Golf Terms And Meanings: Beginners Need To Know

Golf is a sport that many people enjoy. People of all ages and abilities can play it. When you are new to golf, there are many terms that you may need to become more familiar with. There are so many rules and different types of clubs it takes time to figure out where to start. However, with practice and patience, anyone can learn to play golf. 

But it’s essential to learn the basic golf terms at the initial stage. Doing so allows you to communicate better with other players and your coach and follow along when others discuss the game. Plus, it can make learning the game and improving your skills much more accessible. 

This article will explain some of the most common golf terms and their meanings. We can give you a 100% guarantee that investing some time in our shortlisted basic golf terms will be a lifetime investment. So let’s start to invest your time in learning basic golf terms.

Jump To

A B C D E F G H L M N O P R S T U W Y Z

You May Also Like: How To Play Golf


A to Z Golf Terms And Meanings For Beginners


[A]


Ace: A golf ace is defined as a hole-in-one. It is when the golfer hits the ball into the cup with one stroke. If a tee-to-cup hit following a lost ball, an out-of-bounds, or a water hazard, that’s not considered an ace or hole-in-one. With one stroke hitting the ball into the cup is regarded as an excellent shot, and the player usually receives a lot of applause from onlookers. 

Address: Address in golf is taking a final position before swinging the golf ball. It is a crucial part of the game and can significantly impact how successful a player is.

Learn more about address here

Adjusted Gross Score: Your “adjusted gross score” is simply your score for the round, minus any handicap strokes that you may have received. For example, if you shot an 80 and received two handicap strokes, your adjusted gross score would be 78.


Source: golfsoftware.com

Aeration: Aeration is the process of making small holes in the ground to allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots of the grass. This helps to keep the grass healthy and looking its best. Aeration is an essential part of golf course maintenance. It can have a significant impact on the quality of the playing surface.

Alternate Shot: Alternate shot is a game in which two players take turns hitting the same ball. The players on each team alternate who hits the ball on each trial, with the player who hits the last shot taking the next one. 

Learn more about Alternate Shot here

Albatross: An albatross or a “Double Eagle” in golf is very rare; only 10% of golfers can do this, and it’s considered one of the most impressive feats a golfer can achieve. It occurs when a golfer scores three strokes under par on a single hole. 

There is no such thing in life as a double eagle. Two eagles side by side is two eagles. Not a double eagle. You don’t say. Oh, I just saw a double elephant over there. There is no doubt what it is; It is albatross.

Padraig Harrington

Approach Shot: An approach in golf is broadest, and all shots start at least 100 yards from the hole. It’s the second and third shots from the fairway in a Par-4 and -5 and doesn’t include tee shots on Par-4 and -5’s. In general. This shot is usually made with an iron or a wedge. Approach shots can be tricky, as they require much accuracy. But when done well, they can result in a birdie( great score) or even an eagle( great score).

Attend the flag: In the game of golf, one of the common courtesies that are often performed is called “attending the flag.” This simply means that when another player is putting, you will hold and then remove the flag while they put it. 

Attest: Attest is affirming or certifying as authentic, genuine, or valid. In golf, attest is used in two ways. The first way is to empower that a scorecard is accurate. This is done by the player’s marker or another player who witnessed the score. The second way is to serve as a witness to a rule infraction.


[B]


Backswing: The backswing is rotational while the clubs work around the body. You must rotate your body, shoulders, and hips, move your golf clubs around the body, and finally hit the ball. Here is Rick Sheils’s complete guide on the backswing. See this video.

Backspin: Sometimes reverse spin is applied to the ball, which prevents it from bouncing forward after landing. This is called backspin. 

Backfoot: When playing golf, the back foot refers to the golfer’s foot farthest from the target. This can be seen in the illustration, where the back foot would be the one to the right. Rearfoot placement is vital because it helps determine the angle of attack and can affect the ball’s trajectory. A good backfoot post can help a golfer to hit the ball with more power and accuracy.

