Play of the game
Every game of golf is based on playing a number of holes in a given order. A round typically consists of 18 holes that are played in the order determined by the course layout. On a nine-hole course, a standard round consists of two successive nine-hole rounds. A hole of golf consists of hitting a ball from a tee on the teeing ground (a marked area designated for the first shot of a hole), and continuing to strike the ball till it comes to rest in the cup. Once the ball is on the green (an area of finely cut grass or oiled sand) the ball is usually putted (hit along the ground) into the hole. The aim of holing the ball in as few strokes as possible may be impeded by various obstructions, such as bunkers and water hazards.
Players usually walk (or sometimes drive) over the course in groups of two, three, or four, sometimes accompanied by caddies who carry and manage the players' equipment and give them advice. Each player plays a ball from the tee to the hole, except that in foursomes one player from each team tees off and the players then take alternate shots until the ball is holed out. When individual players have all brought a ball into play, the player whose ball is the farthest from the hole is next to play. In some teams' events, a player who is farthest from the hole may ask his or her partner who may be closer to the hole to play first. When all players of a group have completed the hole, the player or team with the best score on that hole has the honor, that is, the right to play first on the next tee.
Each player acts as marker for one other player in the group, that is, he or she records the score on a score card. In stroke play (see below), the score consists of the number of strokes played plus any penalty strokes incurred. Penalty strokes are not actually strokes but penalty points that are added to the score for violations of rules or for making use of relief procedures in certain situations.
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