All About Golf Courses
Golf courses are comprised of several holes spread out across the course. Each hole has a teeing area (or
“teeing ground”) a fairway, hazards and a green.
The hole itself consists of a pin and the actual hole, or cup, into which the players aim to get the ball.
Typically, one round of golf consists of playing through 18 individual holes, the front nine (or first nine
holes) and back nine (the last nine holes).
A popular colloquialism is the “nineteenth hole,” which is the nickname for the clubhouse located at the end of
Some smaller golf courses consist of only nine holes, in which case players simply play each hole twice, for a
total of 18 holes. Other courses have 27 or even 36 holes. On those courses, players choose which groups of nine
holes they will play each time.
In the following sections, we will explain the various elements of a golf course for the benefit of people who
are learning how to play golf for the first time.
The area of each hole in which players first tee off is called the teeing ground. Generally, each teeing ground
has several positions from which players can tee off, depending on their skill level. Each teeing ground has two
markers that delineate the boundaries of the acceptable tee area, the area in which the player must place the ball
before teeing off.
The putting green (or green) is the very shortly groomed area of grass immediately surrounding the hole. It is
so named because the only club a player may use on the green is a putter, a club with a flat face designed to
propel the ball forward while maintaining contact with the green.
Sometimes a green may consist of thin carpet rather than natural grass. Among courses that do use natural grass,
a particular kind of grass known as bent grass is considered superior. Bent grass can be cut extremely low, which
creates the optimal playing surface.
The fairway is the term used to describe the playing area between the teeing ground and the putting green. A
player will aim to get his ball onto the fairway after tee off, as it is from this spot that he will have the best
chance of getting his ball onto the putting green.
By contrast, players strive not to have their golf balls end up in the area that spans between the fairway and
the out-of-bounds area. This area of longer grass is called the rough and it is generally a more difficult spot
from which to shoot the ball effectively.
Some golf courses are designed to have a direct sight line from the teeing ground to the putting green, but this
is not always the case. In many cases, the invisible line from the teeing ground to the putting green bends one way
or the other, creating what is referred to as a dogleg. For example, if the hole angles to the left from the teeing
ground, it is known as a dogleg left.
Many golf courses will include what are called hazards. These generally fall into three categories: water
hazards, natural hazards and man-made hazards. Water hazards may include things like ponds or rivers, whereas
man-made hazards could include things as sand traps and natural hazards could include changes in the terrain, such
as high grass. Whatever the category, hazards are designed to increase the difficulty level of a hole.
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