Game Guide

The origin of golf is hotly debated as many different cultures had games that involved hitting balls with sticks toward goals. It is likely a combination of two or three of these games. Generally accepted is that the modern day game began development in the 12th century in Scotland. According to historical accounts, shepherds would knock rocks into holes with sticks where St. Andrews Golf Club resides today.

Golf has turned into a multimillion dollar business as it is played today by millions of people around the world. Golf is a game played on an outdoor course with a series of 9 or 18 holes. The objective is to hit a small, hard ball with the use of various clubs into each hole with as few strokes as possible.

Golf Glossary

Golf Games Glossary A

putting the ball in the hole in one shot.
refers to the player's stance prior to taking a golf ball shot.
term for partner's score.
jargon for golf swing that misses the ball—a definite oops!
the positioning of the club and the alignment of your body.
a player who plays competitively, but not for money.
Approach Shot
hitting the ball in the direction of the green, attempting to get as close as possible to the hole.
Apron or Fringe
refers to the grassy section around the putting surface.
to play the game with a gung-ho attitude.
lingo for easy score/putt.
refers to a player's ball that is the longest distance from the hole and therefore, will be shooting first.

Golf Games Glossary B

Back Door
jargon for a putt that takes a trip around the hole and plops in the back way.
Back Lip
term for a bunker edge that is the longest distance from the hole.
Bail Out
lingo for side stepping or escaping a trouble spot.
weighing about 1.60 ounces and measuring 1.68 in. in diameter, a golf ball is made of rubber with outside pockmarks known as dimples.
Ball in Play
occurs as soon as the ball is hit from the tee.
Ball Marker
used to mark the spot of your ball while fellow player(s) play on.
Ball Retriever
used to recover golf balls that have lost their way, this equipment is a pole with a net attached to it.
Baseball Grip
gripping a golf club with the same technique used to grip a baseball bat with all ten fingers aligned evenly on the club handle.
golf games glossary term for a sand hazard.
refers to 'whacking' the ball with aggressive power.
term for the action of hitting a slice or hook.
Best Ball
a method of play in which any member of the team hits from the best shot.
putting the ball in the hole at one shot less than par.
Bird's Nest
lingo for a deep grass lie of the ball.
refers to a contest that awards point(s) for either an eagle or birdie.
term for a handicap stroke taken after the player announces his/her intent.
lingo for the area of an iron used to hit the golf ball.
Blast or Explosion Shot
taken from a sand trap, this shot brings along a bunch of sand with it.
Blind Bogey
contest where a random score is drawn and the golfer who matches or comes closest is declared the winner.
Blind Hole
golf games glossary reference to a hole on the putting green that cannot be viewed.
putting the ball in the hole one shot more than par.
refers to an 'overshot' putt resulting from a hard hit.
lingo for a calculated putt to the side of the hole while considering the curve of the green.
refers to a 'pretend' line marking the play area of the course wherein a ball is considered out of bounds.
a shot that begins badly, but after deflecting off an object, places the player back in the game. A bad shot turns good.
the way the green is contoured that determines how the ball will roll.
Bump and Run
the act of the ball bumping or landing on the ground at the end of a shot and rolling the rest of the way toward the intended target.
an area of play that is considered abnormal, typically a sand trap.
a short shot as planned by the player.
golf games glossary term for 2 strokes over par for the hole.
an easy move to the next round in a tournament and this player didn't have to take a swing.
Bye Holes
refers to holes that need not be played as an early winner is declared.

