Golf is a game that has been played for centuries. It is a sport that requires a lot of patience, concentration, and skill. However, golf is a game of skill, but it’s also a game of language. There are a lot of terms that are used in golf, and many of them have different meanings depending on the situation. If you are planning to play golf, or already do, then you will need to know what golf terms mean, and how to use them. In this post, we explain the meaning of all of the common golf terms that you will encounter.
Many golf terms may be used by players at all levels of the game. Some of these terms are easy to understand, while others are very complicated and require a great deal of knowledge and practice before they can be used. A golfer needs to understand these terms, as they will help to improve their game and provide them with more information about the course that they are playing.
We divided the terms into different categories to make them easy to understand for novice golfers. these categories are –
- Golf Course Terms
- Golf Format Terms
- Golf Shot Terms
- Golf Scoring Terms
- Types of Golf Shots
- Golf Recreational Terms
- Terms use for defining golf lies
- Other general words use while golfing
Table of Contents
Golf Course Terms
A golf course is a park-like area where people can play a game of golf. It consists of a series of holes that are lined with grass and trees. There are also a few other features such as ponds, hills, and sand traps. Golf courses are usually designed to have 18 holes and each hole is numbered so that golfers know which hole they are on.
In the playing area, many different types of structures are designed that are used for playing the game. These configure are shortly described below.
A golf hole is a part of a golf course that has been specially designed for golfers to use. The golf hole is usually a square or circle-shaped area. Golfer’s target is to put their striking ball into the hole with a lower number of shots. Generally, A golf course has 18 holes for playing but a 9-hole golf course is also a common scenario for designing the course area.
Tee boxes are little boxes placed in front of each hole on the golf course. They have a certain length that golfers use to measure the distance to the hole. Golfers use the tee box as a starting point for their shots because it gives them a clear view of the entire green. If you’re having trouble with your short game, then you may need to consider the tee box. If you’re having trouble with your putting, then you’ll want to look at the tee box. It also helps the golfer to maintain a good posture and to hit the ball with the right amount of speed.
The tee cup is a device that is used by golfers to help them hit the ball on the correct trajectory. The tee cup is usually made of plastic and is placed on top of the tee. The tee cup is shaped like a bowl and has a hole at the bottom that allows the golfer to put the ball in the cup.
When a novice golfer hits the ball, they may not know where the ball will go. By putting the tee cup on top of the tee, they can see where the ball will land. It allows them to make adjustments to their swing before hitting the ball.
A flagstick is a small stick that is used by golfers to mark the location of their ball. They use a flagstick when they make a shot that is not in the fairway. When the ball is struck, the player picks up the flagstick and moves it to the ground. This way, other players know where the ball is located.
The fairway is the area between the rough and the green. It’s the area where golfers can practice their putting skills. It is also the place where the golfers stand and wait for their shots. It’s the shortest distance between the tee and the green, but it’s also the most treacherous. You can’t afford to hit the ball off the fairway. Besides, the grasses of this area are short which helps to get a predictable distance for the golf shots.
The green is the area of the golf course where the golf ball is placed on the ground. It is made up of many different types of grass. The grass in the green area is generally thicker and taller than the grass in other areas of the golf course. The grass in the green area is also more closely mowed and trimmed. It makes it golfers easier to see where the golf ball is when it is hit. It is also the perfect place to practice chipping, pitching, and hitting shots to the pin because the area has a controlled environment for players.
The rough is usually located between the fairway and the first green. The rough is used to create a hazard for the golfer. Golfers who hit the ball on the rough will be penalized because they are hitting the ball on a patch of grass that isn’t part of the fairway. It means they must make an extra effort to get the ball out of the rough. It slows the ball down so that it can roll into the hole.
Fringe is a term used to describe the area of a golf course that lies between the green and the fairway. It is the area where the grass is cut short but a little higher than the golf green so that the player can see the ball clearly when he hits it. The term “fringe” can be applied to both the fairways and the rough.
The first cut is usually that area of the golf course between a fairway and a rough. The grasses of this area are comparatively taller than the fairway which results in an unpredictable distance of the striking balls. However, golfers don’t get more challenges in swinging their clubs from this area comparing the fairways.
