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Golf Terms


Albatross: A score 3 strokes less than par.
Away: as in, “You’re away.” When you are “away,” your ball is farthest from the hole. Typically, that means that it is your turn to play.
Back Nine: The last nine holes of an eighteen-hole golf course.
Bag Drop: A designated area, usually near the entrance of the clubhouse, where upon arrival, where you can unload and leave your clubs while finding a parking space.
Ball Mark: The indentation your ball makes when it lands on the green.
Ball Marker: Any small object that can be used to mark the position of a golf ball that has been lifted off the green. Small coins are used as ball markers.
Best Ball: Partners or teams using only the best individual score for each hole. This can be the Best Ball of a Two-some or a Four-some. This is not a Scramble!
Birdie: Scoring one stroke less than the declared Par on any hole.
Blind Draw: Method of drawing blind the players’ names for pairing together in competition.
Bogey: Scoring one stroke more than the declared Par on any hole.
Bounce Sole: The part of the club at the bottom of the club head. This allows the club to bounce or glide through the turf and not dig. Also, called the Flange. The largest bounce soles are in the Wedges.
Bunker: A hazard, often a depression, which is usually filled with sand. In some instances, a bunker may be a grassy depression on a golf course.
Caddy: A person who carries or manages a player’s clubs during a round of golf. A caddy can also help the player with club selection and strategy,
Car/Cart Fee: The rental fee charge for using a cart during a round,
Car (or golf car): The vehicle used to travel on a golf course. The two most common types of cars are electric powered (quiet), and gas powered (you will hear the engine when you accelerate).
Cart Path: The paved or graveled area intended for Golf Carts to use.
Chip Shot: A short shot with a low-ball trajectory played onto the green causing the ball to roll when it lands.
Closed Club Head: When the club head is oriented to the left of the intended target (for a right-handed golfer).
Clubs: Can be woods, irons, hybrids, wedges, and putters. A “set of clubs” may be any combination of the clubs up to a total of 14 in any “set”.
Clubhead: The end of the club designed for striking the ball.
Club Professionals: These are the Golf Professionals usually in charge of the administration of play on the golf course. They also may teach and train golfers on the golf swing and how to play the game.
Course: The course is the whole area within which play is permitted.
Course Rating: Used by the USGA to determine handicaps. The course rating number tells you a lot about the course you are about to play, the higher the number indicates a higher level of difficulty.
Daily Fee Course: An upscale public golf course that is owned privately and open to the public without restriction.
Defeated Flight: Secondary flight consisting of players losing first round matches. This may also be called the Consolation Flight.
Divots: A piece of turf dug out of the ground by the golf club when striking the ball. They should be replaced and stepped on, or if seed mix is provided (check in your golf cart or on the tee box to see if available), completely fill the groove in the ground.
Double Bogey: A score that represents two strokes over the designated par on any hole.
Down: In match play (see “match play”), a player that is losing more holes than winning, is deemed as being “down” in the match. For example: If a player has won two holes but lost four holes, the player is considered “two down” (See “up” for additionally match play terminology).”
Draw: A term used to describe a ball in flight that has a small curve to the left for a Right-Handed Golfer, or a method of pairing (see “pairings).
Driving Range (also known as the ‘practice range’): An area of a course or separate facility that is used for practicing. One can buy a bag or bucket of balls to hit without having to pick them up.
Eagle: A score that designates two strokes less than a par on any designated hole.
Etiquette: Refers to set of rules and practices designed to make the game of golf safer and more enjoyable for golfers and to minimize damage to the golf equipment and courses. Although many of these practices are not part of the formal rules of golf, golfer is customarily expected to observe them.
Executive Course: A course that consists of mostly Par 3’s and has a few Par 4’s.
Fairway: The closely mown grass leading from tee to green. It is the desirable place to land your ball while playing golf.
Fat Shot: This occurs when contact is made with the ground prior to contacting the ball first. Can also be called a chunk shot.
Flag Stick: A moveable pole or straight indicator with a flag centered in the hole on the green to show the hole’s position (sometimes commonly, but incorrectly referred to as “the pin”).
Flange: See Bounce Sole.
Flights: Bracketing of players with specified limited groups according to qualifying score or seeding (see “seeding”).
Fore: A shouted warning, to let a person within hitting range know that a player is about to hit. It is shouted when a ball in motion may hit or come close to hitting another person.
Foursome: Common terminology used when referring to four golfers in the same group playing a round of golf. “Threesome” would identify three golfers in a group. “Twosome” would identify two golfers in a group and the term “single” would identify one person playing a round of golf.
