Golf Pro Warehouse | Golf Terminology Glossary

Golf Pro Warehouse has compiled the most comprehensive list of golf terms, golf glossary, golf dictionary.  This Golf Terminology listing should help new golfers as well as seasoned golfers to have a better understanding of the game of golf.  We hope to make this listing as complete and educational as possible.

ACE: Another word for a hole-in-one.  A hole in one. The shot off the tee that makes it into the hole and only one shot is taken to complete the hole.

ACCEPTABLE SCORE: A score made over an 18 hole round which is used to calculate or adjust a players handicap.

ACTION: Backspin on ball.

ACTIVE SEASON: The golfing season in which a player’s scores can be used to adjust their handicap.

ADDRESS: The position of the body before taking the first swing.  When a golfer takes his stance and lined up the club to make a stroke.  The position that the player assumes when preparing to make a stroke.

ADDRESSING THE BALL: The ball has been “addressed” when the player has taken the stance preparatory to making a stroke and has also grounded the club. However, in a hazard, the player has “addressed the ball” when the stance has been taken preparatory to making a stroke.

ADJUSTED GROSS SCORE: Competition scratch used to recalculate handicap. AGS is based on scores recorded by all players in the competition.

ADVICE: Instruction on how a ball should be played. Only partners and caddies may be consulted without penalty.  Advice is any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in determining his play or method of making a stroke. Information on the rules and matters of public information is not advice.

AIR SHOT: Missing the ball during a swing.

ALBATROS: A Hole played three strokes under par.  Sometimes referred to as a “Double Eagle”.  A score of three under par on a single hole. Another word for double eagle, or when scoring three under on a hole. This only occurs if you were to make a hole in one on a par 4, or hole out on your second shot in a par 5.  (Be suspicious of anyone claiming an albatross in Par 3 (pitch and putt) golf!).

ALL SQUARE: When the score is tied in match play.

AMATEUR: Opposite of professional, one who does not receive monetary remuneration from the game.

APPROACH: Usually used in the phrase “Approach Shot”.  Refers to the shot that plays to get the ball from the fairway onto the green. A golf shot that is made from a distance (rough or fairway) towards the green.  Hitting the ball at the green.

APPROACH PUTT: A long putt that is not expected to go in, but hopefully will finish close to hole.

APRON: Also referred to as the Fringe. The grass surface on the perimeter of the green that separates it from the fairway.  The short fringe surrounding the green which isolates it from the fairway.  The short grass that separates the putting green from rough or fairway.

ATTEND THE FLAG: To hold and remove the flagstick from the hole as an opponent putts.

AUTHORIZED: One that is recognised by the R&A or USGA.

AWAY: The player whose ball is furthest from the hole.  Who’s Away?  The away ball is that which is furthest from the hole when more than one golfer is playing. It usually is played first.  Farthest from the hole.

BACK DOOR: When a ball is holed by going around the lip of the cup and dropping in from the back end.

BACK NINE: The last nine holes of an 18 hole course.

BACK SIDE: The last 8 holes of an 18 hole course.

BACK TEES: The farthest set of tees from the hole on each hole, also referred to as “the tips.”

BACKSPIN: Refers to the backwards rotation of the ball on its flight where the top of the ball is spinning back towards the player.  Causes the ball to stop very quickly on the green.  Reverse spin applied to the ball and prevents it from bouncing forward after landing; same as Bite.

BACKSWING: When the golfer takes the club away from the addressed ball, continues until the club is moved back towards to ball.

BAFFY: Another name for a 4 wood.

BALL: Golf Balls, go to A History of the Golf Ball.

BALL IN PLAY: The ball is on play once the player starts his downswing on the teeing area. It continues to be so until holed out, lost, out of bounds or lifted.  A ball is ”in play” as soon as the player has made a stroke on the teeing ground. It remains in play (as the player’s ball) until holed out, except when it is out of bounds, lost or lifted or another ball has been substituted in accordance with these rules. A ball so substituted becomes the ball in play.

BALL IN POCKET B.I.P.: When a player has picked up his ball and does not intend to complete a hole with a valid score.

BALL LOST: A ball is deemed “lost” on the course:  if it not found or identified as his by within three minutes after the players side have begun to search for it; or the player has made a stroke with a substituted ball under the rules with the corresponding loss of distance and one stroke penalty.

BALL MARK: The mark left by the ball when it pitches on the fairway or green.  A small indentation on the surface of a green resulting from the impact of a golf ball.

BALL MARKER: Any small object used to mark a ball’s position on the green prior to it being picked up.  A coin-sized object, typically round, used to mark the position of a player’s ball on the green.

BALL MOVED: A ball is deemed to have “moved” if it leaves its original position even if only a fraction of its circumference.

BALL RETRIEVER: An extendable device used to retrieve balls mainly from the water and other inaccessible areas.

BALL ROUNDNESS GAUGE: An instrument used to measure how spherical a ball is.

BALL WASHER: An instrument used to clean golf balls.

BALLOONING: Excessive climbing or lifting of a shot beyond its normal trajectory, usually into the wind and usually causing the shot to fall short of the intended distance.

BANANA BALL: Slicing the ball such that it curves off to the side in a banana shaped trajectory.

BARKIE: When the ball hits any part of a tree and the golfer still completes the hole with a par.

BASEBALL GRIP: A method of holding the club using all ten fingers on the grip with no overlapping or interlocking fingers.

BEACH: Also referred to as “Bunker” or “Sand Trap”.  Hollow obstruction or hazard, often containing sand. Refers to the sand traps on a golf course.  A sand bunker.  Slang term for a sand bunker.

BELOW THE HOLE: When the ball is in a position lower than, or downhill from, the hole on ground that is not level.

BENT GRASS: A very smooth, fine-bladed grass usually used for putting greens.

BERMUDA:  Species of coarse grass used in hot climates.

BEST BALL: A competition where two or more players form a team. The best net score per team on each hole is recorded on the scorecard.  A format of play typically used in tournaments, in which the team score for each hole is the “best score” of at least one of the players in a foursome.

BEST SHOT: A team competition where each member of the team plays a shot, the best placed ball is then chosen and all other players of the same team play their next shot from that position.

BIRDIE: A hole played one stroke under par.  A score of one under par on a single hole.  A score on a golf hole that is one less than Par.  When you score one stroke under par on a whole. Scoring a two on a par 3, or a three on a par 4 would be considered a birdie.

BITE: Reverse spin applied to the ball and prevents it from bouncing forward after landing; same as Backspin.  A ball with lots of backspin is said to “bite,” since it stays pretty close to where it landed or even spins back toward the player. Sometimes a player will shout (pray) for a ball to bite if it looks like it’s going past the hole. (A humorous way of doing this is to shout, “Grow teeth!”)

BLADE: When the upper part of the ball is struck by the edge of the club face causing it to hug the ground in flight.

BLADE SHOT: To strike the ball above it’s center causing it to skip and bounce along the ground rather than rise through the air.

BLAST: The material carried with the ball when it is hit out of a sand bunker.  A shot that removes a large amount of sand or earth in addition (hopefully) to the ball, as from a buried lie in a bunker.

BLIND HOLE: When the golfer cannot see the green when having to play an approach shot.

BLIND SHOT: A shot where the intended landing area is not visible from the player’s perspective.

BLOCK: A block is when a golfer hits a shot directly to the right (for a right-handed golfer)

BLOCK SHOT: When a player strikes the ball late in their swing (usually caused by turning to quickly during the swing). The ball travels outside of the target.

BOGEY: A hole played one stroke over par. A score of one over par on a single hole.  Scoring one stroke above par. For example, making a five on a par would would be considered a bogey.

BOGEY GOLFER: A player who has a handicap is the about the same as the number holes on a course (18 to 22).

BOUNCE: The angle between the ground and the club sole at correct address. Limits how much contact the club has with the ground. The only time golfers really need to worry about bounce is when they’re buying a wedge. Low-bounce means the club will dig into the ground more. High-bounce means it the front edge won’t ever make contact with the ground or could cause it to hit the ground before even meeting the ball.

