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Striking means the giving a deliberate blow with either crosse or hand. Charging or Shouldering implies motion and unnecessary force in
checking, and is forbidden, because the object should be to play the
ball and not the man. Draw means equal number of goals gained at call of "time." Stand.—The ball is dead when the referee calls "stand," and no player
shall move until the referee calls "play."
The ground over which golf is played is called "links," and is usually interrupted by breaks, bits and inequalities. These interruptions are necessary to impart interest to the game, for where the ground is completely smooth the sport becomes insipid, there being then little opportunity of exhibiting dexterity of play. The track along which the players proceed is denominated "the course," and may be cither rectilinear, or a figure of any number of sides. A series of small round holes, about four inches in diameter, and several inches in depth, are cut in the turf, at distances of from ioo to 400 or 500 yards from each other, according to the nature of the ground. If the lines happen to be broad and expansive, the holes are placed so as to make the golfing course a somewhat circular one; if they arc long and narrow, the holes are placed from end to end. But, whether the direction taken be from the starting-hole once round a course somewhat circular, or from the starting-hole to the end and back again on a straight course, the term invariably applied to each series of holes played is a round.
The Materials employed consist of small hard balls of gutta-percha, and clubs of forms suited to the nature of the ground. The latter are named as
VARIOUS FORMS OF CLUB-HEADS.
1, Play-club; ?, Putter; 3, Spoon; 4, Sand-iron; 5, Cleek; 6, Niblick.
follows: The play-club, putter, driving-putter, long-spoon, mid-spoon, shortspoon, b-iffing-spoon, sand-iron, cleek and niblick: the last three have iron heads, the others are of wood. In some links, several of these clubs maybe, and usually arc, dispensed with, and the number reduced to six or seven ; but in greens such as St. Andrew's, Musselburgh, Prestwick, and some others, they all come into requisition more or less.
The Play-club, or Driver, is for swiping off the tee, and is further used throughout the green if the ball is lying fair, and the distance more than a full drive between the ball and the hole you are approaching.
The Long-spoon comes into play when the ball lies in a hollow, or a declivity, or on slightly rough grassy ground; it derives its name from having the face scooped, so as to allow of its getting under the ball, and driving it forth a longish distance, if well struck. This club is useful, too, for elevating a ball, and driving it over hazards, such as bunkers, whins, &c
The Short-spoon is a very useful club, and is frequently in the golfer's hands during the course of the day. It is used for playing either good-lying or bad-lying balls when within a hundred yards or so from the hole; this is termed playing the "short game." Much depends on this short game; and many a far, and even sure, driver through the green has been beaten by the indifferent swiper but deadly short-game player.
The Putter (« sounded as in "but") is a short-shafted, stiff club, with a flattish head and square face; it is used when the ball arrives within close proximity to the hole, generally within thirty yards, and is usually considered the best club for "holing out" the ball. To be a "good putter," is what all golfers aim at, and comparatively few ever attain. Long and showy driving is of much commoner occurrence than "deadly" putting, and one who can gain a full stroke on his opponent between two far-distant holes frequently loses his advantage by missing a "put" within a yard of the hole!
THE Sand-iron comes into play when the ball lies in.a " bunker," or sandpit. It is a short, thick-shafted, stiff weapon with an iron head, hollowed out in the centre, and somewhat sloped backward. On its lower edge, it is straight and sharp, which allows of its digging under the ball, and pitching it out of "grief" on to grass. When a ball lies in whins or other hazards of a similar nature, in roads amongst "metal," or over the head in long deergrass or bents, the iron is the best club for freeing it from such impediments, and is, therefore, the one generally used. It is well adapted for "lofting" balls over hazards; or for lofting or pitching "steimies"—that is, when the opponent's ball lies so directly between the player's ball and the hole as to render it impossible for the player to use his putter. He then takes his iron and attempts to loft his own ball over his adversary's and into the hole—a feat which, when accomplished, invariably calls forth admiration.
