Glossary of Terms

Golfing Terminology


  • Ace

    A hole-in-one. A golf hole completed in only one stroke, typically a par three.

  • Address

    The stance of a golfer preparing to hit the ball. A golfer's position in relationship to the golf ball.

  • Aggregate Score

    A golfer's total score from multiple rounds of play in a tournament.

    Also, the total score of a team of golfers playing together.

  • Air Shot-

    When a golfer intends to hit the ball, misses the ball completely and hits nothing but air.

    Also known as a whiff or whiff shot.

  • Albatross

    An old British term for "Double Eagle". A double eagle occurs when a golfer makes a score of 3 below par on a given hole.

  • Alternate Ball

    Golf game format in which players on the same team take turns, or "alternate", hitting shots.

  • Amateur

    A golfer who does not play formally for money.

  • Angle of Approach

    The angle at which a golfer's club moves toward the ball at address.

  • Approach Shot

    A shot played into a green; typically with an iron or wedge.

  • Apron

    The area with slightly taller grass immediately adjacent to the putting surface on the green.

    Also known as the fringe.

  • Attack

    Playing a golf hole or shot in an aggressive fashion.

  • Attend the Flag

    Holding a flag (pin) while a fellow player putts and removing the flag after the ball has been struck and as it approaches the cup.

  • Away

    The player who's ball is furthest from the pin. Typically, the "away" player will hit his/her shot first.

  • B

  • Back door

    The back portion of the hole.

    Ex., "That one rolled in the back door!"

  • Back lip

    The edge of the sand trap that is furthest from the green.

  • Back nine

    The last 9 golf holes on an 18 hole course.

  • Backspin

    A reverse spin imparted on the golf ball to make it land with very little roll or actually reverse direction once it lands on the green.

  • Backswing

    The backward portion of a golf swing swing that begins behind the ball and arcs away from the intended target and back towards the golfer's head.

  • Baff

    An old Scottish term that means to hit or graze the ground behind the ball.

  • Baffle

    Old name given to a 5 wood.

  • Bail out shot

    To avoid trouble, such as a water hazard, in one area by hitting the ball well into another area.

  • Balata

    A hard, resilient sap-like substance from the South American Balata tree that is used to make a cover for rubber-cored golf balls.

  • Ball

    The spherical object golfers hit with their clubs. Modern golf balls have dimples on them to make them fly further and straighter.

    According to USGA rules the diameter of a ball shall not be less than 1.680 inches and it shall not weigh more than 45.93 gm.

  • Ball at rest

    A ball that has come to a complete stop and is not longer moving.

  • Ball embedded

    A golf ball that lands and sticks in the ground making it very difficult or impossible to hit.

    Also may be called a plugged ball.

  • Ball holed

    A ball that has been successfully stroked into the cup.

  • Ball in play

    A ball is "in play" from the moment it is struck off the tee until it is successfully holed out off the green.

    The only exception is if the ball is lost, hit out of bounds, is dropped or lifted (according to the rules), or another ball is substituted. Typically, the ball that is hit off the tee must be played for the entire hole unless it is lost or deemed to be unfit for play.

  • Ball marker

    A coin or small marker or token used to mark the position of a golfer's ball on the green while the golfer is cleaning or aligning his/her ball or another player is putting.

  • Ball retriever

    A long extendable pole with a catcher device on one end used to recover golf balls hit into water hazards, bushes, trees, etc.

  • Ball washer

    Typically positioned near the tee box, ball washers are used to clean dirt, mud and other debris from the golf ball.

  • Banana ball

    A severe slice that curves to the right travelling in the shape of a banana.

  • Baseball grip

    A golf grip in which the hands are placed one beneath the other without interlocking fingers from the two hands.

  • Beach

    Slang for a sand trap or bunker.

  • Bend

    Curve on a golf shot created by sidespin.

  • Bent grass

    Kind of grass seen mainly on golf courses in the Northern United States. This strong, resilient grass can be cut very short.

  • Bermuda grass

    Kind of grass seen primarily on courses in the Southern United States.

    It is often used in warmer climates where bent grass has difficulty growing.

  • Best ball

    A golf game format in which all members of each team play their own balls on every hole.

    At the end of each hole, the lowest score from each team is used as the team score for that hole.

  • Better ball

    See Best Ball.

  • Birdie

    The score a golfer earns when he/she finishes a golf hole in one stroke less than the score assigned to par for that hole.

  • Bird's nest

    A poor lie in which the golf ball is surrounded by deep grass or brush.

  • Bite

    Backspin on a golf ball that causes it to slow down, stop or reverse course on a green.

  • Blade

    1) The primary hitting surface of an iron used to strike the golf ball.

    2) To mishit a golf shot by striking the ball with the leading edge of the blade of an iron--as in, "He bladed it!"

  • Blade Putter

    A standard putter design in which both sides of the putter head are basically straight.

  • Blast

    An explosion shot hit with much force typically from a sand trap or high rough. Also, an extremely powerful shot.

  • Blind hole

    A hole in which the green or flagstick can't be seen as the player hits his/her approach shot.

  • Block

    To play a shot in which the wrists do not rotate fully through the point of impact during a swing.

    This causes the clubface not to be square at the point of impact resulting in a sliced shot.

  • Bogey

    A score of one over par on a particular golf hole.

  • Bold shot

    A firmly played approach to a well -protected pin.

    Also, too strong or long a shot.

  • Boundary

    The officially designated playable area of a golf course.

    The edge of the golf course that defines the area of play.

  • Bowker

    A terrible golf shot that gets a lucky bounce or roll and ends up as a good or at least acceptable shot.

  • Bramble

    A small molded dimple or indentation on older golf balls (gutta purcha and rubber core) designed to cause the ball to fly further.

  • Brassie

    Old nickname given to a 2 wood. An old, wooden club with a brass sole plate.

  • Break

    To earn a score of less than a designated amount. For example, "I finally broke 80 the other day!"

