So you have learnt the basic swings and you think you are now ready to hit the golf course. Well not quite. The golf course in itself is deserves another lesson. It is not, as many people assume, just a big green field with holes where your golf ball should land, there would not be fun in playing the game if the only point was to get the ball in the hole now, would there?
The golf course is intricately designed to, as the name suggests, chart out a course that you ought to follow as you play, and you cannot proceed to the next hole if you have not succeeded in the previous one.
The following guide simply explains to you the basic elements of the course, so that when you do go there, you will know what you are doing (hopefully).
The tee boxes
Almost all golf courses have at least three tee boxes, although many have four. These act as a starting point from where you will take your swing. The four types of tee boxes are distinguished by their distance from the hole. They are marked in different colours to differentiate them.
The red tee boxes are closer to the hole. They are the ones that are used by women (as it is generally accepted that women are weaker in terms of physical strength), children and beginners.
The tee boxes marked by white on the other hand are a bit further away and are the tee boxes that are generally expected to be used by the average player.
The tee boxes that are marked in blue in most golf courses (although there are some that mark them in black) are further away than the white tee boxes and are for players that are above average and do not suffer from most of the common golf handicaps.
Black tee boxes finally (for the golf courses that have four of them) are reserved for championship players. They are much further away from the hole and require a very experienced and skillful player. You should not attempt teeing from a black marked tee box if you are a beginner as you will not get very far, literally!
Most golf courses have either 9 or 18 holes, although the standard ones have 18. These holes are usually divided into segments of 9, with the first 9 holes being referred to as the front 9, while the other 9 holes being referred to as the back 9.The holes run across the entire span of the golf course, usually starting and ending right by the club house.
There are usually signs right next to the holes. These signs tell you just how far the hole is from each tee box and include other information including the design features of the course that might affect your game, such as hazards that might be in the way and sand dunes.
These are obstacles that are placed in the golf course to increase the difficulty level of the game, and the fun as a result. These include trees, ponds, streams and extremely long grass along the path of the hole you are supposed to play.
Sand traps are also a common obstacle found in most golf courses. These are pits that have sand in them, located somewhere along a particular hole. This specific type of obstacle is especially challenging because the player, once they land in a sand trap, is required to make a specific kind of swing in order to be able to get out of it.
Cuts of grass
There are four basic cuts of grass along a golf course which define it. The fairway refers to the region that runs along the hole. The grass here is cut very short and close to the ground. The rough has much longer grass. It usually runs along the sides of the fairway.
The green is the area around the hole. This is the target the player is aiming for when he tees. The fringe on the other hand is the area that surrounds the green. To make the play more challenging it usually has longer grass and even trees and small bushes in some courses.