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Golf Terms (in alphabetical order)

Ace - A hole-in-one.

Address - The position of the player when preparing to start a swing.

Approach - The area in front of the green. A shot to a green.

Apron - The low cut area surrounding the green. Cut is shorter than the fairway but slightly longer than the green itself.

Away - Designation of player or ball furthest from the hole and therefore next in turn to play.

Back nine - Second nine holes of an 18-hole course.

Backspin - Reverse spin of a ball when struck.

Balata - A natural or synthetic material used to cover a golf ball, preferred by professional or low handicap golfers for it's "feel" and performance.

Ball mark - The indentation made on a green by a highly lofted shot. It should be repaired by the golfer.

Bent - A finely textured species of grass used for greens and some fairways, mainly used in the north.

Bermuda - A coarsely textured species of grass used where bent grasses will not grow.

Best ball - The best score on a hole by two or more partners in a best ball match.

Birdie - A score of one stroke under par on a hole.

Bite - A ball struck with sufficient backspin to make it stop quickly or actually roll backwards.

Bogey - One stroke over par on a hole.

Break - The sideways curving of a putt caused by a sloping green.

Bunker - A sand hazard, also call a sand trap.

Chip shot - A short approach shot of low trajectory. It usually rolls more than it flies.

Cabretta leather - The soft leather used in golf gloves and usually a special lamb skin.

Caddy - A person whose job is to carry a golfer's clubs and advise them of strategy and course layout.

Closed Stance - Left foot closer than right foot to intended line o flight.

Clubface - The surface of the club that normally strikes the ball.

Course Rating - The score a zero handicap golfer should make when playing under normal circumstances. Courses are rated by the USGA using a procedure called the Slope System.

Cup - Metal or plastic lining inside the hole. Also the term used as an alternative to hole.

Divot - Section of turf cut out by a golf swing. Divots should be replaced and tamped down immediately.

Dogleg - A hole with fairway that bends right or left.

Double Bogey - Two strokes over par on a hole.

Drain - To sink a long putt.

Draw - A hook that you can smile at when it finishes.

Drive - Initial shot on a par four or five hole.

Dumb - To stand anywhere in front of the ball when the golfer is hitting.

Eagle - Two strokes under par on a hole.

Fade - A slice you can smile at when it finishes.

Fairway - The area between the tee and green that is mowed or specially prepared.

Fat - A poor golf shot caused by hitting the ground before the club head hits the ball.

Fore - Warning cry shouted to players in danger of being hit by a ball. If in doubt, yell "Fore"

Front nine - First nine holes of an 18-hole course.

Green - The closely mown area that contains the hole and flagstick.

Half or Halve - A tied hole in match play

Handicap - A number indicating golfer's skill. Based on an average of lowest ten of the last 20 rounds.

Hazard - A bunker, water hazard, or lateral water hazard.

Honor - The golfer or side entitled to tee off first on the next hole is said to have the "honor."

Hook - A shot that curves sharply from right to left.

Hosel  - The hollow portion of the club head where the shaft attaches to the club head.

Inside-Out - Club head movement across the intended line of flight from left to right at impact.

Intended Line - The planned path for a shot. See Line.

Lie - The position of the ball on the course. In club manufacturing the angle of the club head set on the shaft.

Line - The planned path for a shot. It is bad etiquette to step in someone's line on the green.

Lip - The rim of the hole.

Loft - The degree of slope back from vertical of a clubface.

Mulligan - A second attempt at a shot, sometimes allowed in a friendly game. Not allowed by the rules of golf.

Out of Bounds, O.B. - Ground designated on which play is prohibited. Usually marked by white stakes.

Outside-In - Clubhead movement across the intended line of flight from right to left at impact.

Overlap - The grip used where the little finger of the right hand overlaps the left forefinger; also called the Varden grip after Harry Varden..

Par - The score an expert golfer would normally make on a hole. Two putts on the green would be calculated. Par is usually a function of distance of a hole.
Par 3              up to 250 yards
Par 4              251 to 470 yards
Par 5              471 yards and over

Penalty stoke - One stroke added to a golfers score on a hole under certain rules.

Perimeter weighting - The design of a club head (iron usually) that distributes the weight around the outside of the club head. Considered easier to hit and more forgiving than "forged" clubs.

PGA - The Professional Golfers Association. The ruling body of professional golf. Most golf professionals excluding the tour professionals belong to this organization. Not to be confused with the PGA Tour - The Association of playing professional golfers that runs the 40 or so Tour events. This is similar to the Major Leagues or the NBA for golf.

Pitch - Approach Shot of high trajectory that normally flies farther than it rolls.

Preferred Lie/Winter rule - An easing of the rules (under certain conditions) so you can move the ball slightly to improve you lie in the fairway. Not recognized by the rules of golf.

Provisional Ball - A second ball played from the same place as the original when you suspect your first ball may be lost or out of bounds.

Pull - A shot that travels left of the intended line but generally straight.

Punch - Low controlled golf shot, used with a shorter swing to improve your lie.

Push - A shot that travels right of the intended line but generally straight (left if you're left handed).

Putt - A stroke made on the green with a putter.

Putt out - Allowing a golfer putt a short stroke into the hole, out of turn, to reasonable speed up play. An exception to the rule of etiquette where the farthest ball away hits first. 

Release - The swinging of the arms and rolling over of the forearms.

Relief - Permission given under the rules to lft and drop the ball without penalty.

Rough - Area between tee and green that is not fairway or hazard.

Round - Normally 18 holes in sequence.

Royal and Ancient - The rule making association based in Scotland at St. Andrews.

Scratch golfer - An excellent golfer with a handicap of 0.

Shank - Hitting the ball off the hosel to the right (left if you're left handed).

Slice - A shot that curves sharply from left to right.

Skull - When a golfer hits a ball with the leading edge of the club, the ball's flight path is low and straight and usually flies/rolls farther than intended.

Sky - Hit a golf shot extremely high and short, unintentionally.

Square - A clubface and/or stance aimed down the intended line at impact.

Stroke - A forward movement of the club with the intention of striking the ball.

Tee - The small wooden peg the ball is set on for a drive. Also used to refer to the teeing area of a hole.

Tend the flagstick - Holding the flagstick while a fellow golfer readies their putt. Allows them to better line up the putt. Flag is removed after golfer putts but before the ball reaches the cup.

Top - A mis-hit of the ball by striking the ball above it's center line.

USGA - United States Golf Association. Golf's rule making association in the United States.

USGA Course Rating - "Course Rating" is the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch players. Course Rating is expressed in strokes and decimal fractions of a stroke, and is based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring ability of a scratch player. Courses are rated by authorized golf associations, not by individual clubs.

USGA Slope Rating - "Slope Rating" reflects the relative playing difficulty of a course for players with handicaps above scratch, whereas Course Rating is based solely on difficulty for the scratch player. The lowest Slope Rating is 55 and the highest is 155. The average Slope Rating for men and women is 113.

Winter rules - A change in rules due to cold or poor weather that allows the golfer to move the ball within a six inches of the original lie without penalty. usually the course or club posts "winter rules in effect."

Yardage Rating - "Yardage Rating" is the evaluation of the playing difficulty based on yardage only. It is the score a scratch player on his game is expected to make when playing a course of average difficulty.

Yips - Chronic misplay of short putts due to nervousness or a twitching of the hands.



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