  • Break

    A golf ball's path will be affected by the slope, grass grain, and other factors near and on the green. Such factors collectively influence a rolling and bouncing golf ball's path and are called "break".

    The way in which the ball will roll or bounce. Also the sideways slope on the green.

  • Break the wrists

    Bending one's wrists backward during a golf swing.

  • British Ball

    The type of golf ball specified by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

    Diameter is not less than 1.620 inches and the weight is not more than 1.620 ounces. Now used mainly in amateur play.

  • British Open

    "The Open" - the first one ever held. The National Championship put on by the Royal And Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland.

  • Bulge

    The curved face of a wooden golf club.

  • Bump and run

    A chip shot hit with a low trajectory that is designed to travel in the air a short distance and then to roll towards the flag.

  • Bunker

    This hazard area is a dug out area filled with sand.

    Typically a ball hit into a bunker will be slowed by the sand and remain in the bunker thereby penalizing the golfer by preventing the ball's further travel. Also known as a "sand trap".

  • Burn

    Scottish term for a stream.

  • Buried ball

    A ball partially or entirely covered by sand in a sand trap.

  • Buzzard

    A golf score of two strokes over par for a particular hole.

  • Bye

    A term used in tournaments. The player who draws a "bye" is allowed to advance to the next round without playing an opponent.

    In match play, it is the hole or holes still left to play if the match is won before the 18th hole.

  • C

  • Caddie/Caddy)

    Individual who carries a player's clubs and advises him/her on distances, suggested shots and local course intricacies.

  • Caddie master

    Individual in charge of the caddies.

  • Caddie-car

    A golf cart.

  • Calamity Jane

    Nickname for Bobby Jones' putter.

    Putters similar to his with a hickory shaft and a bladed head or also called Calamity Janes.

  • Can

    Slang for the hole or the cup.

  • Card

    Short for scorecard, the piece of paper provided by the course on which a player records his/her score.

    Also, used as a verb to mean "record a score of". For example, he carded a 78 yesterday!".

  • Carpet

    Slang for the green or fairway.

  • Carry

    Distance a golf ball travels in the air before striking the ground.

  • Cart

    A small gas or electric car used to carry golfers and their clubs around the course.

    Also, a two or three-wheeled device pulled around the golf course by a walking golfer upon which his/her golf bag is strapped.

  • Casual water

    Water that has accumulated on the course temporarily that is not part of an official water hazard.

    Players may typically lift and drop their balls out of casual water without incurring a penalty stroke.

  • Center shafted

    Type of putter in which the shaft is fixed to the center of the putter blade.

  • Charge

    A sudden burst of exceptional play. As in, "Ernie Els is really charging! He has birdied 4 of the last 5 holes."

  • Chart the course

    Walk a course to determine hole distances, hazards and get a feel for the overall layout.

  • Chili-dip

    When a golfer accidentally strikes the ground before the ball and hits a weak lofted shot.

  • Chip shot

    A short approach shot hit into a green.

  • Chip-and-run

    A short approach shot designed to travel in the air for a distance and then to roll (run) up on the green.

  • Chip in-

    A chip shot that is hit into the hole.

  • Choke-up

    To grip a club closer to the head, further down the grip.

  • Chop

    Striking the ball with a short, hacking motion.

  • Closed stance

    At address, when the player's foot nearest to the target is positioned in front of the other (not parallel).

  • Cleats

    Metal, plastic or rubber spikes on the bottom of golf shoes designed to provide the golfer with solid, stable footing during his/her golf shot.

  • Closed face

    When the hitting surface of the club is turned to the left of the target line or to the left of the normal position (to the right for a left-handed golfer).

  • Club

    Piece of golf equipment consisting mainly of a shaft, a grip and a club head used to strike the ball around the golf course.

  • Clubhead

    The metal or wood portion of the club located at the end of the shaft used to actually hit (make contact with) the golf ball.

  • Clubhouse

    Primary building at a golf course typically housing the pro shop, restaurant/snack bar, restrooms, etc.

  • Cock

    Bending the wrists backwards during the backswing.

  • Collar

    The slighly higher grass surrounding the green immediately adjacent to the putting surface.

  • Come back shot

    A shot hit back towards the hole after the previous shot was hit too far.

  • Committee

    Term used for the individuals running a particular golf event.

  • Compression

    Temporary distortion of a ball's shape at the moment the ball is being struck.

  • Condor

    A score of four under par on a hole.

  • Control shot

    Golf shot struck with less than full power.

  • Core

    The center portion of the golf ball.

  • Course

    The area used to play golf which consists of tees, fairways, greens, sand traps and other hazards.

  • Course rating

    A relative measure of the difficulty of a golf course used to compare the difficulty of different courses.

  • Cross-bunker

    A sand trap that runs across the fairway.

  • Cross-handed grip

    A type of golf grip where a right handed golfer's left hand is below his right hand (this is reversed for a left-handed golfer).

  • Cup

    A cylindrical sleeve with a round opening on top that holds the flagstick on the green.

  • Cut

    The required golf score needed to continue play in a golf tournament.

    In professional golf the cut is typically made after 36 holes (or two days) of play.

  • Cut shot

    A type of golf shot that typically results in a ball landing and stopping on the green almost immediately.

  • D

  • Dance floor

    Slang term for the green.

  • Dead ball

    A ball is said to be dead when there is no doubt that it will be sank on the next shot.

  • Deep-faced

    A clubface which is fairly thick from top to bottom.

  • Deuce

    A score of two strokes on a hole.

  • Dew sweepers

    Golfers with very early tee times when dew is frequently on the grass.

  • Dimples

    Small indentations on the cover of a golf ball which make the ball fly further and straighter.

  • Divot

    A small hole created when a player hits a golf shot and strikes the ground hitting grass and soil forward; the resulting piece of dislodged soil and grass.

  • Dogleg

    A golf hole that which has a fairway that bends to the left or the right.

  • Dormie

    In match play, to be leading by the same number of holes that remain to be played.

    The trailing player must win each hole in a dormie situation or he/she will lose the match.

    Also spelled dormy.

