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Degree of resilience of a golf ball.

Abnormal Ground Conditions:

Any casual water, ground under repair or hole,
cast or runway on the course made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird.


A hole in one. Putting the ball in the hole in one stroke.


Position taken by a player prior to hitting a shot. According to the Rules of Golf, a player has "addressed" the ball when he has taken his stance and grounded his club. In a hazard a player is considered to have addressed the ball when he has taken his stance.

Addressing the Ball:

A player has “addressed the ball” when he has grounded his club immediately in
front of or immediately behind the ball, whether or not he has taken his stance.


Any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in
determining his play, the choice of a club or the method of making a stroke. Information on the Rules, distance or matters of public information, such as the
position of hazards or the flagstick on the putting green, is not advice.

Aerify or Coring:

Process of boring small holes into a putting green (or the fairway) in order to improve growth. The process is usually done once or twice per year.


A ball boy or a fore caddy who picks up balls.


An albatross is playing a hole in three under par. That means taking only two shots on a par five hole or getting a hole-in-one on a par four.


Any golfer who plays the game for enjoyment and who does not receive direct monetary compensation due to his or her playing or teaching skills.


Term given to a type of game, played as a team, in which all players play from one position. For example, a team of 4 players all hit drives. The next shot is played, again by all 4 players, from the position of the best drive. Play continues in this manner until the ball is holed.

Angle of Approach (or Attack):

A term that describes the relative angle which the clubhead approaches the ball at impact which, in turn, helps determine the distance and trajectory which the ball travels. (He hit the ball with a sharply descending angle of attack, which caused the ball to fly high enough to carry over the tall trees).


A shot from off the green toward the hole.


The closely mown area encircling a putting green; also called "fringe."


The nearly circular curve around the body made by a golf swing.


When putting, a partner may "attend" by removing the flagstick while you putt.


The player farther from the hole whose turn it is to play.


Generally refers to a straight line (the spine) that the upper body rotates around in the course of the golf swing. (One reason for her consistent ballstriking is that her axis remains in a constant position throughout the swing).

Back Nine:

The final nine holes of an eighteen hole round


Before you hit the ball, the backswing is the part where you begin to move back from the ball, to the point where it starts to move forward.

Bail Out:

You hit a shot to avoid danger, such as a bunker or OB.


A rubber-like substance used as a cover material for golf balls. Pure balata is rarely, if ever, used today. Instead, manufacturers use blends or synthetic material. Many players prefer balata or balata-like covers because it provides a softer feel. And can provide increased spin. (Most of the players in the championship played with balata-covered balls).

Ball at Rest:

After hitting the ball, when the ball comes in a static condition.

Ball at Rest Moved :

Generally when your ball is in play, if you accidentally cause it to move, or you lift it when not permitted, add a penalty stroke and replace your ball.
If someone else than you, your caddie, your partner or your partner's caddie moves your ball at rest, or it is moved by another ball, replace your ball without penalty.
If a ball at rest is moved by wind or it moves of its own accord, play the ball as it lies without penalty.

Ball in Play:

A ball is “in play” as soon as the player has made a stroke on the teeing ground. It remains in play until it is holed, except when it is lost, out of bounds or lifted, or another ball has been substituted, whether or not the substitution is permitted; a ball so substituted becomes the ball in play.

Ball Mark:

Indentation made to the grass/ground on a putting green when a lofted shot lands on the green. Ball marks must be repaired as soon as noticed to properly heal and to maintain a uniform putting surface.


A shot pattern wherein a golf ball accelerates upwards to an unreasonably high trajectory.


A slice, or shot that curves strongly left to right. For some reason, 'banana' always refers to a slice, although a 'hook' is simply a banana facing the other way. Also what professional golfers munch several times a round to maintain their energy levels.

Banana Ball:

A sliced shot that has a flight pattern shaped liked a banana

Baseball Grip:

A grip in which all ten fingers are placed on the grip of the club. (Bob Rosburg was a very successful player who used a baseball grip).

Bent Grass:

Type of grass, characterized by thin blades, found on most courses with varying seasonal climates.

Bermuda Grass:

Type of grass found on most courses located in warmer or tropical climates. Characterized by thick blades and "grainy" surface.


A match in which one player plays against the better ball of two other players or the best ball of three other players.


A score of one under par for a hole.


When the ball stops, rather than rolls, when it lands.