Bunkers or Sand Traps
Bunkers are small mounds of dirt that are placed on a golf course to create hazards. They’re usually placed in strategic areas where a golfer may hit their ball. The idea is to make the golfer think twice about hitting the ball there. It is also termed a sand trap. When a golfer hits a ball into the trap, the ball will get stuck in the sand and they’ll have to take extra time to retrieve it.
Sand traps are not meant to be an obstacle for the player, but they do make the game more challenging. They can be used to help you get the ball out of the rough or to help you out of trouble when you need a little extra help.
Bunkers and sand traps can affect a golf game in many ways. One of the most obvious ways is that they slow down the speed of the golf ball. This allows the golfer to get a better swing. They also make it easier to hit the ball because it is harder to hit the ball when it is traveling at a high speed.
Hazards are areas on a golf course that are dangerous to play in that include sand traps, water hazards, and trees. Some hazards may be man-made, such as sand traps, while others are natural, such as dunes. The most dangerous hazards are those that are hard to see, such as ponds or lakes. The most common hazards in a golf course are water hazards. Water hazards can be any type of body of water, including lakes, ponds, streams, oceans, and swamps.
If you are a golfer who is looking for a fun and relaxing golf vacation, then a golf course with hazards is not for you. Golf courses with hazards are designed to challenge the golfer, so they are more difficult to play. If you are looking for a place to enjoy your golf vacation without having to worry about danger, then a golf course without hazards is perfect for you.
The drop zone is the area where a golfer is required to land after a successful shot. It is also the special area in which the course authority decides to land the ball in that area if any golfer fails to make a correct swing shot.
“Out-of-Bound” means when you hit the ball that drops in the area not allowed for the game. That’s a bad shot! You have to be aware of where the ball is going, and you need to know how far to hit it. According to the official rules, if any golfer hits the ball out-of-bound, a penalty stroke will add to their scorecard and that must strike another ball from the starting point of the previous shot that ends in the area out of bounds.
A dogleg hole is a type of golf hole in which the ball has a slight bend toward the left or right direction as it travels along the path. If you’re playing a course with a dogleg hole, you might want to consider using the dogleg hole as your target. It’s easier to hit the target than it is to hit the fairway.
The term “grain” especially uses to help golfers to determine the putting strategy on the golf green. It is the area around the green that has been pointed in the direction of grass growing in it. It is the small patches of grass that are usually found on the fairways of a golf course.
The grasses slow down the speed of a golfer’s ball as it travels down the fairway. The benefits of the areas are the ball will not roll into the grass, dirt, or sand and slows down the golfer’s swing, allowing them to have more control over their shots. It also allows the ball to be hit with more precision, which increases the accuracy of the shot.
Cart path only
Cart Pathways are a way to direct golf carts from one place to another. It uses to keep the carts from getting stuck on the grass and to direct the carts around the golf course. The Golf Course Cart Pathways are designed to be as straight and level as possible. It helps the carts to go from one place to another without having to stop and start.
Golf Course Authority uses the sign “cart path only” to indicate that the cart path is the only route that carts can travel. It also helps to lower the damage to green areas, especially in the rainy season.
The links are courses of land along the shoreline of oceans, lakes, and rivers. They are usually found in warm climates, and many of them are located in the United States and Canada.
The word “links” is a Scottish term meaning “shore,” and it is the name of the area where golf courses are located. The term is also used to describe the course itself. In the United Kingdom, the term “links” refers to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which was founded in 1754.
Golf Scoring Terms
Golf scoring is a system used to determine the overall score of a round of golf. The scoring system in golf is pretty simple. You score a point for each hole you sink the ball in, and you score zero points for each hole you miss. The player with the lowest score wins. Usually, the terms that use to determine the golfer’s score are given below.
The course rating is the numerical score you receive after you play a round of golf. It’s determined by the average of your total scores on each hole. The higher the course rating, the more difficult the course is. The most important thing to remember about course rating is that it doesn’t take into account the difficulty of the course. Instead, it’s based on how well you performed on the holes.
The easiest courses are rated between 100 and 110, while the most difficult are rated between 140 and 150. There are two different ways to calculate a course’s course rating:
- Course rating = (Par + Stroke average) / Par
For example, if a course has a par of 4 and an average score of 3, then the course rating would be (4 + 4)/ 4 = 2
- Course rating = Par + Stroke average
For example, if a course has a par of 4 and an average score of 3, then the course rating would be (4 + 6)/ 4 = 2.5
Besides, Course ratings are not a measure of how well a golfer plays. Instead, they indicate how difficult it will be for a golfer to play a particular hole. if a player has a course rating of 85, then he or she could score a maximum of 15 points on a given hole. The higher the course rating, the harder the hole is to play.
