The Game of Golf
The origins of the game of golf are a little obscure, but there is no doubt that the modern golf game developed in the dunes of Scotland, where the habit of hitting small stones with sticks became a contest to hit the longest and the straightest.
That contest is still basic to the game of golf, but it has been enhanced to the point that it is now a highly organised sport with hundreds of thousands of participants in almost every country of the world.
Golf has developed many unique characteristics, not the least of which is the honesty it places on each player to monitor his or her own game to see that the rules are kept.
Other characteristics are:
• The importance of etiquette
• The obligation on each player to maintain the golf course
• The universal rules of golf Click here for a Rules of Golf page
• The golf handicap and golf course rating
• The features of a golf course
• The wide appeal of the game of golf
This deliberately avoids the issue of improving the way you actually play the game of golf. That we leave to the golf club professional, your friends and the myriad of golf books and magazines that offer advice on how to lower your score.
Rather, this section looks at the unique features of the game of golf and the language that is used where it is played.
The obligation of each player to maintain the course
Each player at PukekoheGolf Club must carry a bucket of sand, which is used to fill and smooth any divot or other mark left on the golf course
If a golf ball lands on a green and leaves a mark, the player should use a plug repairer to make good the green. The correct way to make the repair is to draw turf towards the centre of the mark and then to smooth it. If you simply lift the area a bald patch is often left.
If the course staff happen to be in your way, please patiently wait until they have finished as they have right of way. This aside, the staff will normally see you and either quickly finish what they are doing or step aside to let you through. Sometimes, if the work is major and their safety is at risk we will close the hole and let you walk it and take the equivalent of 2 stableford points for that hole.
Equipment, particularly green keeper’s tools and watering equipment should not be damaged or even touched if not necessary. The rules of golf allow relief from a situation where such equipment interferes with the players golf shot and that relief should be taken.
Relief allowed from ground marked GUR (Ground Under Repair) is explained by Rule 24. All gardens are automatically GUR (except at the garden on the 6th fairway) and must be left how they are found.
The Golf Handicap and Golf Course Rating System
New Zealand Golf (NZG) has established and maintains through all affiliated golf clubs in New Zealand a system to achieve uniform golf handicaps throughout New Zealand.
The system is based on the NZG rating system, which rates every participating golf club according to its inherent difficulty. Each golf club has the responsibility to administer the system for its own members and for it to work correctly each member has the responsibility to make the best golf score and to report every competitive round of golf played even at other golf clubs.
Individual handicaps are based on each players golf scores for each round and they will rise and fall according to how well they player is scoring.
New players will need to establish a beginning handicap and the method for that is described in the section ‘Playing Competitive Golf’. (link)
A temporary Calculated Course Rating’ (CCR) is determined for each competitive day and that is used as the starting point for handicap changes.
Golf Games for individuals
There are four basic games of golf that are played between individuals:
• Match play.
The rules of golf define Stableford and Par as types of stroke play, but because they are scored differently we treat them here as separate games. A brief description of each is given below.
In Stroke games the actual number of strokes and any penalties the player may incur for the whole game is the score. That number is then reduced by the player’s golf handicap to give the result. The lowest result is the winner.
In Stableford competitions players score a number of points on each hole. Each player’s golf handicap is used in conjunction with the index and par for each hole to give a target score. If the target is achieved or bettered, points are scored. There is a single point awarded if the target is missed by one stroke. The result is the number of points. The player with the most points is the winner.
Par is a competition, where, like Stableford, a target on each hole is established for the player. A player scores on a hole if the target for the hole is equalled or bettered.
Match play is a knockout competition. Each hole is won or drawn and the player winning the most holes is the winner.
Not all events are individual competitions. There are team events.
Matches between golf clubs are called pennants. They can be for various grades and can be for various categories of players such as juniors and women. Pennant games are always match play.
Ambrose is a golf game played between teams, usually of four players.
Despite the name, foursomes are played between teams of two with each team sharing a ball.
Four ball competitions are also played between teams of two but each player uses his/her own ball. Four ball competitions may be ‘better ball’ or ‘aggregate’.
In a four ball, better ball competition only the better score of the team is used.
In aggregate, four ball games, the two scores are added together.
One of the great qualities of golf is that a worldwide system of golf handicaps has been developed that enables any registered players to compete fairly against each other by using their individual handicaps to adjust scores. Below briefly describes how golf handicaps are set and adjusted.
First Handicap Score
The first object of a new member is to establish a beginning golf handicap. To do that the player must submit five cards that have been signed by a golf club member who is recognized as a marker. All competition players are recognised as markers.
The players beginning handicap is calculated from the cards submitted. The handicap is based on the average scores of the cards but the maximum score for any individual hole is set at ‘double bogey’, two strokes more than par.
The new player scores for ‘stroke’ by recording the total number of shots, including penalties for each hole. This can be done during most other types of game but should not interfere with the playing of that other game.
The marker may suggest that the player pick up the golf ball on a hole when ‘double bogey’ has been reached or if the game will be held up for too long, or if the hole is complete.
The golf scorecard must have "FOR HANDICAP’ clearly printed on the top and may be handed directly to the senior PGA Professional in the ProShop or the General Manager at the office.
When five golf scorecards have been submitted the player will be given a golf handicap and can then play in golf club competitions.
The wide appeal of golf
Few sports can match golf in popularity, either as a spectator event or as a participating sport. The beauty of the golf handicap system is that all players can compete fairly against each other and thus there are new names appearing all the time on the results sheets.
You can play your golf with friends, but also do not hesitate to put your name down to play with whoever happens to play at the same time. There are no members of the golf club who are not good company on the golf course.
The Pukekohe Golf Club welcomes all who accept the rules and spirit of this wonderful game to join and enjoy the unique pleasure of club golf.