Bladed Shot:

Often referred to as a "skulled" shot, it occurs when the top half of the ball is struck with the bottom portion of an iron, resulting a low-running shot. (She bladed her approach shot but the ball ran onto the green and set up her putt for a birdie.)


A shot made from a bunker.


Shot that goes straight right.


The act of raising and lowering (or lowering and raising) the swing center in the course of the swing. (Because of an inconsistent knee flex in her swing, her bobbing led to inconsistent ball striking).


This means to take one shot more than par for a hole. A double bogey is two shots more, a triple bogey is three shots more, and so on. For example a 6 on a par 5 is a bogey. Note the British used to term bogey as par.


A term referring to how much break will need to be anticipated when lining up a putt.


The position of the wrists at the top of the backswing in which the top wrist is bent slightly inward. (For many years, Tom Weiskopf had a bowed wrist at the top of his backswing).


The curve the ball makes as it rolls toward the hole on the green. Also is a reference to the slope of the green.

British Open:

Golf championship in Britain that is run by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. It is one of the majors.

Bump And Run:

A style of golf shot that is most commonly used on traditional British-style courses. With a bump and run shot the golfers aims well short of the intended target and allows for substantial roll to his shot after its initial landing. The majority of American style courses are designed with "Target" golf shots in mind; ones that allow for higher ball flights and less roll.


Holes with sand in the bottom which are placed around the course as obstacles. They are also called traps.

Buried (Lie):

The lie of a ball, typically in a sand bunker, in which most of it is below the surface. See also "Fried Egg."

Burrowing Animal:

A “burrowing animal” is an animal (other than a worm, insect or the like) that makes a hole for habitation or shelter, such as a rabbit, mole, groundhog, gopher or salamander.
Note: A hole made by a non-burrowing animal, such as a dog, is not an abnormal ground condition unless marked or declared as ground under repair.


A person who carries clubs for a golfer and provides advice regarding the golfer's club selection. Any mistake by him makes the player liable for penalties.


Sole A rounding of the sole of the club to reduce drag. A four-way cambered sole is one that is rounded at every edge of a wood. (The 5-wood had a cambered sole to help it slide through the deep rough).


The distance a ball will fly in the air, usually to carry a hazard or safely reach a target. (Many of the holes at Pine Valley require a substantial carry over waste areas).


When a hole is tied in a match and the bet is carried over to the next hole. (He won the 10th hole as well as the carryover).

Cart Fee:

Similar to a green fee, the fee required to rent a golf cart for either 9 or 18 holes.


An uncocking of the wrists prematurely on the downswing, resulting in a loss of power and control. Also known as "hitting from the top." (Smith had a tendency to swing at and not through the ball, which caused him to cast the club from the top of the swing).

Casual Water:

Any temporary accumulation of water on the course that is visible before or after the player takes his stance. Water in a hazard is not casual water.


A type of iron in which a portion of the back of the clubhead is hollowed out and the weight distributed around the outside edges of the clubhead. (The cavity-back irons were far more forgiving than his old blades).

Center of Gravity:

That point in the human body, in the pelvic area, where the body's weight and mass are equally balanced. (Ian Woosnam has a lower center of gravity than the much-taller Nick Faldo).

Center of Rotation:

The axis or swing center that the body winds and unwinds around during the swing. (A stable center of rotation is an important element is solid ball-striking).

Centrifugal Force :

The action in a rotating body that tends to move mass away from the center. It is the force you feel in the downswing that pulls the clubhead outward and downward, extending the arms and encouraging to take a circular path. (Tiger Woods' swing creates powerful centrifugal force.

Chicken Wing:

A swing flaw in which the lead elbow bends at an angle pointed away from the body, usually resulting in a blocked or pushed shot.


A shot in which a player hits behind the ball, not moving it very far. May also be referred to as a "fat" shot or a "chunk."


A short, generally lofted shot on or near the green.

Chip and Run:

A low-running shot played around the greens where the ball spends more time on the ground than in the air. (She saved par with a beautiful chip and run that ended inches from the hole).


A shot, generally going only a short distance, made from trouble in an attempt to get the ball back in play. Chip-outs are commonly made from trees or similar positions.


To play badly under pressure.


A shot in which a player hits behind the ball resulting in a more turf being removed than desired. The resulting shot is also much shorter than desired. May also be called a "chili-dip."