Slope rating is a measurement of how steep the terrain of a golf course is. The steeper the slope, the more challenging the course will be for you. It also has an impact on your game. Very steep slopes can make you struggle to hit the ball. Slope rating is measured in degrees.
A stroke is an act of hitting a ball with your club. If you hit the ball perfectly, it will fly straight and far. The word comes from the French word “stroke” meaning “to touch.” There are many different types of strokes. Each type of stroke has its own purpose and is used differently. The most common stroke is the power stroke. It is the stroke that is used to drive the ball as far as possible and is also known as the full swing.
A par in golf refers to the number of strokes needed to complete a hole. It is the score that you need to shoot to have a chance to win a hole in golf. The par is determined by the length of the hole. It is the lowest score that you can get on a hole without having to go to another hole. The golfer who gets closest to a par score wins. The USGA has a guideline for the length of the hole for the par and it is different for men and women golfers. below we state the length of “Par.”
For Men Golfers:
Number of Par
up to 250 yards
251 to 470 yards
401 to 690 yards
For Women Golfers:
Number of Par
up to 210 yards
211 to 400 yards
401 to 575 yards
Bogey is a golf scoring term that means the golfer takes 1 more stroke than the par number for completing a particular hole on the golf course. There are 3 types of bogey.
We have another detailed article on what bogey means in golf. So you can easily get complete information from that article on our website.
Like a bogey, Birdie means a golfer takes 1 stroke under the par number of the course. We write individual content on birdie in golf where you get detail about this golf scoring term.
When a golfer makes a score of 2 under the defined Par number for a specific golf hole then it is termed an eagle.
An albatross is a score for an individual hole where the player makes a score of 3 strokes fewer than a par.
Ace means one-in-hole, an alternative scoring golf term where a golfer takes only one swing shot to complete the targetted golf hole on the course. It usually happens when golfers play in the Par-3, and it is a rare scenario in golf.
Penalty strokes are awarded when a player makes a mistake that affects the score of the round. A penalty stroke isn’t as bad as a double bogey, but it’s not fun either. Penalty strokes are used when a player hits the ball out of bounds, or if the ball lands in a hazard.
A handicap is a system of measuring a golfer’s skill level based on a golfer’s performance. A golfer’s handicap is determined by their score on a specific course. The lower the number, the better the golfer. You can get in detail on Handicap in golf from other content published on our website earlier.
Golf Format Terms
Golf Format means that the format is a set of rules for the golf tournament. It is the way the golf tournament is run. The format can be determined by the rules of the golf association or by the organizers of the tournament. The mostly used golf formats are stated below.
In a match-play golf tournament, the format is determined by the organizer of the tournament. Matchplay is a best-of-seven format. It is the most common format for amateur golf tournaments.
Matchplay is the official competition format that is played in most professional golf tournaments. The format involves two players competing head-to-head on each hole during a round of golf. Each player receives one point for each hole they shoot under par or over par. The player who shoots the lowest score wins the match.
In a stroke-play golf tournament, the format is determined by the rules of the golf association. Stroke play is a single-elimination format. In this format, players compete in one-on-one matches. In stroke play, players are ranked according to the number of strokes they take to complete the hole. For example, if the first player takes three strokes on the par-3 hole and the second player takes four strokes, then the first player is ranked higher than the second. Here, the final score for the round is calculated by totaling the scores of all the players in the tournament. In this case, the winner would be the player who finished the tournament with the lowest total.
The scramble is a type of stroke play format in golf. It’s a team event where two teams compete against each other. Generally, 2 to 4 players make a group. Each group plays a round of 18 holes and two teams compete against each other.
A Texas scramble is a golf game that is played by a group of people who are interested in golf and competition. It is played on a golf course that is not a regular 18-hole course that has been laid out in a way that makes it more challenging. The format takes the pressure off of the individual golfer, which is one of the reasons it has been so successful.
