Ace – A hole in one. When the ball finds the hole from the tee in a single stoke. Also known as a “Double Eagle”.
Address – The way you stand and position your club before a shot is known as address. Remember not to accidentally cause the ball to move when addressing the ball as this will result in a penalty of one stroke.
Albatross – Occasionally called a double eagle, an albatross is a score of three under par. So an awesome 2 on a par 5 or a hole in 1 on a par 3 would give you a brilliant result and the bragging rights that come with it. The exact origins are not clear but the term has been around since at least 1929.
Alignment – This refers to the position of the player’s body relative to the intended target. Good alignment is critical for accurate shots.
Apron – The section of the fairway that is leading up to the front of the green. Also know as “The Approach Fairway” – which is quite short, if present at all on a par 3 course.
Approach – Shots played that are intended to land on the green are known as approach shots.
The Approach Fairway – The section of the fairway that is leading up to the front of the green. See “Apron”.
Approach Wedge – A wedge that is the loft between a sand wedge and a pitching wedge. Normally the loft is around 52 degrees. Also known as a “Gap Wedge”.
Away – The player that is farthest away from the hole and is up to play.
Back Nine – This refers to the last 9 holes of a typical 18 hole course, also known as heading in.
Backswing – As the term suggests, this is simply the action taking when swinging back before striking the golf ball. It is important for distance and accuracy.
Backspin – Spin is very important in most aspects golf and you will often come across the term when comparing clubs or in golfing instructions. Simply put, more backspin will give you a high ball with a fair amount of control.
Ball Marker – A device that is used on the green to line up a putt and get out of the way of other players on the green.
Banana-Ball – A hard slice that curves very hard. For right-handed golfers the ball goes from the left to right.
Bandit – A golfer that has an artificially high handicap compared to their actual ability to shoot low scores.
Baseball Grip – A type of grip that resembles a baseball bat grip. Others might call it a 10-finger grip.
Below the Hole – A term that refers to a putt where the hole is at a higher elevation than the ball.
Big Dog – A Driver.
Bite – A term used by golfers for a golf ball to stop rolling.
Bladed Shot – A chip shot from just off the green purposely hit with the bottom of the club. Played often from when the ball rests against the collar of the green. Runs like a putt.
Blind Shot – A situation where a golfer can’t see the fairway or green that they are aiming for.
Block – A shot for a right-handed golfer that goes straight to the right due to the club face being open.
Bounce – Along with launch angle, this is a measurement for wedges.
Bump and Run – A chip shot around the green involving a low lofted iron. This type of chip is great for a large part of the green to work with.
Best Ball – A type of golf format between players in a group. Only the best score is taken at the end for each hole.
Birdie – A hole where you score one stroke under par is a birdie.
Blade – This is a style of iron that, while the only option in years gone by, is now mostly only used by better players. It has a compact “blade” shaped head with relatively even weight distribution on the rear of the club.
Bogey – This is simply a score of one over par on a hole.
BOX – Exclamation when holing a putt.
Break – The term is used to describe the curvature of a ball on the putting green. It is based on the slope and grain of the green as well as other factors such as wind.
Bunker – The much-dreaded bunker, also known as a sand trap, is a hazard that is a depression in the ground containing sand. They can either be near the green or on the fairway.
Burn – A Scottish word for a stream alongside or across the fairway.
Businessman’s Grip – Often seen on a golfer who does not play regularly. The Vs in the hands are not in sync (the right hand is too far on top of the shaft and the V points to the right shoulder instead of the left).
Cat Box – Another name for a bunker.
Carpet – Another golf term for the grass on a putting green.
Carry – This term refers to the distance the balls travels through the air. It is important when you need to get over obstacles or hazards.
Casual Round – A non competition round use for handicap index adjustment.
Cavity back – These irons are designed to be more forgiving than blades. The cavity back allows for perimeter weighting allowing off-center hits to still travel a fair distance without too much loss of direction. They offer a bit less control and shaping ability than blades but are preferred by the average golfer and certainly the beginner.
Center of Gravity – While this term can also be used to talk about a player it is generally related to the design and balancing of the golf club. To keep the concept simple, the farther back and lower the center of gravity (CG), the higher the trajectory will be according to the loft angle. This will give golfers an easier launch that generally has good backspin. Low handicap players do not need this advantage as much and tend to prefer a progressive CG with a higher CG on the longer irons.
