Learning Golf Slang And Jargon | Terms Thrown Around The Golf Course

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Learning Golf Slang And Jargon Terms Thrown Around The Golf Course

Learning Golf Slang And Jargon

As a golfer, you know that there’s a lot of golf slang and jargon associated with the game. You’ve probably heard people talking about “teeing off,” “hitting a hole in one,” “chipping in,” or “nice putt Alice” but what do they all mean?

Keep reading to learn the definitions of some of the most common (and not-so-common) golf terms! All sports have their own slang and jargon and golf is no exception.

Learning them is key critical and goes hand in hand with golf etiquette. Learning these terms thrown around the golf course is what every experienced golfer should know.

If you’re beginning to learn how to play the game of golf it is wise you learn these.

This will help you better understand and play the game, also it will make it more enjoyable. The game of golf has an enormous amount of slang and jargon.

I’ve put together an A – Z definitive guide.

This guide is mainly for all the beginners that will need to know these terms or anyone who hasn’t learned them all yet.

What Is Golf Jargon?

Golf slang and jargon are golf terms, almost a language of its own that golfers use to talk about their sport.

This jargon includes both slang terms and technical terms related to the game. Golf jargon can be confusing for newcomers to the sport, but once you learn the lingo, it can really enhance your enjoyment of the game.

 

A – Z Glossary Of Golf Slang The Definitive Guide

Golf slang meaning and golf terminology for beginners will help you navigate the golf course and clubroom.