Back Nine: Backnine is the final nine holes on an eighteen-hole course. 

Ball-marker: A ball-marker is a small token used to mark the position of a golf ball on the green before lifting it. Ball markers help golfers to avoid leaving marks on the green when they move their ball out of the way, and they also allow players to find their ball more quickly after it has been hit. There are many different ball markers available, and golfers can choose the one that best suits their needs.



Ball-washer: A ball-washer is a device used to clean golf balls. It comes with most tee boxes and is easy to use. Place the golf ball in the washer and rotate it until it is clean. Some ball washers have a brush attached to help remove dirt and grime from the ball. Ball washers are essential to keeping your golf balls clean and in good condition.

Barber: Barbering in golf refers to talking excessively during the round. This can be highly annoying to the other players in your foursome. To avoid disrupting the game, you must be aware of how much you are talking and try to limit yourself.

Barkie: When playing golf, sometimes your ball will hit a tree. If you can still complete the hole with a par, this is called a “barkie.” A barkie can be a lucky shot, but it is also a sign of a good golfer who can control their images.

Beach: A beach in golf is commonly referred to as a sand trap. It is an area of the course that is usually filled with sand to make it more difficult for the player. Beaches can come in all different sizes and can be found all over the world. They are often considered one of the most challenging obstacles on a golf course. 

Birdie: When the player scores one stroke under par on any given hole. 

Bogey: A bogey is a hole played in just one stroke over par. For example, if a spot has a par of 4 and you take five strokes to complete the fix, your score for that hole is a bogey. Bogeys are relatively common, and nothing to be ashamed of – even the best golfers in the world will have plenty of them!

Break: When golfers talk about a break, they refer to the curve resulting from a green slope. 

Bump and run: You bump the ball and want it to roll. You can learn more about bump and run by watching this video.

Bunker: Bunker, also known as a sand trap, is a hazard on a golf course that consists of a depression in the ground that is usually filled with sand. Bunkers are considered obstacles that can make it more difficult for a golfer to hit the ball, and as such, they are governed by a set of rules in the game of golf. No worries! If you have enough time to learn more, watch a video of Rick Sheils’s three straightforward tips to get out of bunkers!

In golf, the term “bye” is used in tournaments. The player who draws a “bye” is allowed to advance to the next round without playing an opponent. 


[C]


Caddie: A caddie helps a golfer by carrying their clubs and advising them on the best way to play the course. 

Carry: Carry is essential in golf, as it determines how far the ball will travel through the air. It is affected by wind speed and direction, club head speed, and angle of attack. The carry of a shot can be affected by both positive and negative factors, so it is essential to be aware of both when planning your shot. 

Casual water: Casual water is any temporary accumulation of water on the golf course that is not part of a water hazard. This type of water is visible before or after a player takes her stance. It can come from rain, sprinklers, or even a hose left on the ground. If your ball lies in casual water, you can move it to a nearby spot that is not affected by the water.

Chip: In golf, the term “chip” refers to a specific type of shot. A chip shot is very short, lofted shot, usually played from near the green, that is meant to go a short distance and land softly. 

Choke: Choke is a term used in golf to describe when a player loses their nerve and performs poorly in a tournament or competition. It is often used about players who have a lead but then collapse under pressure and lose the event. Choke can be a very frustrating experience for golfers, as it is often down to mental rather than physical factors.

Chunk: Chunk is a type of shot that frustrates every golfer. This happens when the grass is damp and muddy. To avoid chunking, watch this video immediately.

Closed Face: A fast face occurs when the clubface is angled more towards the body than it is to the target. This can happen when the hands are too close to the body, or the club is gripped too tightly. A closed face can cause the ball to slice or fade. Extend the arms away from the body to fix a fast look and grab the club lightly.

Course rating: Course rating is a system in golf that assigns a numerical value to a golf course of standard playing difficulty based on the performance of scratch players. It is used by amateur and professional golfers to estimate their potential or actual playing ability on any given course. The USGA Course Rating System is the most common course rating system in the United States.

