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golf

golf, game of hitting a small hard ball with specially made clubs over an outdoor course sometimes (particularly if it is near the coast) called a links. The object is to deposit the ball in a specified number of cups, or holes, using as few strokes as possible. Although golf's place of origin is uncertain, Scotland has the strongest claim. As early as 1457 it was banned there as a threat to archery practice, which was considered vital to national defense. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland (founded 1754), is the international shrine of golf, and the club's basic rules are the worldwide standards.

Rules and Equipment

The standard course, usually more than 6,000 yd (about 5,500 m) in length, consists of 18 consecutively numbered "holes" (the playing areas leading to the cups). The cup measures 4.5 in. (11.43 cm) in diameter and is set into a smooth surface of closely cropped grass, called a green. Golfers begin play by driving the ball toward the hole from the tee, a slightly elevated rectangular area. Between the tee and the green lies the fairway, often bounded by tall grass (the rough) and trees, and containing natural or constructed obstacles (hazards), such as small lakes or streams, sand pits (bunkers), and mounds. Fairways vary in length from 100 to 650 yd (90–600 m). Two basic principles underlie nearly all the rules: first, players must play the course as they find it and, second, they must play only their own ball, and not touch it (except to hit it with a club) until play is completed on the hole. These principles ensure challenging conditions, demanding skilled shotmaking, and imposing penalties for the loss of one's ball.

The rules have varied little, but changes in equipment have been dramatic over time. In golf's earliest days, the ball was made of feathers stuffed tightly into a leather bag and struck with wooden-shafted clubs. Today balls are of composite materials and can be hit in excess of 300 yds (274 m). A complete set of golf clubs once comprised 3 or 4 woods, used for long drives; 10 irons (numbered upward as the angle of the club face provided increased loft), used for intermediate and short shots; and a putter, used for rolling the ball across the green. Although golfers may carry no more than 14 clubs in their bags, they can now select from 15 different woods, some now made of nonwood materials, from a range of hybrid clubs that combine the characteristics of traditional woods and irons, making them easier to hit than the standard irons they are designed to replace, and from specialized wedges for sand play and for pitching the ball at varying degrees of loft, which complement the standard irons.

Golf in the United States

Although there is evidence that Americans played golf in the 17th cent., the first permanent clubs in the United States were not organized until the late 1880s. A dispute between the sponsors of two "national" championships led American golfers to found (1894) the United States Golf Association (USGA) as a governing body for the sport. The USGA also conducted annual tournaments, including the National Amateur and the National, or U.S., Open (which includes both amateur and professional players). The first of these championships took place in 1895. In 1916 the United States Professional Golf Association (PGA) was founded and the annual PGA championship inaugurated. During the first several decades in which these major tournaments were held, golf had little broad appeal.

Though the game boomed among business executives in the 1920s, amateurs were usually members of exclusive clubs, and professionals were usually teachers of the game. The only golfer to ever win a grand slam (the four major championships—then the British Amateur and Open and the U.S. Amateur and Open—in one year) was an amateur, Robert Tyre ( "Bobby" ) Jones, Jr., who retired shortly after his 1930 feat. During the Depression, many private courses opened to the public, and agencies of the New Deal built nearly 1,000 public courses.

Golf today is one of America's fastest growing participant sports, particularly among public course players. Many private clubs still exist in the 1990s, with some determining membership on racial or religious grounds. The growth of the game has been consistent since the advent of televised tournaments in the 1960s and the gradual strengthening of the professional circuit (which has lessened the distinction of playing as an amateur). Two of golf's greatest and most charismatic players, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, entered their prime in time to take advantage of both conditions.

The world's best players now vie in 72-hole tournaments for prize money that can exceed $500,000 for a victory at one of the four major championships (now the U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship, and the Masters); some other events greatly exceed that amount. Every two years in the Ryder Cup competition, a team of American professionals plays against Europe's best players. A made-for-television event, the Skins Game, is a popular version of an old golf gambling game in which selected professionals compete for money that has exceeded $300,000. Women (under the aegis of the Ladies' Professional Golf Association, founded 1946) and seniors have their own professional tours. The women also contested their own U.S.-Europe team event, the Solheim Cup, for the first time in 1990.