A fairway wood with the approximate loft of a 4-wood that produces high shots that land softly.

Closed - to -Open:

A swing in which the clubhead is closed on the backswing but then manipulated into an open position on the downswing.

Closed Clubface:

The position formed when the toe of the club is closer to the ball that the heel, either at address or impact, which causes the clubface to point to the left of the target line.

Closed Grip:

Generally referred to as a strong grip because both hands are turned away from the target.

Closed Stance:

A description of a stance when the rear foot is pulled back away from the target line.

Cocked Wrist:

A description of the hinging motion of the wrists during the backswing in which the hands are turned clockwise. Ideally, the wrists are fully cocked at the beginning of the downswing.

Coefficient of Restitution:

The relationship of the clubhead speed at impact to the velocity of the ball after it has been struck. This measure is affected by the clubhead and ball material.


The turning of the body during the backswing.


A closely mown area surrounding the putting green. It may be similar to the green in height (fringe) or it may be higher, similar to rough.

Come Over the Top:

A motion beginning the downswing that sends the club outside the ideal plane (swing path) and delivers the clubhead from outside the target line at impact. This is sometimes known as an outside-to-inside swing.


The “Committee’’ is the committee in charge of the competition or, if the matter does not arise in a competition, the committee in charge of the course.


A player participating in a stroke play competition


A measure of the relative hardness of a golf ball ranging from 100 (hardest) to 80 (softest).


Probably the rarest of all scores in golf: four under par on a hole, ie a hole in one on a par five. Only four examples have ever been recorded, three of them by 'cutting the corner' on par fives with a dogleg, which considerably shortens the hole. Also called a 'triple-eagle' or double-albatross' in the US.


A description of a swing in which all the various body parts work harmoniously to produce a solid, fluid motion.


The entire area on which a game (or round) of golf is played.

Course Rating:

The difficulty of a course measured by the governing body (USGA, R&A). They use a formula to obtain the results. A numerical rating, usually by a recognized organization, that identifies the difficulty of a course. For example, a course rated 72.4 is more difficult than one rated at 68.5. A scratch player should expect to shoot a 68 or 69 on the course rated 68.5.

Cross - Handed:

A grip in which the left (or lead) hand is placed below the right hand (in other words, a grip that is the opposite of the traditional grips.

Cross Wind:

A wind blowing across the course.


The container you ultimately try to get the golf ball in.

Cupped Wrist:

A position in which the left or top hand is hinged outward at the top of the backswing.

Cuppy Lie:

A lie when the ball is sitting down slightly, usually in a small depression.


Type of shot, which curves from left to right.

Cut Shot:

Shot that moves from left to right in the air.

Dead Hands:

A shot in which the hands remain relatively passive in the hitting area, resulting in a shot that flies a shorter distance than it normally would. (He dead-handed a 5-iron on the par 3, which confused his fellow players).


A decreasing of the clubhead speed in the hitting area. (Jones decelerated on his putt, and left it short of the hole.)

Deep-Faced Driver:

A driver with greater-than-standard height on its face.


Depression on a golf ball designed to help get the ball airborne and maintain its accurate flight. Depending upon the number, depth and arrangement of the dimples, ball aerodynamics are greatly influenced.


A chunk of the grass taken up by the club on the stroke. Should be replaced after swing.


The design of a golf hole in which the layout changes direction, usually at the position a drive is designed to land. If the hole changes direction to the right, it is called a "dogleg right"; a direction change left is known as a "dogleg left."


The player or side having a lead in a match equal to the number of holes remaining to be played. A player is dormie-two if he is 2 holes ahead with 2 holes remaining to play.

Double Bogey:

A score of two over par on a hole.


Method of mowing putting greens in which the mower cuts in one direction and then cuts again in another direction, creating a fast putting surface. Fairways may be double cut as well.


A score of 3 under par on a hole, for example, a 2 on a par 5;also called an "albatross."


Slang for disqualified from a tournament for breaking any of the rules of golf.


To sink a putt.


A ball that starts straight, or slightly right, and arcs gently to the left. This is a popular shape with low handicappers due to its considerable length of carry and roll. The common spin characteristic turns the ball with its flight line and lands the ball lively giving it extra roll.


The first shot on a hole, played from the teeing ground.


A 1-wood, used to get the maximum distance out of a shot.