Club: The club is an instrument used to hit the ball in golf. It is also one of the more critical aspects of the game, as it can affect a shot’s distance and accuracy. Many clubs are available, like driver, iron, wedge, a hybrid club, etc. Each with its advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right club for a particular shot can be the difference between success and failure on the golf course.

You May Also Like: Which Golf Club To Use When

Clubhead: It is the portion of a golf club that makes contact with the ball. It is also known as the head. The club head is attached to the shaft of the club and is usually made of metal. The size, weight, and shape of the clubhead are important factors in determining the trajectory and distance of a shot.

Clubface: It is one of the most important aspects of a golf swing. It is the angle of the clubface relative to the club’s shaft. If the clubface is square to the shaft, it will produce a straight shot. If the clubface is open or closed relative to the shaft, it will produce a hook or a slice, respectively. Thus, the clubface is a critical element in achieving proper ball flight. 


[D]


Divot: It is a small turf cut or dislodged by the club during a stroke. It usually results in a corresponding depression in the ground.

Dogleg: Dogleg is a golfing term used to describe a hole that bends to the left or right. The land’s natural contours create most doglegs, but some are artificial. Doglegs can be found on both 9-hole and 18-hole courses. 

Double Bogey: A double bogey is the score one gets for completing a hole two strokes over par. This can happen if a golfer hits their ball into water or sand or if they have a bad day and miss a few shots. A double bogey is not as good as a bogey, but it is still better than a triple bogey, which is three strokes over par.

Double eagle: It means when a player hits the ball three strokes under par. This is also known as an albatross. Double eagles are rare and only happen when a player hits their ball just right. When a double eagle occurs, it’s a memorable moment for the player and everyone watching.

Down: It refers to the number of strokes or holes a golfer has behind his opponents. 

Draw: This term is known as a pairing; golfers are paired together for a match-play tournament. 

Drive: In golf, the drive is the name of the stroke with maximum force to hit the ball off the tee. It is sometimes also referred to as a tee shot.


[E]


Eagle – Eagle is the term used in golf for scoring two strokes under par on a hole.

Fade: Fade in golf is a shot that starts to the right of the target and then curves back to the left. It is the opposite of a draw, which begins to the left of the target and then turns back to the right. To hit a fade, you need to grip the club differently than you would for a draw. For a fade, your left hand should be lower on the club than your right hand.


[F]


Fairway: A fairway in golf is a defined golf course area between the tee box and the green. 

Fat in golf refers to hitting the ground before the ball, resulting in a loss of distance. While it may seem like a small mistake, fat shots can add up and result in a significantly higher score.

Fescue: Fescue is a common grass found on many golf courses. It is a tough grass that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. It is also a very dense grass, which makes it difficult for balls to penetrate through it. This can often lead players to chip out of the rough instead of hitting their shots from the fairway.

Flash Trap: A flash trap is a shallow, small sand bunker found on a golf course. It is usually located near the green or in the fairway. 

Flight: It’s an act of hitting the ball into the air. Flight is affected by many factors, such as wind speed and direction, club head speed, and angle of attack. 

Fore: Fore! It’s a shout you might hear on a golf course when a player’s shot threatens another player. 

Four balls: Fourball is a form of play ( in either match play or stroke play) involving partners where you and your partner compete together as a side with each of you playing your ball, and your side’s score for a hole is the lower score of the two of you on that hole. 

Foursomes: A foursome in golf is a team of four golfers playing together in one game. 

Fried Egg: A fried egg is when your ball lands in the rough, and it’s partially buried. 

Front Nine: The front nine is the first hole through nine holes of a golf course.


[G]


Get Legs: This term refers to hitting the ball with enough force to make it travel a long distance. 

GHIN: Golf Handicap Information Network. Learn more here.