The Ci.eek is not so thick in the shaft, and is rather longer than the sandiron; it is used chiefly for driving balls out, or lofting them over, certain hazards that happen to lie between the ball and hole near the putting green; it is also useful for putting where the ground is rough. The iron head of the cleek is straight in the face, and slopes backward.
THE Niblick is of very important service when the ball lies in a cart-rut, horse-shoe print in sand, or any round or deep hollow not altogether beyond the player's reach, and not well suited for the iron. The head is very small and heavy, about one-half the size of that of the sand-iron, and is shaped into a hollow about the size of a crown-piece, with the iron sloping slightly backward. This peculiarity of shape enables the player to raise his ball out of difficulties from which no other club could extricate it, and ought invariably, where there are bunkers and roads, to form one of every golfer's set .
The True Method OF Handling The Club will be seen at a glance in the annexed figure. Let the wrists be free, and grasp your club with moderate pressure, but not tightly: in striking, or swiping, as it is called, the eye must never for a single instant wander from the ball, and the club should be swung w th moderate speed over the right shoulder, and brought down quickly to the ball—three-fourths of a circle being described by the action. This mode of handling and swinging should be practised before attempting to strike a ball. Never exert your whole strength in delivering a swipe; golf is a game of skill and nice art, not one of brute force, and if too much force be used, the chances are that you founder your ball, and either top it or drive it a comparatively short distance. The easier a stroke is taken, the greater the chance of hitting the ball correctly; the mere swing of the club will drive a ball a long distance, and with more certainty of the beginner's keeping the right direction than if much force had been applied. In standing to the ball,
the feet should be moderately well apart (about a foot and a half is sufficient), and the left foot should be nearly opposite the ball, at a distance varying with the clubs used ; for instance, in using the ordinary driving-club, two feet and a half is a good distance between foot and ball. Be careful not to exceed this distance, nor be much within the mark, as the player is apt, when standing too far from his ball, to fall in to it, and run the chance of making a bad shot. When standing too near, the ball is often heeled, or struck with that part of the club-head nearest the shaft. When this is the case, the ball hies off to the right. When standing too far, the ball is apt to be "drawn " or "hooked"—that is to say, struck with the point or "toe" of the club, in which case the ball flies in to the left.
The manufacture of balls used to be a distinct trade by itself, and that of clubs another, but now most club-makers also make balls. The price of a ball is is., and of a club, 4.r. 6d. : irons arc rather dearer.
The rival players are either two in number, which is the simplest arrangement, or four (two against two), the former being called a single match, and the latter a double or foursome match, the ball in foursome matches being struck alternately by each partner; or the game may be played by three or more persons, each playing his own ball. The object of every player, whether in a single or double match, is to drive the ball in a series of strokes from one hole towards and into another in as few as possible.
The opponents, who are provided each with a set of clubs and balls, commence at the starting-hole (which is also the finishing-hole), and strike off their balls in the direction of the first. In playing from hole to hole, he who succeeds in holeing in fewer strokes than his opponent wins that hole; but if both players hole their balls in the same number of strokes, the hole is halved. From the first they drive towards the second hole; and so on till the round is finished—that is to say, till they arrive at the hole from which they started. The winner is he who has gained more holes in the round than remain to be played; thus, the match may be gained by a player being, say, two ahead and one to play, or three ahead and two to play, or even more.
A match may, however, consist of, say, three rounds, in which case he who has gained more holes than remain to be played gains the match. Matches between professional players sometimes extend to as many as 108 holes, played on three different links. Sometimes, when players are very equally matched, neither party has, at the close of the day's play, gained an advantage; every round has been halved, or each party has won an equal number of rounds; hence the match itself is halved, and remains to be played another day.