  • Double bogey

    A golf score of two over par on a given hole.

  • Double eagle

    A golf score of two over par on a given hole. Also known as an albatross.

  • Down

    Condition in which a player or team is trailing. For example, "After 6 holes their team was down three strokes."

  • Downhill lie

    When addressing the ball and your right foot is higher than your left (for right-handed players).

  • Downswing

    The swing path from the top of a golfer's backswing to impact with the ball.

  • DQ'd

    Slang term for a disqualified golfer.

  • Drain

    To make a putt or chip shot. "He drained that one from thirty feet!"

  • Draw

    The pairing of golfers in a match play golf tournament.

  • Draw shot

    A controlled golf shot that curves slightly from the right to the left for a right-handed player, or from the left to the right for a left-handed player.

  • Drive

    A golf shot hit from the tee box typically off of a golf tee with a driver, or 3-wood.

  • Drive and pitch

    A golf hole where the green may be reached in two shots--a drive and a pitch. Also, a short executive golf course where most or all of the holes may be reached with two shots.

  • Driver

    Also known as a 1-wood or metal, a golf club with a large head and very little loft on the club face that is typically used to hit a ball off of a golf tee from the tee box.

    A properly hit driver will typically hit a golf ball further than any other type of club.

  • Driving iron

    An 1-iron or other low numbered iron with very little loft on the club face sometimes used to tee off.

  • Driving range

    Area typically adjacent to a golf course where golfers may practice their golf shots or warm up by hitting balls into a designated area.

    Also, a separate golf facility where golfers may practice their golf shots or warm up by hitting balls into a designated area.

  • Drop

    The act of "dropping" a golf ball pursuant to the rules of golf while taking relief or if a ball has been lost, is unplayable, or has been hit into a hazard or out of bounds.

  • Dub

    A mishit golf shot.

  • Duff

    A mishit golf shot.

  • Duffer

    Slang for a bad golfer.

  • Dunk

    When a golfer hits his/her ball into the water.

  • E

  • Eagle

    A golf score of two below par on a given hole.

  • Eight iron

    An iron with more loft than a 7-iron but less than a 9-iron. Also referred to as a pitching niblick.

  • Equipment

    Anything that is used by a player or is carried or worn. His ball in play is not included.

  • Explode

    To strike the sand behind the golf ball during a bunker shot with a large amount of force.

  • Explosion shot

    A type of bunker shot in which the sand behind the golf ball is struck with a large amount of force displacing a large amount of sand.

  • Extra hole

    When the score is tied, an additional hole added to determine the outcome of a golf tournament or match.

  • F

  • Face

    The hitting surface of a clubhead.

  • Fade

    A slight left to right flight path on a golf shot for a right-handed player.

    For a left-handed player the path would be slightly right to left.

  • Fairway

    The primary playing area on a golf hole with short grass that lies between the tee box and the green.

  • Fairway wood

    A wood or metal wood other than the driver.

    Fairway woods have more loft on them so it is possible to a hit a ball lying in the fairway or in a decent lie with them.

  • Fan

    To attempt to hit a golf shot and miss the ball entirely.

  • Fat shot

    A mishit golf shot in which the ground is struck before the ball causing the shot to come up short of its intended target.

  • Featherie/ Feathery

    An old type of golf ball used prior to about 1850 made with compressed feathers inside of a leather cover.

  • Fescue

    A type of grass used mainly as rough on a golf course.

  • Field

    All of the golfers who play in a particular tournament.

  • Five-iron

    An iron with more loft than a 4-iron but less loft than a 6-iron. A man will typically hit a five iron from 145-190 yards.

    Also referred to as a mashie.

  • Five-wood

    A five-wood (or five metal) is a lofted wood that can be hit from the fairway or the rough that typically hits the ball 185-225 yards.

  • Flag

    Square or rectangular cloth or nylon material located at the top of the pin on a green.

    Some flags are different colors to indicate to the golfer where the flag is located on the green.

    Flags may also be used to indicate the direction and velocity of wind near the green.

  • Flagstick

    A removable, flexible pole with a flag attached on the top that indicates the location of the hole on the green.

  • Flange

    The surface on the sole or bottom of the clubhead.

  • Flash trap

    A small, shallow sandtrap.

  • Flex

    The amount of stiffness of a golf club shaft.

  • Flier

    A golf shot that is hit with less spin than normal (or mishit) causing the ball to travel further than usual.

  • Flier lie

    A good lie in the rough. Such a lie typically causes less spin on the ball causing the ball to travel further than expected.

  • Flight

    A grouping of players in a golf tournament.

    Golfers with similar golf skills or golf handicaps will normally be placed in the same flight to make them competitive.

  • Flip shot

    A short golf shot with a high arc played with a highly lofted club.

  • Flub

    A mishit golf shot typically caused by striking the ground with the clubface before hitting the golf ball.

  • Fluffy lie

    A ball that is sitting up in the grass especially the rough.

  • Follow-through

    The portion of the golf swing after the ball has been hit.

  • Fore

    A warning message shouted by a golfer who has just hit a shot to let other golfers know an incoming golf ball is headed towards them.

  • Forecaddie

    An individual who will locate and/or mark the position of a golfer's ball.

  • Four ball

    A golf game format where two 2-person teams compete against each other using the one best score from each side.

  • Four-iron

    An iron with slightly more loft than a 3-iron, but slightly less than a 5-iron.

  • Four-wood

    A wood or metal wood with slightly more loft than a 3-wood, but less than a 5-wood.

    Also referred to as a spoon.

  • Foursome

    A golf term for four golfers playing together in a group.

    Also a golf game whereby two players play against another two players with each side playing one ball.

  • Free drop

    A drop where no penalty stroke is charged.

  • Fried-egg

    A lie in a bunker in which a good portion of the ball is buried in the sand.

  • Fringe

    The area of slightly higher grass immediately adjacent to the putting surface of a green.

  • Frog hair

    Nickname for the fringe.

  • Front side

    The first nine golf holes on an 18-hole course.

