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Golf Terminology A – Z

Here is the first section (A – Z) of my golf terminology section.

A

ADDRESS

The stance which you make just before striking the ball.

AIR SHOT

When you take a swipe at the ball, but miss it completely.

ALBATROSS

Getting the ball in the hole three strokes under par e.g. taking 2 strokes on a par 5 hole. Also known as a double eagle.

AMATEUR

A golfer who plays for the sheer enjoyment, with no monetary reward for winning competitions.

APPROACH SHOT

A shot played towards the green, with the intent of landing on the green.

B

BACK NINE

The final nine holes of an 18 hole course; holes 10 – 18.

BACKSPIN

This happens when the golf ball lands after a shot and starts to spin back towards you. Most apparent on the green, where the surface is smooth.

BAG

For carrying all of your golf clubs and golf accessories.

BALL

Need I explain? Okay, you hit this around the course!

BIRDIE

Getting the ball in the hole one stroke under par e.g. taking 3 strokes on a par 4 hole.

BOGEY

Getting the ball in the hole one stroke over par e.g. taking 4 strokes on a par 3 hole.

BOUNDARY LINE

Marks the points on the golf course whereby if your ball goes over the line, you are ‘out of bounds’, and a penalty stroke is deducted.

BUNKER

Also known as a sand trap, the bunker is a hole in the ground filled with sand. A real hazard on the golf course.

C

CACK HANDED

95% of golfers hold their clubs with the left hand at the top and the right hand below. Cack handers do the opposite.

CHIP SHOT

A delicate shot played around the green towards the hole.

CLUBHEAD

The part of the club which is used to strike the golf ball.

CLUBHOUSE

The main building where golfers go to hand in scorecards, hold functions and generally relax.

COURSE

Where the golf is played. Comprises the full 18 holes.

CUP

Another name for the hole on the green. Put the ball in this and you are doing fine!

D

DAISY CUTTER

A shot which is struck so low that it skims across the fairway, cutting the daisies!

DIMPLE

The small indentations which cover the whole surface of a golf ball. Makes the ball more aerodynamic.

DIVOT

A clump of grass which is removed from the fairway when the ball is struck.

DOG LEG

A hole on the course which bends either left to right, or right to left.

DOUBLE BOGEY

Getting the ball in the hole two strokes over par e.g. taking 6 strokes on a par 4 hole.

DRAW

Hitting the ball so that it travels right to left (for a right hander) or left to right (for a left hander).

DRIVE

The shot that is taken off the tee with your driver.

Golf Terminology A   Z

DRIVER

The club used to play a drive off the tee. The most powerful club in the bag.

DROP

When the ball is unplayable, you must take a drop. Pick the ball up and drop it back into play, at the cost of a stroke.

E

EAGLE

Getting the ball into the hole two strokes under par e.g. taking 3 strokes on a par 5 hole.

F

FADE

Hitting the ball so that it travels left to right (for a right hander) or right to left (for a left hander).

FAIRWAY

The part of the hole which runs up the middle, with short grass. Where you want your ball to land.

FAIRWAY WOOD

A club (usually a 5 wood) which can be used to hit the ball off the fairway.

FLAG

Shows the golfer exactly where the hole is on the green.

FLOP SHOT

A chip shot hit around the green which flies almost straight up in the air and stops dead on the green.

FORE!

You shout this when you hit your ball and it is travelling towards anyone else on the golf course. A warning shout.

FRONT NINE

The first nine holes of an 18 hole course; holes 1 – 9.

G

GIMME

A putt which is so short, it cannot possibly be missed.

GLOVE

A golf accessory which helps you to grip the club better, as well as protecting your hands from constant friction.

GREEN

The area of the hole on which the putt is made. The putting surface.

GRIP

The part of the golf club which you hold on to when striking the ball.

GROUND UNDER REPAIR

An area of the golf course which is in the process of being repaired. You cannot strike your ball from this area, and can be moved without penalty.

H

HACKER

A derogoratory term for a golfer who is generally regarded as a terrible player. Someone who ‘hacks’ their way around the golf course.

HALF

When two or more opponents hit the same number of strokes for a hole, the hole is ‘halved’. This term applies to matchplay.

HANDICAP

Allocated to every member of a golf course. The lower your handicap, the better the golfer you are.

HOLE IN ONE

When you strike the golf ball off the tee and it goes straight into the hole. A very, very rare event!

HONOUR

When a golfer shoots the lowest score for the previous hole, he / she has the ‘honour’. This means that he / she tees off first at the next hole.

HOOK

A shot which flies through the air on an uncontrollable right to left trajectory (for right handers) or left to right (for left handers).

