On any 9 or 18 hole golf course, there are five major components that make up the golf course; most holes contain all five, but take a look at what to expect the next time you hit the links.
Every golf hole starts with a shot from the tee box. The tee box is a shortly-mowed area of grass where golfers stroke their first shot on each hole. Each tee box can vary in size, but the golfer starts by teeing the ball up in between two markers. Most courses have multiple tee boxes with differently colored markers. The colored markers are in place to designate which skill level tees off from that position.
Most golf holes have an area of short grass where the tee shot is intended to land, known as the fairway (Par 3’s are the exception). The fairway on each hole can vary in width, slope and straightness. Often, a hole will “dogleg”, meaning it will bend to the right or left with the golfer left to play the hold accordingly.
Every golf hole consists of a final shot where the ball is hit into the cup. The cup itself is located on the green. The green of each hole is mowed very short with a special mower. On the green, the golfer hits his shot with a putter. Often, greens are undulating in slope where a golfer needs to read the slope to their shot in the appropriate direction to hit the hole. Greens can vary in speed depending on firmness and grass length and that speed can be measured on what is known as a stimpmeter.
Most golf holes have an area of long grass surrounding the fairway and green known as the rough. This long grass surrounding each hole can vary in length, making it very difficult and unpredictable to know how a ball will fly out of when struck.
Some holes contain bunkers or water known as hazards. Bunkers are sand filled traps, sometimes called sand traps, that can surround the fairways and greens. When a ball lands in a bunker, it is often difficult to hit it out. Where a lake, pond, creek, river or ocean surrounds a hole is known as a water hazard. Both types of hazard are in place to penalize the golfer for hitting an errant shot.