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 across 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 (in order of when played): the Masters (which is always held at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, the only major played on the same course), the PGA Championship, the United States Open, and the Open Championship (commonly called the British Open to differentiate it from other countries' Open championships, such as the US Open). The Players Championship (TPC), played annually at TPC Sawgrass outside of Jacksonville, Florida, is sometimes called the "fifth major" (and offers the largest purse outside the majors along with more points toward world rankings other than the majors); its popularity is due to the course's notable #17 hole, a short par-3 where the green is totally surrounded by water (the Island Green).