BRACKET: To take additional clubs — one higher and one lower — than the club you believe you need to hit a certain shot. This means you’ll be prepared for a situation different from what you originally expected, so it’s generally a good idea.

BRASSIE: Another name for a 2 wood.

BREAK: The amount a putt curves because of the slope and grain of the green  The curve or movement a ball makes on its path to the hole due to contours on the green.  The deviations from a straight line to the hole.

BUGGY (also Cart): A small vehicle for transporting players and their golf bags.  A Golf Cart or Push Cart

BUNKER: Also referred to as “The Beach” or “Sand Trap”.  Hollow obstruction or hazard, often containing sand. Refers to the sand traps on a golf course.  A hazard filled by sand or grass that is placed where a fairway shot may end (by a green or driving distance from the tee). You are not allowed to practice swing or ground your club in a bunker.  A concave area containing sand or the like, considered a hazard.  A “bunker” is a hazard consisting of an area of ground where turf or soil has been replaced with sand or the like. A wall or lip of the bunker not covered with grass is part of the bunker. The margin of the bunker extends vertically downwards, but not upwards. A ball is in a bunker when it lies in or any part of it touches the bunker.

BURIED ELEPHANT: A particularly large mound or hump, usually used in reference to the surface of a putting green.

CABBAGE: Deep rough or vegetation off the fairway.

CADDIE: A person who accompanies a player, carries their golf bag and gives advice.

CALL UP: Wave up; common practice at some courses (usually on par 3 holes) where the group ahead (group A) signals for the group behind (group B) to play their shots when group A reaches the green rather than waiting for them to finish the hole in an attempt to improve pace of play — also could be when group A wishes for group B to play-through at any point on the course.

CARRY: Most often used as a noun, carry refers the distance shots travel off the club head to where they touch the ground and doesn’t include the distance added by ball roll.

CART: (also Buggy):  A small vehicle for transporting players and their golf bags.  A Buggy or Push Cart.

CARVE: Expression has been used to describe shaping or bending a shot to fit a hole’s terrain or curve around something.

CASUAL WATER: An accumulation of water on the golf course that is not part of a water hazard. Generally, you encounter casual water after heavy rains. The player is allowed to move the ball without penalty.  Any temporary accumulation of water or snow or natural ice on the course that is not in a water hazard.  A temporary accumulation of water (outside of a water hazard) that is visible before or after a player takes their stance

C.G. (Center of Gravity): CG is often used when describing golf clubs. A single point in the club head, there are three dimensions to it: vertical which is height from the sole; horizontal which is distance from the center hosel; and how far back on the head it is. The lower and farther back the CG is, the higher the shot goes. Horizontal CG determines shot precision.

CHILI DIP: When a short chip or pitch shot is hit fat or chunked, causing the ball to go a much shorter distance than intended.

CHIP (also Chip Shot): A low short distance shot to the green.  Short approach shot with little height that hits from close to the green. When the ball goes into the hole from a chip shot, it’s called a Chip In. Also, the owner of Golf Pro Warehouse, Chip Pepitone.  Chip and run, chip and roll, bump and run; a shot that is designed to roll farther than it flies.

CHIP OFF: Play-off; a method of breaking a tie by seeing who gets a selected chip shot closer to the hole.

CHIP OUT: Punch out; hitting a relatively small chip shot to extricate oneself from trouble (e.g., trees) when a longer shot is needed but obstructed.

CHIPPING: A low-trajectory, short golf shot typically made from just off the green.

CHUNK: When a golfer says “I chunked it” that usually means that they made contact behind the golf ball, and their club had dug into the ground too deeply.  Also could be referred to as hitting it fat.  Chunky, fat, thick, heavy, laying the sod over it, hitting the big ball before the little ball; hitting the ground before the ball, usually resulting in the ball not going as far as intended.

CLAW GRIP: Gator grip, Psycho grip; an unusual method of gripping the putter, popularized by PGA Tour player Chris DiMarco, where the fingers of the bottom hand curl over the top of the club’s grip (palm oriented thumb-up and pinky-down) rather than under the grip, as in more common methods.

CLUB PROFESSIONAL: A golf professional associated with the operation of a golf facility, specifically as opposed to a Touring professional golfer.

CLUBFACE: The area of the clubhead where the ball should make contact. Can be “open” or “closed,” which refers to the angle of the face.

CLUBHOUSE: The main building or structure of a golf facility which can, but does not necessarily, include the pro shop, restaurant, locker rooms, lounge/pub, offices, and more.

C.O.R. (Coefficient of Restitution): Energy loss or retention when two objects collide. 0.000 being all energy is lost and none transferred. 1.000 meaning all energy is transferred and none is lost.

COIL: The turning of the body away from the target in the backswing.

COLLAR: Apron, fringe, frog hair; the short grass that separates the putting green from rough or fairway.

COMEBACKER: A putt remaining after the preceding putt goes past the hole.

COMING OVER THE TOP: A term that is used by the golf instructional world all of the time. We are still not sure what it means.

COMMITTEE: The person or group in charge of the competition, or if not in competition, the person or group in charge of the course.  The duly nominated committee of the club or association organizing the competition. The committee has no power to waive a rule. The committee may establish Local Rules consistent with the Rules.

CONDOR: Also known as a Triple Eagle; A score of 4 under par on a hole (e.g. a hole-in-one on a par 5).

CONTINUOUS PUTTING: A common practice where a player, having putted the ball close to the hole, chooses to finish putting rather than to mark their ball and wait to finish until their turn is decided by distance from the hole.

COURSE (also Golf Course): A large area of land designed for playing Golf, typically divided into 9 or 18 holes.  The whole area within which play is permitted.

CROSS BUNKER: A long or wide bunker that crosses the fairway rather than running adjacent or parallel to the fairway.

CUP: The four inch deep, 4.5 inch diameter hole on the green.  Generically refers to the hole but also includes the base and liner, or sleeve, inside the hole that holds the flagstick in place.

CUP LINING: Cup liner; rigid sleeve inside the hole.

CUT SHOT: Same as a fade, a cut curves from left to right, but is generally higher in trajectory and more controlled than a standard fade.  Usually refers to the type of shot that makes a large curve of the ball. The travel path should go left to right for right-handed golfers and right to left for left-handed golfers.

DANCE FLOOR: Slang term for the green.

DEEP: A flagstick or hole that is located toward the back of the green.

DEPTH CHARGE: A putt that is lagged softly down a slippery (fast) slope and intended to just get close rather than hit the mark.

DEUCE: A score of 2 on a hole.

DIMPLES: The indentations on the surface of a golf ball which increase friction and lift.

DIP: Downward movement of the spine and head during the swing – not desirable.

DISCONNECTED: When the arms move separately from, or independently in relation to, the torso, particularly through impact.

DIVOT: A piece of earth and grass that a golf shot cuts from the ground.  Piece of the course that gets taken up by the club on a swing. A divot tool fixes these holes and pats them back down so grass can grow over the soil.  This is the piece of grass that is often removed from the turf when a golf shot is made. It is common golf etiquette to replace the divot when possible.  The small chunk of turf that is dislodged when a clubhead strikes the ground as a player hits the ball.  A portion of turf that is ripped out of the ground.

DIVOT REPAIR TOOL: A small metal or plastic tool with a prong(s), used to repair ball marks on the green.

DOGLEG: A fairway that turns to the left or right.  A golf-course architecture term. This refers to a hole that has a straight fairway, and then it curves to the right, or the left.  A hole on which the fairway has an angle, turn or bend in it like a dog’s rear leg.

DORMIE: In match play, a player is dormie when leading a match by as many holes as there are left (i.e. 4 up with 4 holes to play).  The player who is down must win every hole to save the match and force its continuation past the last regular hole (if a winner must be determined) or halve the match (in team competition such as the Ryder Cup).