The shamble is a team format for playing a game of fun golf where the team members have the chance of hitting until the golf ball is in the hole. The shamble golf format can be used as an alternative to the traditional playing format. The captain of the team maintains the game rules and regulations in a hybrid format of the scramble.
The best-ball format makes golf a team sport. A group of four players uses their own ball and only one player takes the lead shot in a game. The term Four-ball or better ball is used when four players make a group. It’s a four-ball if 2 golfers use it, and if 3-4 golfers make the team, it’s the better ball.
Related: Scramble Vs. Best Ball
The skins format is more or less similar to the match play where golfers get a “skin” when winning a specific hole. It also gives skins for making a successful tee shot on the golf green. Besides, when golfers make a tie for an individual hole, then the next hole is selected for giving skin. The player who gets the highest skin is declared the winner.
In the Stableford format, the winner is selected through the pointing system like bogey, birdie, eagle, albatross, etc. the player or team that gets more points is the winner of the match. The below pointing system is used to determine the player or team score.
Four strokes under Par
In the Alternate shot format, the members of the team make the tee shot alternatively instead of giving chance to the player who completed the previous hole first.
Golf Shot Terms
A “break” occurs when a golf ball moves in a different direction after it has been struck by a golf club.
Playing from the Tips
When golfers choose the furthest tee set on the green or the maximum course distance for making the tee shot is termed as playing for the tips.
When a golfer hits the ball from a distance or position which is less green to work with relative to a certain hole is said to be short-sided. For example, when the striking ball land on the bunker near the green and also closes the target hole that is designed at the edge of that golf green, then it is called a short-sided shot.
When a striking ball lands on the golf green it makes an indentation in the ground, this indentation is called a patch mark. It usually happens when the golfer makes the shot that throws the ball into the air at a high angle or a high speed. When these types of moving balls land in the ground they make indentations because the soil of the golf course is really soft.
According to golf etiquette, every golfer must repair these patch marks before leaving the course after stopping to play.
When golfers hit the ball toward the target hole with their golf clubface, maybe a wood, iron, or wedge makes a scrape, dent, or scuff on the golf grasses. These marks are called divots and before leaving the golf green, golfers must fill them with sand or soil mixture available by the golf club authority.
If the ball is lost after the first shot, golfers can use another ball to maintain the pace of play, then this ball is termed a provisional ball. In this case, they don’t get any penalty if the ball lands out of bounds or in a water hazard. But if golfers lost their ball after making the first shot, a penalty of one stroke adds to their score. The most crucial thing is that when the players don’t find out or trace the striking ball and use another one, they must inform others by saying the word “Provisional” when it is a competitive match.
In 2019, The USGA makes a new rule termed “Embedded Balls” which allows golfers to drop their hitting balls within -a one-club-length distance if there have a plugged lie. But it can’t be used for a sand bunker. However, the golf course authority has the right to change it based on the grass height on the fairway.
Types of Golf Shots
A Golf putt shot is a swing shot on the green using the putter where golfers want to roll the striking ball on the ground near the hole which has a higher chance of dropping into it.
Lag Putt Shot
A lag putt shot is a putt where a golfer tries to send the ball close to the hole instead of making it in the hole.
A Pitch Shot is usually played with a very high lofted club and is expected to travel a comparatively short distance with a ball flight that will rise steeply upwards and then descends very sharply back down.
A chip shot is a short shot played close to the green. It is an excellent way to start rolling the hitting ball toward the hole. Like any golf shot, chip shots roll on the ground. They are not aimed to fly through the air as a normal golf shot would.
A Flop Shot is a shot intended to go as high and as fast as possible and fall short of the hole and stop quickly after landing. When hitting a “flop shot”, both the golf stance and the clubface will require to be significantly more open than a traditional golf shot.
A Splash Shot is a swing technique that allows golfers to get out of greenside sand bunkers and onto the green. When golfers want to make a splash shot, they hit the sand first to keep the clubface open getting the striking ball up and send out of the bunker.
When golfers aim to create a shank shot they use the club hosel instead of the clubface. However, it looks like a slice but it is not a true slice because the striking ball doesn’t spin fast on both sides and back which happens on the slice shot.
The fat shot is also known as the chunk shot where golfers hit the ground first before the clubface touch the golf ball. It creates a divot where the ball is lying on the ground.
A thin shot occurs when golfers touch the upper portion of the ball with the clubface and it results in a low-flying shot and passes a short distance.
