Golf is a businessman’s game. Big money deals are struck on the golf course, and a trip to the golf club is just another name for a business meeting. The connection between golf and business is such that, according to a recent survey, CEOs who play better golf actually make more money than those whose scores are too high.
Too high? Golf is one of the few sports where a low score is preferable to a high one. Players try to hit the ball into a hole on the course in as few strokes as possible. To make things more interesting, the course is often littered with obstacles such as areas of long grass (known as the rough) and sand pits (or bunkers).
Golfers hit the ball using a variety of clubs, each suitable for a particular area of the course. A driver, for example, is heavy and large-headed and is used for long-distance shots, while a putter is used for the final tap into the hole.
The scoring system in golf is littered with odd sounding names. The target number of shots for each hole is called "par." For an easy hole, this number might be three, for very difficult holes, par is as high as six. If the player is skilled, he may sink the ball in fewer strokes than the average par. A score of one below par is called a “birdie,” and two below an "eagle," while one over par is a bogey.
Modern golf originated in fifteenth century Scotland (though a similar game existed in the Tang Dynasty of China), where it was played by the rich and poor alike. In the 1800s however, wealthy members of the middle class became fond of escaping the city and playing golf together in the countryside. These golf clubs, which had expensive membership fees and formal dress codes, eventually became the norm, and golf passed into the realm of the elite.
Golf’s reputation for being exclusive to the mostly male business class has become so rooted in public opinion that a popular joke about the word "golf" is that it’s an acronym for "Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden."