Golf is a sport that is played by hitting a small ball over long distances with the use of a long metal or wooden club, with the intent of hitting the ball into a very small hole hundreds of feet away. There are 18 ranges on a standard golf course, commonly referred to as "holes." Some courses provide abbreviated nine hole courses as well. Originally a golf course had 10 holes, and players would play from one to the next accross 9 ranges out from and then back in to the first hole, this is where the 18 holes originated.
Golf has become a popular sport, with several professional tours being run by groups such as the Professional Golf Association (PGA) or Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) where top prizes can reach $800,000. Only a few people ever play at a professional, level but many more enjoy Golf as a pastime or social activity. The oldest and most venerable golf clubs can be very exclusive institutions, with membership scarce and much sought after.
The four most prestigious tournaments in the golfing calendar (or 'majors') are the United States Open, the US PGA tournament, the Masters, and the British Open (simply called 'the Open' in Britain). The Masters is always held at Augusta in Georgia, while the other three are held at a different course each year.