  • G

  • Gallery

    Spectators at a golf tournament.

  • Gimme

    A short putt that is expected to be holed.

    Typically a gimme putt will be conceded by an opponent.

  • Golf

    A game in which a player hits a small ball from the tee box into the cup on the putting green on each hole in as few strokes as possible by striking the ball with clubs to propel it.

  • Golf glove

    Typically made of leather, a glove which a golfer wears to provide him/her with better grip.

    Typically a right-handed golfer will wear a golf glove on his/her left hand and vice-versa.

  • Goose-neck

    A club with a curved neck on the shaft causing the heel to be offset from the line of the shaft.

  • Gorse

    A wiry, tough shrub primarily found on links type courses. It is a spiny evergreen with bright yellow flowers. Also known as whin.

  • Grain

    The direction that the grass is laying on a green. The grain influences the speed and break of a put.

  • Grand Slam

    The four major golf championships including the U.S. Open, the British Open, the PGA Championship and the Masters.

    Winning all four major tournaments in the same year.

  • Graphite

    A strong, lightweight material used to make golf shafts and clubheads.

  • Green

    The putting surface which contains the cup and the flagstick.

  • Green committee

    Golf club members who oversee the maintenance and management of the golf course.

  • Green fee

    Amount charged for the right to play a round of golf.

  • Green jacket

    Ceremonial prize awarded to the winner of the Masters golf tournament.

    Presented by the previous winner.

  • Greenskeeper

    Golf club employee in charge of course maintenance.

  • Greenside

    Near the putting green. For example, greenside bunker.

  • Grip

    The top part of a golf club at the opposite end from the clubface where the golfer holds the club.

    Golf grips are typically covered in leather or another synthetic material. Also, the way in which a golfer actually holds or "grips" a golf club.

  • Groove

    The impressions on a clubface that provide spin to a golf ball when it is struck.

  • Gross score

    The actual number of golf strokes a player takes before factoring in his/her golf handicap.

  • Grounding the club

    Allowing the clubhead to touch the ground behind the ball at address.

    Grounding the club in certain circumstances such as in a sand trap will incur a penalty.

  • Ground under repair

    Any designated area on a golf course which is marked as such.

    Typically a ball which lands in an area marked as ground under repair may be dropped without incurring a penalty.

  • Gutta percha

    A hard, molded substance used to make early golf balls.

    Gutta percha balls were used from approximately 1850 until the early 1900's.

  • H

  • Hack

    To chop violently at the ball. To make bad shots. To play bad golf.

  • Hacker

    A poor golfer. Same as "duffer"

  • Half

    Used in match play when score is tied on a hole. Each side credited with a half.

  • Half shot

    A shot executed with less than a full swing.

  • Halved

    A golf match that ends in a tie. Typically both teams will split the points normally awarded to the match winner.

    A hole may also be halved when each team finishes it with the same score.

  • Handicap

    The number of shots a golfer may deduct from his score at the end of a round for comparison purposes.

    A handicap is used to calculated and used to allow golfers of differing levels to compete together in a fairly competitive game.

    A golfer's handicap is based on several factors but in simple terms it is basically equivalent to the average number of strokes above par that a golfer scores for a complete round over time.

  • Handicap certificate

    A written document issued by a player's golf club or by a golf association that shows his/her current handicap.

  • Hanging lie

    A golf ball which sits on a downhill slope.

  • Hazard

    A sand trap, high rough, or area of water on a golf course intended to make a golf hole more difficult.

  • Head

    The area of the golf club used to strike the golf ball.

  • Heel

    The area of the club head closest to the golf shaft.

  • Hickory

    A type of hard wood used to make club shafts at the beginning of the 19th century through the 1920's.

  • Hit

    To strike the golf ball. Also, a shot.

  • Hog's back

    A ridge of ground on a golf course.

  • Hold

    A ball that remains very close to where it landed on the green and has very little bounce or roll.

    Also a struck ball that remains on the green.

  • Hole

    The cup on a putting green into which a golfer attempts to hit the golf ball to complete a hole.

    The hole is round and measures 4 1/4" (108 mm) in diameter.

    Also, to hit a putt, chip or other shot into the cup thereby successfully completing a golf hole. Also, a part of a golf course typically consisting of a tee, fairway, and green.

    There are 18 holes on a standard golf course.

  • Hole high

    A golf shot hit a distance roughly equivalent to where the hole on the green is but off to the left or right.

  • Hole in one

    A golf hole completed in one stroke. Also known as an ace.

  • Hole out

    To finish a golf hole by hitting the ball into the cup.

    Also, to hit a chip shot or other shot from off the green into the cup.

  • Home green

    The green on the final hole of a golf course.

  • Home pro

    A local golf club professional that works at a local golf club and typically plays only in local events.

    Also known as a local pro.

  • Honor

    The right to tee off first on a particular golf hole.

    The golfer with the lowest score on the most recent hole gets the honor.

    If the scores were equivalant on the last hole, then the golfer with the lowest score on the previous hole gets the honor, etc.

    The honor is usually assigned or drawn at random for the first hole.

  • Hook

    For a right-handed player, to hit the ball so that its flight path curves from the right to the left (or from left to right for a left-handed player) in a pronounced manner.

  • Hosel

    The hollow portion of a club head where the shaft is inserted and fastened.

  • Hustler

    A golfer who has a high golf handicap on purpose in order to gain an advantage in a golf match.

  • I

  • Impact

    The period during which a ball is in contact with the clubface during a golf shot.

  • In

    The second nine holes on a golf course. The first 9 holes are referred to as "out".

  • In play

    A ball that is within the permitted confines of a golf course and that has been teed off but not holed out.

  • Inside

    A golf ball that rests closer to the hole when compared to another ball.

  • Interlocking grip

    A particular kind of golf grip in which the little finger of the left hand is intertwined with the index finger of the right hand for a right handed player and vice-versa for a left-handed player.

  • Intended line

    The intened path of a golf ball.

  • Iron

    A type of golf club with a head made from metal, or a composite material.