Centre Shaft – Shaft comes out of the center of the putter head.
Chip – This is a short shot to get on the green and close to pin if not in the hole. It is generally a low-trajectory shot. A chip and run is even lower and as the name suggests, the ball runs along the ground for most of the distance.
Choke Down – Chocking down refers to gripping the club lower down on the shaft. It is often used on shorter approach shots for greater control.
Chunk – A mishit golf shot where the golf club makes contact with the ground before the ball.
Clone Clubs – A knockoff brand that makes clubs at a much more discounted price compared to name brand golf clubs.
Collar of the Green – The first cut of grass off the green.
Comeback – Refers to a second putt that is going back to the hole due to too much power on the previous putt.
Concede – Refers to a situation in match play where a golfer counts an opponent’s putt without making them taking it.
Course Handicap – Is calculated by the sum of the Handicap Index multiplied by the Slope Rating divided by 113.
Course Rating – A measurement of how hard a course is based on the skills of a scratch golfer.
Covey – A name for your drawn partners.
Closed Face – Angling the club face towards the body relative to the target will result in a closed face.
Closed Stance – Placing the front foot nearer the target line is a closed stance. It can be used to prevent a slice or play a draw.
Coefficient of Restitution (COR) – A term used to measure the energy transfer from the club face to the ball. A higher COR will result in greater speeds and therefore more distance.
Compression – An important factor to consider when selecting a golf ball is the compression ratio. Softer balls, those with lower compression, are more suitable for people with a slower swing speed. While they will not offer as much control they will deliver better distance for these players. It is important to match your ball section to your swing speed.
Cup – Slang for the hole on the green.
Cut – A golf shot that has a high trajectory and moves from left to right for right-handed golfers. Also referred to as a high fade.
Dance Floor – The Green.
De-Loft – Lowering the loft on the club by keeping your hands well in front on impact with a closed face.
Dimples – Golf balls have dimples to improve aerodynamics and regulate spin. The right number and design of dimples for your swing could improve performance.
Divot – When striking the ball a chunk of turf from beneath the ball is often displaced. The remaining mark or hole is known as a divot. Good etiquette is to repair your divots as you play.
Dogleg – A straight fairway with a sharp bend left or right is referred to as a dogleg.
Dog Lie – Bad lie normally in the rough.
Double Eagle – also called an albatross. It occurs when a golfer achieves a 3-under par on a hole.
Double Bogey – A score of two above par on a hole is a double bogey.
Down the Middle Cyril – Hit your shot straight down the fairway.
Draw – For right-handed golfers, this is a shot that moves from right to left through the air.
Duff – A golf term that refers to a mishit, and it is also called a shank or chunk.
Eagle – A score of two under par on a hole is known as an eagle
Elevated Green – A green that is at a higher elevation compared to the fairway or tee box.
Etiquette – Golf is a gentleman’s game and etiquette is the rules that govern a player’s conduct and behavior.
Even Par – When a golfer’s score matches the 18-hole par for that golf course
Fade – The opposite of a draw, a fade moves from left to right during flight, for a right-handed golfer.
Fairway – The shorter mowed middle of the fairway between the tee box and the green is the fairway. The origins of the word are not clear but many believe it to have derived from a nautical term for a clear and safe channel.
Fairway markers – These markers will give you the distance to the center of the green. They are normally color-coded and generally give distance in yards or meters for 250, 200, 150 and 100. The specifics and colors can vary from course to course.
Fat – A fat shot is when the club strikes the ground before the ball. The result is generally poor and the ball will not travel very far.
Ferret – Term for holing a shot from the fringe of the green (usually worth something in a betting game).
Flat Stick – A Putter.
Flex – The measurement of the stiffness of a golf shaft. It could be senior, regular, shift flex.
Flier – A ball hit from the rough or wet grass that often does not get enough spin and travels further than expected. This is known as a flier.
Flight– The trajectory that a golf ball takes in the air after a golf shot.
Flop Shot – A flop shot is generally an approach shot hit with an open stance and club-face. The idea is for the ball to travel high and fall softly on the green for an easy putt.
Flush Shot – A type of golf shot that is perfectly hit on the sweet spot and goes the maximum distance.
