Golf Terms S thru Z

sandbagger: A golfer who lies about his or her ability/handicap to gain an advantage, carry an higher handicap than they should.
sand trap: A bunker.
sandy: Making par after being in a bunker.
scorecard: Where the length, par, and rating of each hole is recorded. Also, your score.
scoring: The grooves on the clubface.
scramble: To play erratic golf but still score well. Or a game where a team of, say, four all tee off and then pick the best shot. All then play their balls from that spot; continues with each set of shots.
scratch play: No handicaps used in this type of game.
scratch player: One with a 0 handicap.
second cut: Second level of rough, higher than first cut. Some courses have three cuts of rough.
semiprivate: A course with members that is also open to the public.
setup: See address.
shaft: The part of the club that holds the clubhead.
shag: To retrieve practice balls.
shag bag: To carry practice balls.
shank: Shot struck from the club’s hosel; flies far to the right of the intended target.
shooting the lights out: To play very well.
short cut: Cut of grass on the fairway or green.
short game: Shots played on and around the green.
sidehill lie: Ball either above or below your feet.
sink: To make a putt.
sit down (full flaps, pull a hamstring, develop a limp): A polite request for the ball to stop.
skins: Betting game where the lowest score on a hole wins the pot. If the hole is tied, the money carries over to the next hole.
skull (hit it in the forehead): See blade or thin.
skyball: Ball flies off the top of the clubface — very high and short.
sleeve of balls: Box of three golf balls.
slice: Shot that curves sharply from left to right.
smile: Cut in a ball caused by a mis-hit.
smother: To hit the ball with a closed clubface, resulting in a horrible, low, hooky shot.
snake: Long putt.
sole: Bottom of the clubhead.
sole plate: Piece of metal attached to the bottom of a wooden club.
spade-mashie: Old term for a 6-iron.
spike mark: Mark on the green made by a golf shoe.
spin-out: Legs moving too fast in relation to the upper body on the downswing.
spoon: Old term for a 3-wood.
square: Score of a match is even. Or the clubface and stance are aligned perfectly with the target.
square face: Clubface looking directly at the hole at address/impact.
St. Andrews: Located in Fife, Scotland, the home of golf.
stableford: Method of scoring by using points rather than strokes.
stance: Position of the feet before the swing.
starter: Person running the order of play (who plays when) from the first tee.
starting time: When you tee off at the first tee.
stick: The pin in the hole.
stiff flex: A shaft with reduced flex.
stimpmeter: Device used to measure the speed of greens. The higher the number the faster the green. The speed at which a ball travels a certain distance from the device to a point on the green.
stroke: Movement of club with the intent to hit the ball.
stroke hole: Hole at which one either gives or receives a shot, according to the handicap of your playing.
stymie: Ball obstructing your route to the hole — now obsolete.
sudden-death: Form of playoff whereby the first player to win a hole wins the match.
superintendent: Person responsible for the upkeep of the course.
surlyn: Material from which most balls are made.
swale: Depression or dip in terrain.
sway: To move excessively to the right on the backswing without turning the body. Lack of proper weight shift.
sweet spot: Perfect point on the clubface with which to strike the ball.
swing plane: Angle at which the club shaft travels around the body during a swing.
swing weight: Measure of a club’s weight to its length.

Top of Page

takeaway: Early part of the backswing.
tap-in: Very short putt.
tee: Wooden peg on which the ball is set for the first shot on a hole. Also, the area from which that initial shot is hit.
teeing ground: Area in which you must tee your ball, between the tee markers and neither in front of them nor more than two club lengths behind them.
tee it up: To start play.
tempo: The rhythm of your swing.
temporary green: Used in winter to save the permanent green.
Texas wedge: Putter when used from off the green.
that’ll play: A kind reference to mediocre shot.
thin: To hit the ball around its equator — don’t expect much height.
three-putt: Undesired number of strokes on a green.
through the green: The whole course except hazards, tees, and greens.
tight: Narrow fairway.
tight lie: The ball on bare ground or very short grass.
timing: The pace and sequence of movement in your swing.
titanium: Metal used in lightweight shafts and in golf balls.
top: Ball is struck on or above the equator. See thin.
torque: Twisting of the shaft at impact.
tour: Series of tournaments for professionals.
trajectory: Flight of the ball.
trap: See bunker.
triple bogey: Three over par on one hole.
turn: To make your way to the back nine holes. Or the rotation of the upper body during the backswing and forward swing.

Top of Page

uncock: See release.
underclub: To take at least one club less than needed for distance.
unplayable lie: You can’t hit the ball. One stroke penalty is your reward.
up: Ahead in the match. Or the person next to play. Or reaching the hole with a putt.
up and down: To get the ball into the hole in two strokes from somewhere off the green.
upright: To swing with a steep vertical plane.
USGA: United States Golf Association. The ruling body for golf in the United States.
U.S. Open: National men’s golf championship of America.
U.S. Women’s Open: National women’s golf championship of America.

waggle: Movement of the clubhead prior to the swing.
water hazard: Body of water that costs you a shot to leave.
wedge: Lofted club (iron) used for pitching.
whiff: Missing the ball when taking a full swing with the intention of striking it.
whipping: The string around the shaft/head of a wooden club.
whippy: A shaft more flexible than normal.
Window shopping: Putt just going slowly passed the hole.
windcheater: Low drive.
winter rules: See preferred lies.
wood: Material that long clubs used to be made of.
wormburner: Low mis-hit.

(the)yips: When a golfer misses short putts because of bad nerves, which reduces the afflicted unfortunate to jerky little snatches at the ball.

Top of Page

Close Window

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Share this page:
12 Step Golf is a spiritual approach to golf

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.