Golf Terms Dictionary Glossaries and TerminologyNeed to find out what those golf terms you keep hearing are all about? Find out here!!!
Funny Golf Dictionaries
- Glossary of Humorous Golf Terms Somewhat Real Definitions but with a funny twist that could tickle your funny bone.
- Fun Golf Team Names for your Golf League
Serious Golf Dictionaries
- Dictionary of Golf This is the big one: 1267 entries, 162 illustrated.
- Golfer's Glossary Respectable glossary with words and descriptions you won't find elsewhere.
- Golfing Dictionary One of the most complete glossaries of golf.
- The Golfer's Dictionary World Golf Terminology Glossary
Golf Terms Dictionary - A
ace A hole made in one stroke
address The stance taken by a player in preparing to hit the ball. The positioning of your body in relationship to the golf ball. Same as "addressing the ball".
Address To position the body relative to the ball just before hitting it.
aggregate Refers to a score made over more than one round of play, or by 2 or more players playing as partners.
air shot When a player intends to play a shot but misses the ball completely.
albatross Former name of a "Double Eagle" - the score for a hole made in 3 strokes under par. A British term.
alternate ball Format in which players alternate hitting each other's ball on each stroke until the hole is finished. For example, after teeing off, player 1 hits player 2's ball and vice versa.
amateur A golfer who plays without monetary compensation.
angle of approach - The angle or degree at which the club moves downward, or upward, toward the ball.
approach shot Normally a short or medium shot played to the putting green or pin
apron The grassy area surrounding the putting surface. See fringe.
attack To play with purpose and aggressively.
attend the flag To hold and then remove the flag while another player putts.
away The ball that is the greatest distance from the hole when more than one golfer is playing. It is the first to be played.
Golf Terms Dictionary - B
back door The rear of the hole.
back lip The edge of the bunker that is farthest from the green.
back nine The last 9 holes of an 18 hole course
backspin A reverse spin placed on the ball to make in stop short on the putting surface
backswing The backward part of the swing starting from the ground and going back over the head
baff An obsolete term, Scottish in origin, meaning to hit or graze the ground behind the ball.
baffle Previous name given to a 5 wood.
baffy A lofted wooden club developed from the baffling-spoon no longer in use. Also the alternate name given to the 4 wood.
bail out 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 round object which we attempt to hit into the hole. Prior to the 17th century it was made of wood or wool in a leather cover. After the 17th century feathers were boiled and compressed, then sewn in a leather cover. It continued to evolve to a solid gutta percha (or a mixture with gutta percha other substances) in the 1850's and strip rubber wound around a core in the 1900's. Presently made of solid compressed synthetic rubber with hundreds of surface indentations which aid in the flight of the ball.
ball at rest The ball has come to a complete stop on the fairway or green
ball embedded A techinical term for a plugged ball
ball holed A ball is holed when it is entirely below the level of the lip of the hole
ball in play A ball is in play as soon as the player has made a stroke in the tee off area. It remains in play until it is holed out except when it is out of bounds, lost, lifted or when another ball is substituted in accordance with the rules.
ball marker A token or a small coin used to spot the balls position on the green prior to lifting it
ball retriever A long pole with a scoop on the end which is used to collect balls from water hazards and other areas.
ball washer A device found on many tees for cleaning golf balls
bandit See hustler
banana ball A slice that curves to the right in the shape of a banana. An extreme slice.
baseball grip Holding the club with all ten fingers on the grip.
beach A sand hazard on the course
bend The curve on a shot created by sidespin.
bend one To hook or slice a shot by using sidespin.
bent grass Type of grass seen for the most part on Northern courses. It is of the genus Agrostis, native to North America and Eurasia. It is a hardy and resilient type of grass that can be cut very short.
bermuda Type of grass seen mostly on Southern courses in North America. Of the type Cynodon dactylon. Originally native to southern Europe. It was introduced to warmer areas of the world to be used on courses where bent grass will not grow.
best ball A match in which one player plays against the better of two balls or the best ball of three players. Also the better score of two partners in a four-ball or best-ball match.
better ball A match play or stroke play gamewhen two players on a side each play their own ball score the better of their two scores at each hole against the other side.
birdie One stroke under par for a hole. Also possibly derived from the term "It flew like a bird" to indicate a good shot.
bird's nest A lie in which the ball is cupped in deep grass.
bite The backspin imparted on the ball that makes the ball stop dead, or almost so, with little or no roll.
blade 1) The hitting part of an iron clubhead, not including the hosel. 2) To hit the ball with the leading edge of the blade of an iron.
blade Putter A type of putter with an iron head with the basic form the same as other standard numbered irons.
blast A shot that takes a large amount of sand with it when hitting out of a sand trap. An explosion shot. An aggressive shot. A powerful drive.
blind Bogey A type of competition in which each player tries to come the closest to a score that has been drawn out of a hat.
blind hole If the putting green cannot be seen by the player as he approaches, the hole is called blind.
block To play a shot by delaying the rotation of the wrists during a swing. This causes the clubface not to be square at the point of impact resulting in a sliced ball.
bogey A score of one over par for the hole. To play a hole in one stroke over par.