Follow-through – This is just as important as the backswing and is that part of the swing that occurs after impact with the ball.
Forgiving – A characteristic of beginner golf clubs to minimize the swing mistakes of golfers.
Forged Irons – A certain type of iron that is the opposite of cast irons. They tend to have a much simpler head shape.
Fore – A warning shouted to players ahead of an stray ball or potential danger.
Format of Play – The competition rules for the day’s play.
Forward Press – A method of starting your backswing by pressing your hands forward. It can improve the smoothness of the takeaway.
Four-ball – This is a common form of play particularly match play. There are two sides of two players and each golfer plays their own ball for the duration of the hole. The lower score between the two partners is used to determine the score. Informally the term simply refers to four players playing together on the course.
Freshie – A swing that completely misses the ball (usually some sort of internal penalty with playing partners).
Fried-Egg Lie – A nickname for lie that happens in a bunker when part of the ball is buried in the sand.
Fringe – The fringe is the area immediately surrounding the green. It is closely mowed but not nearly as short or smooth as the green itself. It is relatively thin and separates the green from the fairway.
Frogged – Another expression for a scuffed shot.
Front Nine – The first 9 holes on the course.
Gap Wedge – A type of wedge that is also called an approach wedge. The normal degree of loft is in between 50 to 54 degrees.
Gimme – This is a relatively informal term used when a player is close enough to the cup to be awarded the shot without actually taking it. They are not always allowed in many situations or competitions.
Goofed It – A mis-hit shot.
Grain – Grain refers to the direction in which the grass grows, specifically in the green. It will impact the direction and speed of your putt.
Green – The green is the end part of each hole with the target cup and flag are situated. They vary in size and shape and the grass, although short, can be different depending on conditions.
Green in Regulation – Occurs when the golf ball is on the green and the player is putting for a birdie or better.
Green Fee – The cost of playing a round of golf at a certain golf course.
Grip – There are a number of different grips golfers use to hold the club. It is mostly a matter of how you learned to play and personal preference.
Ground Under Repair – A specific area on a course that is not open for play. If a golf ball lands there, it usually warrants a free drop with no penalty.
Gross score – This is simply the total number of strokes or shots played during a round before the handicap is factored in.
Grounding the club – When you position the club on the ground behind the ball at address this is known as grounding the club. This is not allowed when playing from a bunker or other marked hazards.
Groove – The horizontal lines seen on the clubface are called grooves and cause the ball to spin.
Gummed – A shot when you hit the top half of the ball and it stays low and rolls some distance (A thin shot).
Guzzler – When your tee shot finishes short of the ladies T box (usually you buy the 1st round of drinks afterward).
Hacker – Someone who is generally not a great golfer and does not hit the ball solidly.
Half Shot – When playing a close approach shot one often has to play a reduced shot otherwise known as a half shot.
Halve a Hole – Occurs in match play when the two golfers tie on a hole.
Handicap – This is a numerical system based on past results that measures the potential and level of a golfer’s skills. It allows players of different skills and abilities to compete on a relatively even footing.
Handicap Index – This adjusts with the scores returned from qualifying competitions or casual rounds. The Handicap Index is played on any course in the world that operates the World Handicap System.
Hank – Opposite to the dreaded shank. The ball is hit with the heel of the club and goes between your feet.
Hazard – Any body of water and part of the area around it as well as bunkers are known as hazards. There are specific rules that dictate how to play when your ball lands in a hazard.
Heel – This is the area of the hub that is next to the hosel.
Hole Out – A term that happens when a golfer shoots the ball into the hole from off of the green.
Home course – This is the club/course to which the player is a member and houses their handicap.
Honors – The person with the best score on the previous hole has the honors of teeing off first on the next hole.
Hook – The dreaded hook is a shot that curves rather dramatically from right to left for left-handed players.
Hosel – The hosel connects the clubhead to the shaft. Some are fixed while others are adjustable.
Hustler – A golfer who plays below his handicap regularly and wins games.
Hybrid – S golf club that is a mix between a wood and iron. Offers a lot of versatility for golfers and is more forgiveness compared to long irons.
Impact – The part of the swing when the club face makes contact with the ball.