DOUBLE BOGEY: A hole played two strokes over par.  A score of two over par on a single hole.  Scoring two strokes above par. This is the one score in golf you should try to avoid at all costs. Double Bogey is a round killer!

DOUBLE CROSS: When a golfer intends to hit a fade, or a draw but does the complete opposite. For example, if a golfer wanted to hit a fade and then ends up hooking it. Instead of the ball flying from left to right, it goes from right to left.

DOUBLE EAGLE: Also called an Albatross.  A score of three under par on a single hole.

DOWN: As it lies; playing the ball as you find it, with no alteration of its position or condition;  Behind in a match (usually counted by holes in match play, but could also apply to the number of strokes a player is behind their opponent).

DQ: Scoreboard abbreviation for “disqualified” (for rules violation, etc.)

DRAINED: Slang term for having sunk a putt.  A Player who seems to make a lot of putts.

DRAW: A type of shot that gives a slight curve of the ball from right to left in right-handed golfers, and left to right for left-handed golfers.  A right to left ball flight (for righties), but more controlled than a hook.  A golf shot in which the ball gradually moves right to left (for a right-handed golfer).

DRINK: Another term for water hazard.

DRIVE: A shot played using the 1 wood, often the first shot on a long hole.  The first shot taken at the teeing ground at each hole — even if you don’t hit it with a Driver.

DRIVER: A golf club with a bulbous club head, the longest hitting club used for the first shot on a long hole, the 1 wood.  This is typically the golf club that is used for the longest distance from the tee. This club has little loft so it can “drive” the golf ball a long distance and allow it to roll a long ways.  The longest club (and the one with the biggest head), used for tee shots as it’s designed to hit the ball the farthest.

DRIVING RANGE: A practice area with artificial turf mats or on grass.

DROP: When the ball is released by hand with an extended arm at shoulder height and put back in play after being lifted under various situations within the rules of golf.

DROP AREA: An area of ground where players can drop their ball, usually in situations where there is not another practical area to take a drop or for maintenance reasons.

DUB: Duff, top; a badly misplayed shot, usually associated with the ball never leaving the ground as a result of hitting the top or side of the ball or hitting the ground well behind the ball.

DUFF: A bad shot.

DUFFER: Hacker; an unskilled golfer.

DUCK HOOK: Also called “Snap Hook”. Refers to a violent curve of the ball from right to left for right-handed golfers, and left to right for left-handed golfers. The ball will also dip or “duck” down to the ground.  When you hit a low hook shot that doesn’t travel very far.  When a right-handed player strikes the ball such that it curves sharply from right to left and stays low to the ground.

EAGLE: A score of two strokes under par on a hole.  A score of two under par on a single hole.

EMBEDDED BALL: Plugged; a ball stuck in the ground as a result of its impact.

ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AREAS: Those areas of the course so designated and identified by stakes with red/green tops.

EQUIPMENT: Anything used, worn or carried by the player, playing partner or caddie.

ETIQUETTE: The rules governing a golfer’s behavior.  Rules of behavior, propriety, decorum, manners, etc.

EVEN PAR: Even, level, level par; anytime one’s score is level with, or equivalent to, par during, or at the conclusion of, a round of golf.

EXECUTIVE COURSE: A golf course that is shorter and has a lower par than regular golf courses. Consisting of mostly par 3 holes, it is designed to be played quickly by skilled golfers and to be welcoming for beginner golfers and juniors.  A golf course with very short holes, mostly par 3′s and short par 4′s.

FADE: A right-handed player’s shot that moves slightly from left to right in the air (reverse for lefties).  Refers to a slight curve of the ball from left to right for right-handed golfers and right to left for left-handed golfers.  A fade is a left to right ball flight (for righties), but it is a more controlled than a slice. Sometimes referred to as a “cut shot”.  A gently curving shot from left to right (right-handed player).

FAIRWAY: The longest part of the golf course which is kept free of rough grass, located between the tee box and the putting green.  This is the area of a golf hole between the Tee and the Green. It is closely mown in compared to the rough making it easier to strike the golf ball cleanly.  The center, short-mown portion of a golf hole in between the teeing ground and the green.  The closely mown area between the tee and green.

FAIRWAY BUNKER: A sand or deep grass hazard situated in, or adjacent to, the fairway.

FAIRWAY WOOD: A club that features deep bulbous club heads that are made of metal (they used to be made of wood). Used for long distance shots, a 3,4,5,7,9 or 11 wood.  Fairway metal; a wood other than the driver or 1 wood (more commonly made of metal rather than wood nowadays).

FAN: Whiff; missing the ball completely.

FAT: Chunky, fat, thick, heavy, laying the sod over it, hairpiece, hitting the big ball before the little ball; hitting the ground before the ball, usually resulting in the ball not going as far as intended.

FAT SHOT: A shot in which the club hits the ground (more so than intended) prior to striking the ball. Sometimes also called “thick” or “chunked.”

FEEL: Touch; the sensation of, or level sensitivity for, playing shots in golf.

FINISH POSITION: Finish; the last position, or end, of the swing.

FIPPA: The Federation of International Pitch and Putt Associations (FIPPA) is one of the governing bodies for the pitch and putt in the world, along with the International Pitch and Putt Association (IPPA). It was created in March 2006 by the representatives of 17 national governing bodies and is based in Barcelona, Catalonia.

FIRST TEE: Where a round of golf play begins.

FLAG: Usually, but not always, a fabric banner atop the pin or flagstick to make the location of the hole visible.

FLAG STICK (also Pin): The stick with a flag on it that stands in the cup (hole) on the putting green.  A movable straight indicator placed in the centre of the hole to show its position.  Pin, stick; a slender pole, usually about 7 feet in height, with a flag on it placed inside the cup to mark the location of the hole.

FLARE: Block, push; a shot that is typically high and a push (to the right for a right-handed player).

FLAT STICK: Another name for the putter.

FLIER: Flier lie, flyer, shooter, jumper; 1. A shot that flies further than desired as a result of decreased backspin, usually resulting from long grass (but also could be water) between the ball and clubface at impact. 2. A lie that causes the ball to fly farther than intended.

FLOP SHOT: A wedge shot played around the green where you open the face of the club up completely, and try to hit the ball very high in the air so that it lands softly on the green.

FLUFFY: Fluffy lie; when the ball is sitting up in longish grass with a lot of air underneath it and a lot of grass surrounding it.

FLYER: When your ball is in the rough, but propped up a bit then you might have a “flyer” lie. This will cause the ball to travel farther than it normally does.  A ball, usually hit from the rough, that goes much farther than intended.

FLY THE GREEN: A shot that goes over the green.

FOLLOW-THROUGH: Finish; the continuation of a golf stoke after the bottom of the swing and impact area.

FOOT WEDGE: Kicking the ball (which, of course, is against the rules).

FORE!: A warning call when a ball is heading towards another player.  The word you shout as loud as you can when you hit your ball in the direction of another golfer. You need to warn them!  A warning shouted when the ball is heading toward a person.

FORWARD TEES: The teeing ground located closest to the green.

FOURSOME: 1. Four players playing together in a group. 2. A match in which two 2-person teams compete against each other with each side only playing one ball.

FOUR-BALL: A match in which two 2-person teams compete against each other using the one best score from each side.

FREE DROP: Free relief; dropping the ball without penalty in any number of situations allowed by the rules of golf.

FRIED EGG: Sometimes when your ball lands in the bunker it will get buried. It looks exactly like a fried egg!  A lie (usually in a sand filled bunker) in which the ball is half buried and thus resembles a fried egg.

FRINGE: Also referred to as the Apron. The grass surface on the perimeter of the green that separates it from the fairway.  The short grass surrounding the green that is kept slightly longer than the grass on the green.

FROG HAIR: Apron, collar, fringe; the short grass that separates the putting green from rough or fairway.

FRONT NINE: Front, front side; the first 9 holes (1-9) of an 18 hole golf course.