Golf Players Terms C

someone who carries clubs for a player and in some cases advises on which club to use.
upper part of the club grip/shaft.
refers to the ever present and important golf player's scorecard.
expansive area of green grass on the golf course.
distance of a soaring golf ball before landing on the ground.
can refer to a golf cart, which is a small vehicle driven around a course or can also refer to a manual cart that players place their clubs in to pull or push around the course as they walk it.
Casual Water
water that is not always present on a course, typically formed by rain run offs.
refers to a come-from-behind tournament winner.
the amount of backspin on a ball, causing the ball to stop where hit.
Chili-dip or Fat shot
jargon for a missed golf shot where the club head hits the ground before it strikes the golf ball. The result is a feeble, lofted shot.
golf players' term for a short-range shot normally hit close to the green.
a chip shot that travels a long distance after landing on its way to the hole.
Chip in
term for chip shot hit into hole.
occurs when the club is gripped further down the handle.
term for hitting the ball sharply to get up some spin.
refers to a golf shoe spike.
Closed Face
refers to the clubface turned left for right-handed golfers, or right for left-handed golfers.
Closed Stance
refers to a golfer's stance=turned left for right-handed golfers, or right for left-handed golfers.
equipment consisting of a head, shaft and grip used to hit that dimpled ball.
the flat part of the head of the golf club that hits the ball.
describes the sand trap edge or area near the putting surface.
triple eagle, four strokes under par. It's a miracle—congrats!
Control Shot
more exact, less power is the key to this golf shot.
refers to an established 18 holes and the area where they are located.
Course Rating
comparison of golf course difficulty and the basis for calculating handicaps.
Cross Bunker
term for a long, narrow bunker that crosses the fairway.
a grip in which the left hand if placed below the right or vice versa for left handed golfers.
golf players terms for plastic piece in the hole where the ball ends up.
refers to the designated score that permits a player to continue a tournament. Example
if a player's score is lower than the designated score, he/she moves on whereas if higher, he/she misses the cut.
Cut In
term for an accurate approach golf shot.
Cut Shot
shot that travels left to right for right-handed players.

Golf Players Terms D

refers to a hit that comes to an abrupt stop upon landing.
Dead Ball
jargon for a ball that is certain to be in the hole on the next turn.
it's in the hole in 2 strokes.
the indentions on a golf ball that provide stability during flight.
a chunk of the grass/turf taken out by the club after a shot.
a hole that turns left or right from the tee in which the green is not visible from the tee box.
occurs during match play when a player is ahead by the number of holes left to play.
Double Bogey
two strokes above set par.
Double Eagle
golf players terms for three strokes under par.
term for the number of holes that a player remains behind his/her challenger.
motion from the height of the backswing to the contact with the ball.
refers to the process of matching challengers for a tournament.
Draw Shot
refers to the flight path of the ball where it curves skillfully right-to-left for a right-handed player, or left-to-right for a left-handed player.
first shot on each hole, made from the tee box, typically hit as far as possible.
if you are looking for distance, this is the club, #1 wood to use.
Driving Range
place that golf players go to practice.
term for placing the ball back into play after a previous shot ball has been lost or determined to be unplayable.
golf players terms for a weak or missed golf shot.
Duck Hook
a sharp hook, normally at a low trajectory.
a weak golfer, also known as a hacker.
lingo for a ball 'taking a bath' or landing into a water hazard.

Golf Game Terms E

two strokes under par and cause for celebration!
another name for par.
Explosion or Blast
lingo for a shot that resembles an explosion, from the bunker, that sends sand and hopefully, the ball toward the green.
Extra Hole
additional play to determine a winner of a tie match/round.

Golf Game Terms F

refers to the hitting section of a club head.
a shot hit that crosses from one direction to the other.
the short cut area of the course, well maintained, so that the ball has an ideal place to land.
Fairway Wood
term for a wood club as opposed to a driver.
a swing and a miss on this shot.
lengthy, air-bound hit that drops gently on the green.
group of tournament players.
abbreviation for flagstick.
stick with a flag on the end of it used to mark the location of the hole.
golf game terms for the part of a club head that juts out from the rear.
Flash Trap
jargon for a shallow sand trap.
refers to the bend in the club shaft.
a very long shot that has minimal spin.
Flier Lie
refers to a hit ball that lands in the grass or rough.
term for a group of 16 tournament players who play at the same level of ability.
Flip Shot
refers to a quick, hit golf shot.
lingo for a weak shot.
term for that part of the swing after the golf ball is hit.
term yelled to let players know that a shot has been hit.
the match lineup begins with 2 teams of 2 players who challenge the better ball of each team against the other.
a group of 4 golfers who play a round.
Free Drop
term for a drop without a penalty stroke.
area around the green where the grass is slightly higher.
Frog Hair
refers to the short grass at the edge of the green.
Front Nine
lingo for golf course holes #1-9.

