Golf

Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players (or golfers) use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes. Golf 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." It is one of the few ball games that does not require a standardized playing area. Instead, the game is played on a "course", generally consisting of an arranged progression of either 9 or 18 "holes". Each hole on the course must contain a "tee box" and a "putting green" with the actual hole, and there are various other standardized forms of terrain in between such as the fairway, rough, and hazards, but each hole on a course and indeed among virtually all courses is unique in its specific layout and arrangement. Golf competition is generally played for the lowest number of strokes by an individual, known simply as stroke play, or the lowest score on the most individual holes during a complete round by an individual or team, known as match play. Stroke play is the most commonly seen format at virtually all levels of play, although variations of match play such as "skins" games are also seen in televised events.While the modern game of golf originated in 15th century Scotland, the game's ancient origins are unclear and much debated. Some historians trace the sport back to the Roman game of paganica, in which participants used a bent stick to hit a stuffed leather ball. One theory asserts that paganica spread throughout Europe as the Romans conquered most of the continent, during the first century BC, and eventually evolved into the modern game. Others cite chuiwan ("chui" means striking and "wan" means small ball

as the progenitor, a Chinese game played between the eighth and 14th centuries. A Ming Dynasty scroll dating back to 1368 entitled "The Autumn Banquet" shows a member of the Chinese Imperial court swinging what appears to be a golf club at a small ball with the aim of sinking it into a hole. The game is thought to have been introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages. Another early game that resembled modern golf was known as cambuca in England and chambot in France. This game was, in turn, exported to the Low Countries, Germany, and England (where it was called pall-mall, pronounced pell mell).[citation needed] Some observers,[who?] however, believe that golf descended from the Persian game, chaugan. In addition, kolven (a game involving a ball and curved bats) was played annually in Loenen, Netherlands, beginning in 1297, to commemorate the capture of the assassin of Floris V, a year earlier. The modern game originated in Scotland, where the first written record of golf is James II's banning of the game in 1457, as an unwelcome distraction to learning archery. To many golfers, the Old Course at St Andrews, a links course dating to before 1574, is considered to be a site of pilgrimage. Golf is documented as being played on Musselburgh Links, East Lothian, Scotland as early as 2 March 1672, which is certified as the oldest golf course in the world by Guinness World Records. The oldest surviving rules of golf were compiled in March 1744 for the Company of Gentlemen Golfers, later renamed The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which was played at Leith, Scotland. The world's oldest golf tournament in existence, and golf's first major, is The Open Championship, which was first played on 17 October 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club, in Ayrshire, Scotland.