    Typically numbered from 1-9. Other club types are Woods (or metals), wedges and putters.

  • J

  • Jerk

    To strike the ball from a bad lie with a downward cutting motion causing the clubhead to dig into the ground beneath the ball.

    Also, to abruptly move one's head, arms or other body parts unnaturally during a golf swing.

  • Jungle

    Slang term used to describe an area with heavy rough or with dense trees and/or bushes.

  • K

  • Kick

    A term used describe the direction a ball bounces or rolls.

  • Kill the ball

    To hit the golf ball a very long way.

  • L

  • Lag

    A putt that is hit very softly in order to make sure it doesn't run to far past the hole.

    Typically hit on a downward sloping putt and/or a very fast green.

  • Lateral hazard

    A hazard that runs parallel to the line of play.

  • Lay up

    To intentionally play a shot to a shorter distance than one could hit to play more conservatively and/or to set oneself up for the next shot.

  • Layout

    The overall design of a golf course.

  • Leaderboard

    A physical sign or electronic display that shows the scores of the top players in a tournament.

    Also, a listing of the leading players in a particular tournament.

  • Lie

    The location where a golf ball sits after it is hit. Lies are described as good or bad.

    A good lie might be in the middle of the fairway on flat ground. A bad or poor lie might be in tall, thick rough.

    Factors which affect the lie include the slope of the ground (direction and severity), the length and type of grass, and other factors including whether or not the ball is in a divot.

  • Line

    The intended path of a golf shot.

  • Line up

    To determine the intended path of a golf shot prior to hitting it.

  • Links

    A term used to describe a seaside course. Also, a golf course.

  • Linksman

    A golfer.

  • Lip

    The top edge of a cup.

  • Lob shot

    A soft wedge shot hit with a high trajectory.

  • Local rules

    Rules determined for a course by its members.

  • Loft

    The amount of angle on a club face from vertical. Also, the height to which a golf shot is hit.

  • Lofter

    An old club with a lot of loft that was the predecessor of the Niblick.

  • Long game

    Part of a golfers game that includes shots hit with drivers and low irons.

  • Long irons

    Irons with relatively little loft that typically hit the ball a fairly long distance. Such clubs include the 1, 2, and 3 irons.

  • Loose Impediments

    Natural objects that are not growing or fixed to the ground.

    Often, loose impediments can be moved from around a golfer's ball as long as the ball does not move.

  • LPGA

    Acronym for Ladies Professional Golf Association.

    The LPGA is the body that sanctions and oversees most professional tournaments for female golfers in the United States.

  • M

  • Make the cut

    To post a cumulative score low enough to make it to the final round or rounds of a golf tournament.

    In many professional men's events in which four rounds are played, the cut is made after the first two rounds.

  • Mallet

    A putter that with a large, thick head.

  • Marker

    A small, flat object such as a coin placed on a green to indicate where a player's ball came to rest and must be replaced prior to putting it.

  • Markers

    Objects used on the tee box to show where a player may tee off.

    A player must not tee off outside of or in front of the tee markers.

  • Marshal

    An individual appointed by the tournament committee to oversee the gallery and the golfers.

  • Mashie

    A lofted iron club introduced in the 1880's that is no longer in use.

    Used for pitching with backspin. A nickname for a 5-iron.

  • Matched Set

    Clubs made by the same manufacturer from the same materials and design.

  • Match play

    A type of golf competition where each hole is counted as a separate contest.

    The team or player who wins the most holes is the winner regardless of the overall number of strokes played.

  • Medalist

    The golfer with the lowest score in a tournament.

  • Medal play

    Also known as stroke play, a type of golf competition where the player that completes the tournament in the fewest overall strokes wins.

  • Mid-iron

    A middle iron such as a 3, 4 or 5 iron.

  • Misclub

    To incorrectly hit the wrong club for a certain distance causing the ball to go long or short of the intended target.

  • Misread

    To incorrectly calculate the necessary speed or break of a putt.

  • Mixed foursome

    A group of four golfers with a male and a female on each team.

  • Muff

    To badly mishit a golf shot.

  • Mulligan

    A term for a second, free shot hit without penalty after the first one has been hit poorly in a casual golf game.

  • Municipal course

    A golf course owned by a local city or municipality that is typically available for play by everyone.

    Conversely, a private course may often by played only by its members or invited guests.

  • N

  • Nassau

    A bet with three parts including separate bets on the first nine, last nine and total score.

  • Neck

    The tapered area of a club where the shaft meets the clubhead.

  • Net score

    A golfer's score after he/she subtracts his/her handicap.

  • Niblick

    An old term for a deep-bladed club used to play from the sand and the rough.

    Roughly equivalent to a modern 9 iron.

  • Nine

    The front or back portion of a golf course. Such as the "front nine" or the "back nine".

  • Nine iron

    Type of club with a lofted metal or composite clubface which typically hits a high, lofted shot of 110 to 140 yards.

  • Nineteenth hole

    Nickname for the bar in the golf clubhouse.

  • Nose

    The toe portion on a wooden club.

  • O

  • Observer

    An individual charged with helping a referee in a golf match determine questions of fact and monitor rule violations.

  • Obstruction

    An artificial object on a golf course from which relief may often be taken.

    Obstructions may be immovable or moveable.

  • Off-center

    A shot which does not strike contact the center of the club face typically resulting in a poor shot.

  • Offset

    A club type where the head is set behind the club shaft.

  • One up

    In match play when a team or player leads by one hole.

  • One-iron

    An iron with very little loft that is typically difficult to hit.

    A 1-Iron typically hit's the ball 180 to 220 yards. May also be called a driving iron.

  • One-putt

    To hit the ball from its initial location on the green into the cup in one stroke.

  • One-wood

    Another name for a driver or one-metal.

  • Open

    A golf tournament in which anyone can enter including professionals and amateurs.

  • Open Stance

    Body posture in which the left foot (for a right-handed golfer) is pulled away from parallel (backward) with the intended target line.

    An open stance can be used to produce a fade shot.

