Golf was devised by the Scottish in the 14th or 15th century. It was banned at one time by the Scottish Parliament to ensure that its citizens practiced archery. In the 18th century, the first golf associations and clubs were formed, including the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (1744) and the Saint Andrews Society of Golfers. The latter is now called the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrew's.
The object of golf is to hit a little ball using a "club" into a hole some distance away. While the first golf clubs were fashioned from tree branches, today's clubs are manufactured from graphite and titanium clubs for greater distance and accuracy. Golf courses typically have 18 holes, with long tree-lined fairways and manicured greens. To add to the challenge, some holes are protected by water barriers and sand traps, and the fairways surrounded by "rough" grass. Some holes are even hidden from the tee-off (with a bent "dog leg" fairway).
To golf, you need a set of golf clubs comprised of between nine and 14 clubs (the maximum allowed by the rules of golf) kept in a golf bag. You can rent these at a golf course, or buy them at most sporting goods stores. Serious golfers also invest in golf gloves, to enhance their control of the club.
These clubs include both "woods" and "irons". Woods are heavier clubs used for distance. A 1-wood and 3-wood are needed for teeing off on longer holes. A fairway wood (usually designated a 5-wood) may used on the course to reach the green on a long hole. Today's woods are available in metal, graphite and of course, wood.
Irons are used for shorter shots, typically numbered from the 3-iron up to the 9-iron. The higher the number, the higher the "loft", indicating how high the golf ball will fly through the air. For example, the 3-iron will fly 150-190 yards, while the 9-iron will fly only 90-100 yards.
The remaining specialized clubs are used on or around the green. A pitching wedge, with lots of loft, is used to get the ball out of the rough around the green. A sand wedge, also with a lot of loft, is used to extract the ball out of "bunkers" that often surround the greens.
For most, a bit of practice is good before your first golf game. There are several
golf training facilities in town. You can also practice at a driving range at a public course
near you (if you've been invited to a game at a private course, the pro will let you practice
on their range first. If you are a member of a private club, you can make an appointment with your club professional.
There are over 33 golf courses in and around St John's and Newfoundland, providing a wide variety of terrain and challenge. Golf courses tend to be built around the natural beauty of the valleys, creeks and rivers, and also the mountains. We provide a listing of Golf Courses. You can also contact the Newfoundland and Labrador Ladies Golf Association at (709) 726-9439 or the Newfoundland and Labrador Men's Golf Association at (709) 634-595.
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