Interlocking grip – There are a number of grip styles. This is one of the more popular grips in which, for right-handed players, the right-hand pinkie hooks or links over the index finger on the left hand.
In the Teeth – Another expression for hitting the ball thin.
Jerked the Putt – mis-hit the ball on a shortish putt.
Kick Point – Reference to the club shaft. High, Low, Mid — Influences the flight and shape of the shot.
Knock Down Shot – A type of golf shot where a golfer hits the ball with a much lower trajectory than normal.
Lag Putt – A putt of a fair distance that leaves the ball very near the cup.
Lay-up – This is when you purposely play a shorter shot than you could in order to avoid a hazed, particularly a water hazard. This will make the next shot easier and minimize the risk of a penalty should your ball find the hazard.
Launch Angle – The angle that a ball is launched from the ground during a golf shot.
Leak – An incorrect motion in the golf swing that reduces the power and accuracy of a shot.
Level-Par – This simply refers to a score that is on par.
Lie – The lie is how your ball sits on the surface when it stops. You can use a tee off the tee box but thereafter you will face a range of lies. Some will be easy while others might pose more of a challenge. It can also refer to the angle between the sole of the head and the middle of the shaft.
Line – This is the path you need to or intend to play the ball.
Links – A course built on sand dunes on the coast, often reclaimed sand, is a links course.
Lip – The cup or hole is lined by a thin lip. Lipping out is when the ball hits the lip and fails to go into the cup.
Local Rule – Specific rule or rules that are not mainstream and only for that particular golf course.
Long – A term for a golfer who hits the ball far (Dustin Johnson).
Long Game – Refers to hitting long irons, woods, hybrids, and driver.
Lob Wedge – A type of wedge that is usually in the 60 to 64-degree range. Usually the highest lofted wedge in a golfer’s bag.
Lob Shot – A lob shot is generally used on approach or to get out of trouble or hazards such as bunkers. It is a high shot that travels a short distance with a soft landing.
Loft – It is important to understand loft. It is measured in degrees and is the angle of the clubface. A higher loft will produce higher shots with less distance than lower lofted clubs, all other things being equal.
Low Handicapper – An above-average player that has a handicap in the single digits.
Make the Cut – A situation where a golfer advances to the next round due to his/her position in the standings.
Mallet Putter – A large putter head shape that has the weight away from the club face and in the back of the head.
Major – One the four most important tournaments in professional golf, The Masters, US Open, The Open, and the PGA Championship.
Match Play – This format consists of teams competing per hole. The winner is determined not by the total strokes but by the number of holes won.
Marker – A marker is a small disk of plastic or metal to mark the ball position of a ball on the green.
MDF – An acronym for golfers that means that they made the cut but did not finish the tournament.
Mulligan – While not recognized or allowed in the rules of golf, Mulligans are a free second shot. They are generally limited to a tee shot and usually the first tee. When given a Mulligan, the player does not incur a penalty.
Nassau Golf – A common betting system in golf for the front nine, back nine, and whole round.
Net score – This is different from the gross score in that it takes the handicap into account.
OB – Short for Out of Bounds.
One-Piece Take Away – Refers to the turning of your shoulders and arms in a single movement when starting the backswing.
On the charge – Occurs when a golfer is connecting birdies to take the lead in a golf tournament.
Offset – The offset is a measure of the leading edge of the clubface from the hosel.
Open face – This is when you position the clubface away from the body relative to your target.
Open stance – Often used to prevent or reduce a hook or play a fade, an open stance is when the front foot is positioned back from the target line.
Open the Face – Refers to opening up the face of the club which increases the loft with the result of higher ball flight.
Out-of-bounds – All parts of the course have areas that are out of bounds. When the ball lands in this area the golfer has to hit again from the original position and will incur a one-stroke penalty. White posts are generally used to demarcate out of bound areas.
Oversize Grip – A golf grip that is bigger than normal. The benefits are better feel and accuracy.
Pace – Golf is a leisurely sport but there are often players behind you. One needs to ensure a decent pace in order to no hinder other golfers.
Par – Par is the standard or average score an accomplished golfer should make per hole. It is largely determined by this distance of the hole. Par will range from 3 on shorter holes to 5 for longer holes. The course itself will also have a par which is the combined total of the par for all 18 holes.