Bibliography

See M. Bartlett, ed., The Golf Book (1980); R. Sommers, The U.S. Open (1987); G. Wiren, The PGA Manual of Golf (1991); T. Watson, The Rules of Golf (1992); J. Feinstein, The Majors (1999).

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"golf." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"golf." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/golf

Golf

GOLF

GOLF originated in England and Scotland, and though American colonists played, the game quickly disappeared from the United States after the Revolutionary War. It came back in the 1880s, when the founders of the first country clubs discovered that golf suited their needs better than the traditional pastimes of horsing and hunting. Until the 1970s, private courses outnumbered municipal and daily-fee courses open to the public. The link between golf and the country club largely determined how the game developed, who played it, and how it has been perceived.

Elites developed country clubs in the late-nineteenth century to restore social order in the face of rapid immigration, industrialization, and urbanization. Country club members found golf especially appealing because it promised to revive the health of upper-class Victorians, some of whom believed they were suffering from a collective attack of nerves called neurasthenia. By the 1920s, country clubs had become appealing to the middle class. Modest clubs marked class, religious, and social distinctions as surely as wealthy white Protestant clubs did, but they also introduced golf to a wider audience. In 1916, there were fewer than 1,000 courses; by 1930, there were almost 6,000.

Golf also provided some of the earliest opportunities for women in sport. Though some clubs discriminate against women even today (by restricting weekend play to men, for example, or requiring wives or daughters to join in the names of husbands or fathers), many allowed women to play from the beginning. Men considered golf appropriate for the feminine constitution and temperament. It required more finesse than brute strength, and golfers competed against themselves and the course, not each other. Given the chance to play, however, women established themselves on their own terms. Olympic champion Babe Didrikson Zaharias pursued golf later in her career because she believed it would soften her unpopular androgynous image, but she immediately became famous for her powerful drives.

In 1894, representatives of the leading clubs created golf's first governing body, the United States Golf Association


(USGA), to promote the increasingly popular game, set rules, and sponsor tournaments. In 1916, a group of professionals, fed up with USGA policies that clearly favored amateurs, formed the Professional Golfers Association (PGA). The Ladies Professional Golfers Association was constituted in 1950.

American golfers lagged behind Europeans until 1913, when Francis Ouimet shocked the golf world by defeating England's best at the U.S. Open. Ouimet, who learned the game as a caddie, was the first of many working-class kids who taught themselves golf by carrying equipment at private clubs that would never accept them as members. The list also includes Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, and Byron Nelson. Hagen and Bobby Jones, an aristocratic amateur, dominated the game in the 1920s and became America's first golf superstars. Hagen won eleven "majors" in his career: two U.S. Opens, four British Opens, and five PGA Championships. Jones, who in the 1930s founded the fourth major, the Masters, took three British Opens and four U.S. Opens, plus five U.S. amateur titles. Together they established golf as a spectator sport.

During the Depression and World War II, golf's reputation suffered. Americans were feeling sober, and nothing seemed to symbolize the frivolous leisure class better than rich men in knickers chasing a ball around the manicured lawn of a private club. In the 1950s, the civil rights movement focused attention on the game's racism and on the segregation of most country clubs. As private organizations, the clubs were not required to integrate, and most did not. Many cities transferred public courses to private owners to keep them white. The golf establishment did not confront its race problem until 1990, when civil rights groups threatened to picket the PGA Championship, scheduled for the all-white Shoal Creek Country Club. Shoal Creek quickly admitted a black member, and the PGA promised to hold subsequent tournaments only at integrated courses. The same year, the U.S. Open champion Tom Watson resigned from his club because it refused a Jewish member. The desire for PGA events has encouraged most clubs to open their admission policies, but actual progress remains slow.