  • Out

    The initial 9 holes on an 18 hole course.

  • Out of bounds

    Designated area on or surrounding a golf course in which a ball is not allowed to be played.

    Hitting a ball out of bounds will incur a penalty.

  • Overclub

    To incorrectly select and/or hit a club that will typically travel further than intended.

  • Overlapping grip

    A type of golf grip(hand position) in which the pinkie of the right hand overlaps the area between the forefinger and the middle finger of the left hand (and vice-versa for a left handed golfer).

  • P

  • Pair

    A group of two golfers playing together.

    Also, to group players together into a group that plays together; such as, we were paired with two fellows from Scotland.

  • Par

    The designated number of strokes for a given hole that an expert golfer should complete a hole in.

    Also, the designated number of total strokes an expert golfer should complete a round in. Par is typically 72 on a standard golf course.

  • Par competition

    A golf game where play is against a fixed score for each hole.

    Scoring is as in match play with plus 1 if the player scores below than par, equal if he scores par and minus 1 if over than par.

    The player with the highest total score wins.

  • Parkland

    A wide-open golf course with little rough.

  • Partner

    Individual that plays golf with you.

    Also, in a golf match a person on your team playing in your grouping.

  • Pawky

    An old Scottish word that means cunning.

  • Peg

    A golf tee.

  • Penalty stroke

    An extra stroke added to a player's score for violating one of the official rules of golf.

  • persimmon

    A type of wood used to construct clubheads.

  • PGA

    Acronym for Professional Golfers Association.

    The primary U.S. body that oversees professional golf events in the United States and that sanctions touring and local golf professionals.

  • Pick up

    To "pick up" a ball while it is in play and not continue the golf hole.

    This can result in disqualification in stroke play, or the loss of the hole in match play.

    During casual play, if a player picks up his ball he typically records an agreed upon maximum score such as an 8.

  • Pill

    Nickname for a golf ball.

  • Pin

    The vertical shaft with a flag at the top that is inserted in the cup on a green.

    The pin is used to indicate the hole location. Also known as the flagstick.

  • Pin-high

    A ball that comes to rest at the same distance from the golfer as the pin but off to the left or right slightly.

    Also known as "hole high".

  • Pin placement/ Pin position

    The location where the flagstick (or pin) is located on the green. Pins are typically relocated to different spots on the green each day.

  • Pitch

    A short golf shot hit often into a green with a high trajectory and lots of spin.

  • Pinsetter

    Individual in charge of determining where the pins should be located on the greens.

  • Pitch and putt

    A short golf course where a player may typically use just a 9-iron or pitching wedge and a putter.

  • Pitch and run

    A pitch shot that is intended to roll a considerable distance rather than quickly stopping.

  • Pitching irons

    Short irons including the 8, 9 pitching and sand wedges.

  • Pitching Niblick

    Former name for an 8-iron.

  • Pitching wedge

    A highly lofted iron used for approach shots that can cause the ball to follow a high trajectory with great backspin.

  • Pivot

    The turning of one's body or trunk during a golf swing.

  • Placement

    The location and accuracy of a golfer's shots.

  • Play

    To execute a golf swing. To engage oneself in the activity of golf.

  • Playoff

    Extra holes or round used to determine the winner of a match that is tied after the regulation number of holes.

  • Playing professional

    A golf pro who typically plays in pro golf tournaments on a full-time basis.

  • Playing through

    The act of one group of golfers passing through another group of slower golfers ahead of them in order to play future holes before them.

  • Plus handicap

    The number of strokes a golfer gives to adjust his ability to the usual level.

  • Pop up

    A high, short hot.

  • Pot bunker

    A small, cavernous sand trap that is difficult to hit out of.

  • Practice green

    A green typically near the first tee of a golf course that is intended to be used for putting practice especially before a round.

  • Preferred lie

    Local rules regarding how a golfer may improve/alter his/her lie without incurring penalty strokes.

  • professional

    A golfer who plays for money and/or plays golf on the professional tour.

  • Pro-am

    A golf competition that pairs professional and amateur golfers.

  • Pro shop

    Store at a golf club that sells golf equipment, clothing, and accessories and typically also handles tee times and other golf course business.

  • Provisional ball

    An extra ball played if a golfer thinks that his/her previous ball went out of bounds or may be lost.

  • Public links

    A golf course that may be played by any golfer and that does not require a club membership.

  • Pull

    For a right-handed golfer, to hit the ball directly to the left of the target with very little curve.

    The opposite applies to a left-handed golfer.

  • Punch shot

    A type of shot produced with a short swing that results in a low trajectory.

  • Push

    For a right-handed golfer, to hit the ball directly to the right of the target with very little curve.

    The opposite applies to a left-handed golfer.

  • Putt

    A short golf shot typically made on the putting green where the golf ball is struck and rolled toward the hole with a club (putter) that has an extremely flat clubface.

  • Putt out

    To complete a golf hole by hitting one's ball into the cup.

  • Putter

    A golf club with a straight clubface that is used to "putt" or roll the golf ball towards and into the cup on the green.

  • Putting green

    Typically just called "the green"; the area on each golf hole that consists of the flagstick, the cup, and extremely short grass intended for putting.

  • Q

  • Quail high

    A low golf shot hit with a flat trajectory.

  • Qualifying school

    Competition for the PGA and LPGA tours where prospective professional golfers play and compete for the right to compete on the professional golf tours.

  • Quarter-shot (Quarter-swing)

    A type of golf shot made with a partial swing and much less than full power.

  • Quitting on the ball

    Not following through on a golf swing.

  • R

  • R & A

    Nickname for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews the most famous of all golf courses.

  • Rake

    An old term for an iron with a very high loft that was used to hit from the sand or water.

  • Range

    Designated hitting area at a golf club used for practice shots and to warm up before a round.

  • Rap

    To firmly strike a putt or other golf shot.

  • Reading the green

    Examining a green to determine the force and direction to putt the golf ball.

    Factors that are often considered include the direction and severity of slopes on the green, the grain of the grass, and the overall speed of the green.

