Definition of golf noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ɡɒlf//
; NAmE NAmE//ɡɑːlf//
, NAmE//ɡɔːlf//
[uncountable] Golf
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a game played over a large area of ground using specially shaped sticks to hit a small hard ball (a golf ball) into a series of 9 or 18 holes, using as few strokes as possible He enjoyed a round of golf on a Sunday morning. see also crazy golf, minigolf See related entries: Golf Word Originlate Middle English (originally Scots): perhaps related to Dutch kolf ‘club, bat’, used as a term in several Dutch games; golf, however, is recorded before these games. CulturegolfGolf was first developed in Scotland in the 15th century but is now played all round the world by both professional and amateur players.The aim of golf is to hit a small ball from a tee (= a flat area of grass) into a hole on a green (= a very finely cut area of grass), which may be up to 600 yards/550 metres away, using as few shots (= hits) as possible. Most golf courses consist of 18 holes. To make play more difficult they are often hilly and have various natural and man-made hazards such as lakes, bunkers (= pits filled with sand), and rough, long grass or trees on either side of the fairway.Each player has their own ball and several different types of club (woods, irons and a putter) with which to hit it. The club chosen depends on the type of shot the player needs to make. In professional tournaments (= games) players have a caddie to carry the bag of clubs from one hole to the next and to advise them on their play. Players try to finish each hole in a given number of shots, which is known as par. If they use one shot less than par they score a birdie; if they use two shots less they score an eagle; if they use three shots under par they score an albatross. If they manage to get the ball into the hole in a single shot they can claim a hole in one. If they use a shot more than par they score a bogey. A handicap is an advantage given to weaker players which is expressed as a number related to the number of shots above par. Professional golfers have a handicap of zero. At the end of a round (= all 18 holes), the player with the lowest score is the winner. Professional matches may consist of several rounds. The result sometimes depends on the total number of shots players have taken (stroke play), or else on the number of individual holes each player has won (match play).Golf began as a sport of the upper classes and in Britain in the past it attracted mainly people in business and the professions. Nowadays, it is played by a wide range of people of all classes, and many more golf courses have been built. The game can still be quite expensive to play and membership of the most popular golf clubs may cost a lot of money. The most famous British clubs include the Royal and Ancient at St Andrews, where the first official rules of golf were agreed in 1754, Muirfield and Wentworth. Golf may have been taken to America by people from Scotland in the 17th century, but the first permanent club was not established there until 1888, in Yonkers, New York.There are four important international competitions for professional golfers, known as the majors, three of them held in the US. The Masters Tournament is always held at Augusta, Georgia. The others are the US Open and the US PGA Championship. The British Open is regarded as the world's top golf tournament. US and European teams also compete every two years in the Ryder Cup. The major US competitions for women include the US Women's Open and the LPGA Women's Championship. Amateur events include the Walker Cup and the Curtis Cup. Television has helped to increase the popularity of the game.As well as golf courses, there are also many driving ranges where people can practise hitting golf balls over long distances, particularly practising their swing (way of hitting the ball). Many people who do not play golf enjoy a game of crazy golf (AmE miniature golf) in a local park. The idea is to hit a golf ball round a small grass and concrete course, through tunnels, over bridges, round small pools, etc. Others enjoy putting, a miniature form of golf on a small grassy course.Extra examples Choose from over 100 golf packages in our brochure. His coach says his golf swing needs improving. She decided to join a golf club. She has a golf handicap of 18. She’s been a golf widow since she gave her husband his first set of clubs. The club is holding a golf clinic next week, where golfers can get advice from the pros. The eighth at Banff is one of the world’s great golf holes. The hotel offers miniature golf and other activities for children. You can borrow golf clubs if you want a game.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: golf