bogey competition A form of stroke play in which players play against a fixed score at each hole. Scored as in match play with the winner being the most holes.
bold A firmly played approach to a well -protected pin. Also, too strong or long a shot.
borrow To play to one side of the hole or the other to compensate for the slope of the green.
boundary The edge of the golf course that defines the area of play.
bowker This refers to a shot that appears to be horrible and then hits a tree, a rock, a spectator, etc. and bounces back into play. Sample usage: "I would have bogeyed the fourth hole but I got a bowker." Pronounced "boughkur".
bramble A small molded bump on some types of golf balls (gutta purcha and rubber core). Intended to give aerodynamic properties like the dimples on present day balls.
brassie Former name given to a 2 wood. A wooden club with a brass sole plate with more loft than a driver and less than the than the spoon.
break To make less than a specified score. Such as when you finally broke 90.
break The way in which the ball will roll or bounce. Also the sideways slope on the green.
break the Wrists To bend the wrists back during a 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 curve across the face of a wooden club.
bulger A wooden club with a slightly convex face. Mainly a driver.
bull dog Former name for a 4 or 5 wood.
bump and run A chip shot including the run of the ball after landing. Also known as 'chip and run'
bunker A depression in bare ground that is usually covered with sand. Also called a "sand trap". It is considered a hazard under the Rules of Golf.
bunt To hit an intentional short shot
burn The Scottish term for a creek or stream
burried ball A ball partially buried beneath the sand in a bunker
buzzard A score of two strokes over par for a 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.
Golf Terms Dictionary - C
caddie (caddy) Someone who carries a player's club during play and offers him assistance in accordance with the rules.
caddie master The golf course employee in charge of managing the caddies.
caddie-car A golf car or car.
Calamity Jane The name that Bobby Jones gave to his putter. Also putters modeled after his hickory-shafted blade putter
can In slang, to hole a putt.
cap The top end of a club grip and shaft
card A card used to record scores in stroke play. Also, to make a record of your score.
carpet A slang term referring to the putting green or fairway.
carry The length of travel by the ball after it is hit to the place where it first hits the ground
cart A two-wheeled trolley on which a golf is fitted and pulled around the course. In some cases trolleys are battery powered. Can also refer to a golf car.
casual water Any temporary accumulations of water that are visible before or after a player takes his stance and is not a hazard or in a water hazard. A player may lift his ball from casual water without penalty
center shafted Putter in which the shaft is joined to the center of the head.
charge To surge from behind and display superior play. Also to play or putt aggressively.
chart the course Pace each hole so that you know how far you are from the green.
chili-dip To hit the ground before the ball, producing a weak lofted shot.
chip shot A short approach shot of low trajectory usually hit from near the green. It is normally hit with overspin or bite.
chip-and-run A chip shot including the run of the ball after landing. Also known as 'bump and run'
chip in A holed chip shot.
choke To grip down farther on the club handle.
choke A slang term used to indicate a collapse under pressure
chop To hit the ball with a hacking motion
claggy As in "I've got a bit of a claggy lie". A lie that is a bit wet and muddy - of British origin - almost a claim for casual water but not quite!
claim The term used in match play to denote a protest by a player regarding a possible breach of the rules.
cleek Any one of many narrow-bladed iron clubs used for long shots through the green from the rough or sand. Another name for the # 1 iron. Also, a shallower faced lofted wooden club. Another name for the #4 wood.
closed stance The left foot extends over the balls line of flight while the right foot is back
cleat The spike on the sole of a golf shoe.
closed face When the clubface is pointed to the left of the target when you address the ball.
closed stance A stance taken with the right foot pulled back, away from the ball.
club The implement used in golf to strike the ball. Consists of a shaft, grip and a clubhead of wood or metal.
club head The hitting area of the club.
clubhouse The main building on the course.
clubhouse lawyer A self-appointed caller or arbiter of the rules
cock To bend the wrists backwards in the backswing.
collar The grassy fringe surrounding the putting green.
colorball A team game with teams of 3 or 4 players in which one player uses a colored ball. Team score comprises the score with the colored ball plus the best of the other 2 or 3 players. Players alternate holes playing with the colored ball.
come back shot The shot you make after you have overshot the hole.
committee The collective name for those in charge of a competition or a course.
compression The flattening of the ball against the clubface at impact. Also the degree of resilience of a ball.
condor A four-under par shot. A hole-in-one on a par 5 for example. Has occurred on a hole with a heavy dogleg, hard ground and no trees. Might also be called "a triple eagle".
confusion a game in which a point is awarded to the first player of the group to get to the green, one for the players closest to the pin and one for the first player to hole out. The winner is the player with the highest number of points.
control shot A shot that is played with less than full power
core The center of the golf ball.
course The playing area which is usually made up of 9 or 18 holes with each hole having a tee off area, fairway and green
course rating The comparison of playing one course as opposed to another in terms of difficulty. It is expressed in strokes or decimal fractions of strokes. The yardage of the course and the ability of a scratch golfer are the basis for determination
crack To allow one's good play to suffer when under pressure.
cross-bunker A lengthy bunker that is situated across the fairway.
cross-handed grip A grip where your left hand is below the right.
cup The container in the hole holds the flagstick in pace.
cuppy A deep and enclosed lie.
cut The score that reduces the field to a pre-determined number and eliminates players in a tournament. Usually made after 36 of a 72 hole tournament.
cut shot A controlled shot that results in the ball stopping almost immediately on the green without roll.