Golf Game Terms G

this is the group of spectators or golf watchers.
an easy shot that cannot be missed. Typically a shot that is such a short distance from the hole there is no reason to hit it.
Goldie Bounce
a shot where the ball strikes a tree or obstruction and ends up on the fairway instead of in the rough.
Golf Club
a stick with a flat face used to strike the golf ball.
Goose Neck
term for a club with a slight curve.
Grand Slam
refers to the 4 major tournies
Masters, British Open, US Open and PGA.
jargon for a powerful shot coming in low.
well-kept, close-cropped area close to the flag where putting takes place.
Green Fees
price you pay for playing the course.
terms for section of the shaft where the club is held or a player's clasp of the club.
calculation of strokes made on a round minus the golfer's handicap=net score.

Golf Game Terms H

Half Shot
occurs using a half-swing that is a motion where the club does not go all the way back.
occurs when both sides in match play take an equal number of strokes on a hole.
reveals the skill of a player; a number used to even the playing field between players not of the same skill level.
Hanging Lie
jargon for a ball landing on a downhill slope.
anything on the golf course that provides difficulty for the golfer. Typically in reference to a water hazard or bunker.
golf game terms for area of the club that connects with the golf ball.
refers to the area of the head nearest the shaft of a golf club.
the end destination for the golf ball, located on the green, containing the cup.
Hole in One
the act of putting the ball in the hole with one stroke. Congrats are in order.
Hole Out
ball's in and this play is over. Onward to the next.
term for a ball that's in the cup and below the lip.
Home Green
this is it, the final hole of the golf course.
rule that the player who won the hole before is given the honor to play first, however a coin toss determines the honor for the first tee.
a ball that tails in the opposite direction, typically based on inconsistency in swing or clubface.
the area that connects the clubs shaft to the head of the club.

Golf Game Terms I - K

term for the ball that is nearest to the hole.
Interlocking Grip
grip used in which the pinkie fingers are interlocked.
numbered 2-9, a club with an angle on it, typically made of metal, with the angle increasing depending on number.
jargon for the 'crazy bounce' of the ball after striking an object.

Golf Game Terms L

a lengthy putt with the intention of getting close to the hole, so one short putt will sink the ball.
positioning the ball on purpose in order to gain an advantage or give an optimal shot on the next stroke.
Leader Board
this where the top golfers are listed during a tournament.
where the ball comes to a halt. Deemed good or bad, depending on the location.
path the ball must travel on its way to the hole normally referred to while putting.
Line Up
golf game terms meaning to 'eye' the putting area when planning the best shot.
a course on the coast, a good example being St. Andrews in Scotland.
lingo for upper area around the hole. Don't give me that lip, I want 'all-in'
Lob Shot
refers to a golf shot that is hit to come down near the same area that it was hit upwards because of the restricted area to make a shot.
jargon for the distance and arc as the ball 'sails' through the air after a hit.
Long Game
term for the portion of a golf game where shots and distance are the focus.
Long Irons
if distance is your focus, then irons are the key.
Loose Impediment
a small item such as a twig, leaf or rock that is in the player's way that can be moved in most cases.
Lost Ball
a common occurrence of the game. Ruled lost if not found in 5 minutes or the player cannot state for certain that it belongs to him/her.
Low Ball and Total
team bet, determined by the best ball of each team and lowest total score by partners.
term for calculation of shots taken. For example, lying 2 is 2 shots taken working on the third.

