Golf Games

The word “golf” is derived from the medieval Dutch language, where the word “kolf,” or “kolve,” simply meant “club.” It was passed to the Scots, whose dialect translated it into “glove,” “gowl” or “gouf.” By the 16th century, “golf” had emerged. The first game may have been played on the manicured lawns of Bruntsfield Links in Edinburgh in 1456.

Golf–in the standard form we know today–has been played on Scotland’s Musselburgh Links since 1672. Variations of the game had been played throughout the British Isles and the Low Countries of northern Europe for several centuries before that.

Today, “kolf” continues to evolve in exciting ways. In fact, it is doubtful if those first male golfers–with their cute socks and jaunty caps–could have imagined today’s many forms of playing the game.

Word Golf

This game also is called a word chain. It’s a version of word ladders, in which players must change the start word into the end word through a process of substituting single letters. A new English word must be formed each time a letter is replaced, and players score points according to the number of steps taken. As in regular golf, the player with the lowest score at the end of the game wins. Here’s an example: “lass,” “mass,” “mars,” “mare,” “male.” “Lass” changes to “male” in four turns. This is word golf.

Online Golf

Computer-generated “golf” online is complete with hazards and penalties. Play the courses the pros compete on–virtually–to practice “putting” and improve “technique.” Take a survey to see “how badly you are addicted to golf.” Order e-books as well as hard copy books, and read about improving your swing, “betting” games, etiquette, PGA tour information and more. You can even book a golfing vacation in exotic locations around the world after buying bargain clubs on eBay. Whatever the interest in golf, it is bound to be found online.

Indoor Golf

Golf simulators are the newest technology in the game. At Bunker Hill Golf Course in Medina, Ohio, the indoor facility has full-swing booths with 52 computer-generated golf courses at each station. Participants can play nine or 18 holes on photographed scenery of famous courses, such as Pebble Beach or St. Andrew’s. Follow the course hole-by-hole, full-swing driver to putter, to compete for the lowest score individually or against companions. Scorecards can be printed upon completion.

Cindy Cole manages Bunker Hill’s indoor and outdoor courses. She says the golf simulators allow people to enjoy golf at night, during bad weather or prime times when the outdoor course is at capacity. Those who consider themselves weekend golfers can polish their skills inside during the week.

Cole finds indoor-simulated golf a convenient learning tool. Children ages 7 to 17 can join a junior clinic for five weeks to learn the game before hitting the outdoor course. Parents love this closely supervised, time-sensitive, all-weather option.

There is also a woman’s clinic scheduled for four weeks in May. Cole says, “This is a great way to learn the game and not be intimidated. The women practice for an hour and a half and then stay for dinner.” Some enjoy the chance to drink a beer and sit while others take turns hitting the ball into the soft screen.

”You not only get to play with your foursome,” says Cole, “but you also get to be with everyone else.” She sums up the driving range capability, target practice and large touch-screen at Bunker Hills’ indoor golfing as “pretty cool.”

Kids Golf

Rustic Hills Golf Course is a private country club, also in Medina., that offers a Junior Golf League, open to members and non-members. Over 100 children ages 6 to 16 signed up last year for the once-a-week class. Club Manager John Kelly says everything from golf etiquette to putting is covered in the course. After two hours of training on the nine-hole course, everyone is treated to lunch. Kelly says Rustic Hills is a “great course to learn on. Kids with the most Medina county records (in golf) learned on this course.”

Deerpass Golf Club is a public golf course also in Medina. New Manager and Golf Pro Jason Martin offers a $12, weekly Junior League with instruction. During the summer months, children ages 7 to 18 are welcome at leagues on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Martin tries to pair up students with similar age and skill levels. Not only do the kids get instruction, they get a hot dog, chips and a pop (for you East Coasters, that’s a soda).

Senior Golf

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