What is Golf?

Golf is all that you want from a sport! From being a simple game in which a small ball is played with a club from the teeing ground along the distance of the hole with one or more strokes to finish with the ball holed below the surface of the ground in a hole cut in the green. All of which is played within the rules of the game.


To play golf without rules is not playing the golf, it is something else! The game can be and is more complicated, due to the way in which the club is moved to Play the ball. This movement of the club is called the golf ‘swing’. The difficulties of this and the obligations to comply with the rules are for another day, for now let’s just keep it simple!


Golf is good because it is a game – a sport – a challenge – and maybe even ultimately a way of life.

Images of a Golf Rules Book book dated 20th. November, 1933

Family and friends, young and old, can all play together for fun, or they can compete against each other, or simply compete against themselves by trying to do better than when they last played.

 Golf allows you to be in a healthy environment, a place where one can get away from worldly worries and enjoy mixing with others who share the same interests and respect for the traditions and values of the game. It’s also a way of taking exercise. “I don’t know why,” said one devotee when asked why golf is good. “I can only say that I haven’t played for three days and I’m really eager to have a game.”

 Golf is also beneficial for your health, if your cholesterol is a little high or you’re recovering from a heart by-pass operation your doctor may suggest walking as the best form of exercise. As golf is not a physically violent sport, it can be taken up at any age.

 Golf is a reason for walking without having to buy a dog, collecting wild flowers or picking mushrooms. Walking for the sake of walking can be a little uninteresting even though it takes us into the countryside. Golf is all these things and more.

 It is not only played at the highest possible standard by fit, dedicated professionals. But it is played by players of all abilities and ages for pleasure as well as to benefit their health and general quality of life. It is played by people who not only enjoy exercise in the fresh air but also the companionship of their playing partners or the competition for a wee dram or cup of coffee at the end of the round.

 What it should not be is a way of doing physical injury to oneself, or a good walk spoiled, either yours or anyone else’s for that matter.

 The spirit of the game makes the difference to other sports. Golf is played, for the most part, without the supervision of a referee or umpire. The game relies on the integrity of the individual, to show consideration for other players and to abide by the rules. All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they maybe. This is the spirit of the game of golf.

A sign posted on the notice board at a local golf course:
You do not have to be a lady or gentleman to play golf, But only ladies and gentleman play golf.

There are players who simply want to play in the company of their friends for the challenge of making a better result than the last time, without having to compete against anyone except them self and the golf course. The relaxing part of playing golf is that you have to concentrate so hard to make this un-natural movement called ‘golf swing’ that you forget everything else.

 There is nothing like being in the middle of a golf course, watching your ball flying towards the middle of the fairway or on to the green, with that feeling of having made a ‘good swing’. When this experience, in this special environment, has been felt, it is easy to understand why there are more than 60 million people in the world enjoy playing golf .

 You have to try the game, to relate your experience before you decide if you will like it or become dedicated.

Happy Swinging,

Tom McCowan

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3 thoughts on “What is Golf?”

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