Golf Game Terms M - N

can refer to a rating, ball, scorer in stroke play or a forward limits marker.
Match Play
a team style golf game.
refers to the lowest qualifying score of a tournament player.
Mixed Foursome
both genders, male and female participate in this game.
whoa, that was a weak shot!
a term used to describe a free shot, or a do-over.
term for the narrow part of the club shaft that meets the head.
refers to calculation of a golfer's score minus the handicap from gross total.
Nineteenth Hole
jargon for game that is over and time to relax at the clubhouse.

Golf Game Terms O

game officials who monitor and report any rule violations on the course.
items on the course that could change the course of the ball during play.
golf tournament where both pros and amateurs are welcome to play.
Open Face
angling the clubface away from your body.
lingo for playing the first 9 holes of the course--out from the clubhouse.
Out of Bounds
area marked as not part of the course, typically adjoining the rough but not a playable area.
that club you choose had too much distance on it.
Overlapping Grip
refers to overlapping fingers when gripping the club.

Golf Terms P - Q

Pair or Partner
2 golfers are assigned to play together in a contest.
refers to the set number of strokes it should take to reach the hole from the tee box for an experienced golfer. Total par figures for all holes=par for a course. Examples are approximate for men and women, Par 3=250 yards or 210 yards for women.
Penalty Stroke
1 more stroke added to a player's score due to a violation.
Pick Up
in this situation, the player who picks up the ball is out of the game or in competition and that hole goes to the opponent.
golf terms defined for the flags.
Pin Placement
refers to the location of the hole on a putting green.
game official who monitors pin placement.
a short swing shot, normally high in the air that doesn't use a full swing.
Pitch and Run
golf shot with a decreased arc and no backspin resulting in a roll towards the pin.
Pitching Wedge
term for the iron that is ideal for pitch shots.
golfer's swing motion involving shoulders, mid-section and hips.
Play Off
extra holes played to decide a winner after a tie match.
Play Through
it's just good golf manners to allow the speedier players to move ahead of a slower group.
Plugged Lie
a situation where the ball is half covered.
Plus Handicap
refers to player with a plus handicap who then adds strokes to gross score to calculate the net.
Pot Bunker
jargon for a steep-sided sand trap—a golfer's challenger to be sure.
or pro golfer who either earns a living playing tournaments or giving lessons.
both pros and amateurs play in competition here.
Pro Shop
get your golf equipment and supplies here.
Provisional Ball
substitute golf ball played after one is declared out of bounds or lost.
shot that is not straight but wanders off to the left or right depending on the golfer's use of right or left hands.
golf ball that is low and hit into the wind.
opposite of pull shot.
short shot on the green made with a putter.
Putting Green
close kept area around the hole.
club with a flat face used to knock the ball into the hole from a short distance.
Quail High
refers to a distance shot hit low and flat.

Golf Terms R

jargon for a pro who is required to qualify for tournament play.
to hit a putt decisively.
Read the Green
analyzing the area to decide the putt technique required to sink the ball.
Recovery Shot
you got out of the rough or hazard and are now back on the right course.
chief game official who monitors and calls rule violations for tournaments and matches.
Reverse Overlap
refers to placement of fingers overlapping for a type of grip.
whoa—beautiful shot hit with the right distance and accuracy.
term for the upper edge of the cup where the ball will often roll before —yes, going in!
Rim Out
golf terms defined for the situation where the ball did not drop in—oh no!
Range Finder
tool used to determine the distance between objects on a golf course.
grass adjoining the fairway, kept longer making for a more difficult shot.
a completed game on the course that can be 9 or 18 holes.
Round Robin
golf tournament where the winning player is declared based on of the most matches won versus other golfers.
refers to how long that ball rolls and then lands.
golf shot hit near or trails along the ground upon approaching the hole.

