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The GIST's Guide to Golf

We know, we know, watching golf on TV can be a wee bit of a snooze (understatement of the century).

The GIST

That said, it’s a sport that biz ppl are absolutely crazy about and is actually decently enjoyable to play once you give ‘er the good ol’ college try. A full round of golf is played on 18 holes at a golf course. Holes generally range from 100 - 500 yards. Unlike other sports, the goal is to have the LEAST amount of strokes at the end of the game - meaning take the least amount of drives, pitches, putts, etc. to get the ball in the hole. Each hole is given a number of strokes that it should take for a person to get the ball in the hole (aka par). Generally, par for the entire course is 72. Golf is an individual sport, but is normally played in groups of four.

How is It Organized?

In Canada, golf is generally played between the months of April and October. Similar to tennis, professional golf players play in PGA (Professional Golf Association) Tour tournaments. A tournament consists of four rounds of golf, starting Thursday and ending Sunday. The most popular tournaments are called The Majors. The Major tournaments include The Masters, The US Open, The British Open and the PGA Championship. Outside of the majors, there are also various other tourneys the pros can partake in. A player’s world ranking is based on how they do in each tournament. The coolest tournament is The Masters, played in Augusta, Georgia. In addition to winning copious amounts of $$$$, players also receive the green jacket (super cool to win, super impractical to wear). What’s unique about The Masters is once you win, you’re automatically invited back to play in the tournament annually for the rest of your life!

Golfin’ Greats

Golf may look easy, but we’re telling you from experience that this game is so freaking hard, requiring both physical hand-eye coordination and a mental strength parallel to meditation. You may also be thinking golf is all old dudes with dad bods - NOT TRUE! While golf is a sport where experience is incredibly important, the past decade has shown that you can be a young gun and already be at the top of your game. The best in the world these days are Dustin Johnson (American who is married to Wayne Gretzky’s daughter), Rory McIlroy (Irish Sweetheart), Brooks Koepka (American who’s won b2b US Opens) and Jordan Speith (young American cutie). A name you need to know is Tiger Woods. Tiger dominated the game for about 15 solid years winning 14 Major tournaments. AND THEN, unfortunately he ended up being an utter disappointment. Tiger was caught cheating on his beautiful wife and Swedish model, Elin, claiming that he had a “sex addiction”. Most recently, Tiger was arrested on 4th of July weekend in Florida for a good ol’ fashioned DUI from prescription medication. He’s back on the links, but this guys got more baggage than your ex-boyfriend. Learn more about him here. 

Gals who Golf

A debatably true folklore is that Golf stands for “Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden”. BUT LET US TELL YOU, us ladies have completely smashed through those original roots. Professional women play golf through the LPGA (Ladies PGA) which is designed similarly to the men’s. Nowadays, our Canadian sweetheart Brooke Henderson is one of the best in the world, and is the youngest female to ever win an LPGA. You are truly our #inspo, Brooke. And, GISTers, if you’re not into the sport, we’re sure you can at least get into the cute and preppy fashion.

Prep for your next trivia night by making sure you know these facts:

  • When you get a hole-in-one, you only took one stroke from the tee to sink it into the hole. When you get a hole in one it’s tradition for the golfer to pay for one drink for each person in the clubhouse. But, do not fear, most courses have hole-in-one insurance so that you actually don’t have to pay. #insuranceftw
     
  • Jack Nicklaus is strongly considered the best golfer of all-time winning 18 majors, which is still the most ever.

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Glossary

Holes:

A golf course and game is made up of 18 golf holes. Your goal is to use the least amount of strokes to put the ball in the hole.

Stroke:

The manner in which you get the golf ball into the hole (drive, put, pitch, sand save, etc.)

Drive:

The first stroke you take on a given hole from the tee box (the nice little patch of grass where you can stick your tee in the ground and pop your golf ball on top to hit it off of). Usually you use a driver, which is your biggest club and you take a big swing and try to get the ball as far down along the course and close to the hole as possible. Smashing the ball as far as possible is a fan favourite.

Slice:

Basically you hit the ball and it goes wayyyyy off to the opposite side of your natural swing. This can happen when you haven’t perfected your swing and swipe across the ball when you hit it, putting a spin on it that causes it to go off your desired path. For example, the right-handed golfers, a slice will make the ball go a bit left before curving right.

Hook:

The hook is the opposite of a slice. For a right-handed golfer, a hook will make the ball go a bit too far to the right.

Cut:

A cut is when right-handed golfers’ swing sends the ball to the right or to the left for left-handed golfers. People that have just hit a hook, slice or cut can be seen yelling directions at their ball like “stay, stay right, c’mon, C’MON DROP, DROP RIGHT THERE. Nooo, dangit it’s in the bunker again”.

