Golf can be a very confusing sport to learn, especially if you are not familiar with all terminology. We will cover everything from clubs to swings to putting.
So, whether you are just starting or need a refresher, read on for a comprehensive guide to golf terminology!
Golf Terminologies You Need To Know
To enjoy and reap all the amazing health and fitness benefits of golf, it is essential to ensure you are familiar with the most commonly used golf terminology.
The table below contains the must-know golf terminology for beginners. Often review these keywords, particularly if you are new to the game of golf.
|Must-Know Golf Terminology||Meaning|
|Birdie||In stroke play, a score of one-under-par on a hole. Two strokes win a hole against an opponent in match play. It’s also used in the form of a verb, as in “He birdied the final hole to win by one shot.”|
|Bogey||In stroke play, a score of one-over-par on a hole. A hole is lost by one stroke against an opponent in match play. It’s also used in the form of a verb, as in “She bogeyed the final hole to lose by one shot.”|
|Chip Shot||A short, high shot designed to travel a relatively short distance and land softy on or near the green. It’s often used when the ball is just off the green, and there’s not enough room for a full swing.|
|Eagle||In stroke play, a score of two-under-par on a hole. Three strokes win a hole against an opponent in match play. It’s very rare in either format.|
|Fairway||The well-manicured section of the course between the tee box and the green. It’s usually shorter and more forgiving than the rough.|
|Green||Where the hole is located. It’s usually a small, smoothly manicured area surrounding the cup.|
|Hole||The 4.25-inch diameter opening you’re trying to hit the ball into. It also refers to the entire length of the hole, from tee to green.|
|Lip||The edge of the hole. If your ball is on the lip, it’s hanging over the hole but hasn’t fallen in yet.|
|Match Play||A competition format in which players compete on a hole-by-hole basis, with the winner of each hole earning a point.|
|Par||The number of strokes that a scratch golfer should need to complete a hole. It’s usually between 3 and 5, with 4 being the most common. So, for example, a par-5 hole is one that a scratch golfer should be able to birdie 50% of the time.|
|Putt||A shot designed to roll the ball along the ground and into the hole. It’s usually hit with a putter, hence the name.|
|Rough||The taller grass on either side of the fairway. It makes it more difficult to hit the ball cleanly and can add strokes to your score.|
|Sand Trap||A bunker filled with sand. It’s usually located near the green and is used to make approach shots more difficult.|
|Scramble||A team competition format in which players take turns to hit the ball, and then everyone plays their ball into the hole. The team that has the lowest score on each hole wins the point for that hole, and the team that has the most points at the end of the round wins the match.|
|Shot||A general term is used to describe any stroke made with a club. It can also refer to the distance that the ball travels. For example, “He hit a 200-yard shot into the rough.”|
|Stroke Play||A competition format in which players compete to see who can shoot the lowest score throughout 18 holes. It’s the most common format in professional golf.|
|Tee Shot||The first shot on each hole is usually hit from a tee. It’s designed to get the ball onto the fairway and set up a good approach shot.|
|Water Hazard||A body of water, such as a lake or river, that’s used to make a hole more difficult. It usually comes into play on longer holes. If your ball goes into the water, you have to take a one-stroke penalty and drop the ball elsewhere.|
|Hole in One||A hole in one is when the golfer hits the ball from the tee and goes into the hole on the first try. This is also called an “ace.” It is a very rare feat and usually only happens to professional golfers.|
|Tee Box||This is the starting point of each hole. A tee box is usually a raised area of grass where your ball can sit comfortably without being obstructed by long grass or other hazards.|
|Three Putt||It takes a player three strokes to get the ball into the hole from the green.|
|Aerial Shot||An aerial shot is a golf shot in which the ball is hit very high.|
|Albatross||Also known as a double eagle. This happens when a player hits the ball three strokes under par on a hole.|
|Flag||The flag is the golf hole.|
|Caddy||A caddy is someone who carries a golfer’s clubs for them during a round of golf. Most professional golfers have caddies, but recreational golfers usually do not.|
|Mulligan||A mulligan is a do-over. It’s usually used when a player hits a really bad shot and wants to take another shot without counting the first one.|
|Hook||A hook is a shot that curves to the left for a right-handed golfer (or to the right if you’re left-handed).|
|Slice||A slice is the opposite of a hook – it’s a shot that curves to the right-hand side for a right-handed golfer (or to the left if left-handed). It’s also caused by a combination of factors, including an improper grip, an incorrect clubface angle at impact, and an outside-in swing path.|
|Draw||A draw is a shot that starts to the left of the target for a right-handed golfer (or to the right if you’re left-handed) and then curves back toward the target. A draw is usually the result of a good grip, an open clubface at impact, and an inside-to-outside swing path.|
|Fade||A fade is the opposite of a draw – it’s a shot that starts to the right of the target for a right-handed golfer (or to the left if you’re left-handed) and then curves back toward the target. As a draw, a fade is usually the result of a combination of factors, including a good grip, an open clubface at impact, and an inside-to-outside swing path.|
|Pitch Shot||A pitch shot is a high, soft shot used to get the golf ball near the hole when you’re near the green but can’t reach it in one shot. A successful pitch shot will land softly and roll very little. To hit a good pitch shot, you need to use a lofted club (like a pitching wedge or sand wedge), make contact with the ball just behind its center, and slightly hit down on the ball.|
|Chip Shot||A chip shot is similar to a pitch shot, but it’s usually hit with a less lofted club and doesn’t go as high in the air. Instead, a good chip shot will land softly and roll a lot. To hit a good chip shot, you need to use a less lofted club (like a 7-iron or 8-iron), make contact with the ball just ahead of its center, and hit upon the ball slightly.|
|Bunker Shot||A bunker shot is played from a sand trap. To hit a good bunker shot, you need to make contact with the sand just behind the ball, open up the clubface, and hit down on the ball.|
|Out Of Bounds||This is probably the most frustrating rule in golf. If your ball lands out of bounds, you must take a one-stroke penalty and play your next shot from where the previous one was played.|
See also: Top 5 Golf Grips for Sweaty Hands.
So there you have it! Learning these will help you understand the game better, but it will also make you sound like a pro when you’re out on the course!
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