How To Play Golf

Compared to other ball sports, Golf is a very unique sport. Before we jump into a round of golf, there are few rules beginners should know.  That is why here at Golfstop, we have created a How To Play Golf Guide for all beginner and amateur players.


The objective of the game is to score the lowest number of strokes. The way to score is by putting the golf ball into the hole located on the putting green. There are 9 or 18 holes in a round of golf depending on the course. A full round consists of 18 holes but 9 hole courses are quite common. Each hole contains a tee box and a putting green.  A tee box is the area at the beginning of the hole where players start and tee off (first shot of the hole). Each player must player must play each hole in succession.

Playing a hole of golf consists of each player striking the ball with his or her desired club in order to put their golf ball into the hole located on the putting green.

Types of Terrain

Golf does not require a standard playing field like soccer or basketball. It is played on a course instead.  Each hole on the course contains different types of terrain.  The standard forms of terrain are:

  1. Fairway
  2. Rough (long grass)
  3. Sand Traps (also known as bunkers)
  4. Hazards (water, rocks, sand traps)
  5. Putting Green (smooth area of short grass that surrounds the holes

How To Score

There two most common ways to keep score in golf are Stroke Play and Match Play.

Stroke Play:  In stroke play, every time you hit the ball, it counts as a stroke toward your score.  If it takes the player four strokes to finish the hole, then they will write a 4 on the scorecard for that hole.  In a competition, golfers are playing for the best score against all the competitors even though you play as a small group.

 Match Play: In match play, the objective is to beat your opponent in as many holes as possible.  Each hole is considered as a separate entity.  To determine the winner of each hole, count the number of strokes.  For example, if golfer one shoots a four and golfer two shoots a five, then golfer one would win that hole and mark it down on the scorecard. The golfer with the most holes won wins the round.

Scoring Terms

You may have heard the terms pars, birdies, or bogeys.  Every golfer must know what these terms mean.  All golf scoring terms are in relation to par so let’s start there!

Par:  Par refers to the number of strokes a golfer is expected to hit in order to complete the hole.  Each hole has a par.  Longer holes will have a higher par, while shorter holes will have a lower par. Some holes may be par two or even par five.

Birdies:  Birdies describes a player’s performance when they score one under par.  For example, the hole is a par three and they get the ball in the hole in two strokes, that is recognized as a birdie.

Eagles: Player shoots two under par.

Bogey: When a player shoots one over par it is  a bogey.

Double Bogey: When a player shoots two over par.

Triple Bogey: When a player shots three over par.


Like any other sport, the game of golf has a set of standardized rules. After the shot taken by the player, the ball must be played where it lies . For example, if the ball lands in the sand trap, the player must hit his next shot in the sand trap where it lies.  In certain situations, penalties are handed out. The penalty is counted toward the players score as if the player took an extra swing.  A penalty is added for any rule violation or unplayable situation eg ball goes into the water.  A quick set of golf rules can be found in this link below.

RA Quick Rules Guide


“Golf course” By Mathew Sullivan / CC

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