Golf Terms Dictionary - D
dance floor for the green. As in 'you're on the dance floor'.
dawn patrol Golfers who tee off early to avoid the heavy traffic.
daytona A game for 4 players divided into 2 sides. The scores of a side for each hole are combined to form a number of points; if one plyaer has a score of par or better then the lower score of the team is placed first - if the scores on a par 3 are 3 and 4 then the team score is 34. But if the best score for the hole is over par then the higher must be placed first - if scores on a par 3 are 4 and 5, the team score is 54. The side with the lower number of points for the round wins.
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 Pertaining to a clubface and meaning having a club face that is relatively thick from top to bottom.
deuce A hole made in two strokes. Primarily used in the United States.
dew sweepers The first groups of golfers on the course in the morning.
dimple The round indentations on the golf ball cover which are scientifically designed to enable the ball to make a steady and true flight
divot A piece of turf removed with by the club when making a shot. It is always replaced and tamped down.
dogleg A left or right bend in the fairway
dormie When playing in match play, being five up with five to go, four up with four left, etc. To be as many holes up as there are to play. Sometimes spelled dormy.
double bogey A score of two over par for a single hole
double eagle A score of three under par for a single hole. Same as "albatross"
down Being a specific number of holes behind your opponent.
downhill lie When addressing the ball and your right foot is higher than your left (for right-handed players).
downswing The motion of swinging a club from the top of the swing to the point of impact.
DQ'd Slang for a golfer being disqualified.
drain To sink a putt.
draw The pairing of golfers for a match play tournament
draw shot A controlled "hook" used to get in position for the next shot or get out of trouble. A shot that curves from left to right. To play a shot so that it curves owing to sidespin from right to left with a right-handed player. Conversely from right to left for a left-handed player.
drive To hit the ball with maximum force and full stroke. Usually with a driver from the tee.
drive-and-pitch The type of hole on which the green can be reached with a drive and a pitch. Could also refer to a course where all holes are of this type.
driver The longest-hitting modern wooden club, used primarily from the tee when maximum distance is required. Also called the No. 1 wood.
driving iron Another name for the number one iron. Formerly one of various iron clubs used for shots through the green.
driving mashie Obsolete club with less loft than a mashie iron and used for driving and long shots through the green.
driving putter Obsolete wooden club used primarily for low shots into the wind.
driving range An area or building used for the purpose of practicing tee-shots and other strokes.
drop To deposit the ball on the course after which you put the ball back in play after it has been declared unplayable or after the ball has been lost.
dub A missed or badly-hit shot
duff To mishit a shot by hitting the ground behind the ball and then top the ball.
duffer An unskilled golfer. Also called a hacker
dunch A fat hit from a claggy lie. British origin.
dunk To hit your ball into a water hazard.
Golf Terms Dictionary - E
eagle Two strokes under par for a single hole. To play a hole at 2 under par.
eclectic An individual stroke play game comprising a defined number of rounds. At the end of the series each of the competitors records his best score of the series at each hole.
eight-iron An iron club giving distance of between 115-150 yards. Also called 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 hit the ball from sand using a steeply lofted club with the club hitting into the sand behind the ball and spraying a large amount of sand.
explosion shot A shot that takes large quantities of sand out of a sand trap.
extra hole As with extra innings, golfers play extra hole to break a tie.
Golf Terms Dictionary - F
face The hitting area or surface of the club head
fade A term used to describe the slight turning of the ball from left to right (by a right-handed player) at the end of its flight. From right to left for a left-handed player.
fairway The area of the course between the tee and the green that is well-maintained allowing a good lie for the ball
fairway wood Any other wooden club other than a driver.
fan To miss the ball completely
fat shot When the club hits the ground behind the ball. This results in high or low shots with a loss of distance
featherie An old leather ball stuffed with compressed feathers. Replaced by the gutta percha after 1848. Also spelled feathery.
fescue Grass of the genus Festuca, widely used on for rough on golf courses>
field The players in a tournament
five-iron An iron club used for distances between 145-180 yards for men's clubs. Also known as a mashie.
five-wood A wooden club used for distances between 190-210 yards for men's clubs.
flag The marker attached to the flagstick.
flag competition A stroke play game in which each player has a flag. When the player has played the number of strokes equal to the par of the course plus his handicap, he places a flag in the course at that point. The winner is the player who goes farthest around the course with the alotted number of strokes.
flagstick A movable marker to show the location of the hole
flange The additional surface of the club head which protrudes at the sole
flash trap A shallow and small sand bunker
flat swing The type of swing that occurs when the club head is carried back in a flat manner - usually inside-out
flex The amount of bend or the degree of stiffness of the club shaft.
flier A ball is hit without spin and goes for a greater distance than normal
flier lie A good lie in the rough
flight In tournament play, the division of players with players of equal ability being placed in the same flight. Sixteen is usually the number of players in a flight however any number of players may be placed in a flight.