Making the Cut:

Not to be confused with the above, BUT, for professional tournaments, there are four rounds of golf played from Thursday to Sunday. However, after the first two rounds, there is a “cut” so that only the top move on. Generally, it’s only the top 70 golfers (maximum) that move on to play the full weekend. 

Putting:

When you’re on the green, you don’t need to put the ball in the air, silly!! Just use your putter and taaaapppp it in.

Green or Putting Green:

The green is the nice little patch of very closely trimmed grass on relatively even, smooth ground surrounding the hole. In your strokes leading up to putting, you try to get the ball onto the green so you can putt the ball into the hole from somewhere on the green. Sometimes the green can be uneven which is why you’ll see golfers crouching down and having chats with their caddy to figure out which way the ground slants and how many centimetres above / below the hole they should aim for it so that it rolls right in.

Caddie (Caddy):

The guy who carries your clubs all day and gives you advice on how to shoot. Honestly could use a homie following me around all day carrying my purse and giving life advice. #amirightladies

Fairway:

The area between the tee box and the putting green, where the grass is cut even and short. Usually you try to drive your ball somewhere onto the fairway, and then eventually work the ball onto the greens from there (in an ideal world this is what you do… but in practice this doesn’t always happen).

Rough:

The area between the fairway and the out-of-bounds. The grass here is cut higher and it’s harder to hit a good ball from the rough than the fairway. If you hit your ball in the rough, don’t be too discouraged - it’s still better than hitting it in the water or onto another hole’s fairway (it happens).

Bunker or Sand trap:

Small to medium areas, usually lower than the fairway, that are filled with sand. It’s harder to hit the ball from sand so you typically want to avoid these. If not, grab a lawn chair, a towel and post up for some serious tanning.

Drop:

If you hit the ball into an area from which you can’t play the ball (think pond, into a dense forest) or don’t want to play the ball (near an alligator, from a pile of mud and you just got new shoes, etc.), you can drop a ball in bounds and take your shot from there, but you get a penalty stroke (plus 1!) as a result.

Par:

In golf, each hole is assigned a ‘normal’ number of strokes you’re aiming to take to complete a hole. This is called par. If a hole is a par 4, that means you’re aiming to get the ball in the hole in 4 strokes. **Note: if you’re learning golf this will almost NEVER happen - don’t be discouraged. It takes a really good golfer to consistently get pars. When we say ‘normal’, we mean like normal for professional golfers.

Birdie:

A birdie is when it takes you one less stroke than par to complete a hole, which is freakin’ awesome. If this happens to you, you should be very excited and do a little dance on the green afterwards.

Eagle:

An eagle is when it takes you TWO less strokes under par to complete a hole. This is EXTREMELY bad and boujee. Standing applause.

Albatross:

Golfers just love using different “bird” as scoring mechanisms don’t they. An albatross is when a player gets three strokes under bar. This can really only happen on a par-4 or par-5 hole. If it was a par-3, it would just be a hole-in-one. 

Hole in one:

You get the ball in the hole in 1 shot!! The chances that an average golfer gets a hole in one is 12,500 to one. Fun fact, Ellen’s mom (who loves golf but is far from a scratch golfer) has had two hole in ones over her lifetime!!! #momlove

Bogie:

A bogie is when it takes you one more stroke above par to complete a hole. Not ideal, but also not the worst thing that can happen (like when it takes 2 or 3 more strokes than par to complete the hole that’s where you can really get in trouble and your score starts to add up - yikes!).

Scratch golfer:

This is a golfer who can, on a regular basis, complete a round at par (i.e. complete each hole at par, or have their birdies and bogies even out so that overall, the round is at par). Outside of the pros, there are few and far between of us regular folk that are scratch golfers.

Handicap:

Unlike a scratch golfer, others will play rounds where it takes more strokes than par to complete a hole. These people will receive a handicap. Your handicap becomes a measure of your ability to play. In tournaments you can get matched up against someone with a similar handicap to you so that Jordan Spieth isn’t matched up against some Joe Schmoe cause let’s be honest that would be kind of unfair and probably pretty discouraging for Joe.

Front 9 & back 9:

Literally just a fancy way of saying the first nine holes of the golf course and the last nine holes of the 18-golf course.

Grandstands:

When you’re a pro, and you’re walking into the 18th Hole, there’s normally a set of large stands for the fans to sit in (normally fans stand along the side). These are called the grandstands. People get super hyped when the winner of the tournament is coming in to the play her/his final hole.