Gimme: Gimme is a term used in golf to indicate when players can pick up their ball without counting the stroke. 

Golf clubs: Golf clubs are the tools of the game of golf. A golfer can carry maximum of 14 clubs on the golf course. They come in many different shapes and sizes, and each club is designed for a specific purpose. There are driver clubs, which are used to hit long ball distances; iron clubs, which are used for accurate, mid-range shots; wedge clubs, which are used for short, high-shots; and putter clubs, which are used for delicate shots on the green.

Golf Simulator: A golf simulator is a system that allows users to play golf indoors by using a computer to track the ball’s trajectory and predict its landing spot. Golf simulators can be used for practice and for playing virtual rounds of golf on actual or simulated courses. They are also becoming increasingly popular as a means of entertainment, with some locations even offering food and drink service along with their simulator usage.

You May Also Like: How Does A Golf Simulator Work



Green – This term refers to the putting surface where putts are played.


[H]


Handicap: A handicap is a numerical measure of an amateur golfer’s potential playing ability based on the tees played for a particular course. The higher the handicap, the greater the number of strokes above par that the golfer is expected to score. A golfer with a handicap of 0 is known as a scratch golfer, and one with a handicap of 10 or more is usually considered a beginner.

Hazard: Hazard is defined as any natural or artificial feature, like any bunker or permanent water on a golf course, that can affect the progress of a player’s shot. 

Hole: This term refers to when the ball rests in a type of circular 4.25 inches cup on the green, and the player has completed that stroke.

Hole in one: This term refers to when the golfer hits the ball into the cup with one shot. 

Hook: Hook is a term used in golf to describe a shot that curves dramatically from right to left.


[L]


Lie: A lie in golf is the position of a ball resting on the ground relative to the play of the hole. 

Local Rules: Local rules in golf are typically set by the governing body of the course or tournament you are playing in. 

Loft: Loft in golf is the angle between the face of the club and the shaft. It is what determines how high the ball will go. The higher the loft, the higher the ball will go. Most Driver clubs have a loft between 8 and 15 degrees. The standard Driver loft is 12 degrees. 

Loose Impediments: In golf, a loose impediment is defined as a natural object that does not adhere to the ground and is not part of the equipment of the player or caddie. 

LPGA: Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) is the oldest and largest professional golf organization for women in the world. 


[M]


Marker: A marker is a small, usually round object that is used to mark the location of the ball on the ground in the sport of golf. It is also known as a coin or a disc. The marker is placed on the ground behind the ball, and it is used to help the player determine where to hit the ball. It is also used to help the player keep track of their shots and avoid hitting the ball into the water or other hazards. 

Mixed Foursome: A mixed foursome is a type of golfing foursome in which two men and two women play together.

Mulligan: Mulligan is a term used in golf that allows a player to retake their shot without penalty.  

M.Y.O.F: Make Your Foursome. 


[N]


Net Score: In golf, the net score is the score a player has after taking into account their handicap deducted. 


[O]


O.B. / Out of Bounds: In golf, the out-of-bounds rule is simple: if your ball goes out of bounds, you must take a one-stroke penalty and play your next shot from where the ball went out of bounds. 

Offset: A golf offset is when the clubface is positioned behind the shaft. This gives the player more power and accuracy. It is a popular technique used by many golfers. An offset can also help to correct a slice.


[P]


Par: Par is the number of strokes that a golfer should be able to complete a hole in. For example, if a hole has a par of 4, the average golfer should be able to finish the hole in 4 strokes.

Pawky: Pawky is a Scottish word that describes someone crafty, cunning, or mischievous. 

Penalty stroke: This term means when a player breaks one of the rules of play. The player is penalized by adding an extra stroke to their score for that hole.

P.G.A. of America: Professional Golfers Association of America.

Pick & Drop: Pick and drop is a golfing term that refers to picking up your ball after hitting it, then dropping it back onto the ground. 

Pick Up: This term refers to picking up your ball and leaving the course without completing the hole. 