Driving Range:

A practice area, either at a course or on its own. A range may be a simple as a large mowed field with hitting areas or may be as elaborate as a facility with target greens and practice putting greens.

Drop Area:

An area identified by either paint or chalk in which a player may drop his ball under penalty of one stroke. Drop areas are most often found on holes with water hazards and allow the player relief, with penalty, from the water. There can be free drop areas too.

Duck Hook:

A shot that starts straight at the target and curves dramatically to the left of target (assuming a right-handed golfer.) One of the most out of control shot types.


Finishing a hole in two strokes less than par. This means taking three shots on a par five, two shots on a par four or one shot on a par three.

Early Hit:

When a player prematurely releases the cocking of the wrists on the downswing, resulting in a loss of power at impact. This is also known as "casting from the top."

Effective Loft:

The actual loft on a club at impact as opposed to the loft built into the club. Effective loft is determined by, among other things, the lie and the position of the hands relative to the ball at impact.


Anything used, worn or carried by the player or anything carried for the player by his partner or either of their caddies, except any ball he has played at the hole being played and any small object, such as a coin or a tee, when used to mark the position of a ball or the extent of an area in which a ball is to be dropped. Equipment includes a golf cart, whether or not motorized.


The correct behavior on a golf course. It is an important part of golf. Not knowing what to do can ruin other people's enjoyment of the game and result in your being asked to leave the course.

Even Par:

A player's score that matches the par for the course at any point during a round.


Type of shot played out of a sand bunker. It's a shot which brings out a considerable amount of sand with it.


The width of the swing as measured by the target arm on the backswing and the trail arm on the follow-through.

Extra Hole:

Extra Holes played when a game is tied at the conclusion of regulation play.


Type of shot that generally tends to curve to the right in the air (assuming a right-handed player.) A fade is a controlled shot preferred by many players.


The short, mown grass between the tee and the green.


Shot type in which a player hits behind the ball, resulting in a much shorter shot than normal. Fat shots are often characterized by a player taking an excessive divot.


Learning to play a shot without having to think about it. Feel is particularly important around the green. Feel is developed by a lot of practice and experimenting.

First Cut:

Term given to a section of rough (or higher grass) directly bordering a fairway. The first cut of rough is deemed to be considered "light" rough and may vary from a few yards wide to over 10 yards wide, depending upon the course.

First Off:

The golfer who begins the round before anyone.

Five-Minute Rule:

The amount of time (5 minutes) that the R&A and USGA Rules allow a player to look for his ball. A ball not found after 5 minutes after the search for it is begun is considered to be lost.


The “flagstick” is a movable straight indicator, with or without bunting or other material attached, centered in the hole to show its position. It must be circular in cross-section. Padding or shock absorbent material that might unduly influence the movement of the ball is prohibited.


The amount of bend in a shaft.

Flyer (Flier):

A shot that flies substantially longer than desired, usually as a result of too much grass between the club face and ball. Flyers are more common from the rough than from the shorter fairway grasses.


The most dreaded sound in golf. It means that someone has hit a wild shot and it could be coming straight at you. Pronounced four, it is yelled to warn other players. If you hit a shot that looks as if it could hit someone, or you see someone standing in your way before you play a shot, make sure you yell Fore! to warn him.


A “forecaddie’’ is one who is employed by the Committee to indicate to players the position of balls during play. He is an outside agency.

Four Ball:

A type of match in which two players play their better ball against the better ball of two other players.


A match in which two players play against two others, with each side playing one ball. "Foursome" is also applied to any group of 4 golfers playing together.

Free Drop:

A drop where no penalty is assets.

Fried Egg:

Lie in a sand bunker in which most of the ball is below the surface of the sand. Visually, the ball looks like a "fried egg", hence the term.


Area of grass that borders a putting green. The fringe is typically higher than the grass on the green, but lower than the grass on the fairway.


Thick, tall grass that borders the fringe on certain courses. The froghair, due to its thickness, is a very difficult area from which to play a controlled shot.

Front Nine:

The first nine holes of an 18 hole course.


Those who attend a golf event for the purpose of watching the tournament.


A shot, usually on the green, but that may be anywhere on the course, that is conceded by a player's opponent. Gimmees are usually applied to short putts that are almost certain to be holed.

Golf Club:

A golf course, either public or private. Also, the piece of equipment used to hit a golf ball.