flip shot A short shot played with a high trajectory with a highly lofted iron such as an eight or nine.
flub A poorly hit shot usually caused by hitting the ground before the ball
fluffy A ball that is sitting up in grass.
follow-through The continuation of the swing after the ball has been hit.
fore A warning shouted out to warn anyone who may be in danger from the flight of the ball.
forecaddie Someone employed by the course or tournament committee to mark the position of a player's ball
form A golfer's standard of play based on past performance.
four ball A match in which the better ball of two players is played against the better ball of their opponents
four-iron An iron club used for distances of between 155-190 yards for men's clubs. Also known as a mashie iron.
four-wood A wooden club used for a distance of between 200-230 yards - for men' clubs. Also called a spoon.
foursome A term given to four players playing together. Also a match in which two players play against another two players with each side playing one ball.
free drop A drop where no penalty stroke is incurred.
fried-egg A ball half-buried in the sand.
fringe The area surrounding the putting green which is sometimes cut to a height lower than the fairway but not as short as the green itself. Same as "apron"
frog hair The short grass that borders the edge of the putting surface
front side The first nine holes of an 18 hole course.
full house A game in which a player is set a points target calculated by deducting his handicap from 36. The winner is the one who surpasses his target by the most points. Scoring is 8 points for an eagle, 4 for a birdie, two for a par and 1 for bogey.
Golf Terms Dictionary - G
gallery The group of tournament spectators.
gimme: A putt that is certain to be made on the next shot and will most likely be conceded by an opponent.
golf The game. Played by playing a ball from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules of Golf.
golf glove A glove generally worn by a right-handed golfer on the left hand, and by a left-handed golfer on the right hand, to improve the grip.
gobble An obsolete slang term meaning a hard-hit putt that holes out.
goose-neck Having the neck of a club curved so that the heel is slightly offset from the line of the shaft.
gorse A shrub primarily found on linkland type courses. It is a spiny evergreen with bright yellow flowers. Same as whin.
grain: The direction in which the grass on a putting lies after it has been shortly cut
Grand Slam The four major championships: the British Open, the U.S. Open, PGA Championship and the Masters.
graphite - A lightweight material used to make shafts and clubheads.
green: The whole golf course according to golf rules. However, in popular usage, it refers to the putting surface.
green committee Members of a golf club who are responsible for the maintenance and management of the course.
green fee The charge made by the course to allow the player to use the course.
green jacket The prize awarded to the winner of the Masters Tournament.
greenkeeper The employee of the club who is responsible for the maintenance of the course.
greenside Adjacent to the putting green.
grip: The part of the shaft by which the club is held. Covered with leather or other material. Also means the manner in which you hold the club
groove Linear scoring on a clubface>
gross score : The actual number of strokes taken by a player for hole or round before the player's handicap is deducted
grounding the club Placing the clubhead behind the ball at address.
ground under repair: Any part of the course being repaired is ground under repair. A ball that lands in such an area must be removed without penalty.
gutta percha Material used in the manufacture of early golf balls. It was a hard, molded substance made from the sap of several types of Malaysian trees. These balls were in use from 1848 until the early 1900's.
Golf Terms Dictionary - H
hack To chop violently at the ball. To make bad shots. To play bad golf.
hacker An unskilled 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 played with a less than full swing.
halved When a match is played without a decision. A hole is "halved" when both sides play it in the same number of strokes
handicap The number of strokes a player may deduct from his actual score to adjust his scoring ability to the level of a scratch golfer. It is designed to allow golfers of different abilities to basically compete on the same level.
handicap certificate a document issued by the player's home club or golfing association that indicates his current handicap.
hanging lie A ball resting on a downhill slope
hazard A hazard is any sand trap, bunker or water on the course that may cause difficulty.
head The part of the club that makes contact with the ball. Usually made of wood, iron or some substitute material.
heel The part of the club head nearest the shaft.
hickory Wood from a native North American tree used at the beginning of the 19th century to make club shafts. Use continued until the 1920's.
hit To play a shot or stroke.
hog's back A ridge of ground or a hole having a ridge on a fairway.
hold To hit the ground and stay in place with little roll or bounce.
hole A 4 1/4" (108 mm) round receptacle in the green - at least 4" (100 mm) deep. Also refers to one of the nine or eighteen areas between the tee and the green.
hole high A ball that is even with the hole but off to one side
hole in one A hole made with one stroke. Same as "ace"
hole out To complete the play for one hole by hitting the ball into the cup
home and home match A match made up of rounds played on the home course of each participant or group.
home green The last hole green.
home pro A professional who holds a position at a golf club, teaches, and plays only in local events
honor The privilege of hitting first from the tee. Usually assigned at the first tee. After the first tee, the privilege goes to the winner of the last hole.
hook To hit the ball in a manner that causes it to curve from right to left in the case of a right-handed player or left to right for a left hander.
hosel The hollow part of an iron club head into which the shaft is fitted
hustler A golfer with greater ability who purposely maintains a higher handicap in order to win more bets.
