Golf is a sport in which players swing a club to hit a small ball into a series of holes on a course, using the fewest number of strokes. There are many ways to play the game. There are many variations from the standard well-known traditional sport of golf, the difference include the scoring method, course length, equipment and location. On the complete list of sports there are many types and variations of the popular sport of golf.
Early Versions of Golf
A game played in the Netherlands in medieval times was Kolven (or Kolf, Colf) possibly a precursor to the modern game of golf. There were other golf-like stick and ball games played in those times in the streets, such as Crossage. These games eventually made their way to Scotland where a version played on the 'links' became the game of golf.
Ways of Playing Traditional Golf
The game of modern golf, played on the traditional 18-hole grass course, can be played under several popular scoring systems. The basic and most common way of scoring, called Stroke play, is to count each stroke taken and the player with the lowest total number of strokes after 18 holes is the winner (the number of holes played can vary, particularly for professional tournaments). In Match Play, two players (or two teams) play every hole as a separate contest against each other, the winner is the team to win the most number of holes. There are other ways of playing such as Stableford, Ambrose, Skins (for details and more examples, see our page on golf game variations).
If time is an issue, then there is Speed Golf, a variation of golf in which the objective is to complete the course in the fewest possible number of strokes and the fastest time possible, the score is a combination of strokes and speed. The record is a 65 shot in just over 44 minutes, a good score usually requiring several hours of strolling around the course.
A Different Course
If walking several miles to play a round of golf is too difficult, there are shorter versions, such as Pitch and Put, played on a golf course with holes typically less than eighty yards long, only requiring a pitch and a put. These are sometimes called par-3 courses.
An even shorter course is used in Mini-Golf (also going by the name Crazy Golf, Miniature Golf and Putt-Putt), which only requires the putting part of the game. This game is usually played on artificial surfaces, sometimes on pool tables with pool cues like Mini-Golf Billiards. There are other similar putting types of sport, such as Behcup, which using the putting motion though the balls are hit into a small goal rather than into a hole.
Other elements of the game of golf have been utilized to create unique sports. There are Longest Drive competitions, and the sport of Target Golf where players hit a golf ball at a large net, scoring points based on where the ball lands.
Golf is traditionally played on grass, but there are other versions played on different surfaces. In Winter there may not be grass available, but that shouldn't stop you from playing golf. You can play Snow Golf, just like regular golf, however the golf course is covered with snow and ice. The summer variation of this is Beach Golf, a simplified version of golf played on sand with a polyurethane foam ball.
Large open areas are difficult to find in the increasingly urban world. The answer is Urban Golf, golf played anywhere that there's free space (and preferably not too many people about), with anything possible as an obstacle.
Park Golf is a simplified version of golf invented in Japan, played with a single club and ball and resembles a long version of croquet. Croquet has a lot of similarities to golf, and a popular form of croquet is called Golf Croquet, in which each player takes a stroke in turn, trying to hit a ball through the same hoop. Another sport described as a mix of croquet and golf is the sport of Krolf from Denmark, where players use a mallet to hit the ball into a hole.
A Different Ball
There are a few versions played with objects other than the dimpled small white ball. In Footgolf it's a mix of golf and football, where players use football skills to kick a soccer ball into a hole. In Disc Golf, you throw a frisbee around the course, finishing by throwing it into a chain basket as the hole.
Sports with Similarities to Golf
- Irish Road Bowling — competitors attempt to take the fewest throws to propel a metal ball along a predetermined course of country roads.
- In the field (veld) version of the German sport of Klootschieten, participants throw a ball to reach a particular patch of grass in as few throws as possible.
Other Golf Sports and Games?
- Golf Pool Indoor Game (shown in image above) where the ball is hit using a putter, into the holes of a pool table.
- Golf Pool or Golf Billiards, a pocket billiards game played on a pool table with regular pool cues. Each player needs to pocket their nominated ball in each pocket consecutively. This pool game is usually played for money.
- Word Golf (also known as word ladder and others) is a word game invented by author Lewis Carroll, in which you solve a puzzle by finding a chain of words to link two words, in which each step differs by only one letter.
New Sports Like Golf
These are new sports, usually just ideas, submitted by visitors to this website. Some though may be more developed, and are actually played in emerging competitions around the world.
- Billiard Croquet (Golf) Game — a new sport for billiard and golf players, played on a felt top table.
- Clotgert — a new target golf game, three shots at a target from different distances.
- Flog — a futuristic version of golf (it is also golf spelt backwards!)
- FuGoal Golf — kick a soccer ball from the tee box into the FuGoal Net with the fewest number of kicks/strokes.
- Hole-In-Drone — a drone golf game.
- Speedgolf — golf, but as quick as you can with unlimited strokes.
- Spekthow — marbles are thrown around a course of holes like in golf.