Golf is a precision club-and-ball sport, in which competing players (golfers), using many types of clubs, attempt to hit balls into each hole on a golf course while employing the fewest number of strokes. Golf is one of the few ball games that does not require a standardized playing area. Instead, the game is played on golf "courses", each of which features a unique design, although courses typically consist of either nine or 18 holes. Golf is defined, in the rules of golf, as "playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules." Golf competition is generally played for the lowest number of strokes by an individual, known simply as stroke play, or the lowest score on the most individual holes during a complete round by an individual or team, known as match play.
The majority of professional golfers work as club or teaching professionals (pros), and only compete in local competitions. A small elite of professional golfers are "tournament pros" who compete full time on international "tours". Many club and teaching professionals working in the golf industry start as caddies or a general interest in the game, finding employment at golf courses and eventually moving on to certifications in their chosen profession. These programs include independent institutions and universities, and those that eventually lead to a Class A golf professional certification.