Golf Terms Dictionary - I
impact The moment when the ball strikes the club.
in The second nine holes as opposed to out - the first nine holes
inland - in play Within the course (not out of bounds).
inside Being nearer the hole than the ball of your opponent.
interlocking grip A type of grip where the little finger of the left hand is intertwined with the index finger of the right hand for a right handed player. The converse applies to a left hander.
intended line The line you expect the ball to travel after hit.
iron Any one of a number of clubs with a head made of iron or steel. See definitions for individual clubs "two iron" etc.
Golf Terms Dictionary - J
Jail Help, I'm in jail! Stated when you are faced with a very difficult
jerk To hit the ball from a bad lie, rough or sand, with a downward cutting motion causing the clubhead to dig into the ground beneath the ball.
jigger An iron with moderate loft and a short shaft. No longer in use. Present equivalent is the 4 iron.
jungle A slang term for heavy rough.
Golf Terms Dictionary - K
kick Another term for bounce. Usually an unpredictable or erratic bounce.
kill the ball To hit a long shot.
Golf Terms Dictionary - L
lag To putt the ball with the intention leaving it short to ensure being able to hole out on the next stroke
lateral hazard Any hazard running parallel to the line of play
lay up To play a shorter shot than normally might be attempted. Would be done to achieve a good lie short of a hazard rather than trying to hit the green in one less shot.
layout The manner in which the holes are placed on the golf course when designed.
leader board Sign where scores are posted during a tournament.
lie The position in which the ball rests on the ground. The lie can be good or bad in terms of the nature of ground where is rests, the slope, and the level of difficulty in playing it. The number of strokes a player is to have played during the hole.
line The correct path of a putt to the hole when putting. Also when on the fairway, the correct direction in which the ball to be played toward the putting green.
line up To study the green in order to determine how the putt should be played.
links Originally meaning a seaside course, it is now used to mean any golf course
linksman A golfer.
lip The top rim of the hole or cup
lob shot A shot that goes straight up and comes almost straight down with very little spin or forward momentum. Useful when there is not much green to play to
local rules A set of rules for a club determined by the members.
loft The elevation of the ball in the air. Also means the angle at which the club face is set from the vertical and is used to lift the ball into the air. It is measured precisely as the angle between the face and a line parallel to the shaft.
lofter An obsolete highly-lofted club that was the predecessor of the Niblick.
long game Shots hit with the woods and long irons.
long irons The relatively straight-face and longer hitting irons.
loose impediments Any natural object that is not fixed or growing. This can include loose stones, twigs, branches, molehills, dung, worms and insects
low ball and total A four-ball team bet in which the best ball of each team wins a point and the lowest total of the partners wins another point
LPGA The Ladies' Professional Golf Association.
Golf Terms Dictionary - M
make the cut To qualify for the final rounds of a tournament by scoring well enough in the beginning rounds
mallet A putter that has a head that is much wider and heavier than that of a blade putter.
marker A small object, like a coin, that is used to mark the spot of the ball when it is lifted off the putting green.
markers The objects placed at the teeing round that indicate the area in which players must tee their balls.
marshal A person appointed by a tournament committee to keep order and handle spectators.
mashie Lofted iron club that was introduced in the 1880's and is no longer in use. Used for pitching with backspin. Another name for the number 5 iron.
mashie-iron An iron club that had less of a loft than a mashie. Used for driving and full shots through the green. Another name for the number 4 iron.
mashie-Niblick An iron club, no longer in use, with a loft somewhere between that of a mashie and a niblick. Club was used for pitching. Another name for the number 6 iron.
matched As in a matched set of clubs. Clubs designed and made in a graded, numbered series and with consistent specifications and swing-weights.
match play A competition played with each hole being a separate contest. The team or player winning the most holes, rather than having the lowest score, is the winner. The winner of the first hole is "one up". Even if the player wins that hole by two or three strokes, he is still only "one up". The lead is increased every time the player wins another hole. The winner is the one who wins the most holes. This was the original form of golf competition.
meadowland A lush grassland course.
medalist The player with the lowest qualifying score in a tournament
medal play A competition decided by the overall number of strokes used to complete the round or rounds. Same as "stroke play".
mid-spoon An obsolete wooden club with a loft between that of the long spoon and the short spoon.
mid-iron An iron club, no longer in use, with more loft than a driving iron. Another name for a 2 or 3 iron.
mid-mashie Another name for the number 4 iron.
mis-club To use the wrong club for the shot.
mis-read To putt wrongly. To not read the green correctly.
mixed foursome A foursome with each side has a male and female player
model swing A totally professional swing.
muff To mis-hit a shot.
mulligan A second shot that is allowed to be taken in friendly play when the player has "muffed" (see above) the first one. Not allowed by the rules.
municipal course A public course owned by local government
Golf Terms Dictionary - N
Nassau A three part bet in which separate wagers are made on the first nine, last nine and complete round.
neck The tapered projecting part where the shaft of the club joins the head.
net A player's final score after he subtracts his handicap.
Niblick An obsolete deep-bladed more steeply lofted than a mashie, used especially for playing from sand and from the rough. Old term for a 9 iron.
nine A nine hole course or the sequence of 9 holes of an 18 hole course.
nine Iron An iron club giving a distance of between 105 and 140 yards for men's clubs. See "Niblick".
nineteenth hole The bar at the clubhouse.
nose The toe of a wooden club.