FULL FINGER GRIP: Baseball, ten finger grip; a method of holding the club using all ten fingers on the grip with no overlapping or interlocking fingers.

GALLERY: Spectators

GHIN: Golf Handicap & Information Network; handicap service begun in 1981 maintained by the USGA.

GET UP: A phrase shouted at a ball that looks like it’s going to land short of the target. If it looks like it’s going to land in a difficult spot (perhaps water or a bunker), you’d say “get over.”

GIMME: When your putt is close enough to the hole that it is considered to be made. Sometimes golfers will get a bit too generous with gimmies, and start counting putts 3 feet and beyond to be a gimme.  A putt that is so close to the hole that it’s assumed that the player will make it. You can only have a “gimme” in casual, non-tournament play or in match play. An old-fashioned term for this is “in the leather,” a reference to the ball being closer to the hole than the length of a putter from the putter’s face to the bottom of its grip.  Derived from “give me”; “concede the next stroke to me as holed”; a putt that is short enough in length to be certain to be holed with the next stroke.

GO TO SCHOOL: To learn from another player’s shot (most commonly associated with putting – seeing how a putt on a similar line to your own will break).


GREEN or PUTTING GREEN: An area of very short grass at the end of each hole, on which players try to “putt” their ball into a cup (hole).  This is where the golf hole resides. The grass is very short and very smooth. Once the golf ball is on the Green, it is typically putted toward the hole.  Putting green, putting surface, dance floor; the most closely mown and smooth area on the course, which is specifically prepared for putting and on which the hole is placed.

GREEN FEE: The fee paid to play a round (a game) of golf.  The cost to play a round of golf. (This usually includes the cost of the golf cart rental and practice balls).  The fee paid to play a course.

GREEN GRASS: Used to indicate a retail golf shop operation on the premises of a golf course.

GREEN IN REGULATION: One of the golf terms that you want to be part of your game – a green in regulation is when any part of the golf ball is touching the putting surface and the number of strokes taken is two fewer than par. For example, on a par 4 if you reach the putting surface with your first, or second shot you have hit the green in regulation.

GREENSKEEPER: An older term for an individual involved in maintaining and caring for a golf course greens and grounds.

GREENIE: If you are playing a gambling format like Nassau usually groups will make side bets. A greenie is a side bet usually played on a par 3, and the player who lands the ball closest to the pin (while on the green) wins the greenie.

GRIP: The positioning of the hands on the handle of a club, also the rubber handle of a golf club. 1.) The handle of a golf club (usually covered with rubber, leather, etc.).  2.) The holding, or method of holding, a golf club.

GROSS: The raw, actual or unadjusted score (strokes) before a handicap has been applied.

GROUND UNDER REPAIR: any portion of the course so marked by representative. Any grass, bush, tree or anything growing within the ground under repair is part of the ground under repair. It includes material piled for removal and a hole made by a greenkeeper, even if not so marked. Stakes and lines defining “ground under repair” are within such ground. Such stakes are obstructions. A ball is in ground under repair when it lies in or any part of it touches the ground under repair. The margin of ground under repair extends vertically downwards, but not upwards. The committee may make a Local Rule prohibiting play from ground under repair (such as newly placed sod).

GROUNDING: Setting the heel of the golf club on the ground, however briefly.

HALF SHOT: Half swing, knockdown, knockdown shot, punch, punch shot; a shot played with less than a full swing, mainly to control distance, trajectory and spin.

HALVE: A tie on a given hole in match play.

HAM AND EGG: When players on a team (usually a two-man team) compliment each other during a match — usually thought of in terms of “better ball” situations.

HANDICAP: A numerical representation of a golfer’s playing ability.  The Handicap is a number or rating of a golfer’s ability designed to allow players of different skill levels to compete.  Abbr: “hcp, hdcp”, related: “handicap differential, handicap index, index; the average difference between a player’s scores and a set standard, as calculated by specified procedures and formulas.

HARDPAN: Very firm, unyielding ground (many times bare).

HAZARD: word of the course designed to present challenges to golfers. Includes sand traps, lakes, ponds, houses, etc.  Any bunker or water hazard. A ball is in a hazard when it lies in or any part of it touches the hazard.  Any bunker – usually a hollow of some kind with a prepared surface, generally sand or similar or water hazard – sea, lake, pond, ditch, etc. usually marked with either yellow or red stakes or lines.

HIGH SIDE: The uphill edge of the cup when it is on any slant.

HITCH: A noticeable rough spot or hiccup in the flow of a golf swing.

HOLD: Check, grab; 1. When the ball stays near where it lands, not rolling much (if any) forward.  2. To stay on the green after landing.

HOLE: Can refer to each section of a golf course from the tee to the green as well as the actual hole or cup in the ground where the golfer is trying to hit the ball into. There are typically 18 holes on a given golf course or round.  1. 4¼ inch diameter hole in the ground into which the ball is to be played.  2. the entire length of the playing area and immediate vicinity from the teeing ground to the putting green (all inclusive).  3. hole out, make, drain, sink; to play the ball into the hole

HOLE HIGH: Pin high; when the ball has travelled the correct distance and is even with the hole, but off to one side or the other (whether or not it’s on the green).

HOLE IN ONE: Ace; A score of one on a hole. Also referred to a an Ace, holing the tee shot.

HOLED: A ball is “holed” when it is at rest within the circumference of the hole and all of it is below the level of the lip of the hole.

HOME: 1. To reach the green with a shot.  2. The clubhouse or vicinity of the starting point and ending point of a round of golf.

HONORS: The right to tee off first based on having the best score on the last hole or being furthest away from the hole.  The privilege of playing first from the tee.

HOOK: Refers to a large curve of the ball from right to left for right handed golfers and left to right for left-handed golfers.  A shot that curves quickly to the left (for a right-handed golfer). Usually this is a miss-hit and not something the golfer is trying to do.  For a right-handed golfer a hook occurs when the ball travels from right to left, but in a much more exaggerated path.  A shot that travels from right to left (right-handed player) – more severe than a draw.

HOT: A shot that goes faster or farther than intended.


IMPROVED LIE: Improved lies, improving your lie, preferred lies, winter rules, bumping it; altering the ball’s position, or the way it rests (lies) on the ground, so as to make the it easier to contact cleanly — mainly put into effect when course conditions are not acceptable for playing the ball down, usually due to wet, soggy conditions).

IN PLAY: Officially — the ball is in play once the tee shot comes to rest anywhere on the course (not out of bounds)
informally — more commonly used to also include the fact that the next shot is “playable” (i.e., not in the forest, a water hazard, potentially lost, etc.).


INSIDE: 1. Closer to the hole than.  2. Closer to the body than (e.g., inside the target line, inside takeaway).

INSIDE THE LEATHER: Closer to the hole than the length of the putter (from the head to where the grip begins), archaic: putters used to be of uniform length and the shortest club in the bag, and grips used to be made of leather, thus the phrase (inside = closer than) + (the leather = where the grip begins).

IRON: A golf club that has a flat metal head. There are different lofts given by numbers for each type of Iron club. The higher the number the more loft. Irons are used from most any position on the golf course except for the green.
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,PW, GW, SW, LW
A club with a head made of steel or iron and a relatively narrow sole usually somewhere between 16° and 65°.

INTERLOCKING GRIP: Interlock grip; a method of placing the hands on the club such that the index finger of the top hand (nearest the end of the handle or grip) and the pinky of the bottom hand hook together, intertwine or interlock.

JUMPER: Flier, flyer, shooter; a shot that flies farther than intended or a lie that causes the ball to fly farther than intended.

KITTY LITTER: Another term for a sand-filled bunker.

KNIFE: Another term for a one iron.

KNOCKDOWN: Knockdown shot, punch, punch shot, half shot; a shot played with less than a full swing, mainly to control distance, trajectory and spin.

LAG: Lag putt, approach putt; a putt that is intended to stop close to the hole but not presumed to be holed.

LAST: Term used when discussing golf shoe construction. The last is the mold on which the shoe is made. Determines fit and shape of the shoe.

