Golf, game in which players hit a small, hard ball with special clubs on an outdoor course (links), attempting to use as few strokes as possible to deposit the ball into a cup (hole). Playing a hole, of which there are 18 on a standard course, involves driving the ball from a raised peg (tee) across the fairway, which is flanked by obstacles to be avoided, such as sand traps and water, toward the green (a smooth area around the hole at a distance of 100–600 yd/91–541 m from the tee). Golf clubs include 3 or 4 woods, 9 or 10 irons, and a putter (used on the green). Written records of golf date from the 15th century in Scotland, and though the game may have been introduced to the United States in the 17th century, the first permanent U.S. golf club did not come into being until 1888. In 1916 the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) championship began and to this day has been dominated by U.S. golfers such as Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus.