Before stepping out onto the green and that first tee box, it might do you some good to refresh on the typical golf terms used. Take it from me, ‘sometimes’ I yell “Watch out!” instead of “FORE” after a horrible shot finding its way towards innocent people on a different fairway.
It happens to the best of us so let’s brush up on the usual golf terminology followed by some less commonly used words and phrases for you to use, you know, just in case!
Golf terms for beginners
This is your first shot on a hole, also known as the tee shot. Drivers have the longest shaft and largest club head, making them the fastest-hitting clubs.
The area between the tee box and green that is well-manicured and ideal for hitting the ball.
Long grass that lines the fairways and typically makes playing more difficult.
4. Sand trap or bunker:
A hole filled with sand used to make playing more difficult.
5. Putting green:
The smaller, well-manicured area around the hole where you will be finishing your game.
This is what you’re trying to hit the ball into!
Also known as a pin, this is the tall stick in the ground that has a flag on top of it, used to mark the location of the hole.
The number of strokes it should take a skilled player to complete the hole.
One stroke over par.
10. Double bogey:
Two strokes over par.
11. Triple bogey:
Three strokes over par.
One stroke under par.
Two strokes under par.
Three strokes under par. (Also known as a double eagle.)
Hitting the ball into the hole in one shot.
Golf Terminology During Play
Now that we’ve gone over some of the basics, let’s get into some of the more fun golf terms you can use on the course!
A do-over of a shot, typically used when someone hits a really bad shot or if it’s someone’s birthday. (Note: Mulligans are not actually allowed in official games.)
The cry typically shouted when a wayward golf ball is headed towards people who are not playing.
3. Snake eyes:
When your ball ends up in the hole after hitting off of a putt.
A request to have a short putt counted as a made shot without actually having to putt the ball.
A person who significantly underplays their skill level in order to make the game more challenging (and usually more fun) for themselves and others.
6. chili dip:
When a ball hits the lip of a bunker and goes backwards instead of forward into the sand.
7. worm burner:
A low shot that doesn’t get much air time before hitting the ground and scooting along it.
An amateur or beginner golfer.
Someone who plays golf often but doesn’t have a very good skill level.
A type of course built on sandy soil with few trees or other obstacles, typically found in Scotland.
When the ball is hit off-center of the club, causing it to fly off at a sharp angle to the right (for right-handed golfers).
A sudden loss of control over muscle movements, often associated with putting.
13. Fat shot:
When the club head hits the ground before hitting the ball, causing the ball to fly high and land short of where you intended.
A very bad shot.
Choosing a club that is too powerful for the shot you’re trying to make, often resulting in a poor shot.
17. Punch shot:
A low-flying shot used when there are obstacles in the way, such as trees.
18. Snap hook:
A ball that hooks sharply to the left (for right-handed golfers).
19. Top it:
When the club hits the top of the ball instead of the center, causing it to fly off at a sharp angle and not go very far.
Swinging at the ball and missing it entirely.
Golf Club Terminology
Here are different parts of a typical golf club you should know:
The part of the club that makes contact with the ball.
The part of the club where the shaft meets the clubhead.
3. Pitching wedge:
A short-iron club used for accurate, high-flying shots.
4. Sand wedge:
A speciality club used for shots from sand traps.
The club used for final, short strokes on the putting green.
The longest and most powerful golf club, used for tee shots on long holes.
7. Fairway wood:
A medium-length golf club used for shots from the fairway or rough.
A club that combines features of a fairway wood and an iron, used for longer shots than an iron but more accuracy than a fairway wood.
A short- to medium-length golf club used for accurate approach shots.
10. Lob wedge:
A speciality club used for high-flying, soft landing shots around the green.
A general term for any short-iron club, including the pitching wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge.
A general term for any long-club, including the driver and fairway woods.
Bonus Golf Terms For Extra Credit
The main building on a golf course where players can change shoes, use the restroom, and grab a bite to eat or drink.
The bar in the clubhouse where players often congregate after a round of golf to recount their best (and worst) shots over a cold beer or two.
Now that you know some key golf terms, you’re ready to hit the links! Get out there and practice your swing! And remember, have fun!