LAY UP: Lay back, play for position, transport shot; a shot played to a particular location to allow for an easier subsequent shot or to keep the ball from going too far.

LEADER IN THE CLUBHOUSE: The player with the lowest score having completed regulation play.

LIE: Angle from the shaft to the ground when the club is in normal playing position. Determines where the sole of the clubhead hits the ground.  The position or location of the golf ball while in play.

LIGHTS-OUT: Playing excellently.

LINE: 1. Target line, intended line; direction, as indicated by a vertical plane.  2. Line, line of a putt, putting line; the path on which the ball rolls, or will roll, enroute to the hole.

LINE OF PLAY: The direction that the player wishes his ball to take after a stroke, plus a reasonable distance on either side of the intended direction. The line of play extends vertically upwards from the ground, but does not extend beyond the hole.

LINE OF PUTT: The line which the player wishes his ball to take after a stroke on the Putting Green. The line of putt does not extend beyond the hole.

LINE UP: 1. Align; position/direct/orient the body and/or club.  2. Assessing the direction of a shot or putt.

LINKS: Another term for a golf course.

LIP: Rim; the top edge of the hole, above the cup.

LIP OUT: When your putt rolls around the edge of the cup causing it to change directions. This is terribly frustrating because that means you almost made the putt!  The edge of the hole. If your ball hits the lip but doesn’t go in the hole, then you have “lipped out.”  When the ball hits the edge of the hole and spins out instead of dropping.

LOB: Lob shot; a relatively vertical (steep arced) shot, usually played with a lofted wedge, intended to land softly and not roll far.

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE: Awareness of a course’s idiosyncratic playing characteristics from having played it many times.

LOFT: Angle of the clubface that controls ball trajectory and affects distance as well. The loft angle will determine whether the shots will be higher, lower, longer, or shorter.  The degree or angle of the face of the club.

LONG GAME: The part of golf played with full, or substantial, swings where the ball is intended to cover relatively longer distances.

LOOP: 1. (Mainly used by caddies) another term for a round of golf.  2. Reroute; a noticeable difference in the path of the club head between the backswing and downswing.

LOOSE IMPEDIMENTS: Denotes natural objects not fixed or growing and not adhering to the ball, and includes stones not solidly embedded, leaves, twigs, branches and the like, dung, worms, insects and casts or heaps made by them. Sand and loose soil are loose impediments on the putting green but not elsewhere. Dew and frost are not loose impediments.

LOST BALL: Any ball that cannot be found within five minutes of beginning a search for it.

LOW SLIDE: The downhill edge of the cup when it is on any slant.

LUNCH BALL: Mulligan, Sunday ball; taking a second attempt (replay, “do over”) at a shot when one doesn’t like the result of the first.

MAJOR: 1. One of four annual tournaments (The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open or PGA).  2. Could also refer to a tournament of greater significance than usual due to tradition or the sanctioning body.

MARK: spot; to put down a ball marker to be able to replace the ball precisely in its original location after lifting

MARKER: One who is appointed by the committee to record a competitor’s score in stroke play. He is not a referee. 1. Ball marker; usually a small, flat object (like a dime) used to mark the ball’s position while other players putt and/or the ball is cleaned.  2. a Person designated to record a player’s score in stroke play.

MARKERS: Tee markers, blocks, tee blocks; two objects that indicate the forward boundary of the teeing area.

MARSHAL: 1. A person designated by a tournament committee to help with crowd control and to keep order.  2. A person designated to patrol the course, keeping an eye out for problems in general, but usually present to promote a reasonable pace of play or keep things moving.

MATCH PLAY: A format of golf in which the goal is to win individual holes rather than tallying the total of all of the strokes.  Scoring by holes rather than strokes, the way golf was originally played.

MEDALIST: The player in a stroke play, or medal play, competition with the fewest strokes/lowest score, the winner.

MEDAL PLAY: Stroke play; scoring by the total number of strokes.

MODIFIED SCRAMBLE: Also known as a shamble or Texas scramble, a golf format in which the players select the best shot off the tee, move all balls to that spot, and play individual stroke play for the rest of the hole.

MOI (Moment or Inertia): MOI is a physics term that applies to golf equipment such as clubs and balls. It specifies just how much force golfers will need to put an object into motion. High MOI means that more energy needs to exert, while Low MOI means less energy.

MULLIGAN: An unofficial do-over. Many times golfers will be kind to another and elect to award mulligans (usually on the first tee shot) without giving penalty strokes. This is not part of the official rules of golf!  In casual play only, a “do-over” shot made to replace a poorly hit shot, taken without counting the stroke toward the score.  Breakfast ball, lunch ball, Sunday balll taking a second attempt (replay, “do over”) at a shot when one doesn’t like the result of the first attempt.

MURPHY: To Drive a shot from the tee box or in the fairway.  The ball travels quite a distance, but only traveling about 1-2 inches from the ground in height.

NC: Scoreboard abbreviation for “No card”, meaning that the player did not turn in a scorecard.

NEAREST POINT OF RELIEF: The point on the course, nearest to where the ball lies, which is not nearer the hole, and where there is no longer the interference from which relief is permitted.

NET: A players score after a handicap has been applied.

NINETEENTH (19th) HOLE: Typically a golf course Bar, Restaurant, Lounge, or Pro Shop.

NUTTED: Flushed; hitting it squarely and on the sweet spot

OB: Out of bounds, Oscar Brown; out of bounds, off the golf course premises.

OBSTRUCTIONS: anything artificial, whether erected, placed or left on the course except: 1) Objects defining out of bounds such as walls, fences, stakes and railings. 2) Any obstruction declared by the committee to be an integral part of the course. 3) Any part of an immovable artificial object that is out of bounds.  An obstruction is a movable obstruction if it can be moved without unreasonable effort, without unduly delaying play and without causing damage. Otherwise, it is an immovable obstruction.

OFF THE DECK: Hitting a driver off the fairway or ground rather than on a tee.

ON THE JAZZ: When you’re playing well, you’re said to be “In The Zone” or “On The Jazz”. Sometimes described as “Playing Lights Out.”

ON THE SCREWS: hitting it on the sweet spot, usually of a wood, or driver in particular

ONE-PUTT: when only one putt is taken on a green to hole the ball

OPEN: 1. a tournament in which any eligible competitor can play, if they qualify
2. open clubface, open stance; refers to the alignment of the body/stance or clubface

OUT: 1. front, front nine, front side, first nine; the first nine holes of an eighteen hole course
2. away; another term for “away”, i.e., farthest from the hole

OUT OF BOUNDS (O.B.): Out of bounds.  The area outside the course where play is not allowed, most often marked by white stakes.  Defined by all boundary fences and play outside these boundaries is prohibited. The committee may define and mark areas within the course as out of bounds. A ball is out of bounds when all of it lies out of bounds. A player may stand out of bounds to play a ball lying within bounds. Objects defining out of bounds are not obstructions and are deemed to be fixed. The out of bounds line extends vertically upwards and downwards.  Out of play, ob, Oscar Brown; area that is not part of the course, on which play is not permitted.

OUTSIDE: 1. on the opposite side of the target line from the golfer
2. away; farther from the hole than

OUTSIDE AGENCY: Any agency not part of the match or, in stroke play, not part of the competitor’s side. Neither wind or water is an outside agency.