If the skill of one player is superior to that of his opponent, the former gives odds to the latter, to equalize their play. Thus, A possesses an advantage over B. They start to play a round, and the round consists of, say, eight holes. If the difference of their skill be not very great, A possibly allows B two strokes on the round, which, for example's sake, affects B's chances thus: B agrees to take his strokes between the first and second and third and fourth holes, and off they go. After having played from the start to the first hole, which we will suppose they have on equal terms halved, A puts his ball into the second hole in five strokes, and B in the same number. Now, were they playing on even terms, as in the previous hole, the hole would have been again halved; but here B's extra stroke does him service; so, having been allowed one off, he wins the hole. If A had holed his ball in five, and B in six strokes, the hole would have been halved, B's extra stroke, allowed, equalising the reckoning. They strike off towards the third hole, which A wins; so here they are all even. On the next hole (between the third and fourth) B has his second and last extra stroke, which probably makes him the winner of the hole. For the rest of the round they play on equal terms; B is one ahead, and three holes yet to play. If he can succeed in halving, and keeping his advantage, he may win the round, but he possibly drives his ball into some hazard—such as sand or whin-bushes— from which he is only extricated after expending one or more strokes in the operation, and loses at least that hole, if not the match.
The Principal Conditions of the game are as follow :—The tee (which is a small pinch of sand upon which the ball is placed to present a fair stroke in playing off from each hole) must be not less than four, and not more than six club-lengths from the first hole, and may be either in front of or to the side of it ; and after the balls are struck off, the ball lying farthest from the whole to which the parties are playing is played first. The balls must not be changed before the hole is played out. All loose impediments within 12 inches of the ball may be removed when the ball lies on grass—but so as not to move the ball—or from the putting-green or table-land on which the hole is placed, which is considered not to exceed 20 yards from the hole. When the ball lies in a bunker, or otherwise on sand, however, it is not permitted to remove or touch the sand or other obstacle with the club before playing. A ball must not be touched or moved except in playing, and there arc penalties for touching, or moving, or stopping the course of a ball. But whatever happens to a ball by accident, irrespective of the player, must be submitted to, being considered a rub ofthe green. If a ball is lost, the owner loses the hole.
This game was introduced by Messrs. Lunn, of Horncastlc It is played by two persons. Each player takes his stand in front of one of the two goals, as described in Rules 1, 2, 3 and 6, having two sticks, one in each hand, with which to throw and catch the ring. In order to throw the ring, both sticks should be thrust into the ring, taking care to put both sticks in the same side, and not from opposite sides. The sticks should then be brought up so that the point of the right stick is near the handle of the left stick, and vice versA; the two sticks being as far as possible parallel on the same level. The left stick should be in the ring up to its hilt, but only about 6 inches of the right stick should be in the ring. The left stick should be held next to the body, the left hand being near the left hip. The right stick should be held strained away from the left stick, so as to hold the ring firm and flat. Then with the right hand the ring should be swung off, the left hand giving the direction. Instead of putting in the sticks from above as before, and standing over the ring, the sticks can be put in from beneath, still keeping the right stick from the body and the left stick next to it; the ring being, in this case, held about the height of the head. It must also be aimed rather high, as, when thrown in this manner it has a decided downward tendency.
A stroke of this kind, called "a huppimup," is so difficult to catch, that it should only be usednvith persons who have had some practice in catching.
The ring is thus thrown to and fro between the two players, the object being to throw so that the other player is unable to catch. This can best be done by sending the ring as near to the ground as possible. In doing this, care must be taken not to let the ring actually touch the ground before it reach the opponent's crease, this being forbidden by Rule 10.
It will be found that after a little practice that the ring can be thrown with great precision by holding the right stick at right angles to the left, instead of parallel to it, but this will not be found quite so easy as the other way, being in fact a natural development of it.
The RUI.KSare: 1.—There shall be two goals, each 8 feet in height and 10 feet in width, with or without stop nets, but connected by webbing from post to post, if stop nets are not used.
2.—There shall be two courts formed by a line or crease in front of each goal, and parallel with it, at a distance of 6 feet from it, and completed by