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. Unlike other ball games, golf doesn’t need a standardized playing area. The game is played on a course with an arranged progression of either nine or 18 holes. Each hole on the course must contain a tee box to start from, and a putting green containing the actual hole or cup. There are other standard forms of terrain in between, such as the fairway, rough, and hazards, but each hole on a course is unique in its specific layout and arrangement. A regular golf course consists of 18 holes, but nine-hole courses are common and can be played twice through for a full round of 18 holes.
Playing a hole on a golf course is initiated by putting a ball into play by striking it with a club on the teeing ground (also called the tee box, or simply the tee). For this first shot on each hole, it is allowed but not required for the golfer to place the ball on a tee prior to striking it. A tee is a small peg that can be used to elevate the ball slightly above the ground up to a few centimeters high. Tees are commonly made of wood but may be constructed of any material, including plastic. Traditionally, golfers used mounds of sand to elevate the ball, and containers of sand were provided for the purpose. A few courses still require sand to be used instead of peg tees, to reduce litter and reduce damage to the teeing ground. Tees help reduce the interference of the ground or grass on the movement of the club making the ball easier to hit, and also places the ball in the very centre of the striking face of the club (the “sweet spot”) for better distance.
Golf is played for the lowest number of strokes by an individual, known as stroke play, or the lowest score on the most individual holes in a complete round by an individual or team, known as match play. Stroke play is the most commonly seen format at all levels.
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