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A GREEN WAY OF LIFE:GOLF
2001 / JUNE
The game of golf is thought to have originated in the 15th century on the rolling grassy moorlands of Scotland, but today it has become popular all over the world, not only for the enjoyment of actual play, but as a source of exercise, socialising, and prestige. When to this is added its environmentally friendly character, golf might aptly be described as a green way of life. In recent years, golf has also become a tourism sector in its own right. Can any other sport lay claim to such a diversity of qualities?

The tranquil green landscape of a golf course stretching out beneath a blue sky, with small lakes filled with fish and clumps of trees is like a scene out of paradise created by human hand. After the tense and stressful bustle of the day, a game of golf is the perfect way to wind down. Chatting to spouse and friends as you wander across the grass, the harmonious sound of birds singing in the background, and glimpses of squirrels amongst the trees are a pleasure in itself.
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A GREEN WAY OF LIFE:GOLF
2001 / JUNE
Then when the game is over you can sip a drink in the bar and relax. With such delights on offer it is no surprise that there are around 100 million golfers around the world, both professional and amateur. The country with the highest number of golfers is the United States, and other countries where golf is widely played include Japan, Britain, and Australia.
The history of golf in Turkey goes back to 1895, when Istanbul Golf Club was founded. Its members played on a 12 hole golf course at Okmeydani until the end of 1914. The Bosphorus Golf Club situated near Bebek was established in 1911 but closed down in 1923. In 1920 Istanbul Golf Club opened a new course at Maslak, and in 1922 increased the number of holes to 18 and built a clubhouse. In 1952 the club was licensed with the Department of Physical Education and placed under the auspices of the Tennis Federation. In 1972 part of the land was nationalised when the new War Academies Command was built, and the course was reduced to nine holes.
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A GREEN WAY OF LIFE:GOLF
2001 / JUNE
Istanbul Golf Club remains one of the oldest in the world, and hosts a number of tournaments. A major turning point in Turkish golf was the establishment of the Turkish Golf Federation in 1996. The federation began organising major golf tournaments which turned the attention of the golfing world onto Turkey.
With its beautiful scenery, mild climate in the coastal regions, particularly in the south of the country, and golf courses of international standard, Turkey has quickly become a popular destination for golfers. In Silivri just west of Istanbul is Klassis Golf and Country Club, which offers a range of activities for all members of the family in addition to golf. Kemer Golf and Country Club's 18 hole course is a favourite with Istanbul golfers.

At Belek on Turkey's Mediterranean coast near Antalya the National Golf Club, Gloria Golf Club, Tat Beach Golf Club, and Nobilis Golf Club courses are among the best in Europe, and international tournaments are held there every year.
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A GREEN WAY OF LIFE:GOLF
2001 / JUNE
For those readers not yet familiar with the game, I will outline the main points briefly. A standard golf course consists of 18 holes, and the aim is for the player to hit his ball in order into each hole using as few strokes as possible.

In the case of the small nine-hole course, players make a double circuit. Each 'hole' consists of a flat starting point called the tee, a strip known as the fairway, and a smooth putting green of closely cropped grass where the actual hole measuring 108 mm is situated.

The hole is marked by a flag visible from a considerable way off, and the distance between the tee and the hole varies from 100 to 500 metres. The course also includes obstacles, such as the long unmown grass beyond the fairway known as the rough, trees, and hollows known as bunkers filled with sand.
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A GREEN WAY OF LIFE:GOLF
2001 / JUNE
The two forms of competition in golf are medal play and match play. The former is based upon the total number of strokes used by players to complete the game, those with the lowest number being the winners. In match play, on the other hand, the player who reaches a hole in the lowest number of strokes takes that hole, and the winner is the player with the greatest number of holes. If two players take a hole in the same number of strokes half a hole is counted for each.

To ensure that the process of learning golf is both satisfying and enjoyable, it is essential to attend a course or take private lessons. Consult the instructor before purchasing your equipment, so that you get the clubs which are best suited to you and help you to get along quickly as a learner. Golf clubs are not cheap, but the right kind of good quality equipment is worth every penny. You may not find golf easy at first, but with patience you will soon find yourself progressing.
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A GREEN WAY OF LIFE:GOLF
2001 / JUNE

Practice makes perfect, and once you stop consciously controlling your body, you will relax and improvement will be quicker. A sense of humour is a useful aid in avoiding learner frustration.

And one last piece of advice: read all the books you can find about golf, watch films about golf, and talk about golf. The more you know the more you will understand and love this fascinating and multi-faceted game. l

 

 


* Halim Ermis is a journalist.

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