Nevertheless, golf has enjoyed years of fantastic growth. In the 1960s, Arnold Palmer, whose loyal fans are known as "Arnie's Army," and Jack Nicklaus, the "Golden Bear," helped make televised golf a success. At the beginning of the twenty-first century the game thrives inter-nationally, with celebrated players from all over the world and Ryder Cup competition between national teams. In 2002, Tiger Woods led the surge in the sport's popularity. As the game's most dominant player and first African American star, he introduced golf to a much wider demographic. With about 10,000 municipal or daily-fee courses and only half that many private courses, golf has become more accessible than ever.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cayleff, Susan E. Babe: The Life and Legend of Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995.

Chambers, Marcia. The Unplayable Lie: The Untold Story of Women and Discrimination in American Golf. New York: Pocket Books, 1995.

Lowe, Stephen R. Sir Walter and Mr. Jones: Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, and the Rise of American Golf. Chelsea, Mich.: Sleeping Bear Press, 2000.

Moss, Richard J. Golf and the American Country Club. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001.

JeremyDerfner

See alsoRecreation ; Sports ; Victorianism .

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"Golf." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Golf

Golf

Sources

Golf in America. Originating in Scotland around the fifteenth century, golf reached America during the colonial era, and Americans began playing the game after the American Revolution. The earliest clubs were established in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1786, and Savannah, Georgia, in 1795. Newspaper sources indicate that golf was regularly played at these clubs until the War of 1812. However Americans showed little interest in the game between the War of 1812 and the Civil War, one possible reason being that it was seen as an elitist sport and was therefore shunned.

Renewed Interest in Golf. The 1870s and 1880s witnessed a rekindled interest among Americans in golf. Charles Blair McDonald, a pioneer in the rejuvenation of the game, played golf in the Chicago area in 1875. Col. J. Hamilton Gillespie, a Scotsman who owned a lumber business in Sarasota, Florida, played golf there in 1883 or 1884. Andrew Bell of Burlington, Iowa, who attended the University of Edinburgh, set up a four-hole golf course in Burlington upon returning home and introduced the game to his friends. In 1884 Russell W. Montague, a New Englander, and four Scottish friends established a golf course near Montagues summer home in Oakhurst, West Virginia. U.S. Army soldiers stationed near the Rio Grande played golf in 1886, and Alex Findlay, a Scottish immigrant turned cowboy, played golf on the Nebraska prairies. Beginning in 1888 golf was played for three years at Rockwells Woods, near Norwich, Connecticut. Members of the exclusive Tuxedo Club, in Tuxedo, New York, began playing golf in 1889, as did members of the Casino Club in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1890.

Establishment of St. Andrews. The first modern golfing club in the United States, St. Andrews, named after the historic Scottish club, was established in Yonkers, New York, in 1888. The idea for the club originated when John Reid, a Scottish immigrant and ironworks executive, invited some neighbors to a cow pasture across the street from his home to drive some golf balls. In 1887 Bob Lockhart, a friend of Reid, traveled to Scotland and brought back some clubs and the newly introduced gutta-percha golf ball. With the new equipment, Lockhart, Reid, and another friend, John B. Upham, gave an exhibition of the game on a three-hole course laid out on the cow pasture. Golf soon became so popular with Reid and his associates that by the end of 1888 they had formally organized the St. Andrews Golf Club, with Reid as president and Upham as secretary. Over the next three years St. Andrews moved twice: at Grey Oaks it held the first unofficial U.S. championship; and at its final location, Mount Hope at Hastings, the club constructed an eighteen-hole course, the first course of that length in the nation. (Although the Dorset Field Club in Dorset, Vermont, and the Foxburg Country Club in Foxburg, Pennsylvania, claim to be the oldest modern golf courses

in the United States, established in 1886 and 1887, respectively, they do not have the documentation to prove it, as does St. Andrews.)

