How Golf Is Played

Golf is played in rounds, moving through 18 or 9 holes in an order determined by the design of a given course. Typically, an 18-hole round takes about four hours, and a 9-hole round takes half that time. Any number of people can play, with groups of 1-4 players being standard. 

For each hole, a golfer brings a ball into play but hitting it from the designated teeing ground. The aim of this initial strike is usually to drive the ball a significant distance closer to the hole. Before striking, the ball may be placed on a small peg called a tee, which raises it slightly off the ground. Sometimes, small mounds of sand are used instead of pegs for this purpose.

Essentially, the aim of the game is to get the ball into the hole by striking it with various clubs, using as few strokes as possible. When played competitively, there are two basic methods of scoring, known as stroke play and match play. There are other scoring system variations, but these are the two most commonly seen. 

Stroke play, the more popular approach and the one generally used in tournaments, is when a player’s total number of strokes across all holes are added together to produce their final score. In this form, the winner is the player with the lowest score. In match play, each hole is treated as an individual match with a winner (again based on lowest number of strokes). At the end of the course, the player that has won the most holes is the overall winner.