Okay, so you’ve found your local golf club, called up and booked your very first golf lesson with their PGA Professional, you’ve got no idea what sort of golf clubs are going to suit your game, so what do you do? Well – at least in the good old days of cricket, when Richie Benaud was talking to whoever was joining him in the commentary box, you could understand ‘bacon and eggs’. Try listening to golf commentary and you’d think they’d all ‘gone off on one‘. A short vacation to cuckoo land, that is.
It’s a different language entirely and it would serve you well to get a grasp of what’s being asked of you by your golf coach to save him ensnaring you in a web of gobbledegook before you take your first lesson. For instance, if your coach says ‘we’re going for a birdie on this one’, he doesn’t expect you to hit the sparrow-hawk nestling in the tree off the fairway.
So, over the next couple of articles, we’ll take into account all of the odd terminology associated with golf. It’s air to say, it’s not like football. In soccer, a six yard box is a box that measures six yards from the touchline, and similarly an eighteen yard box is, well, eighteen yards. A penalty spot is the spot from where the penalty’s are taken and the centre circle is a circle around the centre. And the only time you have to explain what ‘back of the net‘ is is when you’re coaching the Aston Villa centre forwards (sorry, Joby!?).
So, without further ado, there’s a lot to get through, so we’ll begin. Scoring is important – without it, golf would just be a leisurely pastime. Upon your first association with the nineteenth (that’s the clubhouse bar), you will realise ‘non-competitive sport‘ is not an adjective with which you’d describe golf.
Every golf course has a nominated par. Par is the amount of shots it is estimated a professional golfer will take to play the golf course. This is broken down further with each hole having its own par. You would think they’d have called it Grand Par and Little Par, wouldn’t you? Hey-ho. If the hole is a three-par, you are expected to complete the hole, from the tee to the cup (the hole) in three strokes.
Likewise, if the entire eighteen hole golf course is a par 72 (the norm for competition golf) you are expected to complete all eighteen holes in, yes, you’ve guessed it, 72 shots. But obviously, we all have our good days and our bad days and we can take more or less shots, depending on our frame of mind, level of skill (which will be accounted for by our golf handicap) and even the weather can play a huge part in our performance.
So, join me in the next article, where we’ll run through the scores, their terminology and confirm the fact that the only good Bogey was Humphrey – all others, including ‘-men’, are not welcome. See you on the next page.