PGA Tour:

Professional Golf Association - the organizer of the main professional golf tournaments.

Green Jacket:

The Green Jacket is presented to the winner of the prestigious golf tournament ‘The Masters’. It is a huge deal. Fun (and useless) fact: the jacket presented to the winner after the final hole is taken from a club member (who already has a jacket) with a similar build to the winner and is returned after the ceremony, while a tailored version is prepared and presented to the champion at a later date.

Fore:

It’s yelled as a warning to innocent golfers or bystanders when it looks like the ball is coming straight at them and they should probably consider duck, dive, or dodge to avoid getting smacked by a golf ball. Basically the equivalent of ‘WATCH OUT’ of ‘GET OUTTA THE WAY’. If you’re an inexperienced golfer you may find yourself using this term a lot.

Playoff:

If the tournament is tied at the end of the 18 holes, (remember a tournament normally consists of 18 holes Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) there’s a playoff hole. A playoff hole is an extra hole played by the people tied. Whoever scores best on that hole, wins the tournament. You only got one shot, one opportunity, to seize anything you ever wanted (okay I’m done).

Clubhouse:

The generally fancy building where the change rooms, restaurants and pro shops are. They’re also a great place to have a beer after either a great, or more likely, not the best, round.

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FAQs

What’s considered a good score? People will say “Shot 90” and I have no clue what they really mean.

A “good score” is really all relative to who you are and what sort of course you’re playing. If you’re a professional golfer, you’ll probably be shooting under 72 (which is par). If you’re not a pro, but you LOVE golf, you might be a scratch golfer, which means you’re normally shooting 72. If you’re like us and are just starting to get into golf and are still a little hack, you’re happy with shooting 100. LOL. This also depends on the course difficulty. Our tip: golf can be frustrating AF and do NOT compare yourself to others when you’re first learning. 

WTF does ‘short game’ mean? 

Short game means anything that happens around the green, which is where the hole is and where players generally putt. Short game includes mostly pitching, chipping and putting.

What do they mean by ‘lipping out’? Are golf players kissing or something?

Wouldn’t that be nice. No snogging here unfortunately. Lipping out is what happens when a person putts, and the golf ball catches the rim, aka “lip”, of the hole, and instead of going in, shoots out. Have a look at this video to see what it looks like.

What is an “approach”?

So this is a shot that happens on a par-4 or par-5 hole that occurs when the player wants to put the shot onto the green. A ball can be any distance away from the green, the player just has to have the intent to get the ball on it. This may be similar to when you approach a guy at the bar with the intention of getting his number. You have to go up to talk to them first. Does that make sense?

Do you have to be fit to play golf?

Yes and no. There are arguments to both sides. Some people say the fitter you are, the better, and some say it’s all about the finesse and shooting the ball well. We’re of the mindset that the stronger and more fit you are, of course it will help but it’s not the main criteria for success in golf. That’s also part of the reason why we love it. It’s a sport that you can literally play into your 80s because it’s not too physically draining, especially when you’re able to use a cart. 

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The GIST’s Guide to The Masters

Okay. We get it. You hear the word “golf” and you automatically feel your eyelids starting to get heavy. WELL WAKE THE EFF UP PPL!!! The Masters are upon us, and it’s definitely the best week of golf in the whole year. 

 

The GIST

The Masters is the first major golf tournament of the year. This tourney is always held at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia during the first week of April, and this year is taking place from April 5th-8th. Unlike other golf tournaments where players win a trophy, the winning pro gets a Green Jacket. Yes, all of these men are playing for a g-damn green jacket - a chance to look like Kermit. Okay sorry. That’s rude. The Green Jacket is actually one of the most coveted prizes in all of golf. There’s a lot of story and tradition behind the green jacket and we srsly suggest you read up on it here.

Why TF is it such a big deal?

There are a few reasons why The Masters are such a BFD. Let us break it down for you:

  • The tournament is jam-packed with history and tradition with the first tourney being played back in 1934. If ~math~ is not your thing, that’s 84 years ago. *See a couple sections below for why we’re not completely in love with these “traditions”.
     
  • Augusta is one of the most beautiful courses in the world. The Masters is well-known for the Azalea flower that makes the course incredibly colourful and picturesque. Rumour has it the course sometimes uses heaters to make the flowers bloom in time for the tournament. #science.
     
  • Augusta is also one of the most famous and prestigious golf courses in the world. Similar to getting invited to go play with the “cool girls” at recess, Augusta is a private course (meaning that a regular Joe Schmoe can’t just go and play it) and the only way that you can become a member is if you are invited. There are only about 300 members at any given time, and the membership initiation fee is thought to be as high as $40k just to get in, and then $10k annually. Chump change.