  • Recover

    To hit one's ball out of trouble.

  • Regular shaft

    A golf club shaft with a standard amount of flex.

  • Release

    The time in a golf swing where a golfer uncocks his/her wrists.

  • Rim

    The area on the top edge of the cup.

  • Rim out

    When a putt or other golf shot rolls along or around or across the rim top edge of the cup but does not fall in the hole.

  • Road hole

    The very difficult, famous 17th hole at St. Andrews.

  • Rough

    Long grass lining the fairway and often surrounding the tee boxes and greens.

    Designed to penalize an inaccurate golfer and make it difficult to hit.

  • Round

    A complete golf game. Typically 18 holes.

  • Rub of the green

    Bad luck on the golf course.

  • Run

    The distance a golf ball travels from where it initially lands.

  • Running iron

    An iron used for making short shots with a lot of roll.

  • Run-up

    A type of approach shot that is intended to roll a fair distance on the fairway and/or green.

  • S

  • Sandbagger

    A golfer who intentionally plays below his/her ability level to deceive his/her opponents about his skill level in order to gain an advantage in a golf competition.

  • Sand trap

    Also known as a bunker, an area on a golf course filled with sand that is intended to catch and hold errant golf shots.

  • Sand wedge

    A highly lofted iron that is primarily used to hit out of sand traps or to execute very short golf shots.

  • Sandy

    Slang for making a par after being in a sand trap.

  • Scoop

    A type of swing where the club travels in a scooping manner often resulting in a poor shot.

  • Scotch foursome

    A type of golf competition in which partners alternate hitting the same ball.

    They also alternate teeing off on every other hole.

  • Scramble

    A type of team golf competition in which players play the best ball hit by one of their team members after every shot.

  • Scratch golfer

    A golfer with a zero handicap.

    Typically a scratch golfer should average a score of about par each round.

  • Semi-private course

    A golf course that has members but which also allows individuals from the general public to play as well.

  • Set of clubs

    A complete grouping of golf clubs used by a player.

  • Set up

    A golfer's body position at address.

  • Seven iron

    An iron that typically hits the ball 130-170 yards for a male golfer. Nicknamed a mashie-niblick.

  • Shaft

    Elongated portion of the golf that is fastened to the clubhead on one end and to the grip on the other.

  • Shag bag

    A bag used to carry practice golf balls.

  • Shagging

    Retrieving golf balls hit during practice.

  • Shank

    A golf shot which hits the club's hosel. A shank will typically travel to the right of the intended target line.

  • Shiperio

    A second shot attempt that may be taken without incurring a penalty stroke.

    Similar to a a mulligan except the golfer may select whether to play the first or second ball he hit.

  • Short game

    Important part of a golfer's game that is comprised of pitching, chipping and putting.

  • Short irons

    The group of irons with a large degree of loft including 8-PW.

  • Shotgun start

    A type of golf tournament start where golfers begin play on various holes simultaneously to quicken play.

    A horn, starting gun, or shotgun, may be fired to signal when to start play.

  • Shotmaker

    A golfer who is able to execute several different types of golf shots.

  • Shotmaking

    The act of hitting a variety of different types of golf shots; especially by executing them skillfully.

  • Side

    Used to indicate a portion of the golf course such as "the front side" (first nine holes) or the "back side" (second 9 holes).

  • Sidehill lie

    A lie where the golf ball rests either below or above the level of your feet at address.

  • Sink a putt

    To hit a putt into the cup.

  • Six iron

    An iron that typically hits the ball 140-170 yards for mens.

    Also known as a spade or spade-mashie.

  • Skins

    A type of golf game where money or a prize is awarded to the winner of each individual hole.

    If a hole is tied, the prize for that hole is "carried over" and added to the prize for the next hole until someone wins it outright.

  • Skulling

    To mishit a golf shot by striking the top portion of the golf ball.

    This frequently causes the ball to be hit too hard.

  • Sky

    A mishit golf shot in which a golfer hits too far under the ball causing it to pop up high in the air and typically travel a shorter than desired distance.

  • Slice

    A golf shot that curves strongly from the left to the right for a right-handed player.

    A slice would travel from the right to the left for a left-handed golfer.

  • Slope

    A rating calculation used to adjust your golf handicap based on the difficulty rating of a particular golf course.

    The average golf course should have a slope rating of 113.

  • Slump

    An extended period of bad play.

  • Snake/h4>

    A lengthy put that has several breaks to it.

  • Snap-hook

    To hit a shot that curves severely to the left for a right-handed golfer.

    The opposite applies to a left-handed golfer.

  • Snipe

    A hooked shot that drops quickly.

  • Sole

    The bottom portion of the clubhead.

  • Sole plate

    The metal plate on the bottom of some woods.

  • SPGA

    Acronym for Senior Professional Golf Association.

    The U.S. professional golf tour for golfers 50 years of age and older.

  • Spade-mashie

    Obsolete term for a 6-iron.

  • Spike mark

    Impression, hole or mark made on the green by the spikes on a golfer's shoes.

  • Spoon

    Old nickname for a 3-wood.

  • Spot putting

    Putting method in which a golfer aims at a spot on the green to hit the ball instead of the cup itself.

  • Spray

    To hit the golf ball all over the golf course in an erratic fashion.

  • Square stance

    A golf stance in which a golfer's feet are parallel to the intended target line.

  • Stableford

    A scoring method that uses positive and negative points instead of strokes.

    The higher your score the better when using th stableford scoring method.

    The International golf tournament uses a modified version of the stableford scoring system.

  • Stance

    A golfer's foot position at address.

  • Starter

    Golf course employee (or tournament official) located near the first tee that groups players together and tells them when and where to tee off.

  • Stick

    Short for flagstick. Also known as the pin.

  • Stimpmetre

    A tool used to measure the speed of a green.

    A reading of five to six indicates a slow green, seven to eight a medium one, nine to 10 fast, and greater than 11 very fast.

  • Stipulated round

    To play all of the holes on a golf course in order.

