Golf Courses: All You need to Know

Golf Courses: All You need to Know

A golf course is the grounds where golf is played. Each golf course is made up of a series of holes, mostly 18. Each hole has five major elements. These are:

          The tee box or teeing ground

          The fairway

          The green

          The rough



Each hole on a golf course has a par which is the standard score for each hole. The par is determined by the length of the hole from the tee to the putting green. Each hole is assigned a number of shots it should take to complete the hole. Each hole is rated as a par-3, par-4 or par-5. The course par is the sum of the pars of each hole.


The Parts of a Hole


Tee Box or Teeing Ground

The tee box or teeing ground is where play for each hole begins. This area has a flat surface to allow golfers a clean tee shot.


The Fairway

The fairway is the neatly maintained grass that runs between the tee box and the green. Usually spanning anywhere from 30 to 50 metres in length, the fairway is the ideal landing area for shots off the tee. Fairways are always included on holes with a par-3 or par-4.


The Green

The green is the smooth grassy area at the end of the fairway prepared for putting. Each green has a flagstick (pin) and a hole (cup). The grass on a green is cut short enough to allow the ball to roll easily when a golfer is putting. The green has slightly longer grass on its edges called the fringe. Players need to learn to ‘read’ the green as the condition of the grass can determine how the ball will roll towards the hole. If the green is firm and dry then the ball will roll quickly, if the green is wet then the ball will roll slowly.


The Rough

The rough borders the fairway and has taller, coarser grass. A rough can also contain plants and other vegetation that makes hitting the ball a lot more difficult. Playing the ball out of the rough can make play unpredictable and challenging. It’s advisable to keep your golf ball out of the rough!



Hazards are anything on the golf course that can interfere with a player’s game and be hazardous to their score. The two types of hazards are bunkers and water.


Bunkers are concave areas on the golf course containing sand. They line the fairway or surround the putting green.

Water hazards include lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks and in some cases the ocean where a course is on the coast.


Other Information

While the holes are the most important part of the golf course, most golf courses will also have a pro shop or bar area (commonly referred to as the 19th hole!) on the grounds.


Other interesting facts about golf courses

There are nearly 40,000 golf courses in the world. Australia has just over 1,600 golf courses.


The first golf course was The Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland. Considered the oldest golf course in the world, it is commonly known as ‘The Home of Golf.’


A specialty within landscape design or landscape architecture, golf course architecture is actually considered a separate field of study. Professional golfers such as Jack Nicklaus also feature among golf course designers.