Pin: “pin” defines the flagstick inserted into the hole.

Pitch: A pitch in golf is hitting the ball within 50 yards into the green with high accuracy.

Preferred Lie: Preferred lie in golf is a rule that allows a player to improve their lie on the fairway. This can be done by moving the ball to a more favorable position or taking a free drop within one club length of the original lie. The preferred lie rule is often used when bad weather or the fairway is damaged.

Provisional Ball: It is played in case the player’s original ball may be lost outside or he is unaware. 

Pull: This means when the ball is hit to the left of the intended target. 

Punch shot: In golf, a punch shot is a low-trajectory shot used to avoid obstacles, such as trees.

Putter: A putter is a golf club used to make short strokes to roll the ball into the hole. It is the most temporary club in a golfer’s bag. It has the lowest loft, making it useful for close shots. “putter” comes from the verb “to putt,” which means gently striking a golf ball smoothly. 

P.Y.O. P: In golf, “P.Y.O.P.” stands for “Pick Your Partner.” This means that players can choose their partners for the game rather than being assigned one. 


[R]


Rough: The areas of longer grass that are often strategically placed around the fairway and green. 


[S]


Sandbagger: A player who intentionally plays below their skill level to handicap themselves and give themselves an unfair advantage over other players. 

Sandy: Sandy is the term used for the dry, loose sand that is found in bunkers. This type of sand is different from the wet, heavy sand found in beach volleyball. 

Scramble: In golf, a scramble is a type of game in which players form teams and take turns hitting the ball. 

Scratch Golfer: A Scratch golfer has a zero handicap, meaning they can play to a course par. 

Shamble: This term refers to a technique used to hit the ball more efficiently. It is often used by players who are not as strong as other players in the game. By using this technique, the player can keep their balance and swing through the ball more easily. 

Slice: Slice is a type of shot in golf where the ball curves to the right of the target. 


[T]


Tee: A tee is a small peg that is used to support the ball when hitting it with a driver or fairway wood. 

Temporary Green: This term refers to an area of the course that has been temporarily seeded with grass to allow play to continue during inclement weather or periods of course maintenance. 

Top/topped: When the club head strikes the ball in the center, resulting in a low shot. 

TPC/Tournament Players Club: The Tournament Players Club, or TPC, is a golfing organization that runs competitions and organizes events for professional golfers. 


[U]


Up and Down: The terms “up” and “down” refer to the number of strokes a player takes to complete a hole. If a player takes more strokes than par for a hole, they are said to be “over par.” If a player takes fewer strokes than par for a hole, they are said to be “under par. 

U.S.G.A.: The United States Golf Association (USGA) is the national governing body for golf in the United States. 


[W]


Wedge: A wedge is a club that is designed to hit the ball high in the air. Wedge clubs are most often used by amateur and professional golfers who want to hit long irons or high-percentage shots over the green. Watch this video to know more about wedges. 

Whiff: It can be described as a missed opportunity to make a putt because of an error in your stroke. Some people consider whiffing to be a form of bad luck, while others believe that it’s simply a result of making mistakes. 

Windcheater: It’s a shot that starts low and rises only toward the end of the shot. Windcheater is played with strong backspin, and it is a good way to get around a windy course. 

Worm Burner: It’s a shot that rolls along the ground, similar to a putt. It is used as an alternative to putting due to its short distance and ease of execution.


[Y]


Yips: It’s a term used in golf to describe any instance of shakiness or nervousness that can affect a player’s ability to make a shot. 

[Z]

Zoomie: When most golfers hit a drive, they aim at the center of the green and hope for the best. 

James Krig is a skilled content writer at Nattygolf, known for his engaging storytelling and passion for golf. With ten years of experience, James offers insightful articles that captivate and educate readers. As a dedicated golfer, he brings authenticity and expertise to his writing, making him a valuable asset to the Nattygolf team and the golf community.

Leave a Comment