Golf Terms Dictionary - O
observer A person who is appointed to assist the referee in a match, to decide questions of fact and report any breach of rules.
obstruction Any artificial object that has been left or placed on the course with the exception of course boundary markers and constructed roads and paths.
Off-centre A poor hit.
offset A club with the head set behind the shaft.
one up Used in match play to mean having scored one hole more than your opponent. Also, the score of the player who is one up.
one-iron An iron club with a loft of approximately 17 degrees, lie of approximately 56 degrees and length of 39 inches. Men's clubs give a distance of between 185 and 220 yards. Also called a driving iron.
one-putt To hole the ball using only one shot on the green.
one-wood Alternate name given to the driver. open A tournament in which both amateurs and professionals are allowed to play.
open stance The left foot is dropped behind the imaginary line of the direction of the ball. This allows the golfer to face more in the direction the ball is going to travel.
out The first nine holes of an 18 hole course. The second 9 holes is going "in"
out of bounds The area outside of the course in which play is prohibited. A player is penalized stroke and distance. That is he must replay the shot with a penalty of one stroke.
outside agency Anyone who is not part of the competitors side in stroke play or not part of the match. Such as observers, forecaddies, referee etc.
overclub To use a club that gives to much distance.
overlapping grip As used by a right-handed player having the little finger of the right hand overlapping the space between the forefinger and second finger of the left hand. The opposite for a left-handed player.
Golf Terms Dictionary - P
pair Two golfers playing together in a stroke competition. Also to assign players to play together in a competition.
pairings Groups of two players.
par The number of strokes a player should take to complete a round with good performance. Par for each hole is given on the scorecard.
par competition A game in which play is against a fixed score for each hole (called the par or bogey). Scoring is as in match play with plus 1 if the player scores better than par, equal if he scores par and minus 1 if more than par. The player with the highest aggregate score is the winner.
parkland A course laid out in grassland with little rough.
partner A golfer who plays together with another in a match.
pawky Old Scottish term meaning cunning or tricky.
peg A tee.
penalty stroke An additional stroke added to a player's score for a rules violation
persimmon Wood with a distinctive grain used in many clubs.
PGA Professional Golfers Association
pick up To take up one's ball before holing out. In match play this concedes the hole or in stroke play incurs disqualification.
pill Nickname for the ball.
pin Same as "flagstick"
pin-high A ball even with the pin but off to one side. Same as "hole high"
pin placement (pin position) The position of a hole on a putting green on any given day.
pinehurst A variation of play in which a partner plays the other partner's drive. One ball is then selected to finish the hole
pitch A short shot lofting the ball into the air in a high arc and landing with backspin
pinsetter The official responsible for pin placement>
pitch and putt A short golf course designed primarily for approaching and putting.
pitch and run The same as a pitch shot but hit with a lower-numbered club to reduce loft and backspin. This allows the ball to run after it lands on the putting green.
pitcher Former name for a 7 or 8 iron.
pitching irons The short irons.
pitching Niblick Old name of an 8 iron.
pitching wedge An iron club designed for making pitch shots
pivot The rotation of the shoulders, trunk and pelvis during the golf swing.
placement Accuracy in the targeting of a shot.
play To strike the ball with a club. The action of playing the game of golf.
play club An obsolete ancient driver.
play off To determine a winner in a tie match by playing further holes or a further round.
playing professional A professional golfer who primarily competes in tournaments.
playing through Passing another group of players who are playing ahead
plus handicap The number of strokes a player gives to adjust his ability to the common level
pop up A short, high shot.
pot bunker A small, deep sand trap with steep sides.
practice green Green set up for putting practice.
preferred lie Local rules which allow a player to improve his lie in a specific manner without penalty
professional A player who receives payment for teaching or playing in tournaments. Usually shortened to Pro.
pro-Am A competition which pairs professional players with amateurs.
pro shop The golf course shop operated by the head professional where equipment is sold.
provisional ball A ball played if the previously played ball may be lost or out of bounds.
public links A course open to the public.
pull A ball that goes to the left of the target with little curve as hit by a right-handed player. The converse applies to left-handed players.
punch Low, controlled shot into the wind. It is made by slamming the club down into the ball with a short swing
push A ball that goes to the right of the target with very little or no curving for a right handed player. Or the converse for a left-handed player. As opposed to "pull"
putt The shot made on the putting green. From a Scottish term meaning to push gently or nudge.
putt out To hole the ball with a putt.
putter A short-shafted club with a straight face for putting.
putting green The surface area around the hole that is specially prepared for putting.
Golf Terms Dictionary - Q
quarter shot A shot made with a reduced swing, less than that for a half shot.
quitting on the ball Not hitting through your shot with complete effort.