Golf Professional:

A career in golf dedicated to helping others to enjoy the game. This may be accomplished in a number ways: giving lessons, managing operations, running events or playing the tour. (See "Professional Golfer.")

Golf Range:

A facility where people can practice their full swings and, in some cases, their short games.


Very thick grass and/or shrubs from which it may be impossible to play a shot. Gorse is common on European seaside links courses.


Direction of growth of blades of grass. Particularly noticeable on putting greens, the grain will have an influence on the direction and speed of the ball as it rolls.

Grand Slam:

The Modern (or Professional) Grand Slam describes winning the four professional Major Championships -- the PGA Championship, the Masters and the United States and British Opens -- in a calendar year. The Career Grand Slam describes winning each of these events once in a career. Only Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have accomplished this. No one has ever won the Modern Grand Slam. In 1930, Bobby Jones won the U.S and British Amateurs and Opens, a feat which was termed the Grand Slam and has never been duplicated.


The finely manicured area surrounding the hole on the course. This area is designed for putting.

Green fee:

The cost of a round of golf.

Green Jacket:

The prize the winner of the US Masters golf tournament gets.


The person responsible for the condition, care and maintenance of the golf course. He or she may also be called the "greens' superintendent".


The top part of a club held by the golfer.


A description of a swing that consistently follows the same path, time after time.

Groove (equipment):

The horizontal scoring lines on the face of the club that help impart spin on the ball.


When referred to in the Rules of Golf, it means the point when the club touches the ground (or water) prior to playing the shot.

Ground Under Repair (GUR):

A marked area (usually by paint, chalk or roping) of the course from which a player may move his ball without penalty prior to playing his next shot. Common reasons for GUR to be marked are new constructions, damaged water lines, etc.

Group Lesson:

A teaching session in which several pupils work with one or more PGA Professionals. This type of lesson is particularly effective for beginners, especially juniors.


1. (also "chop") chopping violently at the ball 2. (also "duffer, hacker, chop, chopper") a (usually) erratic and unskilled golfer whose technique is characterized by arm and hand oriented hitting at the ball rather than smooth swinging through the ball 3. unskillful and erratic golf shots or play in general Example: 1. Hacking does not usually yield good results. 2. Bill is a hack/hacker/duffer/chop/chopper, but that is not necessarily the reason for his mean-spiritedness. 3. When I was asked how I played in the tournament I had to admit that I had hacked/chopped.


Poor player.


To finish equal. You can have a half if you shoot the same score on a hole or for a complete round. If you and your partner finish with the same score on a hole, you can say: 'We halved the hole.'


System of scoring that allows good players and not-so-good players to compete on equal terms. Your first handicap will probably be 36. This means that when you finish playing you deduct 36 strokes from your score. As you get better your handicap becomes smaller. Some players become so good that they actually have to add strokes to their score, rather than taking them off.

Hanging Lie:

A ball resting on an uphill slope


Term given to an area of the golf course (not bunkers or hazards) on which no grass is growing. Normally this are is very firm, sometimes almost like concrete.


Any obstruction on a golf course such as lakes, ponds, fences or bunkers.


The part of the club head closest to the hosel. If a shot is struck there, it is said to be "heeled" or "shanked".


A small cylinder cut into the ground, measuring 4 ¼ inches in diameter and at least 4 inches deep. It is where you want your ball to eventually end up.


Getting the ball from the tee and into the hole with one shot. Also called an ace.

Home Green:

The 18th green, or any other designated as the last to be played.


The player who hits first on a hole is said to have the "Honor". The honor is gained by having the lowest score on the most recently played hole.


The act of placing the hands ahead of the ball, both at address and impact, which tends to reduce the effective loft of the club.


Type of shot, for a right-handed golfer, that often starts to the right of the target and curves to the left. It is also called a draw.


The part of the club connecting the shaft to the clubhead.

Hoseled Shot:

A shanked shot (see "Shank" and "Pitch Out") that results in a ball flight directly to the right as a result of the ball being struck on the hosel.


Someone who plays better than they claim to.


Modern clubs replacing long irons which have a thicker sole and are easier to get airborne. They look like a cross between fairway woods and long irons. They are small than fairway woods but bigger than long irons. See also 'rescues'.


When the club strikes the ball

In Jail:

Term used when faced with a difficult shot with little option for hitting towards the green.


A competition in which each competitor plays as an individual.