Pick Up – In order to speed up the game, depending on the format, some players pick up their ball after a number of strokes and do not complete the hole.
Pin – An informal term for the flagstick.
Pin High – When a golf ball is on the same elevation as the pin or hole on the green.
Pitch – A wedge or highly lofted club is often used for shorter approach shots, generally 50 yards or less. It is a short, normally high shot that is played with a reduced swing.
Pitch mark – This is the indentation, similar to a divot, that occurs on the green where the ball lands. One must repair the pitch mark so that it does not affect other players.
Pick up your Lipstick – A term used when you leave your 1st putt very short of the hole.
Play through – When the players in front of you are playing too slow, good etiquette often allows them to give you permission to play through so as not to hold up your game.
Plugged Lie – Occurs when a golf ball sinks into the ground and it is submerged. Easily occurs in wet conditions.
Pot – Another name for the cup on the green.
Press – Occurs when a second bet is brought up by a golfer during a round, and usually used to hedge their first bet.
Pre-shot routine – Most golfers have a specific routine that they go through before their shot. This is a pre-shot routine and differs from person to person.
Provisional Shot – A second golf shot that is played to be a backup option in case the first shot is not playable or found. It saves time instead of running back to the tee box after not finding a tee shot.
Pull -A golf shot that goes left of target for a right-handed golfer.
Push – A golf shot that goes right of target for a right-handed golfer.
Punch Shot – Often used from the rough or a difficult lie, a punch shot is a low shot often played with a short backswing. It is normally used to get you out of trouble when a standard shot would not work effectively. It is particularly effective when there are low branches obstructing your line.
Q-School – A path to the PGA Tour for golfers to qualify for the PGA and LPGA Tour.
Range finder – This is a modern digital device that will scan the course in order to determine the distance to the green or the flag.
Reading the Green – To judge the break of a putting green and how it will roll after a putt.
Recovery – A shot to get a golfer into a better spot after being in a rough spot on the course.
Release – When your wrists unlock as you make impact this is known as release. Too early or too late will generally result in an ineffective shot.
Re-Load – Term for putting a second ball into play after hitting the first ball out of bounds.
Reverse Pivot – Basically falling onto your back foot when hitting the ball.
Rhythm – The order in the parts of your swing and how your body moves in a fluid motion.
Rough – The area with longer grass around the fairway is the rough. Some parts are thicker and more challenging than others. It generally makes for a challenging shot to get back on the fairway and closer to the green.
Run – Once a shot lands it travels a fair distance unless you have applied a lot of backspin. This distance is known as a run.
Sand Wedge – A type of wedge that is used for bunker shots and various chips. The normal degree for a sand wedge is 56 degrees.
Scratch – A scratch golfer has a zero handicap. It is the ultimate goal of many better players.
Schlaffed – An ugly shot that still gets a result.
Semi Rough – First cut of grass off the fairway.
Setup – Setup is similar to address and refers to your stance, alignment, and positioning before hitting the ball.
Shank – When impact happens near the hosel it normally results in a shank. This, for right-handed players, will send the ball far to the right of your intended path.
Shape/shaping – Better players are able to shape their shots meaning that they can control the curve to a large extent. This comes in extremely handy on many holes.
Shaft Weight – Normally measured in grams and has a huge influence on the clubhead speed.
Short – A golfer who does not hit the ball far (Zach Johnson).
Short Game – This refers to shots on or around the green. It includes pitch shots, chips, and putting.
Shotgun Start – Certain situations will call for a shotgun start where each team starts of different holes at the same time.
Shot Making – The ability to put movement on the ball such as a draw or fade.
Sink a Putt – Slang for making a putt.
Skied – A T-shot hit on the top of the face of the driver (ball goes straight up in the air).
Slice – While a fade is generally a planned and subtle movement of the ball from left to right a slice is more dramatic and generally not a great shot.
Slider – A purposefully hit shot that moves from left to right in flight.
Slope rating – Is an official measurement given to each course at a club that you may play on worldwide. This enables adjustment to your handicap index in accordance to the course difficulty and your playing ability thus gives a course handicap accordingly.
Snake – A long putt holed.
Sole – The sole of the club refers to the bottom area that makes contact with the turf or ground.
Social Round – A round of golf that has no affect on your handicap index.
Spoon – 4 wood.
