The game of golf is said to have originated sometime in the 11th century in Scotland. Ever since its creation, the game has become a passion with millions of people, both young and old. The game to a non-golfer appears to be simple, because unlike other games such as tennis, football, hockey, etc., where you are required to hit a moving ball in a hurry, in golf, you have all the time in the world to hit a stationary ball. While time is not of the essence, this difficult game does require a great degree of skill. To hit the ball is easy, but hitting it accurately, is difficult.
The aim of a golfer is to put the ball in the hole within the least number of strokes (hits). A standard-sized course comprises 18 holes. The hole is on a well-manicured round or oval lawn called a green. The green is preceded by a fairway, and the starting point is called a tee. The fairway can have obstacles such as sand pits called bunkers, a tree or a water obstacle in the form of a pond over which the golfer has to hit the ball to reach the green. On either side of each fairway one can find hazards such as thick grass, bushes, and trees.
A golf bag can contain up to 14 clubs, and the club to be used is selected by the golfer depending upon a number of factors such as the distance to be achieved, how the ball is lying, is it in the clear or otherwise, and the obstacles to be cleared en route to the green. Once the ball reaches the green a club called the 'Putter' is used to tap the ball into the hole.
The game commences from a starting point called a tee. The place is called a tee because at the start the ball is generally placed on a small 'T' shaped wooden or plastic mount before it is hit. While hitting a ball from the tee, the most crucial factor is the distance one would like the ball to travel. The intention would be to get the ball into the hole in one hit alone, but this is generally not possible, because the distance to the hole can be anything from about 150 to over 500 yards.
Here are a few basic steps to be followed while hitting the ball from the tee:
- Select the club you wish to use. The selection will depend upon the distance to the hole vis-a-vis the distance you desire. In case the distance is short (up to say 200 yards), one would generally use a club called an 'Iron'. If the distance is more, then the golfer would select a 'Wood'.
- Place the ball on the tee. The selection of the height of the tee will depend upon the type of club being used. Bigger the club, higher the tee.
- Grip your club in your right hand, stretch your hand and place your club head on the ground behind the ball pointing in the direction you want to go.
- Adjust your stance viz the distance your feet should be from the ball, so that the direction you want to hit and the club shaft held by you are at right angles to each other.
- Open your feet in such a manner that they are the same distance apart as the distance between your shoulders. At the same time, ensure that the line joining your feet and the direction in which you want to hit the ball are parallel to each other.
- Now grip the club with both hands, bend your knees a bit, turn your head a few degrees to the right, and keep your left eye on the ball.
- Commence your back swing. A slow back swing helps maintain direction. Take the club head to the top of a swing you are comfortable with.
- Swing the club head fast in its downward trajectory, hit the ball, and follow through with your club.
For centuries this game has been played with great passion, and it has brought love, elation, joy, and unbelievable frustration all at the same time. It is an excellent game which provides recreation suitable to all ages.