Golf has been frustrating mankind since the 15th century. While the pros make it look ridiculously easy, any weekend hacker will now the game is not as simple as ‘put the ball in the whole’.
The origins of golf are unclear. Some suggest it first sprung up in China over a thousand years ago, while others claim the Romans invented this most noble of past times. However it is generally accepted that golf as we know it originated in Scotland in the 1500’s.
In at least 500 years of history golf has changed very little, and that is part of its appeal. The clubs may have improved and the greens may be smoother, but the game of golf remains as it was all those years ago.
Today the best players in the world ply their trade on the US or European pro golfing tours. There are two ways in which golf tournament are normally structured. The first and most common is stroke play. The player that can get through 72 holes in the least amount of shots is declared the winner. The other format is match play. In match play, players face off an in adversarial format. Players win a hole when they play it in fewer strokes than their opponents. The player who wins the most holes, is declared the winner in match play.
The four biggest golf tournaments of the year are known as ‘The Majors’ and these are all played under stroke play conditions. The Masters, The US Open and the PGA Championship are played in the US while the British Open is played in England or Scotland. American Jack Nicklaus has won the most Majors with 18, although Tiger Woods is closing in on Jack with 14 wins.