 

- Only the best of the best are invited to play or qualify to play. And once you win the tournament once, you’re invited to play every single year. That’s right, you can win when you’re 20 years-old, and if you’re still kickin’ you can play when you’re 70 years-old.

How’s it Organized?

Similar to the majority of golf tournaments, The Masters start on Thursday and end on Sunday. Players play four rounds of golf (remember there are 18 holes in a round) - 1 round each day. You should also know that the score is cumulative over the course of the four days. What’s different about The Masters is that there’s a pretty small field of contenders so players generally play in groups of 3, rather than groups of 4. After 36 holes, aka two rounds, a “cut” is made. The cut determines who makes it into the top 50 places (including ties) so that they qualify to play on the Saturday and Sunday rounds. If there’s a tie at the end of the tournament, there’s a sudden death playoff (hole-by-hole until there’s a winner). Get it? Got it? Good.

The Best of the Best

Alright. B/c The Masters are full of history, we’re gonna start off with the best of the past. Icon Jack Nicklaus, who is widely regarded as the best golfer of all time, has the most Masters wins with 6 between 1963 and 1986. He was the oldest player to ever win the tournament at 46. The late Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods have each won 4 times. On the other side of the spectrum, Tiger was the youngest player to ever win at the ripe age of 21. Meanwhile, at 21, we were rly just stoked that we could finally legally drink in the USA. Last year’s winner was Spaniard Sergio Garcia. V unlikely that Sergio is gonna win again this year.

PS: Since we wrote this article American Patrick Reed won The Masters

Fast forward to today, and golf analysts are predicting that either comeback king, Tiger (yes that same cat from above) or American young-guns Jordan Spieth or Justin Thomas, will take it. You should know that literally everyone is completely and utterly obsessed with Tiger, so a sh!t ton of the air time is gonna be focused on him. Get #thegist on why everyone is fangirling over Tiger here.

Some other names who will likely crack the top 10 are Dustin Johnson (who, FYI, is married to Wayne Gretzky’s daughter Paulina), Irishman, Rory McIlroy and Brit, Justin Rose. The GIST’s prediction? We’re taking a risk and calling 47 y/o Phil Mickelson. Phil’s won 3 Masters already and has played some pretty impressive golf as of late for an old(er) dude.

Why TF aren’t women in this tournament?

Given the tournament has been around for basically ever, there are a lot of rules/customs that a lot of fans say are “traditional”. HOW-EV-ER in today’s day and age, these “traditions” are/were downright racist and sexist.

The Masters and Augusta kicked off back in the 1930s, and they kept black golfers out of the tournament for 40 years until 1975. Lee Elder was the first black man to participate in the tournament, and he wasn’t “invited” - he automatically qualified by winning another tournament. Further, no African-American members were admitted to the club until 1990 AND golfers’ caddies(the people who help carry clubs and help call shots) HAD to be black until 1983. There are literally no words to properly articulate our disgust.

But wait, there’s more. The Masters only started granting women members to the course in 2012. THAT’S ONLY 6 YEARS AGO, PPL!!!! SRSLY, WTF!! Who thought this was okay?! To date, there are only 3 members (of the 300) that are women including Condoleeza Rice, Darla Moore, and Ginni Rometty. Like, AARRRGGGHHHH. We could go on and on about the history of racism and sexism in golf and more particularly The Masters, but that’s not the point of this guide. If we’ve peaked your interest, give this article a read. Otherwise, pls DM us if you think The GIST’s next investment should be a women’s only golf course. We’re srsly considering it.

 

Random, useless facts that golf fans love to toss around

Because of the history of this tournament, without a doubt, ppl are gonna be all about questioning your knowledge of The Masters. After telling them to back the heck up, lay down these facts:

  • The course was formerly a plant nursery so naturally, each hole on the course is named after a tree or shrub the hole is associated with. You can check out those names here.
     
  • The purse, aka the amount up for grabs across all players, is $11M USD. The winner walks away with $1.98M. Not a bad payout for four days.
     
  • When it comes time for the Green Jacket ceremony, the prior year’s tournament winner put the jacket’s on the new winner BUT there have been 3 times where a player has won back-to-back. When that happens, the Chairman of Augusta National helps the winner into the jacket.
     
  • Apparently, it’s a tradition for players to “skip” their golf ball over the water, just like you would skip rocks if the players' ball has the right lie. For more info on this random AF tradition click here.
  •  
  • The only Canadian to ever win The Masters was Mike Weir back in 2003. Although it’s likely not gonna happen this year, here’s to hoping a Canadian can put on the green jacket yet again!

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