Golf Terms Dictionary - R
rake A high-lofted iron club that is no longer in use. It was used for playing from sand and out of water.
range Practice area.
rap To firmly hit a putt.
reading the green Determining the path which the ball will take on its way to the hole by analyzing the contour and texture of the green.
recover To play back into a satisfactory position on the fairway or onto the green from an undesirable position, such as a hazard or rough, on the course.
regular shaft A shaft with normal flex.
release The point in the downswing where you uncock your wrists.
reverse overlap For a right-handed player, a putting grip in which the index finger of the right hand overlaps the little finger of the left and the converse for a left-handed player..
rifle To play a shot accurately and for a great distance.
rim To run round the edge of the cup.
rim out To run around the edge of the cup and fail to fall in.
road hole The 17th hole at St. Andrews. Reputed to be the most difficult hole in the world.
roll-on-a-shot Turning the wrists too much at impact
rough Long grass areas adjacent to fairway, greens, tee off areas or hazards
round A complete game of golf - 18 holes is one round
round robin A tournament in which every player has the opportunity to play every other player
rub of the green Any accident, not caused by a player or caddie, that moves or stops a ball in play and for which no relief is given under the rules. This is when your ball is deflected by agencies beyond your control that are not part of the match or the competitor's side in stroke play. A bit of bad luck.
run The distance the ball rolls on the ground or when it lands on the ground
running iron A club that is used for making short running shots.
run-up An approach shot that is close to the ground or on the ground
Golf Terms Dictionary - S
sandbagger A golfer who lies about his ability to gain an edge in the game.
sand iron Also called a sand wedge. A heavy, lofted club that was used for playing from bunkers. No longer in use.
sand trap The common name for a bunker
sand wedge An iron with a heavy flange on the bottom that is used primarily to get out of sand traps.
sandy Making par after being in a bunker.
scoop An improper swing in which the club has a digging or scooping action
scotch foursome A match that has partners alternating hitting the same ball. They also alternate driving regardless of who holed out on the previous hole.
scramble A team competition where players play the best ball of a team member after every stroke or drive.
scratch Par play. A zero handicap.
scratch player A player who has no handicap
scruff To misplay the ball by hitting or grazing the ground with the clubhead prior to hitting the ball.
semi-private course A course that has members but is still open to the public.
set A full set of golf clubs.
set up To position yourself for the address.
seven iron An iron club used for a distance of 125-160 yards for men's clubs. Also known as a mashie-niblick.
shaft The part of the club joined to the head
shag bag A bag for carrying practice balls.
shagging Picking up golf balls from practice ranges
shank A shot struck by the club's hosel. Travels to the right of the intended target.
Shiperio Similar to a mulligan where a player is allowed a second shot without penalty but is allowed to choose which ball to play, the first one or the second one.
short game The part of the game that is made up of chip shots, pitching and putting
short irons The highly lofted irons.
shotgun Start In tournaments when players are to start at different holes; a firing of a shotgun may be used as a signal to start play.
shot hole A par three hole.
shotmaker A player who has the ability to play a great many different shots.
shotmaking The ability to play a great many different shots.
side Can mean the first 9 holes (front side) or the last 9 (back side) of an 18 hole course. Also two or more players who are partners.
sidehill lie A lie with the ball either above or below your feet.
sink a putt Make a putt.
six iron An iron club that gives a distance of 135-170 yards for men's clubs. Also known as a spade or spade-mashie.
skins A golf game that awards the money to the player with the lowest score on a hole. In case of a tie, the game continues until someone wins.
skulling Hitting the ball at or above its center causing the ball to be hit too hard and travel too great a distance.
sky To hit underneath the ball sending it much higher than intended. Like a pop fly in baseball
slice A shot that curves strongly from left to right as a result of sidespin. The converse applies to a left-handed player.
slope Adjusts your handicap to the difficulty of the course you play. The more difficult the course, the more strokes you'll need. Under slope, golfers will no longer have a handicap. You will have an index. An average course will have a slope rating of 113. Your index is a mathematical calculation of your playing ability on an average course. Maximum index allowed is 36.4 for men and 40.4 for women. Conversion charts will be located at the first tee.
slump A prolonged period of bad play.
smother To hit down on the ball so that it travels a short distance on the ground.
snake A very long putt that travels over several breaks in the green.
snake A three-putt off any green. A game played where the last three-putts of round, occuring on any hole owes the other members of the group the pre-agreed total of all three-putts. Gets pretty exciting the last few holes with some competitors playing snake-avoidance.
snap-hook To hit a hot with an acute hook.
snipe A ball that is hooked and drops quickly
sole The bottom of the club head
sole plate The metal plate on the bottom of woods
SPGA Senior Professional Golf Association.
spade-mashie Old term for a 6 iron.
spike mark Mark made on the green by the cleats of a golf shoe.
spoon Old term for a 3 wood.
spot putting A player aims at a spot on the green that will allow the ball to roll into the cup, rather than directly at the hole.
spray To hit the ball erratically off line.
spring The flexibility of the club shaft.
square stance Placing your feet in a line parallel to the direction you which the ball to travel
stableford A method of scoring that uses points instead of strokes.
stance The position of your feet when addressing the ball
starter Person who determines the order of play from the first tee.
stick The pin in the hole.
stimpmetre Superintendents measure green speed with a stimpmetre. Its readings give a snapshot of the green speed at that time of day. Stimpmetre readings in the five to six range mean slow greens, seven to eight mean medium, nine to 10 fast and above 11 extremely fast - PGA Tournament speeds.
stipulated round The playing of all holes of a course in the correct order
stony To hit a ball close to the flagstick
straightaway A hole having a straight fairway.
straight-faced Refers to a club with little or no loft on the face.
strike off To drive from the tee.
stroke The forward motion of the club head made with the intent to hit the ball whether contact is made or not
stroke play A competition in which the total number of strokes for one round, or a pre-determined number of rounds, determines the winner
stymie When an opponent's ball is in the line of the other player's putt. Since the ball may now be lifted, the term is used these days to refer to a tree or object in the way of a shot
sudden death When in a match or stroke competition the score is tied after completing the round, play continues until one player wins a hole
summer rules Ordinary play according the Rules of Golf
supination The rotation of the wrist so that the palm of the hand faces upward.
