A Girl’s Guide to Watching Golf on TV

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A Girl’s Guide to Watching Golf on TV

Learn how to "talk-the-talk" with golf fanatics by tuning in

Tiffany Mack-Fitzgerald is a champion for diversity and inclusion in golf. She helps young women realize their potential through workshops and her work with Black Girls Golf, which she founded to introduce women to the sport. Black Girls Golf hosts clinics and golf outings to encourage new golfers to get more involved in the game.

I know what you’re thinking, golf is boring to watch on television.

Golfers are some of the few athletes that compete in silence. Can you imagine an NBA player making a free throw in a silent arena? I know; I can’t either. Even the golf commentators seem to speak in whispers. All in all, golf is pretty quiet so if you’re like me, you may not be watching for the entertainment factor.

If you’ve spent any time working in the corporate world, you may have noticed that your male colleagues do in fact watch professional golf tournaments for entertainment, and the odds are they will definitely be talking about it at the office Monday.

Talking about a common interest gives people who work together a way to bond and relate to each other. Sharing an interest in golf is a great way to establish positive relationships with your colleagues, clients, and your boss – which is the reason you should be watching too.

If you’re not a big golfer, but want to be able to talk-the-talk, this girl’s guide will give you the basics you should know about watching a professional golf tournament on TV.

What do the “+” and “-” symbols mean?

The primary goal in golf is to get the ball into the hole with as few strokes as possible. You may have heard the term “par” used by golfers, which refers to the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to take to get the ball in the hole. Golf holes are each different lengths, some requiring more or fewer strokes based on their length. The standard pars for individual golf holes are 3, 4, and 5 (par 3’s for shorter distance holes, and par 5’s for longer holes).

When watching golf on TV you may notice a “+” or “-” symbol appearing on the screen next to players’ names. These help viewers keep up with how many strokes the players are currently over or under par.

What’s the leaderboard?

The leaderboard is the scoreboard for golf. There are generally more than 100 golfers competing for the top positions on the leaderboard. It is important to know the leaderboard on TV will have the golfer’s name displayed next to his score for each round and his overall score for the tournament.

How many rounds are played?

A typical tournament lasts 4 days, beginning Thursday and ending Sunday – one round per day. For most professional tournaments, the competitors play 18 holes each day. Each golfer’s score is totaled for an overall score, which is displayed on the leaderboard.

Why aren’t the same golfers who played Thursday playing Sunday?

Many golf tournaments reduce the overall number of golfers after the first two rounds – this is referred to as a “cut”. The players with the best scores after two days of competition get to move on and play in the last two days of competition. The cut is generally made to the bottom-half of the total field, whereby the bottom half of players are cut and no longer participate in the tournament. The cut line is determined by the players overall score after two rounds of golf.

Do professional golfers play by different rules?

No, professional golfers follow the same rules as amateurs. The rules of golf are determined by the United States Golf Association (the governing body in golf). There are different types of tournament formats in golf (similar to tennis and other sports), but professionals follow the same USGA rules that we use as amateurs. There are a few exceptions regarding equipment – there are more restrictions for professionals that do not apply to amateurs.

Knowing these basics will go a long way towards being able to “talk-the-talk” with your co-workers come Monday morning. Not only will you have the chance to watch the very best golfers in the world perform and chat about it with colleagues, but watching the pros will actually help improve your golf game too – and motivate you to get out and play!

 

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