Nepali Times
Tee Break
Golf for beginners II


Last week (#182) we looked at some basic terms for a golf course's features: tees, fairways, roughs, bunkers, hazards, out of bounds, and greens. Let us continue:

Some basic terms for your score
Score Card & Score - A printed form where you fill in your score on each hole. For each of the 18 holes you play, you write down the number of times you hit the ball and add on the penalties for being in a hazard or breaking the rules of the game. At the end of the round of golf (18 holes), you total it all up and that is your score. The lowest score wins.

What is par? - Par can be used in different ways, but basically it means the "ideal" score for a particular hole or golf course. The par of a particular hole is usually dependent on the length of the hole, and generally there are three groups of lengths. Short holes require you to get the ball from the tee into the hole in 3 shots. These are known as par threes. Medium length holes are par fours. Long holes are par fives.

If you get the ball from the tee to the hole in 4 shots on a par four, then you have had a par on that hole.

A standard golf course of 18 holes could have four holes of par 3, four holes of par 5, and ten par 4's, for a total of a par of 72. If you have scored 72 after playing 18 holes, then you have played your 18 hole round to par.
Hole in one - Every golfer's dream - hitting the ball from the tee right into the hole.

Albatross - Finishing a hole with a score of three below par. On a par 5, it would mean getting the ball into the hole in just 2 shots. It also can be scored on a par 4 if you hit the ball straight from the tee into the hole. (Yes, you would also call it a hole in one). Americans like to refer to an Albatross as a "double eagle." It is very rare to get an albatross.

Eagle - Two strokes below par. For example completing a par four with a score of 2, or a par five with a score of 3.

Birdie - One below par. So, if you score 3 on a par four, you have had a birdie on that hole.

Par - the standard for the hole.

Bogey - One over par. On a par 3 if someone plays 4 shots to put in the hole then he has had a bogey on that hole.

Double Bogey - Two over par for the hole

Triple Bogey - Three over par

Quadruple Bogey - Four over par - common score for beginners.

What is a Handicap?
A handicap is not a disability, it is one of the most interesting aspects of golf. In simple terms, a person's Handicap in golf is determined from an average of his score over par for a number of 18 hole rounds of golf. So if a person regularly scores 80 on a par 72 course, his handicap would be 8.

Handicaps allow players of very different skill levels to play competitively against each other. A beginner's handicap is 28. A top amateur's handicap is zero.

Are we ready now?

Armed with this terminology, you no longer need to be hesitant on joining in that conversation between a group of golfers, or driving down to the golf course and taking your first lesson.

Deepak Acharya is a golf instructor and Head Golf Professional at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)