It makes it easier to shoot a low score on the golf course when you have the right clubs. They should feel good in your hand, make solid contact with the ball, and be durable enough to last for many seasons. Even if your golf technique is not the best, a quality golf club may help you get more distance and reduce your tendency to hit a slice or draw.
Originally, golf balls were made of a hardwood, such as beech. Beginning between the 14th and 16th centuries, more expensive golf balls were made of a leather skin stuffed with down feathers; these were called "featheries". Around the mid-1800s, a new material called gutta-percha, made from the latex of the East Asian sapodilla tree, started to be used to create more inexpensive golf balls nicknamed "gutties", which had similar flight characteristics as featheries. These then progressed to "brambles" in the later 1800s, using a raised dimple pattern and resembling bramble fruit, and then to "meshies" beginning in the early 1900s, where ball manufacturers started experimenting with latex rubber cores and wound mesh skins that created recessed patterns over the ball's surface. Recessed circular dimples were patented in 1910, but didn't become popular until the 1940s after the patents expired.
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Travel bags are available with many combinations of size and features, but are distinguished by rigid and/or heavily padded construction, including the clubhead cover (which on most other bags is simply an unpadded "rain fly"), and locks on the zippers and bag cover. These features protect the clubs from abuse and theft, and generally makes the bag suitable for checked airline luggage. Travel bags are generally used by amateur players that travel occasionally, such as business executives; rigid flight cases that enclose the actual golf bag are generally preferred by touring players, as these cases can enclose any golf bag, are more discreet as to their contents thus further deterring theft, and the case's weight and bulk can be left behind while on the course where it's not needed.
The traditional way to play was to walk, but the use of golf carts is very common due to a number of factors. Chief among them is the sheer length of the modern course, and the required "pace of play" instituted by many courses to prevent delays for other golfers and maintain a schedule of tee times. A typical par-72 course would "measure out" at between 6,000 and 7,000 total yards, which does not count the distance between the green of one hole and the tee of the next, nor the additional distance caused by errant shots. A player walking a 7,000-yard course might traverse up to 5 miles (8km). With a typical required pace of play of 4 hours, a player would spend 1.6 hours of that time simply walking to their next shot, leaving an average of only two minutes for all players to make each of the 72 shots for a par score (and most casual players do not score the course par). Economics is another reason why carts have become prevalent at many courses; the fee for renting a cart is less expensive than paying a caddie to carry the bags, and the private club gets the money for the cart rentals. A golf cart also enables physically handicapped people to play the game. Carts are also popular with golfers who are too lazy to walk the course.
Most golf bags have a ring to which a player can tie or clip a golf towel, used to wipe hands and clean or dry balls and club faces. Some of these towels can be quite specialized, with a carabiner or other clip to attach it to the bag with a grommet used on the towel for durability, and incorporating rougher materials in certain sections of the towel for club and ball cleaning with softer weaves elsewhere for drying. Other cleaning products abound, from motorized ball cleaners to an array of brushes for various types of clubs as well as balls and shoes.
A ball mark repair tool (also known as a pitchfork or divot tool) is used to repair a ball mark (a depression in the green where a ball has hit the ground on its approach shot). Some tees contain such a tool at the end, for pure convenience when on the green. To repair a ball mark, one pushes the tool next to the mark and pushes gently inwards from all sides, loosening the compacted turf to allow rapid regrowth of grass, and then flattens the mark with the smooth flat bottom of the putter to smooth the putting surface.

Stroke counters help a player keep track of the number of strokes he or she has made during a hole, an entire round, or both. The simplest devices are strings of beads, thumbwheels or "clickers" that a player advances by one after each stroke and provide a total for the player to write on their scorecard after each hole; newer variations have various degrees of computational power added and can keep score for multiple holes, total scores, and keep track of over/under par statistics. These more advanced counters are generally referred to as "electronic scorecards". Counters by themselves are allowed under strict rules, but some multi-functional devices incorporate additional banned features like rangefinders or wind gauges, and as such the entire device becomes illegal.
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Ball retrievers are telescoping poles with a device at the end that scoops up and traps golf balls, and are used for reclaiming a ball from a water hazard. These are allowed under strict rules (provided of course the proper one-stroke penalty is assessed for hitting the ball into the water in the first place), but for courtesy to other players a player retrieving his ball should do so quickly, and should not spend time retrieving abandoned balls.


Staff bags are the largest class of golf bags, and are generally seen carried by caddies or other assistants to professional or high-level amateur players. Staff bags are generally the same size or larger than a cart bag, and typically feature a single shoulder strap, a large amount of storage for equipment and even spare attire, and large logo branding designed for product placement on televised events.
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