Golf terms that everyone should familiarize themselves with. Golf is a game of confidence and attitude. Knowing golf terms is a golf basic. When we are able to express ourselves like golfers we can gain a confident attitude which will serve us well as we attain the skills we are seeking.
Knowing golf terminology helps us to improve our understanding of the realm of golf. Knowing the expressions used by golfers helps build confidence and gives us an attitude that will resist intimidation by those who believe they are more adept golf enthusiasts. If we are desirous of playing this game we should learn to appreciate golf speak.
Golf Terms A - D
Golf Terms E thru H
Golf Terms I thru M
Golf Terms N thru R
Golf Terms S thru Z
ace: A hole-in-one. Drinks are on you if you got the ace (the whole clubhouse).
address: When you get ready to hit. You lay the clubface square to the ball, and you say hello ball, let’s be friends.
Air-ball: Your swing missed the ball! Your nerves got the best of you. If it happens again spend some time with a PGA pro.
albatross: British term for double eagle, or three under par on one hole.
amateur: Someone who plays for fun — not money.
angle of approach: The degree at which the clubhead moves either downward or upward into the ball.
approach: Your shot to the green made from anywhere except the tee.
Apron (collar): The grass around the edge of a green, longer than the grass on the green but shorter than the grass on the fairway.
attend: To hold and remove the flagstick as a partner putts, because the put is so long you couldn’t see where to putt if it wasn’t attended.
away: Term used to describe the ball farthest from the hole and next to be played.
Top of Page
back door: Rear of hole.
back lip: The edge of a bunker (a hazard filled with sand) that’s farthest from the green.
back nine: The second half of your round of golf; the first half is the front nine holes.
backspin: When the ball hits the green and spins back toward the player.
backswing: The part of the swing from the point where the clubhead moves away from the ball to the point where it starts back down again.
baffie: Old name for a 5-wood.
bail out (hang ’em high): You hit the shot, for example, well to the right to avoid trouble on the left.
balata: Sap from a tropical tree, used to make covers for balls.
ball at rest: The ball isn’t moving.
ball marker: Small, round object, such as a coin, used to indicate the ball’s position on the green.
ball retriever: Long pole with a scoop on the end used to collect balls from water hazards and other undesirable spots.
ball washer: Found on many tees; a device for cleaning balls.
banana ball: Shot that curves hugely from left to right (see slice).
bandit: See hustler.
baseball grip: To hold the club with all ten fingers on the grip.
best ball: Game for four players; two teams of two. The low score on each side counts as the team score on each hole.
birdie: Score of one under par on a hole.
bite: A spin that makes the ball tend to stop rather than roll when it lands.
blade:The leading edge of the club, rather than the clubface, strikes the ball, resulting in a low shot that tends to travel way too far (see thin or skull). Also a kind of putter or iron.
blast: Aggressive shot from a bunker that displaces a lot of sand.
blind shot: You can’t see the spot where you want the ball to land.
bogey: Score of one stroke over par on a hole.
boundary: Edge, of course; Usually marked by white stakes.
brassie: Old name for a 2-wood.
Break (borrow): .The amount of curve you must allow for a putt on a sloping green.
British Open: National championship run by Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews — known in Britain as "the Open" because it was the first one.
bunker: Hazard filled with sand; can be referred to as a sand trap.
buried alive: Part of the ball below the surface of the sand in a bunker.
Top of Page
caddie: The person carrying your clubs during your round of golf. The person you fire when you play badly.
caddie-master: Person in charge of caddies.
Calamity Jane: The great Bobby Jones’s putter.
carry: The distance between a ball’s takeoff and landing.
casual water: Water other than a water hazard on the course from which you can lift your ball without penalty.
center-shafted: Putter in which the shaft is joined to the center of the head.
charting the course: To pace each hole so that you always know how far you are from the hole.
chili-dip (Hormel, lay the sod over it, pooper scooper or chunk): A mishit chip shot, the clubhead hitting the ground well before it hits the ball.
chip: Very short, low-flying shot to the green.
chip-in: A holed chip.
choke: To play poorly because of self-imposed pressure.
choke down: To hold the club lower on the grip.
cleat: Spike on the sole of a golf shoe.
cleek: Old term for a variety of clubs.
closed face: Clubface pointed to the left of your ultimate target at address or impact. Or clubface pointed skyward at the top of the backswing. Can lead to a shot that goes to the left of the target.
closed stance: Player sets up with the right foot pulled back, away from the ball.
club length: Distance from the end of the grip to the bottom of the clubhead.
come-backer: The putt after the preceding effort finished beyond the hole. Usually gets harder to make the older you get.
compression: The flattening of the ball against the clubface. The faster you swing and the more precisely you hit the ball in the middle of the clubface, the more fun you have.
concede: To give an opponent a putt, hole, or match.
core: The center of a golf ball.
course rating: The difficulty of a course, measured by a formula set by the USGA. (NOTE: "Course Rating" is registered trademarks of the USGA.)
cross-handed: Grip with the left hand below the right.
cup: Container in the hole that holds the flagstick in place.
cut: Score that eliminates a percentage of the field (or players) from a tournament. Usually made after 36 holes of a 72-hole event.
Top of Page
dance floor: Slang for green.
dawn patrol: The players who tee off early in the day.
dead (body bags, cadaver, on the slab, perdition, jail, tag on his toe, wearing stripes, no pulse, etc.): No possible way out of the shot!
deuce: A score of two on a given hole.
dimple: Depression on the cover of a golf ball.
divot: Turf displaced by the clubhead during a swing.
dogleg: Hole on which the fairway curves one way or the other.
dormant: Grass on the course is alive but not actively growing.
dormie: The player who’s winning the match in match play — for example, five up with only five holes left, or four up with four left.
double bogey: Score of two over par on a hole.
double eagle: Score of three under par on a hole. See also albatross.
downhill lie: When your right foot is higher than your left when you address the ball (for right-handed players).
downswing: The part of the swing where the clubhead is moving down, toward the ball.
DQ’d: Disqualified. Drained it: To sink a putt.
draw: Shot that curves from right to left.
drive: Shot from teeing ground other than par-3 holes.
drive for show, putt for dough: Old saying implying that putting is more important than driving.
driving range: Place where you can go to hit practice balls.
drive the green: When your drive finishes on the putting surface. Can happen on short par-4, or when the brakes go out on your cart.
drop: Procedure by which you put the ball back into play after it’s been deemed unplayable.
duck hook (shrimp, mallard, quacker): Shot curving severely from right to left.
duffer: Bad player.
dying putt: A putt that barely reaches the hole.
Top of Page