Square – The term square has a number of meanings. It can relate to the clubface or the impact as well as the stance at address.
Squirt – A weak shot hit straight right, off the club.
Stableford – This format allocates points according to the number of strokes per hole relative to par. The player or team with the highest points wins.
Stance – Speaking of stance earlier, it is simply the way the feet are positioned at address. It can be square, open or closed.
Still Yours – After your 1st putt you are still the furthest from the hole.
Stimpmeter – A device used to measure the speed of the greens. Basically, a shute that they run a few balls down on the green.
Stroke – Any swing with a golf club from a golfer that is addressing and trying to hit the golf ball.
Stroke Play – This format, sometimes called medal play, is based on the total number of strokes over a round or a fixed number of rounds.
Strong Grip – A strong grip is one in which the hands are positioned counter-clockwise when gripping the club.
Swale – A shallow depression on the course normally in front of the green.
Sweet Spot – The area on the clubface in which the face will not twist or torque is the aptly named sweet spot. It allows for greater accuracy and distance. Clubs with a larger sweet spot are more forgiving and easier to hit.
Swing – The motion of moving the golf club in order to hit the ball is the swing. Swing speed is the rate at which you are able to do this.
Swing Plane – The angle that the club head travels through the air compared to the ground and clubhead.
Takeaway – Moving the club back away from the ball.
Target Line – The line one visualizes from the ball to the intended target, be it where the ball is to land or where you wish to aim when playing a curved shot.
Tap In – A very short put.
Temperature – Another way of asking your handicap.
Tight Lie – When a golf ball is not set up well and is sitting on a firm surface.
Thin Shot – When the club hits the top part of the ball and has a super low trajectory. Also is similar to a “blade” or a “topped shot”.
Touch – The ability to judge a distance and power to hit a golf ball a certain distance.
Tending the Pin – When a person holds the pin and pulls it after the shot is performed.
Tee Box – This is the area from which you start or tee off on each hole. Markers dictate where you may position the ball on the tee box. There is often more than one tee box per hole to accommodate various players. The lady’s tee is an example of this.
Tempo – The speed, or change in speed, thought the stages of a golfers swing.
Texas Wedge – Using a putter when you’re not on the green.
The Knife – A 1 iron.
The Knife’s Cousin – A 2 iron.
Toed Shot – A shot off the toe of the club.
Topped Shot – A topped shot is when the impact is near the top of the ball. It generally results in a low bouncing shot that does not go very far.
Trajectory – The trajectory is the angle and height of the ball path after impact.
Triple bogey – Three over par on a hole is a triple bogey.
Turkey – Three birdies in a row is a Turkey.
Uncock – This is the moment in the downswing when the wrists release and straighten. The timing is important for a quality shot.
Unplayable – Apart from on the tee, a player can declare his ball to be unplayable during play. The golfer can then drop the ball further from the hole or within two club-lengths of where it landed. A one-stroke penalty will be incurred when this is done. If this occurs in a hazed the drop has to be made in the same hazard.
Up and Down – A popular golf term used to describe one chip and one putt
Vardon grip – This is a popular grip style in which, with right-handed players, the right pinky sits on top of the left index finger. The Vardon grip, sometimes referred to as the overlapping grip, is named after legendary golfer Harry Vardon.
Waggle – A common pre-shot routine is a waggle consisting of one or a few motions designed to help focus and relax and ready the player for the shot.
Weak Grip – With this grip, a right-handed player will turn his or her hands to the left when gripping the club.
Whiff – Sometimes called an airball, a whiff is an intentional shot that misses the ball completely. It counts as a stroke.
Whippy – Used to describe a golf club if the swing speed is too fast for the flex of the shaft.
Wire-to-Wire – When a golfer leads a tournament from the start to the finish.
Yardage Marker – Used on a golf course to show certain yardages such as 100, 150, and 200 yards to the pin.
Yips – The dreaded yips is a twitch or nervous condition where the golfer has reduced control of the club. It is generally related to putting although can happen with any shot and is relatively common even amongst some top golfers.
Zinger – A zinger is when the ball is struck near the leading edge with power. It often has a lot of vibration and will fly low with questionable accuracy.
Zip – The spin put on a ball from a well-struck golf shot. Usually, it is backspin and makes the ball stop.