Fringe: A closely mown area adjacent to the putting surface. May be called the “Apron.”
Front Nine: The first nine holes of an eighteen-hole golf course.
Gimmie: A short putt that is conceded by a fellow golfer or competitor. In match play a competitor may say “That is good.”
Golf Bag: A leather, vinyl, or canvas bag used for carrying golf clubs, golf balls, and accessories.
Golf Shoes: Shoes specifically designed for the game of golf. The soles on golf shoes are specially designed to give you the traction needed to help you stay balanced while you swing yet provide you with comfort. They are available in a variety of styles and made with a variety of materials. Plastic cleats are mandatory at all facilities. Golf Courses do not allow metal spikes anymore.
Green Fee: The fee a golfer must pay for the use of a golf course.
Green: This part of a golf course hole has the shortest and smoothest grass on the course, designed for putting.
Grip: The part of the club held by the golfer. Common materials used are leather and rubber. The term “grip” is also used when referring to the placement of the hands on the club.
Ground under Repair: An area on the Golf Course that is being repaired or will be repaired. You may lift the ball and drop or place it without penalty to your nearest point of relief.
Handicap: A golf handicap is a numerical measure of a golfer’s potential this is used to enable players of varying abilities to compete against one another. Better players are those with the lowest handicaps.
Hazard: A “hazard” is any bunker or water hazard or a penalty area.
Head-to-Head: Competition between two players individually, or teams on a hole-by-hole basis. Head-to-Head is typically a match play format.
Heel: The part of the club that is located on the sole of the head closest to the golfer (opposite of the toe).
Hole: An area of the course consisting of a teeing ground, putting green and the area in between. The term “hole” may also refer to the hole found on the green where the “Cup is holding the Pin.”
Honor: The person who begins first on a hole.
Hook: A ball that makes a big curve to the left (for a right-handed golfer).
Hosel: The part of the club where the shaft is inserted connecting the head of an iron or wood.
Hybrid: A club that has contributes of both a wood and an iron. Generally, will hit shorter than a wood but longer than an iron.
Iron: Any club with a thin metal clubhead, numbered sequentially 3 thru 9.
Lie: This is the resting position of the ball on the course. In most circumstances, the golfer is not allowed to touch or move the ball once it has come to rest (except as provided by the local rules, such as “Winter Rules.”)
Line: The players intended path of ball to the hole.
LIV Golf: A new professional golf tour.
LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association): The Ladies Professional Golf Association is the longest-running women’s sports association in the world, having celebrated its 50th anniversary in the year 2000. The LPGA Tour and the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional (T&CP) Division comprise the backbone of what has become the premier women’s sports organization in the world today.
Match Play: Head-to-head competition on a hole-by-hole basis.
Medal Play: See “Stroke Play.”
Medalist: Lowest gross scorer during qualifying round(s).
Mulligan: An unofficial “re-do” or “re-hit”, not used in competition unless approved by the committee. Sometimes you may purchase “Mulligans” in a charity event to help raise additional monies.
Nineteenth Hole: Usually denotes the Bar area of a Club House but may also denote an extra hole of golf.
Open Face: When the club head is oriented to the right of the intended target (for a right-handed golfer). May be at the address position or when club is at impact.
Out of Bounds: Not part of the course and is indicated by White Stakes, Boundary Fences or White Lines. Will carry a penalty of Stroke and Distance (Two Strokes to be added to your score). You are not allowed to play any shot from Out of Bounds.
Pace of Play: The speed in which a group plays during a round of golf. A good rule of thumb is to always keep up with the group in front of you.
Pairing Sheet: A sheet upon which the pairing (see “pairings”) of players is listed.
Pairings: Person(s) with whom players play a tournament round of golf with.
Par: The score in strokes assigned to a hole based on how an accomplished player would score on the hole.
Par 3 Course: A course that consists of only Par 3’s.
Penalty Area: Purpose of Rule 17 is a specific Rule for the penalty areas, which are bodies of water or other areas defined by the Committee where a ball is often lost or unable to be played. For one penalty stroke, you may use specific relief options to play a ball from outside the penalty area.
Penalty Stroke: A stroke added to your score for a rule’s violation.
PGA of America: Founded in 1916, the PGA of America is the largest working sports organization in the world, comprised of more than 28,000 professional men and women promoting, teaching and administrating the game of golf.
PGA Tour: The World’s largest organization of Touring Professionals that play for cash. It oversees and conducts event for the Champions Tour (for Senior Tour Professionals), the Korn Ferry Tour and in Canada and South America.