Inside the leather:

Closer to the hole than the length of the putter (from the head to where the grip begins), archaic: putters used to be of uniform length and the shortest club in the bag, and grips used to be made of leather, thus the phrase (inside = closer than) + (the leather = where the grip begins) -- it was common practice among some groups of golfers, before greens were so well manicured, to place the head of the putter in the hole and then lay it down on the green toward the ball to see if the remaining distance was "inside the leather".
Example: 1. After I hit a nice chip shot my playing partner conceded the remaining putt, as it was inside the leather.


Swing path in which the player's club, on the downswing, crosses under its path on the backswing, ending up directed more to the right of target than desired. Inside-Out swings typically result in either pushes, draws or hooks, depending on the position of the club face at impact.

Intended Line:

The line you think the ball will travel after you hit it.

Interlocking grip:

A right-handed player using this grip will interlock the little finger of his right hand with the index finger of his left hand (vice versa for lefties). A good grip for players with small hands.


Type of tournament in which contestants must be invited in order to play. The most recognizable invitational event in the world is the Masters Tournament which is one of the majors.


A jerky, unrhythmic stroke (usually putting, but can be seen in other short game strokes as well) most commonly involving abrupt contractions of muscles in the fingers, hands, arms


bushes or shrubs Delhi golf club is famous for them.


Shot, intentionally played to keep a ball low in the wind. By reducing the length of a backswing and playing the ball back in the stance, a knock-down shot is played.


Type of water hazard, defined by red boundary stakes, that often runs parallel to the line of play on a hole. The penalty for hitting into a lateral hazard is one stroke.

Leader Board:

The place where the scores in a tournament are posted.


How your ball has finished after you hit it. If it is sitting up beautifully in the middle of the fairway, you have a good lie. If it is in the rough or half buried in a bunker, you have a bad lie. It also has another meaning. If your partner asks you how you lie he/she wants to know how many shots you've taken.


The path the ball takes, whether on the green or the fairway.

Line of Play:

The “line of play’’ is the direction that the player wishes his ball to take after a stroke, plus a reasonable distance on either side of the intended direction. The line of play extends vertically upwards from the ground, but does not extend beyond the hole.

Line of Putt:

The “line of putt’’ is the line that the player wishes his ball to take after a stroke on the putting green. The line of putt includes a reasonable distance on either side of the intended line. The line of putt does not extend beyond the hole.


Specifically the label given to golf courses constructed in which the 1st hole begins at the clubhouse and the 18th ends there, with no holes except those returning to the clubhouse. Links courses are often built near water. Most Scottish courses are links courses. They rarely have trees.


The edge (or rim) of the hole.

Lip Out:

A ball as it is rolling on a putting green, that hits the edge of the hole and does not go in.

Lob Shot:

A high, soft shot, generally played near the green with a high-lofted wedge of some type (i.e., a lob wedge.)

Local Rules:

Rules that are determined by the local committee.

Loft Angle:

The angle of the club's face. more "open" the face, the higher the ball will be lofted on contact ... and the higher the number of the club.

Loose Impediments:

They are natural objects, including:
• stones, leaves, twigs, branches and the like,
• dung, worms, insects and the like, and the casts and heaps made by them,
provided they are not:
• fixed or growing,
• solidly embedded, or
• adhering to the ball.

Lost Ball:

A ball is considered to be lost if it cannot be located or identified after 5 minutes of searching for it.

Low Riser:

Slang term given to a shot, intentionally played, that starts low and ends at a "normal" trajectory. Generally a player must have some degree of skill to play these shots.

Major (Championship):

One of four of the most prestigious professional golf tournaments in the world. Played every year, the Majors include the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA.


A person who records a fellow competitor's score in stroke play. Also, a coin or similar object used to indicate the location of a competitor's ball on a putting green. "Marker" is also the term used to identify the boundaries of the teeing area.


A volunteer, usually at professional tournaments, who job it is to keep the members of the gallery under control so that players can easily play shots, walk from tee to green, and so on.

Match Play:

Type of competition, typically among 2 individuals or two teams, in which the score is kept by the number of holes won and lost. The winner of a match play competition is the side who wins the most holes. A match play score may look like this: "3 and 2". This indicates the winning team was three holes up (ahead) with only two to play. "5 and 4" indicates 5 up with 4 to play, and so on.