Surlyn Material from which most golf balls are made of.
swale A moderately contoured depression or dip in terrain.
sweet spot The dead center of the face of the club
swing The action of stroking the ball.
swing weight The measure of a club's weight.
Golf Terms Dictionary - T
takeaway The start of the backswing
tap in A very short putt.
tee A disposable device, normally a wooden peg, on which the ball is placed for driving. Also refers to the area from which the ball is hit on the first shot of the hole. Originally a pile of sand used to elevate the ball for driving.
tee off To play a tee shot.
tee up To begin play by placing the ball on the tee.
tee-shot A shot played from a tee.
teeing ground The area in which you must tee off your ball. Ball must be teed off within the markers and no more than two club lengths behind them.
temporary green A green used in the winter to save the permanent green.
texas wedge What the putter is called when it used from off the green. Also a shot played with a putter from outside the putting green.
thin The ball is hit thin when it is hit above center with the clubhead traveling on too high a line.
thread To direct the ball through a narrow opening
three ball Three players playing against each other with each playing their own ball.
three-iron An iron club used for distances between 165-200 yards for men's clubs. Also called a mid-mashie.
three-putt To take three putts on a green.
three-quarter shot Less than a full shot. A shot made with a reduced swing.
threesome A match in which two players play the same ball and alternate strokes and play against a single player. Also means three players playing a round together.
three-wood A wood club used for distances between 210-250 yards for men's clubs. Also known as a spoon.
tiger tee A slang expression for the back tee.
tight fairway A narrow fairway.
toe The part of the club farthest from where in joins the shaft
toed in A clubhead having a specialty prominent toe with a slightly turned-in face.
top To hit the ball above its center causing it to roll or hop rather than rise
topspin The forward rotation of the ball in motion.
touch Accuracy, especially in putting.
touch shot A very delicately hit shot.
tour A series of tournaments for professionals.
tournament A stroke or match play competition. A competition in which a number of golfers compete.
track iron An obsolete club that was used primarily to hit the ball from cart tracks. A rut-iron or a niblick.
trajectory The flight path of the ball.
triple bogey This term is used when a golfer is 3 over par on a hole.
trouble shot A shot taken from a bad lie such as behind trees or in bunkers or rough
turn To start the back 9 holes.
Golf Terms Dictionary - U
uncock To straighten the wrists in the downswing.
underclubbing Using a club that does not give the needed distance
underspin Same as backspin.
unplayable lie A lie in which the ball is impossible to play such as in a thicket of trees.
up A shot reaching at least as far as the hole.
up A specified number of strokes you are ahead of your opponent in match play.
up and down Getting out of trouble or out of a hazard and into the hole.
upright swing A swing that carries the club head more directly backward and upward from the ball.
USGA United States Golf Association.
Golf Terms Dictionary - V
Vardon grip The overlapping grip.
Golf Terms Dictionary - W
waggle Movement of the club head prior to swinging. A flourishing of the club behind and over the ball.
water club Obsolete club from around the 1880's to the 1930's that was designed for playing the ball from a water hazard.
water hole A hole with water, such as a stream or lake, that forces the players to shoot over it
wedge An iron used for short shots that has a high-loft - pitching wedge, sand wedge.
whiff To swing and miss the ball completely.
whins A British term for heavy rough. Gorse bushes.
whipping The material used to wrap the space where the head and shaft are joined
windcheater A shot played low against the wind. It is played with strong backspin and starts low and rises only toward the end of the shot.
whippy A shaft more flexible than normal.
winter rules Usually local golf rules that allow the player to improve the lie of the ball on the fairway
wood A club, which can be made of wood or metal, that has a large head and is used for shots requiring greater distance. Usually a numbered set of 5 or more starting with the driver and proceeding to the 5 wood.
wormburner A ball hit with adequate distance that hugs the ground.
Golf Terms Dictionary - X
X A score that cannot be determined, as play on a hole was not completed.
X factor The difference in the amount of rotation between the shoulders and the hips.
X-out golf balls that, for whatever reason, are manufacturer seconds and have the original label on the ball crossed out with X's.
Golf Terms Dictionary - Y
yardage rating The rating of the difficulty in playing a hole based on yardage only
yip To mis-hit a putt due to an attack of yips.
yips Shakiness or nervousness in making a shot.
Golf Terms Dictionary - Z
zillion "That last hole was a bad one, I shot a Zillion"
zoomie A drive that goes further than most drives ever hit by the golfer who smacked it.