Pin: See “Flag Stick.”
Pitch Shot: A short shot in which the ball is played with a higher trajectory onto the green causing it to have little or no roll.
Play Through: To pass a group of players in front of you, or to allow a group of players behind you to pass or “play through.”
Practice Putting Green: An area that is designated to practice putting on.
Private Golf Course: A golf course where play is restricted to members and guests only
Pro Shop: The place within the club house where you go to check in and or pay your Green Fees and rent the golf cart.
Public Golf Course: A golf course where the public can play by paying a green fee.
Pull: A ball that starts on a straight line to the left of the intended target (for a right-handed golfer).
Push: A ball that flies on a straight line to the right of one’s target with little curve (for a right-handed golfer).
Push-Slice: A ball that flies to right of intended target and then curves more to the right (for a right-handed golfer).
Putt: A shot played on the green. The characteristic of a putt is that the ball rolls to its intended target.
Putter: A club specifically designed for putting.
Regulation 18: A golf course that consists of par 5’s, par 4’s and par 3’s.
Relief: Permission to lift the ball and drop or place it without penalty.
Resort: A golf course located in a vacation or destination area, usually affiliated with a hotel.
Rough: The area of long grass that lines the fairways and connects from tee to green. Typically, you would want to avoid landing your ball in the rough.
Round: Typically, eighteen holes of golf but can be a nine hole round as well.
Scorecard: This is where you place the sum of swings you take on each hole. It also will give you the length from various tees, par, and handicap on each hole.
Scramble Format: Each team member hits a tee shot. The team then decides on the best hit and plays the next shot from that location. Again, the team decides on the best hit and plays the next shot from that location. This process is repeated until the ball is holed out. The score for each hole is kept and the total score will be posted as a team score. There is NO INDIVIDUAL SCORE ON ANY HOLE.
Seeding: Placing players in draw (see “draw”) according to skills.
Semi-Private Golf Course: A golf course that has members but also allows some limited access for the public to play.
Shaft: The long, tubular part of the club connecting the club head to the grip.
Common materials used for shafts are steel, graphite and titanium.
Shank: A shot that veer directly to the right, hit of off the Hosel (for a right-handed golfer).
Shotgun Start: Players starting simultaneously with each group assigned to a specific tee to start play.
Slope: This indicates the difficulty of a golf course. The average golf course slope is 113. The more a course slope is over 113, the more difficult it is. See Course Rating.
Starting Time: A reservation to play (also called a “Tee Time”), the time you get is when you are to start playing. Arriving 30 to 60 minutes prior is best for optimal performance.
Stroke: The term used when making an Intentional swing at the golf ball.
Stroke Play: Play based on total score for a completed stipulated round of golf. Also known as “medal play.”
Superintendent: The person in charge of maintaining the golf course. Also call the greenskeeper.
Tee: A small peg used for resting your ball on and raise it off the ground. Typically, tees are used on the Tee Box.
Tee Box (or teeing area): A designated area by markers as the starting place for the hole to be played.
Tee Shot: A shot played from the tee. It is your first shot on every hole.
Tee Time: The reservation time made for beginning a round of golf. For example, if you have a nine o’clock tee time, that means that you need to be on the first tee and hitting at 9 0’clock.
Through the Green: This is the whole area of the course except the teeing area and the putting surface and all hazards.
Toe: The part of the club that is located at the furthest point from the “Heel of the club” and where the shaft comes into the head.
Topped Shot: Occurs when a ball is struck above its center line, thus making the ball roll along the ground.
Trap: See “Bunker.”
Up: In match play (see “match play”), a player that is winning more holes than losing is deemed as being “up” in the match. For Example: If a player has won five holes and lost four holes, that player is “one up (See “down” for more match play terminology).”
USGA: The United States Golf Association. They are the ruling body of golf in America.:
Wedge: The shortest of all irons and the most lofted of irons. May be a Pitching Wedge, a Gap Wedge, a Sand Wedge or a Lob Wedge or a Flop Wedge.
Whiff: An intentional swing at the ball that completely misses any contact
Winter Rules: Local Rule whereby the lie of the ball may be moved within specified areas due to extreme conditions of the course.
Wood: Any club that has the typical characteristics of a wooden-headed club. Metal or composite materials have replaced the former Wood club heads. Woods are either numbered 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 which sends the ball the longest distance compared to irons. A #1 Wood is also called a Driver.
Yardage Marker: A marker (can be a stake, a sprinkler head, bush or tree) that indicates the distance to the middle of the green.