I

IMMOVEABLE OBSTRUCTION

An object that cannot be moved in order to give the golfer a better chance of hitting the golf ball successfully e.g. a tree, rock etc.

IMPACT

The exact point in the golf stroke where the clubhead makes contact with the golf ball.

INTERLOCKING GRIP

A grip used by some golfers, where the fingers are interlocked around the grip, giving a solid hold of the club.

IRONS

The clubs in the golf bag used for general fairway shots, usually ranging from the 3 iron up to the sand wedge.

J

JAB

Striking the ball without following through on the upswing.

K

KICK

When the ball strikes the fairway, or any other object, and goes in a different direction to the one intended.

L

LOB WEDGE

A golf club with a high degree of loft, for playing short and high shots, usually around the green.

LOCAL RULES

Rules of the golf course which are specific to that course only.

LOFT

The degree which the clubhead sits at e.g. a 9 iron has more loft than a 3 iron.

M

MARKER

A small object (such as a coin) for marking your golf ball on the green.

MID ROUGH

The area between the fairway and the rough, which is made up of mid-length grass.

N

NINETEENTH HOLE

A term used by golfers to describe the clubhouse.

O

OUT OF BOUNDS

The marked area which, if your golf ball lands within it, you must re-play the shot at the cost of a stroke.

OVERCLUB

When you pick the wrong club for a shot, and your ball goes further than you intended it to.

P

PAR

Getting the golf ball in the hole in the allocated number of strokes e.g. taking 4 strokes on a par 4 hole.

PAR FOR THE COURSE

Taking the allocated number of strokes for a whole round of golf (18 holes). E.g. taking 72 strokes on a par 72 course.

PENALTY STROKE

A stroke added on to your score for an illegal shot e.g. hitting the golf ball out of bounds, hitting the ball into a water hazard.

PITCH

A shot into the green using the pitching wedge, usually from around 100 yards and in.

PITCH MARK

An indentation left on the putting surface by the force of the golf ball landing on it.

PITCH MARK REPAIRER

A handy tool for smoothing over the indentation left on the green by your golf ball.

PLAYOFF

Occurs when opponents are tied after 18 holes. A sudden death situation occurs, where the first person to win the extra hole wins.

PROFESSIONAL

A golfer who plays for monetary reward. Supreme dedication to the game of golf is required.

PUTT

A stroke which is played on the putting surface, with the objective of hitting the golf ball into the hole.

R

ROUGH

The area to the left and right of the fairway, with longer grass which may impede the stroke.

S

SAND TRAP

Another term for a bunker. A hole in the ground filled with sand.

SAND WEDGE

A golf club used to strike the ball out of a bunker / sand trap. Also handy for delicate chip shots around the green.

SCORECARD

A card which is used to record each player’s score for each hole. Also gives information on yardages, local rules etc.

SCRATCH

A term which means a handicap of zero. That is, a scratch player is expected to go around a par 72 course in 72 strokes.

SHANK

A badly hit shot which will veer wildly off to the right (for right handers) or to the left (for left handers).

SHAFT

The part of the golf club which joins together the grip and the clubhead. The middle section of the club.

SPIN

Hitting the ball in such a way that when it lands, the ball will spin in a certain direction and divert the ball in that direction.

STROKE

Striking the ball with your golf club is a stroke.

SWEET SPOT

The part of the clubhead that gives the best possible contact with the golf ball upon impact.

T

TEE

The area where the golfer tees off from. Also means the small peg that the ball sits on when striking a tee shot.

TOPSPIN

Makes the golf ball roll further forward upon landing.

TOSS

Players toss a coin on the first tee to determine who will strike away first (the ‘honour’).

TRIPLE BOGEY

Getting the golf ball into the hole 3 strokes more than are allocated e.g. taking 7 strokes on a par 4 hole.

U

UMBRELLA

An essential golf accessory, saves you from getting wet when it rains.

UNDERCLUB

Picking the wrong club for the shot, resulting in the golf ball landing short of the target.

W

WATER HAZARD

An area on the course such as a pond, ditch, river etc.

WINTER GREENS

Used in the winter, and are substitutes for the real greens. Keep the real greens from sustaining too much damage in the winter.

WOOD

Any club in the bag with a wooden head (increasingly rare). Also refers to metal woods e.g. 3 wood, 5 wood etc.

Y

YARDAGE

The distance from where the ball is lying to the target. Also the distance from tee to green.

YIPS

A condition golfers occasionally suffer. Symptoms include twitching before striking the ball, failing to hit the ball straight, and, in extreme cases, failing to hit the golf ball at all.