Golf Terms S

Sand Trap
hazard or bunker full of sand, typically close to the hole.
Sand Wedge
club used to knock the ball out of the sand.
jargon for the area where the head and shaft meet on a wood club.
very skillful golf player with a 0 (as in zero) handicap.
occurs when the course turf is hit with a club before the ball.
refers to all the clubs and now you are golf-ready.
golf terms defined for section of the club joined to the head.
lingo for gathering the balls shot from the practice tee.
Shag bag
term for practice balls holder.
striking the ball with the hosel, ending with a bad shot.
Short Game
term for a game focusing more on accuracy than distance.
refers to playing partners for the game.
Sidehill Lie
positioned above or below the player's feet, this ball is on a hill.
match that consists of 2 golfers in competition.
jargon for a hit above the golf ball center, resulting in a long shot.
this shot is hit under the ball resulting in a high, shorter-than-average shot.
a weak shot wherein the club head circles resulting in a shank.
Slice or Banana Ball
poor shot traveling left to right, usually hit with the wrong angle of club.
lingo for a low shot with a 'crazy' bounce.
shot hit down resulting in a short-distance ball.
Snap Hook
refers to a shot that bends right to left or with a left-handed player from left to right.
jargon for a hook shot that drops rapidly.
scoring 8 strokes on one hole, referring to the shape of the number resembling a snowman.
located in the area of the iron neck where the shaft fits.
term for the bottom of the club head.
Spot Putting
occurs when a golfer uses a spot on the green as an aiming point.
golf terms defined for golf ball hit way off line.
term for a tied golf match.
refers to the feet position during the address.
game official who monitors tee-off times and correct playing sequence.
refers to the flagstick.
Stipulated Round
golf played in the correct order from number 1 hole to 18.
golf terms for a close hit near the flagstick.
refers to a swing and hit of the golf ball.
Stroke and Distance
refers to player's loss of a stroke and distance on a penalty that must be replayed.
Stroke Play
contest based on number of strokes and rounds with the win going to the lowest score.
lingo for an obstruction between the ball and flagstick.
Sudden Death
the first golfer to sink a hole is the winner and the game is over.
term for a dip in the course.
Sweet Spot
spot on the club where it is optimal to hit the ball.
the act leading up to striking the ball.

Golf Terms T

refers to the start of a backswing as the club comes off the ground.
Tap In
occurs when the ball just requires a tap of the putter to go in the hole.
small piece of wood where the ball is placed to strike with the driver.
Tee Box
the beginning of a hole where the golfer tees off, usually with his driver.
Teeing Ground
marked section of the course where golfers must tee off.
shot hit above ball center—not a good thing!
sending that shot right between the trees.
Three Ball
refers to 3 golfers=1 contest.
golf terms defined for the tip of the club.
shot hit above the ball center resulting in a hop.
ball movement forward.
skillful player who can place shots accurately—the magic touch!
Touch Shot
refers to a challenging shot hit with precise accuracy.
golf contest that is either match or stroke play.
Triple Bogey
jargon for a score that is 3 over the par for a hole.
Trouble Shot
a shot from a tough position and lie.
moving on to the last of the 9 holes, this player is at the 10th.
2 golfers playing a round.

Golf Terms U - Z

choosing a club that won't go the distance required.
refers to backspin.
Unplayable Lie
can't be done, resulting in a 1-stroke penalty for the unfortunate player.
tally of strokes/holes that a player is ahead of competitors.
Upright Swing
occurs when the club swings back and up from the ball directly.
golf terms defined for club head motion behind and over the ball.
Water Hole
jargon for that water hazard up ahead.
high angled club used to hit short, high, lofty shots.
missing the ball completely with a full stroke.
lingo for a flexible shaft.
Wind Cheater
golf shot that carries backspin into the wind.
a club used to hit the ball a greater distance, although typically made of some sort of light metal now, instead of wood as they were originally made.
Worm Burner
hard shot hit at a low trajectory.
Yardage Rating
calculated by the distance from tee to green.
a shot hit very hard and with great trajectory.