Establishment of the United States Golf Association. Golf grew rapidly in the United States during the 1890s. In 1894 the Amateur Golf Association (AGA) was formed to administer and standardize the game. Later that year the AGA changed its name to the United States Golf Association (USGA). The five charter-member clubs were St. Andrews, Newport, Shinnecock Hills, the Chicago Golf Club, and the Brookline Country Club in Massachusetts. On 22 December 1894 Henry O. Tallmadge, the secretary of the St. Andrews Club, held a conference of USGA officials to establish a site for a single national championship. They decided to hold both an amateur and an open championship tournament at the Newport Club in October 1895. Charles Blair McDonald won the 1895 USGA amateur title over Laurence Curtis, who, according to the New York Herald, was not in any way in the game against McDonald, for he a had low short drive compared to a long well directed drive of his opponent. The first U.S. Open was won by Horace Rawlins, the Newport assistant pro, against nine other professionals and an amateur. He won a $50 gold medal and $150 in cash. By 1895 there were seventy-five golf clubs in the United States. By the late 1890s golf had acquired such an elite following that Outing reported it as a sport restricted to the richer classes of the country.

Rise of Womens Golf. Golf, like tennis, offered women the opportunity for high-level competition. In 1894 the British Ladies Golf Union held the first womens golf championship. The USGA held the first womens amateur championship at the Meadowbrook Club on Long Island in November 1895. Mrs. Charles S. Brown won that inaugural event. The first player to dominate womens golf in the United States was Beatrix Hoyt, who won three consecutive amateur titles from 1896 to 1898. She won her first title at the age of sixteen and retired from competition at the age of twenty-one.

Sources

Will Grimsley, Golf: Its History, People and Events (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966);

John M. Ross, ed., Golf Magazines Encyclopedia of Golf (New York: Harper & Row, 1979);

Herbert Warren Wind, The Story of American Golf: Its Champions and Its Championships (New York: Knopf, 1975).

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golf

golf. Though the Dutch game of kolf has been claimed as the origin, the first undoubted reference to golf was in 1457 when the Scottish Parliament deplored its popularity, along with that of football, since it took young men away from archery practice. James VI and I is said to have taken golf clubs with him when he moved south in 1603. But the great development of the game was in the later 19th cent. The handful of golf clubs in the early decades had risen to a dozen by 1870 and well over 1,000 by 1914. The first British open championship was held at Prestwick in 1860 and, since professionals dominated, an amateur championship at Hoylake in 1885. The main developments have been the standardization of the number of holes; the evolution of balls from the original wooden or feather-filled balls to cheaper gutta-percha balls in the 1840s and more aerodynamic rubber balls in the early 20th cent.; and the introduction of specialist clubs, up to a maximum of fourteen. The British governing body is the Royal and Ancient Club at St Andrews, founded in 1754.

J. A. Cannon

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golf

golf Game in which a small, hard ball is struck by a club. The object of the game is to hit the ball into a sequence of holes (usually 18), in the least number of shots. The length of each hole varies from c.100–550yd (c.90–500m) and consists of a tee, from where the player hits the first shot; a fairway of mown grass bordered by trees and longer grass, known as the rough; and a green, a putting area of smooth, short grass and the site of the hole. A player may have to circumvent course hazards, such as lakes or bunkers. Each hole is given a par, the number of shots it should take to complete the hole. Competition is usually over 18, 36 or 72 holes; the winner decided by the lowest total of strokes (stroke play) or the most holes won (match play). In 1754, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, St Andrews, Scotland, was formed and the basic rules of the game codified. Major tournaments are the US Open, British Open, US Professional Golfer's Association (PGA), and the US Masters.

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golf

golf / gälf; gôlf/ • n. 1. a game played on a large open-air course, in which a small hard ball is struck with a club into a series of small holes in the ground, the object being to use the fewest possible strokes to complete the course. 2. a code word representing the letter G, used in radio communication. • v. [intr.] play golf: [as n.] (golfing) a week's golfing. DERIVATIVES: golf·er n.

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golf

golf XV. of unkn. orig.

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golf

golf •Ralph •elf, herself, himself, itself, myself, oneself, ourself, self, shelf, themself, thyself, yourself •mantelshelf • bookshelf • sylph •golf, Rolf, Wolf •Randolph • Rudolph •Wolfe, Woolf •aardwolf • werewolf • Beowulf •engulf, gulf •Ranulf

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