Golf courses have been around for centuries, dating back to the invention of the game in Scotland in the Middle Ages. However, it wasn't until the 19th century that golf gained international popularity, spreading across the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States.
Golf courses have evolved throughout the centuries. In the 15th century, the holes were dictated by the terrain, and the famous St. Andrews course had 11 holes in a long strip. Golfers would play the 11 holes, turn around, and play them back toward the clubhouse. Short holes were eventually combined, for a total of 18 holes. Because of the status and popularity of the St. Andrews course, this became the international standard that remains today, although some courses will have 9, 27, or 36 holes. Courses typically include a teeing ground, the fairway, a rough or other hazards, and the green with the flagstick (pin) and hole (cup).
The clubs have also evolved as technology has improved the available materials. Originally made of wood, often persimmon, clubs are now made of metal such as titanium and have graphite shafts. This allows a larger, lighter surface for contacting the ball, which helps it fly farther.
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