If you have just started playing golf, all the rules and terminologies can be confusing. We understand that your head will also be bursting with questions about what to do, how to do, what to say, how to hit better, and so on. For this article, we have collected all the questions that are asked most frequently by new golfers, and we will be answering them all below. Even though the golfing experience varies from individual to individual, these questions and answers will help all the novices to golf to understand the game better and play better.
We have arranged the questions according to the topic, so it becomes easier to read and understand:
1. Questions related to scorecards and scorekeeping:
When you take a swing at the ball with your golf club, it counts as a stroke. For a particular hole, the number of strokes you take to put the ball in the hole is counted. Once all 18 holes are completed, the total number of strokes you made is the golf score for that round.
You may also have heard about “Par”. The term par is used to denote the number of strokes it takes for an average golfer to complete a hole. So if you complete a 5 par hole in 7 strokes, your score is 2-over, but if you complete in 3 strokes, your score is 2-under.
Here are a few common ways to denote pars-
i. 1-under par = birdy
ii. 1-over par = bogey
iii. 2-under par = eagle
iv. 2-over par = double bogey
v. 3-under par = double eagle / albatross
vi. 3-over par = triple bogey
In TV broadcasts, circles and squares are used to represent under par and over par stroke total. Circles mean the hole was completed in under par strokes, and squares mean the hole was completed in over par strokes.
Different golf scoring formats-
i. Stroke play, where each stroke is counted and later tallied up to form final score
ii. Match play, where each stroke is counted and then compared to your opponent for a hole. The one who wins most holes in a round wins the round.
iii. Stableford system, where your score is calculated with relation to par, and then converted to points. The person with the most points wins.
2. Questions related to the playing on the course
The most frequent question we get about playing on the course is about the terms assigned to different parts of the course. So this is what a golf course comprises-
i. The hole, which always begins at the teeing ground and ends at the putting ground.
ii. The teeing ground / Tee box, which is the starting point of a hole. Here you take your golf ball and ‘tee’ it up, i.e., place it on the tee before making your shot. A teeing ground will always have two markers denoting it, and the ball must always be teed in the ground specified by the markers. Usually, a golf course has two or three teeing grounds per hole.
iii. The putting green, which is the ending point of a hole. The hole is actually located in the putting green. This area has the shortest grass because the ground is built for putting, which requires short and smooth grass. Once your ball reaches the surface of the putting green, you are allowed to lift your ball provided you put a ball marker at its location before lifting it.
iv. Fairway, which is the path between the teeing green and the putting green. The grass in this area is longer than that in the putting greens but still very short. As long as your ball lands in the fairway on your first stroke, your chances of putting your ball into the hole improve.
v. Rough, which is the area that surrounds the fairway on both sides. The grass here is generally left taller and thicker, for easy differentiation between fairways and roughs. It becomes much tougher to hit a shot when your ball is in the rough.
vi. Bunkers, which are hollowed out areas on the course which are filled with sand or other similarly fine particles. There is no fixed location for bunkers on the course- they can be next to fairways or putting greens, or anywhere else. They come in different sizes and shapes, as there are no guidelines set for bunkers. Avoiding bunkers is preferred because there are a lot of limitations on strokes when you make your shot from a bunker.
vii. Water Hazards, which are usually any water bodies put deliberately on the golf course. Hitting your ball into a water hazard means the ball has been lost, and you get a 1-stroke penalty. These water hazards make the game much more challenging.
If you liked reading about these, stay tuned for our next article that continues these FAQs! In our next article, we will be answering all questions related to the rules of golf and what to keep in mind before you swing your first shot. (Sneak peek: we also explain how high should we tee the golf ball!)