Golf: On the way to the Olymp

Wed 23 Jul 2014 01:01 GMT | 05:01 Local Time

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While the modern game of golf originated in 15th-century Scotland, the game's ancient origins are unclear and much debated.

Some historians trace the sport back to the Roman game of paganica, in which participants used a bent stick to hit a stuffed leather ball. One theory asserts that paganica spread throughout Europe as the Romans conquered most of the continent, during the first century BC, and eventually evolved into the modern game. Others cite chuiwan ("chui" means striking and "wan" means small ball) as the progenitor, a Chinese game played between the eighth and 14th centuries. A Ming Dynasty scroll dating back to 1368 entitled "The Autumn Banquet" shows a member of the Chinese Imperial court swinging what appears to be a golf club at a small ball with the aim of sinking it into a hole. The game is thought to have been introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages. Another early game that resembled modern golf was known as cambuca in England and chambot in France. The Persian game chaugán is another possible ancient origin. In addition, kolven (a game involving a ball and curved bats) was played annually in Loenen, Netherlands, beginning in 1297, to commemorate the capture of the assassin of Floris V, a year earlier.

The modern game originated in Scotland, where the first written record of golf is James II's banning of the game in 1457, as an unwelcome distraction to learning archery. To many golfers, the Old Course at St Andrews, a links course dating to before 1574, is considered to be a site of pilgrimage.Golf is documented as being played on Musselburgh Links, East Lothian, Scotland as early as 2 March 1672, which is certified as the oldest golf course in the world by Guinness World Records. The oldest surviving rules of golf were compiled in March 1744 for the Company of Gentlemen Golfers, later renamed The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which was played at Leith, Scotland. The world's oldest golf tournament in existence, and golf's first major, is The Open Championship, which was first played on 17 October 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club, in Ayrshire, Scotland.

And now a bit about the very game of golf.

Golf is a precision club and ball sport in which competing players (or golfers) use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course using the fewest number of strokes. Golf is defined, in the rules of golf, as "playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules."

It is one of the few ball games that do not require a standardized playing area. Instead, the game is played on a course, in general consisting of an arranged progression of either nine or 18 holes. Each hole on the course must contain a tee box to start from, and a putting green containing the actual hole. There are various other standardized forms of terrain in between, such as the fairway, rough, and hazards, but each hole on a course, and indeed among virtually all courses, is unique in its specific layout and arrangement.

Golf competition is generally played for the lowest number of strokes by an individual, known simply as stroke play, or the lowest score on the most individual holes during a complete round by an individual or team, known as match play. Stroke play is the most commonly seen format at virtually all levels of play, although variations of match play, such as "skins" games, are also seen in televised events. Other forms of scoring also exist.

Most countries are now experiencing boom in golf development, while most famous ski resorts of Europe are building their golf courses for using the infrastructure in summertime. Most countries are building new golf courses, creating professional golf associations, and the women’s golf association LPGA was created along with the PGA Golf Association.

The major men’s professional tournaments include Masters, US Open, The Open Championship and PGA Championship.

Olympic golf tournaments were held only in 1900 and 1904. And only in 2009 golf got on the list of sport disciplines that claim for inclusion into the list of 2016 summer sports.

The voting was held about inclusion of this sport into the program of Summer Olympic Games 2012 but then this proposal was declined. Golf further was included into the list of candidates for inclusion into the program of Summer Olympic Games 2016 and was accepted at the 121st session of the International Olympic Committee on 9 October 2009 (63 votes against 27).

Our country has also been actively developing golf over the past two years and achieved a significant success in this area. Thus, for example, a golf course at the National Golf Club in Guba is considered one of the best and the only one in the South Caucasus. The first National Golf Tournament among amateur players was held there in early June of this year and the prestigious Azerbaijan Open Challenge to involve 156 famous professional golfers from different countries is to start on 30 July.

In addition, the Azerbaijan Golf Federation has set an ambitious golf to ensure participation of the Azerbaijani golf team in the Olympic Games in 2016 where golf will be represented for the first time since 1904. Now intense work is being carried in this direction owing to which our country will be able to take part in the most prestigious international competitions.

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