Golf is a sport rich in history, tradition, and a unique vocabulary that sets it apart from other sports. To fully appreciate and enjoy the game, it is essential to become familiar with its terminology. This article provides a comprehensive list of golf terms, slang and their definitions, helping you navigate the language of golf with confidence.
Golf Terminology and Definitions
Ace: Also known as a hole-in-one, an ace is when a golfer hits the ball into the hole with their first shot on a par-3 hole.
Address: The position a golfer assumes when standing over the ball, preparing to make a shot.
Albatross: Also known as a double eagle, an albatross is when a golfer completes a hole three strokes under par.
Approach: A shot played to the green, typically from the fairway or rough.
Backswing: The motion of the golf club away from the ball in preparation for the downswing and impact.
Birdie: When a golfer completes a hole one stroke under par.
Bogey: When a golfer completes a hole one stroke over par.
Bunker: A sand-filled hazard on a golf course, also known as a sand trap.
Caddie: A person who assists a golfer during a round by carrying their clubs, providing advice, and giving moral support.
Chip: A short shot played with a high-lofted club, typically around the green, to lift the ball over an obstacle or rough terrain and onto the putting surface.
Divot: A piece of turf removed from the ground as a result of a golf shot, usually on the fairway.
Dogleg: A hole that has a significant bend or angle, either left or right, in the fairway.
Double Bogey: When a golfer completes a hole two strokes over par.
Draw: A controlled shot that curves gently from right to left (for a right-handed golfer) due to intentional spin applied to the ball.
Eagle: When a golfer completes a hole two strokes under par.
Fade: A controlled shot that curves gently from left to right (for a right-handed golfer) due to intentional spin applied to the ball.
Fairway: The closely mowed and well-maintained area between the tee box and the green, where golfers aim to hit their shots.
Fore: A warning shouted by a golfer when their shot may be in danger of hitting another person on the course.
Gimme: A short putt that is considered so easy that other players concede it without requiring the golfer to actually make the stroke.
Green: The smooth, closely mowed area surrounding the hole, where golfers attempt to putt the ball into the cup.
Handicap: A numerical system used to measure a golfer’s ability and level the playing field in competitions by allowing less-skilled players to subtract strokes from their scores.
Hole: The round, cup-like target on the green into which golfers aim to hit their ball.
Hook: An unintentional shot that curves sharply from right to left (for a right-handed golfer) due to excessive spin applied to the ball.
Lie: The position of the golf ball on the ground and how it rests, which can affect the golfer’s shot.
Mulligan: An informal term used to describe a do-over or second chance at a shot, typically not allowed in official rounds or competitions.
One Over Par: In golf, “par” is the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to take to complete a hole or an entire round of golf. “One over par” means that a golfer has taken one additional stroke to complete a hole or a round than what is expected of an expert golfer. For example, if a hole has a par of 4 and a golfer takes 5 strokes to complete it, they are said to be “one over par” for that hole.
Pace Of Play: Pace of play in golf refers to the speed at which golfers complete a round of golf. It is important for golfers to maintain a reasonable pace of play in order to keep the game moving smoothly and to avoid causing delays for other golfers on the course.
Par: Par is the standard number of strokes that an accomplished golfer is expected to take to complete a hole or a round, taking into account the hole’s length and difficulty. Each hole on a golf course is assigned a par value, typically ranging from par-3 to par-5, with par-6 being quite rare. The par value represents the number of strokes it should take a skilled golfer to get the ball from the tee into the hole, including the tee shot, the necessary approach shots, and the final putt. The total par for an 18-hole golf course is the sum of the par values for each hole, often adding up to a par of 70 to 72.
Tee-Time: A tee-time refers to a scheduled time for a group of golfers to start their round of golf. When golfers arrive at the course, they are typically assigned a specific tee-time, which indicates the time when they will begin play.
Shotgun Start: A Shotgun start is starting a golf tournament or event in which groups of golfers begin play on different holes at the same time.
What Is A Bad Shot Called In Golf
A bad shot in golf can be called by several names depending on the specific circumstances of the shot. Here are some of the most common terms used to describe a bad shot in golf:
- Shank – A shank is when the ball is hit with the hosel of the club, causing it to shoot off at an angle.
- Slice – A slice is a shot that curves heavily to the right (for a right-handed player) or left (for a left-handed player).
- Hook – A hook is a shot that curves heavily to the left (for a right-handed player) or right (for a left-handed player).
- Duff – A duff is when the clubhead hits the ground before hitting the ball, causing the ball to go only a short distance.
- Top – A top is when the clubhead hits the top of the ball, causing it to roll along the ground rather than fly through the air.
- Skulled shot – A skulled shot is when the ball is hit too high on the clubface, resulting in a low, line-drive shot that usually travels far past the target.
- Chunk – A chunk is when the clubhead hits the ground behind the ball, causing it to only move a short distance.
These are just a few of the many terms used to describe bad shots in golf.