Golf, a cross-country game in which a player strikes a small ball with various clubs from a series of starting points (teeing grounds) into a series of holes on a course. The player who holes his ball in the fewest strokes wins. The origins of the game are difficult to ascertain, although evidence now suggests that early forms of golf were played in the Netherlands first and then in Scotland.
From a somewhat obscure antiquity, the game attained worldwide popularity, especially in the 20th century. Nothing is known about the early game’s favourite venues on the European continent, but in Scotland golf was first played on seaside links with their crisp turf and natural hazards. Only later in the game’s evolution did play on downs, moorland, and parkland courses begin. Golfers participate at every level, from a recreational game to popular televised professional tournaments. Despite its attractions, golf is not a game for everyone; it requires a high degree of skill that is honed only with great patience and dedication.