Golf Terms N thru R



nassau: Bet in which a round of 18 holes is divided into three — front nine, back nine, and full 18.
net score: Score for a hole or round after handicap strokes are deducted.
never up, never in: Annoying saying coined for a putt that finishes short of the hole.
niblick: Old term for a 9-iron.
nine: Half of a course.
19th hole: The clubhouse bar.


O.B.: Out-of-bounds.
off-center hit: Less than a solid strike. Not hitting the sweet spot (dead center-dead on).
offset: Club with the head set farther behind the shaft than normal.
one-putt: To take only a single putt on a green.
one up: Being one hole ahead in the match score.
open face: Clubface aligned to the right of the target at address, or to the right of its path at impact. Can lead to a shot going to the right of the target.
open stance: Player sets up with the left foot pulled back, away from the ball.
out-of-bounds: Area outside the boundaries of the course, usually marked with white posts. When a ball finishes "O.B.," the player must return to the original spot and play another ball under penalty of one stroke. He or she thus loses stroke and distance.
outside: Area on the far side of the ball.
over the green: Ball hit too far.
overclub: To use a club that will hit the ball too far.
overlapping: A type of grip where the little finger of the right hand lies over the index finger of the left hand.

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pace of play: keeping up with the group in front of you, who should not be no more than 2 swings ahead of you.
pairings: Groups of two players.
par: The score a good player would expect to make on a hole or round.
partner: A player on your side.
persimmon: A wood from which many wooden clubs are made.
PGA: Professional Golfers’ Association.
Piccolo grip: A very loose hold on the club, especially at the top of the backswing.
pigeon: An opponent you should beat easily.
pin: The pole placed in the hole.
pin-high: See hole high.
pin-placement: The location of the hole on the green.
pitch: A short, high approach shot. Doesn’t run much on landing.
pitch and putt: A short course. Or getting down in two strokes from off the green.
pitch-and-run: Varies from a pitch in that it flies lower and runs more.
pitching-niblick: Old term for an 8-iron.
Pivot (coil): The body turn during the swing.
plane: The arc of the swing.
playoff: Two or more players play extra holes to break a tie.
play through: What you do when the group in front of you invites you to pass.
plugged lie: When the ball finishes half-buried in the turf or a bunker.
plumb-bob: Lining up a putt with one eye closed and the putter held vertically in front of the face.
pop-up: High, short shot.
pot bunker: Small, steeply faced bunker.
practice green: Place for working on your putting.
preferred lies: Temporary rule that allows you to move the ball to a more favorable position because of wet conditions.
press: You’ve lost your match, but you want your money back. This new bet takes place over any remaining holes
private club: A club open to members and their guests only.
Pro-Am: A competition in which professional partners team with amateurs.
professional: A golfer who plays or teaches for his or her livelihood.
pro shop: A place where you sign up to start play and can buy balls, clubs, and so on.
provisional ball: You think your ball may be lost. To save time, you play another from the same spot before searching for the first ball. If the first ball is lost, the second ball is in play. If you find first ball-it must be played, regardless of lie.
public course: A golf course open to all.
pull: A straight shot that flies to the left of the target.
punch: A shot hit lower with the ball back in the stance and a shorter-than-normal follow-through.
push: A straight shot that flies to the right of the target.
putter: A straight-faced club generally used on the greens used to make the putts.


qualifying school: A place where aspiring professional golfers try to qualify for the PGA and LPGA Tours.
quitting: Not hitting through a shot with conviction, no follow through.

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rabbit: A beginning player.
rake: The tool in the bunker used to smooth the sand after you leave the bunker.
range: Practice area.
range ball: Generally a low-quality ball used on a driving range.
rap: To hit a putt firmly.
read the green: To assess the path on which a putt must travel to the hole.
Regular flex: A shaft with normal flex.
regulation: Par figures.
release: The point in the downswing where the wrists uncock.
relief: Where you drop a ball that was in a hazard or affected by an obstruction.
reverse overlap: Putting grip in which the little finger of the right hand overlaps the index finger of the left hand.
rhythm: The tempo of your swing.
rifle a shot: To hit the ball hard, straight, and far.
rim the cup: See lip out.
ringer score: Your best-ever score at each hole on the course combined to create a ringer score.
rough: Unprepared area of long grass on either side of the fairway.
round: Eighteen holes of golf.
Royal & Ancient Golf Club: The organization that runs the British Open. The rules makers for Europe. USGA here in the States.
rub of the green: Luck.
run: The roll on the ball after landing.
run up: A type of shot to play when the ground is firm. You bounce the ball onto the green and let it roll to the hole.


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