  • Stony

    A shot hit close to the flagstick.

  • Straightaway

    A golf hole with a straight fairway.

  • Straight-faced

    A clubface with very little loft.

  • Strike off

    To hit from the tee.

  • Stroke

    To hit a shot. Score recorded whenever a golfer addresses a ball and makes a golf swing intending to hit the golf ball whether or not it is actually struck.

  • Stroke play

    A type of golf competition in which the player who completes the prescribed number of holes in the fewest strokes wins.

  • Stymie

    An old term where an opponent's ball was in another player's putting line.

    A term used to describe when a player's ball is positioned behind a tree, bush or some other object thereby blocking the player's preferred shot.

  • Sudden death

    Method used to determine the winner of a golf competition in which the first player to win a hole is declared the winner.

  • Summer rules

    Condition in which ordinary playing rules apply. Versus winter rules.

  • Surlyn

    A type of material used to make golf ball covers and mantles.

  • Swale

    A small hill or depression on a golf course.

  • Sweet spot

    The center of the clubface where the ball should be struck.

  • Swing

    To move one's golf club with the intention of hitting a golf ball.

  • Swing weight

    A golf club's weight.

  • T

  • Takeaway

    The initial part of the golf swing in which the club is moved backwards away from the ball.

  • Tap in

    An easy, very short putt.

  • Tee

    A small wooden or plastic peg used to elevate one's ball when teeing off.

    Also, the name for the designated area where a player may hit his/her initial shot on a given hole.

  • Tee off

    To hit the initial shot on a given golf hole from the tee box area.

  • Tee up

    The act of placing a golf ball on a tee in order to tee off on a hole.

  • Tee-shot

    The initial shot on a golf hole played from the tee box.

  • Teeing ground

    Also known as the tee box, the designated area in which a golfer hits his/her initial shot on a golf hole.

  • Temporary green

    A green that is in use only temporarily while work on the actual green is performed.

  • Texas wedge

    Nickname for a putter when it is used from off the green.

  • Thin

    Striking the top portion of the ball typically resulting in a poor shot.

  • Three ball

    A golf game in which three players play against one another.

  • Three-iron

    An iron with a relatively flat face that typically hits the ball 160-200 yards for a male player. Nickname a mid-mashie.

  • Three-putt

    To take three putts on a green to hole out.

  • Three-quarter shot

    A shot hit at less than full power with approximately a 3/4 swing arc.

  • Threesome

    A grouping of three golfers playing together

  • Three-wood

    A club with a wooden head that typically hits the ball between 190-250 yards for a male player. Sometimes referred to as a spoon.

  • Tiger tee

    A slang term for the back tee (most difficult).

  • Tight fairway

    A narrow fairway.

  • Toe

    Portion of the clubhead that extends away furthest from the club shaft.

  • Toed in

    A clubhead that has a face rotated slighly to the left for a right-handed golfer and vice-versa for a left handed golfer.

  • Top

    To mishit the golf ball on the top portion of the ball typically causing a poor, low shot that ends up short of the target.

  • Topspin

    Forward spin on a ball in the direction of the flight path.

  • Touch

    Feel and accuracy for hitting golf shots.

  • Touch shot

    A type of golf shot that requires great feel and accuracy.

  • Tour

    The series of professional golf tournaments.

  • Tournament

    A golf competition in which many golfers compete.

  • Trajectory

    The arcing path a golf ball travels when hit.

  • Triple bogey

    A term used to describe a score of 3 over par on a given golf hole.

  • Trouble shot

    A golf shot hit from a precarious position such as from high rough, a deep sand trap, or behind a tree.

  • Turn

    The start of the second 9 hole portion of an 18 hole golf course.

  • U

  • Uncock

    To straighten the wrists during downward portion of the golf swing.

  • Underclubbing

    To accidentally choose a club that will not travel the desired distance.

  • Underspin

    When the golf ball flies toward the target while rotating about its axis away from the target from the bottom to the top.

    Underspin is also called backspin.

  • Unplayable lie

    A ball which is in a position that can't be played such as in a bush or tree.

  • Up

    1.) As in "get up", meaning travel up to hole level or the intended target area.

    2.) The number of strokes or points a player is up versus an opponent. For example, "Nicklaus is up 3 with 5 holes remaining."

  • Up and down

    Hitting a ball out of a sand trap, rough or other difficult area and still salvaging a par.

  • Upright swing

    Type of swing in which the clubhead travels more directly backward and upward from the golfball.

  • USGA

    Acronym for United States Golf Association.

    The USGA is the official governing body for golf rules in the United States.

  • Victorious

    To have won a golf match.

  • W

  • Waggle

    Unnecessary movement of a player's club and body while addressing the ball.

  • Water club

    Kind of old golf club that was used to hit the ball out of water.

  • Water hole

    A golf hole in which water hazards are present such as lakes, streams and rivers.

  • Wedge

    An iron with a large amount of lost that is used to hit the ball high and a relatively short distance typically 120 yards or less.

    Examples of wedges include pitching wedges and sand wedges.

  • Whiff

    To make a golf swing and attempt to hit the ball but miss it entirely.

  • Whins

    A British term for thick rough.

  • Whipping

    Name for the material used to wrap the area where the clubhead and the shaft are fastened.

  • Windcheater

    A shot intentionally played low to avoid the wind.

  • Whippy

    A club with a flexible shaft.

  • Winter rules

    Local rules typically in effect when the course is not in prime condition that may allow a golfer to improve his/her lie.

  • Wood

    Type of golf club with a large clubhead typically made from wood, metal, or a composite material.

    Typical woods include 1-Wood (driver), 3-Wood, and 5-Wood.

  • Wormburner

    A type of golf shot hit with a low trajectory that skims the ground.

  • Y

  • Yardage

    The total distance of a hole or to a designated location measured in yards.

  • Yardage rating

    A measure of the relative difficulty of a golf hole based on its yardage.

  • Yips

    Physical condition which manifests itself with shakiness or jerkiness while putting. The yips often afflict older golfers.