1994 The Cynic's Dictionary
- It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a place this world is when one is playing golf. — Northern Irish essayist Robert Wilson Lynd, on the tranquility of the golf course
For more quotations, see the golf category at the English Wikiquote.
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