A
Ace
Hitting your golf ball into the hole with one stroke. aka Hole-in-one.
Address
The position a golfer assumes when they are preparing to hit the ball. aka Set-up.
Air Shot
When you swing at the ball and completely miss it. aka Whisky shot.
Albatross
A score of three under par on a hole. aka Double eagle.
Approach
A short to medium-length shot played towards the putting green or pin “approach shot”.
Army Golf
Constantly hitting the golf ball left then right. “left, right, left, right”.
Attend The Flag
To hold or remove the flag while another player is putting. Under new rule 13.2a(2) attending the flag is not mandatory.
B
BABU
Bloody awful but useful. Pronounced Bar-Boo.
Back Nine
The last nine holes of an 18-hole course.
Back Spin
The spin on a ball caused by the clubface. Stops the ball from rolling forwards when it lands.
Back-Swing
The second part of a golf swing. When the club is moving to the top of your swing.
Bail Out
Hitting the ball to avoid trouble. e.g. Hitting well left to avoid the hazard on the right.
Ball-Marker
A small round object used to mark the position of your ball on the green when it is picked up.
Best Ball
The best score on a hole by two or more partners in a best-ball match.
Birdie
A score of one-under-par on a hole.
Bite!
A word shouted at a golf ball when attacking the green. In the hope that it will backspin and stop or bite.
Blind Shot
A shot played when you can’t see the spot where you want the ball to land. “Blind tee shot”.
Bogey
A score of one over par on a hole.
Boob Slap
When you swing too hard and barely make contact with the ball. So the ball bounces off the tee and travels not very far. Also, see Off-center-hit and Thin Shot.
Break or Borrow
The curve of the ball when putted due to the slope and undulation of the green.
Bunker
A sand trap on the course, defined as a hazard.
Burglar
A good player who deliberately records a succession of poor scores. Deliberately manipulates their handicap to work in their favor. “Farming their handicap”.
Buried Ball/Lie
A buried ball or lie is simply when a golf ball is partially or completely submerged in the ground.
C
Caddie
A person who carries a golfer’s clubs and who may give golfer’s advice on course strategy and club selection.
Carry
The distance a golf ball must travel from where it is hit to where it lands on the ground.
Camel Ride
When you are faced with a very long putt.
Casual Water
A temporary accumulation of water on the golf course from which you are entitled to relief.
Chip
A short lofted shot played from close to the green.
Chip and Run
A short, low running shot played close to the green. aka Bump and Run.
Chip In
A chip that finds the hole.
Choke-Down
To hold the club lower on the grip.
Club Length
The distance from the end of the grip to the clubhead.
Concede
To give an opponent a putt, hole, or match.
Crosswind
A wind blowing from right to left or vice versa.
Cut Shot
A shot that curves from left to right.
D
Dead Sheep
“Still you” (ewe). When you putt and your ball is too short or too long and is still furthest away from the hole.
Divot
A piece of turf removed by a golf club in the process of playing your shot.
Dog Leg
Left or right bend in the fairway of a golf hole.
Dormie
When a competitor leads by as many holes as there is to play in match play.
Double Bogey
A score of two over par on a hole.
Downhill Lie
When your left foot is lower than your right at address. (Right-handed players)
Downswing
The part of the golf swing from the top of the back-swing through to impact with the ball.
Draw
A shot that produces a controlled right-to-left movement of the ball.
Drive
A shot from a tee other than a par-three hole.
Drive The Green
When your drive finishes on the putting surface on a par four or five.
Drop
A player drops their ball from knee height when they have an unplayable lie, taking relief or when their ball is lost.
Duck Hook
An uncontrolled shot that curves severely from right to left.
Duke Nukem
Hitting your driver further than usual down the middle of the fairway. aka Smoked it.
E
Eagle
A score of two under par on a hole.
Etiquette
The golfing code of conduct.
Extra Holes
Played when a match finishes even.
F
Fade
A shot that produces a controlled left-to-right movement of the ball.
Fairway
The area between the tee and the green with short trimmed grass.
Fat Shot
To hit the ground before the ball. aka Dropkick.
First Cut
The first strip of rough at the edge of the fairway.
Follow Through
The part of the golf swing after impact with the ball.
Foot Wedge
Using your foot to kick your ball into a more favorable lie.
Fore!
A warning is shouted by a golfer when a ball may be in danger of hitting another player.
Four-Ball
Four golfers playing together, usually two aside. Each with their own ball; the better score of each team at each hole wins that hole.
Foursome
Four golfers playing together, or a match in which two pairs play against each other, each side using only one ball.
Free Drop
A drop where no penalty is incurred.
Fringe
The area of slightly longer grass around the green.
Front Nine
The first nine holes of an 18-hole course.
G
Gelding
When a player loses two balls on one hole.
Grain
The direction in which the blades of grass point on a green.
Green
The area of a golf hole is designed for putting with short well-manicured grass.
Green in Regulation
When the green is reached in the regulation number of shots. aka “Nice ted”.
Greenside
Close to or next to the green.
Gross Score
Your score before you mark your handicap deduction.
Ground Under Repair
An area on the golf course that is undergoing maintenance or repair. aka GUR.
H
Hacker
A bad golf player who displays bad golf etiquette and is terrible at golf. e.g. Slicing/snap hooking regularly, not fixing their divots.
Half
When opponents make the same score; a match is halved if it ends all square.
Handicap
An allowance in strokes based on previous performances. System designed to allow golfer’s of all levels to compete with each other.
Hazard
Any difficult, obstructive, or troublesome feature on a golf course. e.g. lakes, bunkers.
Hole Out
To finish play on a hole.
Honor
The privilege of teeing off first. Usually given to the player who recorded the lowest score on the previous hole. Also, see Ready golf.
Hook
An uncontrolled shot where the ball curves away sharply from right to left.
I
In-Play
Within the boundaries of the golf course.
K
Kick
Another word for a bounce. "My ball just kicked into the trees".
L
Lateral Water Hazard
A ditch, stream, or lake, roughly parallel to the line of the hole.
Lay Up
Play a shot conservatively to avoid trouble.
Lie
The position in which a ball lands on the golf course. Also, the angle between the clubhead and the shaft.
Lip-Out
When a ball touches the edge of the hole but doesn’t drop into the hole.
Loose Impediments
Any natural objects that are not growing, solidly embedded, or stuck to the ball.
M
Match-play
A competition based on the number of holes won. The winning player wins more holes than there is left to play.
Medal Play/Stroke Play
A competition based on the number of strokes played. The player with the lowest number of strokes wins.
Mis-club
To use the wrong club for a particular distance.
Mixed Foursome
A team consisting of two men and two women.
Mother In Law
A shot when hit, that looks good leaving your clubface.
Mulligan
The opportunity to play your last shot without penalty.
N
Nett Score
Your score after making a handicap deduction.
Nineteenth Hole
The Clubhouse Bar.
O
Obstructions
Any man-made objects except objects that define out-of-bounds.
Off-Center-Hit
A strike that is not solid or true.
Off The Deck
When you hit your diver without a tee, this would most commonly be when you’re in the fairway.
Out-Of-Bounds
The area outside the defined boundary of a golf course. This space can be marked by posts or fencing painted white.
Over Club
To use a club that hits the ball too far.
P
Par
A score that is equal to the same number of strokes that is on the score card for each hole.
Penalty Stroke
Defined as stroke or strokes added to a golfers score for an infringement of the rules.
PGA
Professional Golfer’s Association.
Pin
The flagstick, which marks the location of the hole.
Pin-High
When a ball that is on the green and even with the pin but off to one side.
Pin Placement
The location of the hole on the green.
Pitch Shot
Generally, an approach shot to the green, but longer than a chip.
Pitch Mark
An indentation on the green is made by the ball when it lands.
Play-Off
When two or more players tie and play extra holes to determine a winner.
Playing Through
When a slower group invites the group behind them to pass.
Plugged Lie
When the ball lands and ends up half-buried in the turf. aka Buried ball/lie.
Plumb Bob
When you line up a putt holding the putter vertical in front of your face towards the hole with one eye closed.
Pot Bunker
A small steep-sided bunker.
Practice Green
A green or greens with many holes are used for the purpose of practicing. Found at most golf clubs.
Provisional Ball
When a golfer suspects that their ball may be lost, they play a provisional ball as a time-saving measure.
Pull
A shot that flies straight to the left of your target line.
Punch
A shot hit low with the ball back in your stance. aka Squirrel hunter or Worm burner.
Push
A shot that flies straight to the right of your target line.
Putt
A rolling shot played on the green with your putter.
R
Rainmaker
A ball that flies off the top of the clubface, that travels very high and short.
R & A
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club.
Razorback
A golfer playing alone.
Reading The Green
Judging the path on which a putt must travel to the hole.
Ready Golf
A method for golfers to speed up play. Each golfer within a group hits when ready, rather than strictly adhering to the honor of playing first.
Relief
When a golfer is allowed to lift their ball and then drop it in another area without incurring a penalty, under the rules of golf.
Rough
The area of the golf course alongside the fairways where the grass is thicker and longer.
Rub Of The Green
When a ball is stopped or deflected by an outside agency; there is no penalty and the ball is played as it lies.
S
Scratch Golfer
A golfer who has a handicap of zero; play par golf.
Second Cut
The second level of rough, higher than the first cut and further from the fairway.
Shank
A short struck by the club’s housel that travels directly to the right, (right-handed golfer’s).
Short Game
Refers to approach shots to the green, chipping, and putting.
Slice
An uncontrolled shot that curves sharply from left to right.
Snap Hook
A severe hook. aka Duck hook.
Snow Eagle
Recording a score of eight on a par four. aka Double par
Son In Law
Your shot didn’t turn out the way you intended.
Stableford
A type of competition against par using your handicap according to the stroke index.
Starter
The person running the order of play from the first tee.
Stroke
A deliberate movement of the club to hit the ball.
Stroke And Distance
A penalty of one stroke plus returning to the spot from where the ball was played. When a ball is lost, unplayable, or out-of-bounds.
Stroke Index
The difficulty rating of holes on a golf course. Whereby strokes are allocated according to your handicap.
Stroke Play
A competition is decided by the number of shots played.
Sudden-Death
A form of play-off where the first player to win a hole wins the match.
Sweet Spot
The perfect place on the clubface to strike the ball.
T
Takeaway
The early or first part of the backswing.
Tee
A wooden or plastic peg on which the ball is placed for driving. Also the area from where you start to play.
Thin Shot
To hit the ball above the equator.
Three Off The Tee
If a golfer’s tee shot is considered lost, or out-of-bounds. They are penalized one stroke and must play off the tee again.
Threesome
Three golfers playing together, each person using their own ball.
Through Swing
The part of the golf swing during which the ball is actually hit.
Through The Green
The whole of the golf course except hazards, the teeing area, and the putting green of the hole being played.
Triple Bogey
The score of three over par on a hole.
The Turn
The halfway mark on an 18-hole golf course.
U
Unplayable
A player may deem a ball unplayable and take a penalty stroke. They may drop the ball but no closer to the hole.
Up And Down
To get the ball into the hole in two strokes from somewhere off the green.
USGA
United States Golf Association.
W
Water Hazard
A pond, lake, or stream within a golf course.
Y
Yips
An uncontrollable twitching is caused by nerves, which affects golfers when putting or chipping.