When the striking ball makes a low backspin and passes a long distance than expected because of the grasses between the clubface and the ball on the tee cup is known as a flyer shot.
Golf Recreational Terms
A “gimme” is when the other golfers in your group are willing to allow you to take an additional putt rather than expecting you to putt the ball because it’s in an area where they’re used to seeing it go. This is a great way to speed up the round and allow the would-be putter to avoid a missed easy putt.
When the golf partners give a second chance for a missed or unexpected tee shot, it terms Mulligan. Usually, when golfers play golf for recreation they use this rule but the number of mulligans for a round is limited or given only for the first tee shot.
Breakfast ball is one kind of mulligan which specifically used when American golfers play the game on a holiday with friends and families. Generally, they use it only for the first tee shot of the round.
Terms use for defining golf lies
On which lie angle, golfers get a clear vision of the ball’s position and can make complete contact with the clubface while hitting it, is called a good lie.
If the rough area is a little bit deep then it gives a difficult to see the ball’s position clearly which makes trouble for golfers in creating successfully striking the ball, and this lie is termed buried.
When the ball is buried in the rough at a certain lie that lower the backspin of the clubface which results in further travel of the striking ball than an expected distance is called flyer lie.
When a golf ball lands at the bottom of the rough, it’s called a fluffy lie and it is often considered to be a relatively good lie as it allows for clean contact with the clubface.
On a plugged lie, a portion of the ball places below the surface of the turf and is the result of a shot that has gone too high into a soft area.
Fried Egg Lie
The fried egg lie is another type of plugged lie on a sand bunker. In this lie, the flying ball stops immediately after landing without creating any roll or bounce. It can also be called a plugged bunker lie.
On the tight lie, grasses are comparatively short and the green is also hard. It may be good for a few pro golfers but it gives trouble on clean contact that may result in a bounce of the club at aim. So golfers must swing carefully while playing on a tight lie.
On the downhill lie, golfers require to place their front foot a little lower than the back foot which makes an imbalance in body weight for the proper golf stance. Here, players get a lower trajectory and the striking ball goes further from the targetted hole.
On the uphill lie, golfers get the reverse result of the downhill lie because this area has the opposite angle on the downhill.
The preferred lie can also be known as the winter rule for poor rough on non-standard golf courses. On this lie condition, authority arranges only the fair play golf match.
Generally, the lies become unplayable if any animal enters the green areas. If you have to play from that kind of spot due to your previous ball landing in this area, you can drop the ball within two-club-length or back-of-the-line. Besides this issue, you will get a penalty stroke if choose the area for the tee shot.
12 Golfing terms you’ve heard of, but don’t know the meaning
Other general words use while golfing
Ready play means that a golfer has the opportunity to change the team game plan at any time during a round. Ready play is not a new concept. It’s been used in golf for years. It is usually used to give the high-skilled teammate making the best score possible
Order of Play
The order of play is the set of rules that dictates how the players are to be arranged at the beginning of the tournament. It begins with the golfer who tees off first and is followed by the player who hits the longest drive, then the player who plays the shortest drive, and so on. In this case, which golfer plays first is determined by the player’s handicap.
When multiple teams participate in a tournament where every team uses a different golf hole to start their first tee shot, the tournament authority makes a shotgun sound to alert the members to start the game. It is called shotgun start. It helps to maintain a sound pace of play and also lowers the completion time of a round because all players must complete every hole of the golf course. In this type of golf match, all teams finish their golf round at the same time.
When any golfer creates a bump shot due to nervousness, visitor and other players yell “Yips.”
When a golfer’s tee shot hit another player on the course instead of going toward the targetted hole, other golfers make the sound “Fore.” It means to get behind the cover or to duck.
If the striking ball lands at the edge of the targetted hole and rolls just make a circle around it instead of dropping it into the hole, it terms a lip out.
Up and Down
When a player creates the tee shot but misses it, and makes another one but still it requires one more putt to finish the hole is known as up and down in the game of golf.
In this article, we are trying to cover almost all golf terms used while playing it competitively or recreationally. We are sure these words assist beginners and also golf match visitors to provide a better understanding of this tricky but amusing athletic game. Besides, if you want to know in detail please visit our site where you get individual content about the most important terms used in golf.