Medal Play:

Type of competition in which the lowest total score (number of strokes) wins. The same as stroke play.


The golfer with the lowest score in a tournament.

Mixed Foursome:

Two men and two women.

Model Swing:

Perfect swing!


A reshot taken if the first one is missed. Mulligans are not allowed under the rules of golf.

Municipal Course:

Type of golf course, usually city or county managed, allowing play by the public, subject to tee time availability.


One of the most common games, a Nassau consists of a given bet for the front nine, a given bet for the back nine and a total bet for the overall game.

Nearest Point of Relief:

The “nearest point of relief” is the reference point for taking relief without penalty from interference by an immovable obstruction, an abnormal ground condition or a wrong putting green.
It is the point on the course nearest to where the ball lies:
(i) that is not nearer the hole, and
(ii) where, if the ball were so positioned, no interference by the condition from which relief is sought would exist for the stroke the player would have made from the original position if the condition were not there.


Hindi term for drain.


See Out of Bounds.


An “observer’’ is one who is appointed by the Committee to assist a referee to decide questions of fact and to report to him any breach of a Rule. An observer should not attend the flagstick, stand at or mark the position of the hole, or lift the ball or mark its position.


An “obstruction’’ is anything artificial, including the artificial surfaces and sides of roads and paths and manufactured ice, except:
a. Objects defining out of bounds, such as walls, fences, stakes and railings;
b. Any part of an immovable artificial object that is out of bounds; and
c. Any construction declared by the Committee to be an integral part of the course.

Off-Center Hit:

Not a good hit.

Open :

Type of tournament that is open to anyone who qualifies. Both professional golfers and amateurs may play in open competitions provided they meet certain qualifying criteria.


An “opponent” is a member of a side against whom the player’s side is competing in match play.

Out Of Bounds:

Typically, out of bounds (OB) is off normal course property. The penalty for OB is stroke and distance. The player must return to the spot where the original ball was played, hit another shot from there and add a penalty stroke to his score.

Outside Agency:

A term given to something not part of the match. A dog or bird would be examples.


Swing path in which the player's club, on the downswing, crosses over its path on the backswing, ending up directed more to the left of target than desired. Outside-In swings typically result in either pulls, fades or slices, depending on the position of the club face at impact.

Over Par:

Term given to the number of strokes a player's score is over the par for the number of holes played. For example, if a player shoots a score of 40 on 9 holes whose par is 36, he is said to be "4 over".

Over The Green:

Ball hit too far.


The number of shots a player should take either on a given hole or for the duration of an 18 hole round. For a short hole the good player should take three shots; on a medium length hole the number is four and on a long hole it is five. We call these holes a par three, a par four and a par five. Par for the course is the pars of all the individual holes added together. On an average 18-hole course the par is 72. It can vary from the low 60s for a very short course to 74 for a long course.

Par 3 Course:

A short golf course comprised of all par 3 holes. Par 3 courses are good learning courses for beginners and help better players to improve their short games.


A player who is teamed with another player on the same side of a match.


The imaginary line formed by the arc of a player's swing. (See "Square", "Inside-Out" and "Outside-In".)


Stroke(s) assessed when a ball is hit into a specific area either on (water hazard) or off (out of bounds) the course. Penalties may also be assessed for specific violations as defined by the Rules of Golf.

PGA (Professional Golfer's Association):

Governing organization of males making their living in golf-related endeavors. The PGA issues guidelines and accreditation to its members depending upon their individual positions in the game.


A golfer that you should defeat in a game.


The flagstick


The pitch shot is one that goes high and does not roll very far when it lands. It is needed to play over bunkers close to the green - and to get out of the bunkers if you don't get over them.

Pitch Out:

Slang term for a "shanked" shot. That is, a ball struck on the hosel of the head resulting in a straight right ball flight.


A short shot pulling the ball into the air in a sharp arc.

Play Through:

A situation in which a faster group is permitted to play a hole on which a slower group is playing. The slower group typically stands out of the way of the faster group, who is said to have "played through."


In the event of a tie at the end of any competition, continuing play to determine the winner. The playoff may be sudden death, a specified number of holes or an entire 18-hole round.


High, and short shot.

Pot Bunker:

A small, but very deep bunker, usually filled with sand.

Power Fade:

A shot, generally from the tee, that combines the control of a left to right fade with the power and distance of a pull. A highly effective shot that is difficult to master.