OVERLAPPING GRIP: overlap and “Vardon grip” after famous player, Harry Vardon) the most common grip in golf, placing the hands on the club such that the pinky finger of the bottom hand rests on the index finger of the top hand, or between the index and middle fingers of the top hand

PAR: Refers to the number of strokes expected to complete a hole. The par number of a hole always allows for two putt shots.  This is the score that an expert golfer would be expected to make for the hole or golf course. Holes can have a Par score of 3, 4, or 5. Par for golf courses vary as well, but tend to be in the area of 72 strokes.  When your score for the hole equals the listed par.1. the standard number of strokes in which a scratch player would be expected to complete a hole or course
2. even, even par, level, level par; to score par on a course, or the state of being at that score during or at the conclusion of play

PAR IN: to score a par on each remaining hole

PATH: swing path; the direction the clubhead is traveling (generally referred to through the impact area and in relation to the target line)

PEEKING: looking up to see the result of the shot before impact, mainly used in reference to putting, and particularly on short putts

PEG: tee; another term for a tee – a small (usually, but not always, wooden) device for setting the ball up above the ground

PENALTY STROKE: One stroke added to the score of a player or player’s side.  A stroke that must be added to the score, for a variety of reasons (e.g., lost ball, unplayable lie), in accordance with the rules of golf.

PGA: Professional Golfers’ Association; organization to promote and regulate the profession of golf.

PICK UP: lifting the ball and discontinuing play on a hole, for various reasons (e.g., informal – too many strokes and too much time has elapsed, causing the following group to wait unduly; team or match play competition situation: partner or competitor has already completed the hole with a better score)

PIN: The flagstick standing inside the cup on the green. Also known as “the stick.”

PITCH: pitch shot; a relatively short, lofted shot designed to land softly and not roll much (differs from a chip in its trajectory and amount of roll)

PITCH AND PUTT (course): pitch ‘n’ putt; a par 3 course with extremely short holes (usually not much longer than 130 yards)

PITCH AND RUN: A lofted shot that is also intended to release/run/roll.

PITCH MARK: ball mark; the depression that a ball makes when it strikes the ground

PITCHING: A high-trajectory golf shot made near the green, intended to land softly with a minimum amount of roll.

PITCH MARK:  A small indent that your ball makes on the green when it lands. You need to repair them!

PLAYING IT “UP” OR “DOWN”: Playing the ball down means that you have to hit your shot no matter what the lie is. In certain situations golfers are allowed to play the ball “up” meaning they can improve the lie. Sometimes if there is inclement weather such as rain it makes sense to play it up.

PLAYING THE BALL DOWN: playing it down; playing the ball as it lies, as opposed to improving the lie

PLAYING THE TIPS: When a golfer elects to play the farthest tees available on any golf course. Not recommended for beginners.

PLAYING THROUGH: What takes place when one group of golfers passes through another group of slower playing golfers, ending up ahead of the slower group.go through; passing the group in front of you (for various reasons) while they wait

PRACTICE: Defined as the deliberate striking of a ball in a manner the player may wish to replicate in the course of normal play.

POP: another term for a handicap stroke

POP STROKE: a (typically putting) stroke characterized by an abrupt little “hit” or twitch of force at the ball rather than a smooth acceleration through the ball

POSTAGE STAMP: postage stamp green; a green with a particularly small surface area presenting a demanding target

POT BUNKER: a small deep bunker, typically with steep sides, requiring a very steep angle of ascent to escape

PRACTICE GREEN: practice putting green; a green which is separate from the golf course and is designated for practicing putting only or putting and/or the short game

PRACTICE RANGE: practice facility, practice tee, driving range, range; an area, separate from the golf course, designated for hitting practice balls


PRACTICE SWING: Not a practice stroke and may be taken at any place, provided the player does not breach the Rules.rehearsal swing; a swing through the air made (without hitting a ball) to work on, or feel, the movements that you intend to make when you hit the ball, or just to loosen up

PRE-SHOT ROUTINE: a round of golf usually thought of as being for the purpose of familiarizing a player with a particular course, and referred to specifically to differentiate it from a round in a competition.  procedure prior to hitting a golf shot, usually thought of as a consistent sequence

PREFERRED LIES: improved lies, winter rules, bumping it; a local rule under which a player can improve his lie without penalty

PRESS: If you are playing a betting game with your partners a press refers to making another bet. It is usually for the same amount as the original wager.


PRO SHOP: usually thought of as the building or room where the retail operation of a golf course takes place

PROVISIONAL BALL: A second ball that is played in the event that the first ball is or may be lost or out of bounds. If the first ball is found and is playable, the provisional ball is picked up. If the first ball isn’t playable (if it’s lost or out of bounds), the provisional ball is played and penalty strokes apply. Hitting the provisional ball when in doubt about whether a shot went out of bounds often speeds up the pace of play.  A ball played under these rules in place of a ball which may be lost outside a water hazard or may be out of bounds.provisional; an additional shot played in a situation where it is believed that the original ball may be out of bounds or lost

PULL: 1. yank, jerk; a shot that goes to the left of the intended line for a right-handed player
2. to select a club or remove it from the bag

PULL CART: Used by golfers who prefer to walk but don’t wish to carry their golf bags.

PUNCH OUT: chip out; hitting a relatively small chip shot (many times sideways or even backward) to extricate oneself from trouble (e.g., trees) when a longer shot is needed but obstructed

PUNCH SHOT: punch, knockdown, knockdown shot, half shot; a shot played with less than a full swing, mainly to control distance, trajectory and spin

PUNCHING THE GREENS: Aerating the greens by pulling small plugs (1/4″ – 3/4″ diameter) or using poking with small tines that leave the appearance of a pattern of “punched” holes in the turf.

PURE: A well-struck shot, often used as a verb. “He pured her shot!”flush, solid, on the sweet spot, on the screws, on the nut; a shot struck perfectly on the center of gravity of the club

PUSH: shove, block; a shot that goes to the right of the intended line for a right-handed player

PUSH FADE: a shot that is both a push and a fade, starting and curving to the right of the intended target line for right-handers

PUTT: The golf stroke used to roll the ball on the green.a shot that is intended to make the ball roll

PUTT OUT: finish; to complete play by holing your ball, or to putt your ball into the hole whether you are away (farthest from the hole) or not

PUTTER: This is the golf club that is used on the Green. It is used to strike the golf ball such that it roles into the golf hole.flatstick, wand; a club with a fairly straight face used for putting, or rolling the ball on the ground

PUTTING GREEN:  All ground of the hole being played which is specially prepared for putting. A ball is on the putting green when any part of it touches the putting, putting surface, dance floor; the most closely mown and smooth area on the course, which is specifically prepared for putting and on which the hole is placed

QUAIL HIGH: a very low trajectory shot

QUIT: not following-through completely with momentum, decelerating through impact

RAINMAKER: skying, skyball, pop up; another term for skying the ball or hitting a pop-up

RANGE FINDER: A device that measure the distance to the hole using lasers.

RANGER: The golf course staff member who provides player assistance on the golf course and who is responsible for keeping the overall pace of play.marshal; a person designated to patrol the course, keeping an eye out for problems in general, but usually present to promote a reasonable pace of play or keep things moving

RATING: see course rating

READY GOLF: Players hit when ready in order to speed up or maintain pace of play.

REFEREE: One who is appointed by the Committee to accompany players to decide questions of fact and apply the rules. He must act on any breach of a Rule that he observes or is reported to him. The referee’s decision is final.

REGULATION: conforming to regulations, official (e.g., the specified number of holes for a competition, or a club that conforms to the rules of golf)

REGULATION IN: When a player’s ball is on the green in one shot on a par 3 hole; 2 shots on a par 4; or 3 shots on a par 5.

RELIEF: a rules term meaning “to pick up the ball and move it away from” some condition, obstacle, etc.

RELOAD: an expression used when a shot is certainly out of play

ROUGH: The area of long grass that surrounds the fairway. Considered a type of hazard and makes for difficult play.  An area outside of the Fairway. The grass is longer making it harder to hit the golf ball cleanly.  The long grass bordering the fairway. On some courses, there is a “first cut” of shorter rough and a “second cut” of heavier, longer rough.longer grass adjacent to the fairways, greens and perhaps tees

ROUND:a complete circuit of (usually) 18 holes

RULES OF GOLF: regulations and procedures of the game as set forth by a collaborative effort of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in Scotland and the United States Golf Association (for specific rules see this page)

SAND BUNKER: A bunker filled with sand.

