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Most golf courses consist of 9 or 18 holes. For the
shortest holes a good player requires only one stroke
to hit the ball to the green.
The two basic forms of playing golf are match play
and stroke play.
In match play, two players (or two teams) play every
hole as a separate contest against each other. The party
with the lower score wins that hole, or if the scores
of both players or teams are equal the hole is "halved"
(drawn). The game is won by the party that wins more
holes than the other.
In stroke play, every player (or team) counts the number
of shots taken for the whole round or tournament to
produce the total score, and the player with the lowest
A tee shot is the first shot played from a teeing ground.
It can be made with a driver (i.e., a 1-wood) off a
tee for long holes, or with an iron on shorter holes.
Ideally, tee shots on long holes have a rather shallow
flight and long roll of the ball, while tee shots on
short holes are flighted higher and are expected to
A fairway shot is similar to a drive when done with
a fairway wood. However, a tee may not be used once
the ball has been brought into play; therefore, playing
from the fairway may be more difficult depending on
how the ball lies. If precision is more important than
length (typically, when playing on narrow fairways or
approaching a green), irons are usually played from
the fairway. Irons or wedges are also often used when
playing from the rough.
A bunker shot is played when the ball is in a bunker
(sand trap). It resembles a pitch and is done with a
wedge. On the green, putts are played along the ground.
An approach shot is played into the green from outside
the green, usually over an intermediate or short distance.