Improving Your Golf Game

Are you looking to improve your golf game? Perhaps you’re a novice who is looking for some tips to get started. Or maybe you’re an experienced golfer who is seeking new ways to lower your scores.

The best way to start learning how to play golf is first to learn all the slang and jargon associated with the game.

Golf is one of those sports that can be incredibly frustrating, but also immensely rewarding. No matter what your skill level, there are always ways to improve your golf game.

On The Putting Green

Speed Of Play

The new golf rules 2019 these changes have been designed to speed up the game of play.

I find one of the most frustrating things is when you have a group in front of you that is playing slow.  

When I’m constantly wanting to hit my ball this interrupts my rhythm and tempo.

When you are starting to learn how to play the game of golf it is vital that you know these new rule changes. 

20 Modern Golf Rule Changes That You Must Know

These rule changes were designed to increase the speed of play, a four-ball game of golf should take 4 hours or less.

Final Words

  • Learning all the golf slang and jargon will make it easier to know what’s going on.  It will make the game more enjoyable and you’ll be able to get in on the action.
  • It takes time to learn them all, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t remember them all. When you’re just starting out there are many aspects of the game that you’ll need to learn.
  • Just relax and have fun, we all started at some stage or another.  When you start to become more proficient at the game the more serious you can get.
  • Hit a duke nukem down the middle of the fairway and making the green in regulation is a fantastic feeling.  Facing a camel ride and you hole out with one putt. If you do this regularly you’ll become a force to be reckoned with.
  • If you hit a fat shot or a boob slap don’t be disappointed. We all do things like that at one time or another.

Golf slang and jargon can be confusing for beginners. But don’t worry, it takes time to learn them all! So take your time and practice using these phrases.

Soon you’ll be able to converse with other players like a pro. And who knows, maybe one day you will be giving golf slang and jargon lessons yourself!