SAND TRAP: Slang for “sand bunker”. “Trap” is not defined in the “Rules of Golf.”trap, bunker, sand bunker; another commonly used term for a sand-filled bunker – a depression in the ground filled with a prepared surface of sand or similar

SANDBAGGER: liar, cheater; a golfer who lies about their ability in order to gain an advantage in a match or wager, or posts (submits/enters/turns-in) artificially high scores in order to inflate their handicap

SANDBAGGING: When a golfer claims they have a handicap that is much higher than their actual playing ability. If golfers compete against each other based on handicap this practice is frowned upon because that golfer will get extra strokes that they technically don’t deserve – don’t be a sandbagger, be honest!

SANDY: Hitting the ball out of a sand bunker and hitting (usually putting) the ball into the cup on the very next shot.


SCORE: 1. the number of strokes taken on a hole or course (see also the chart of scores and their names)
2. to keep the number of strokes taken to a minimum

SCORECARD: card; the card used to record and tally scores during and after a round of golf

SCORING: 1. the markings (grooves, dimples, scratches, etc.) on the face of a golf club
2. the act of keeping one’s total strokes taken to a minimum
3. the act of recording scores or running the scoreboard (see also the chart of scores and their names)

SCRAMBLE: Probably the most popular format for charity golf tournament play. Each player in the foursome hits, then the group selects the best shot. Each player hits from that spot and the process continues until the ball is holed out.1. a tournament format in which all players in a group (foursome or otherwise) hit a shot from the tee, and each subsequent location, always playing from the position of the best or preferred ball until the ball is holed (more on tournament formats)
2. to extricate oneself from trouble, or recover, after an errant shot well enough to salvage a decent score

SCRATCH:1. zero handicap, no handicap strokes deducted
2. a player with (approximately) a 0 handicap

SCRATCH GOLFER: A golfer with a handicap of 0 and averages a par of every hole.

SCREWS: on the screws; the sweetspot, usually refers to hitting a wood, or driver in particular, right in the center (many woods originally had an insert in the center of the face that was attached with screws, thus the expression)

SET UP: setup, address, address position; the position that the player assumes when preparing to make a stroke

SHANK: Refers to a violent curve of the ball from left to right in right-handed golfers and opposite for left-handed golfers after being struck on the heel or other part of the club that isn’t the face. Can commonly be heard in phrases like “have the shanks”, “shanking it”, or “a case of the shanks”. Essentially every golfer’s worst nightmare. This is the ugliest of all golf terms, and you shouldn’t say it out loud. A shank is when a golfer makes contact with the hosel of the club, and it usually sends the ball directly to the right.  Be aware, this is a word you should *not* use on the golf course — it’s considered bad luck and is therefore a breach of etiquette. However, you should still know what it is: a very poor shot that hits the hosel of the clubhead and “squirts” errantly off to the side. It’s sometimes called a “lateral.”

SHORT GAME: The type of game play that involves shorter shots with clubs such as putters and wedges. Also refers to the play around the green.

SHORT SIDED: If you hit your approach shot on the side of the green where the pin is located. It makes your chip/pitch shot terribly difficult. Always aim for the “fat” side of the green to avoid this!

SHOOT:1. the act of playing a golf shot
2. another way to refer to one’s score for a round of golf, or tournament

SHOOTER: 1. flyer, flier, jumper; a shot that flies further than desired as a result of decreased backspin, usually resulting from long grass (but also could be water) between the ball and clubface at impact
2. a lie that causes the ball to fly farther than intended
3. colloquial term for a golfer or player

SHOOTOUT: 1. a match play format in which one player is eliminated at the conclusion of each hole based on having the highest score or, in cases of a tie for the highest score, a sudden death type playoff (called a “shootout”) decides which player is eliminated
2. generic term for a playoff or on some golf tournament titles (e.g., “The Shark Shootout”)

SHORT GAME: the part of the game that consists of short range shots (i.e., putting, chipping, pitching, greenside bunker shots, etc.)

SHORT GRASS: another phrase for the fairway

SHOT:1. a stroke in golf and its result (assumes contact with the ball)
2. the act (past tense) of playing a stroke
3. another way (past tense) to refer to one’s score for a round of golf, or tournament

SHOTGUN START: When golfers are sent to every hole so that play begins for everyone at the same time.a golf tournament format in which all groups of players tee off simultaneously from different holes

SIDE: back side, front side; another term for each 9 holes of an 18 hole course

SIDE-HILL LIE: uneven lie; when the ball lies on an uneven slope, with either the ball above the feet or below the feet

SIDESADDLE: a putting stance where the legs and feet are, more or less, facing the hole and the stroke is made to the side of, rather than in front of, the body

SIGNATURE HOLE: a hole that that uniquely identifies a course by its characteristics or style

SIT: A term shouted at the ball to encourage it to stick very close to where it lands. This is similar to “bite.”

SKULL: A mishit golf stroke in which contact is made above the equator of the ball, resulting in a line-drive trajectory.

SMOKED: A term describing a well-hit long shot, particularly a drive.

SLICE: Refers to a violent curve of the ball from left to right for right-handed golfers and right to left for left-handed golfers.  A golf shot that curves hard to the right. Usually this is a miss-hit.  This is probably the most popular of golf terms as it relates to a player’s swing. A slice is occurs when a golfer puts excessive curve on the ball. For a right-handed golfer, they have sliced it if the ball is moving excessively from left to right.banana ball; a wildly curving shot from left to right for a right-handed player

SNAP HOOK: Also called “Duck Hook”. Refers to a violent curve of the ball from right to left for right-handed golfers, and left to right for left-handed golfers. The ball will also dip or “duck” down to the ground.

SNOWMAN: Of all the golf terms listed, this is the one you probably never want to be associated with. A snowman is when you score an 8 on a hole.  A darkly humorous reference to scoring an 8 on a hole.

SOLHEIM CUP: A biennial women’s golf tournament in which teams from Europe and the United States compete against each other. It is named after Karsten Solheim (Ping Golf).

STANCE: Consists in a player placing his feet in position for and preparatory to making a stroke.

STARTER: A golf associate who provides golfers at the first tee with any special information they will need during play and maintains the appropriate amount of time between groups of players starting off the first tee.tee master, master of the tee; the person in charge of controlling play at a golf course

STARTING TIME: tee time, time; a reservation or appointment to play at a specific time

STICKS: When referred to in the plural, “sticks” means golf clubs (as opposed to the flagstick). For example, “I’m buying a new set of sticks this season.” A putter is sometimes colloquially called a “flat-stick,” due to its lack of loft.

STIPULATED ROUND: Consists of playing the holes of the course in their correct sequence unless otherwise authorised by the Committee.

STONEY: stick it, stiff; a shot that stops close to the hole

STRIPE: to hit a tee shot solidly and straight, implying that it finds the center stripe of the fairway (the direction of mowing and subsequent leaning of the grass blades has the visual effect on the fairway of making it appear striped: grass that is mown and leans in the direction away from the tee appears lighter in color than areas mown toward the tee)

STROKE: The forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball. A stroke shall be counted as soon as the downswing commences. But If a player checks his downswing voluntarily before the clubhead reaches the ball he is deemed not to have made a stroke.1. shot; the act of swinging a club with the intention of striking the ball
2. the qualitative aspect of the swing (most frequently associated only with putting)

STROKE AND DISTANCE: 2-stroke penalty; counting one stroke for the stroke itself and one stroke for the distance travelled by the ball (meaning the ball must be replayed from the original point)

STROKE HOLE: a hole on which a player’s handicap strokes fall in net scoring match play situations (e.g., a 1 handicapper only gets a stroke on the number 1 handicap hole, whereas an 18 handicapper gets a stroke on every hole)

STROKE PLAY: A golf format in which the objective is to finish the game using the fewest total shots.medal play; scoring by the total number of strokes

STYMIE: 1. term referring to another player’s ball (usually on the putting green) blocking one’s path to the hole — obsolete since the practice of marking the ball on the green
2. general term for a situation where the desired line of play to the hole is blocked by an object or obstruction

SUMMER RULES: another way some people use to indicate that the ball will be played “down” or “as it lies”

SUNDAY BALL: lunch ball, Mulligan; taking a second attempt (replay, “do over”) at a shot when one doesn’t like the result of the first

SUPERINTENDENT: head greenkeeper or greenkeeper; the person in charge of overseeing the golf course maintenance and crew

SWALE: a depression, valley, or low portion of undulation on a course

SWEET SPOT: Center point on the clubface that results in the best shots.  A golf format in which the objective is to finish the game using the fewest total shots.sweetspot, screws, nut; the center of mass of the club (the solid spot on the clubface)

SWING:1. to make a stroke
2. a significant change in the score (as in a scale, or the balance, shifting)

TAP-IN: A very short putt.gimme; a very short put that is certain to be made

TEE: The start of the golf hole where the first shot is taken. Also, the name for the wooden peg that the golf ball can be place upon for the first shot (see also “Tees”).1. peg; a small (usually, but not always, wooden) device for setting the ball up above the ground
2. the act of placing the ball on a tee
3. teeing ground, teeing area, tee box; the starting point of each hole, the area designated as the teeing ground

TEE BLOCKS: blocks, tee markers, markers; two objects that indicate the foreward boundary of the teeing area

TEE BOX: The area on a golf hole where the ball is first struck, also known as the “teeing ground.” Although you hear “tee box” a lot, “teeing ground” or “tee” are the preferred terms.

TEE MARKERS: markers, tee blocks, blocks; two objects that indicate the foreward boundary of the teeing area

TEE OFF:to hit a shot from the tee

TEE SHOT:tee ball; a shot from the tee, the first shot on a hole

TEE TIME:the time assigned for a group to begin play on their first hole

TEEING GROUND: The starting place for the hole to be played and is common to all players. If the starting place is a mat, the defined area of the teeing ground is the mat itself. Otherwise, the front and sides must be defined and the back of the teeing area shall be no more than two club lengths from the front.teeing area, tee box, tee; the starting point of each hole, where the tee markers are

TEES: Pieces of golf equipment used to raise the ball on the teeing ground for a player’s first stroke on the hole. Usually made of wood, plastic or earth-friendly composite material.  An artificial device, designed to raise the ball off the ground. The minimum height requirement of the device is 5mm.

TEND THE FLAG: attend the flag, flagstick or pin; holding and then removing the flagstick after a player has made a stroke

TEXAS WEDGE: A Texas Wedge is another term for using a putter any time you are off the green. Some players will elect to putt from the fairway, rough, or even the bunker sometimes.


THAT’LL PLAY:  that will play; refers to a shot (usually off the tee) that might be less than ideal, but that is certainly good enough to proceed on the hole without damage (penalty strokes, difficult recovery, etc.); also occasionally used to facetiously downplay a great shot

THIN: A shot that strikes near the center of the ball, typically causing a low trajectory. Sometimes also called “skinny.”


THE TIPS: The farthest teeing ground from the green, usually demarcated by blue, black or gold tee markers. Also called the “championship tees” or the “back tees.”

THE TURN: The halfway point in a round of golf.

THE YIPS:  The inability to make short putts due to nervousness and lack of a smooth putting stroke.

THROUGH THE GREEN: The whole area of the course except: 1) The teeing ground and putting green of the hole being played. 2) All hazards on the course. 3) Flower beds, staked trees, clearly defined vegetative areas and environmentally sensitive areas.

TIGHT: 1. a very narrow hole or course
2. a compact and efficient swing
3. hole location that is very close to the edge of the green
4. a ball resting on the ground or in grass with very little air underneath it, making clean and solid contact difficult

TIPS: The tips or playing from the tips; playing each hole from its longest possible yardage so that you play the entire course at its longest possible yardage


TRAP: 1. bunker, sand trap; another commonly used term for a sand-filled bunker – a depression in the ground filled with a prepared surface of sand or similar
2. a descending strike at impact that squeezes, or traps, the ball between the club face and the ground to varying degrees

TRAJECTORY: Physics term that relates to golf clubs and balls. Refers to the path followed by an object (in this case a golf ball) after it encounters a force that puts it into action. Usually the path is curved in some way, shape, or form.

TRIPLE BOGEY: A score of three over par on a single hole.

TROLLY (also Pull Cart):

TURN: 1. the rotation of the body in the swing (e.g., shoulder turn, hip turn)
2. going from the ninth green to the tenth tee
3. curving a golf shot
4. break or curve in a putt

UNDER PAR: subpar; less than or below par

UNEVEN LIE: sidehill lie, uphill lie, downhill lie; when the ball lies on an uneven slope, with either the ball above the feet or below the feet, and/or one foot higher than the other

UNPLAYABLE LIE: the player has determined that the ball cannot be played from its current spot

UP AND DOWN: If you have missed a green in regulation, and you are still able to make par. For example, if you hit your approach shot in the rough, and then pitched the ball on the green and made your putt – you have successfully gotten up and down for par.  Chipping or pitching the ball onto the green and putting it into the hole on the very next shot.

USGA: United States Golf Association

VERICUT: a procedure to cut grass vertically (the cutting blades dig into the grass up and down rather than cutting it off horizontally) to promote new blade growth, more turf density and smoother greens or fairways

WAGGLE: some kind of motion or movement of the club for the purpose of staying loose, feeling the club, keeping the body in motion instead of holding still

WALK-ON: typically thought of as a single player with no reservation, but could be more than one player

WATER HAZARD: Any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open water course (whether containing water or not). All ground or water within the margin of a water hazard is part of the water hazard. If the margin of the water hazard is not otherwise defined, it shall be where the downward depression of the ground commences.The margin of a water hazard extends vertically upwards and downwards. Stakes identifying water hazards and lines, beams, stones, walls, fences etc. defining the margins of water hazards are in the hazards and are deemed to be obstructions. The margin of such hazards are defined as the exterior points of the objects marking the hazard.Stakes to identify and/or lines used to define a water hazard should be red. Note 1. The Committee may declare any part of the course to be a water hazard and may make a local rule prohibiting play from an environmentally-sensitive area defined as a water hazard.any sea, lake, pond, ditch, etc. (whether it contains water or not), usually marked with either yellow stakes or lines

WAVE UP: call up; common practice at some courses (usually on par 3 holes) where the group ahead (group A) signals for the group behind (group B) to play their shots when group A reaches the green rather than waiting for them to finish the hole (it is done in an attempt to improve pace of play) — also could be when group A wishes for group B to play-through at any point on the course

WD: scoreboard abbreviation for withdraw


WET: ball in water hazard

WHIFF: a swing with intent to strike the ball and a miss

WINTER RULES: preferred lies, improved lies, bumping it; a local rule under which a player can improve his lie without penalty

WOOD: A golf club used for longer distance than the iron, but is typically more difficult to control. The head used to be made out of wood, but today may be any number of materials.

WOODS: A type of golf club with a round head, usually made out of wood, metal or composite materials. The most common woods include the Driver, 3-wood and 5-wood.

WORK THE BALL:to deliberately shape or curve a shot

WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS: The World Golf Championships (WGC) are a group of four annual events for professional golfers created by the International Federation of PGA Tours.

WORM BURNER: When you strike a shot that barely gets off the ground and just rolls.  A golf shot (not a putt) in which the ball never rises off the ground.

WRONG BALL: Any ball other than the player’s ball in play or his provisional ball.any ball other than the player’s ball in play, provisional ball or second ball played under Rule 3-3 or Rule 20-7b in stroke play

X: a score that cannot be determined, as play on a hole was not completed

YANK: pull, jerk; a shot that goes severely to the left of the target line (for a right-handed player)

YARDAGE MARKER: some type of landmark indicating the yardage to the green

ZONE: When you’re playing well, you’re said to be “In The Zone” or “On The Jazz”. Sometimes described as “playing lights out.”