Practice Green:

A place to practice putting.

Private Course:

Type of course requiring a membership to play. Guests may play private courses for a fee at specific times, often accompanied by a member of the club.


A man or woman who plays golf for a living. There are two kinds: the club pro who teaches people to play and the tour pro who plays in the big tournaments. Some pros do both. If you have a problem with your game or your equipment, see your local pro.

Provisional Ball:

A ball that is played, usually in an effort to speed up play, as a potential replacement for a ball that may be lost or out of bounds. For example, a player hits his ball toward an out of bounds area, but is not sure the ball is out of bounds. He states the intention to hit a provisional (so he does not have to take time to return to the position from where he hit the original shot) in case the ball is out of bounds. If the original is out of bounds, the provisional becomes the ball in play, with penalty strokes added.

Public Course:

A course open to play for all golfers, subject to time availability.


A shot that tends to go to the left of the intended target, in a straight path (assuming a right-handed player.) A pulled shot does not curve in flight, but flies in a straight line simply left of the target.


A shot, played intentionally low, to avoid wind, trees or other obstacles. The shot is played with a short backswing with the ball positioned rearward in the stance.


Low shot played from trees designed to get the ball back into play.

Push or Block:

A shot that tends to go to the right of the intended target, in a straight path (assuming a right-handed player). A pushed shot does not curve in flight, but flies in a straight line simply right of the target.


When a player hits the ball while it is on the green or uses a putter.


A club with a flat face designed to roll the ball along the ground when hit.


Attempting to roll the ball into the hole once you get your ball onto the green. The club used is called a putter.

Putting Green:

The area of the hole being played that is specifically mowed for putting. The term "Putting Green" may also refer to a practice putting area, usually near the clubhouse.


Used to remove your footsteps in a bunker after you used it.


A place on the course to practice driving and fairway shots. Sometimes there is an area for pitches and sand-shot practice.

Range Ball:

Type of ball used at a driving range facility. The balls may be used balls or may be specially made, difficult-to-cut balls. Usually range balls are marked in some way; typically by a red stripe and/or name encircling the ball. These balls fly shorter and are not allowed for tournament play.


A golf course employee whose duty it is to keep the pace of play at an acceptable time. A ranger typically drives the course in a motorized cart, identified in some way (flag, sign, etc.), encouraging slow groups to speed up or to allow other groups to play through.

Red Numbers:

Term given to under par scores in a tournament.


A “referee’’ is one who is appointed by the Committee to decide questions of fact and apply the Rules. He must act on any breach of a Rule that he observes or is reported to him. A referee should not attend the flagstick, stand at or mark the position of the hole, or lift the ball or mark its position.


Under the Rules of Golf, moving (either placing or dropping) a ball in order to make a normal stroke at it. Relief may be with or without penalty depending upon the situation. Common items from which relief is taken are trees, water and obstructions.


modern clubs replacing long irons which have a thicker sole and are easier to get airborne. They look like a cross between fairway woods and long irons. They are small than fairway woods but bigger than long irons. They are called hybrids also.


Type of golf course catering to the guests of the resort with which it is associated. Resort courses may sell limited memberships and may allow public play at specific times.


In golf, as in music, rhythm is a flowing, uninterrupted movement. Both music and golf are terrible without it.

Rifle A Shot:

To hit the ball far and straight.


Type of grass, bordering fairways, that is higher than the grass in the fairway. Rough may also be present near green, tees and bunkers depending upon the particular course; it may vary in height from one are on the course to another and from course to course as well. (See "First Cut" and "Second Cut.")


Term applied to a typical round of golf, generally 18 holes, but sometimes 9.

Royal And Ancient:

One of the two governing bodies of golf, along with the USGA. Often called the "R & A", it is headquartered in St. Andrews, Scotland.

Rub Of The Green:

A term given to a ball affected in some way by an outside agency (See "Outside Agency.") A rub of the green occurs if a ball is headed out of bounds and hits an animal, deflecting it back in to play.

Rules Of Golf:

There are so many that a lot of golfers carry the 128-page rule book in their bag. If you break a rule in golf, even accidentally, the best thing that can happen to you is that you have to add penalty strokes to your score. The worst is that you are disqualified.

Run-Up Shot:

An intentionally low shot designed to roll on to the green, usually played with a lower lofted iron.

Sand Trap:

Term given to a bunker filled with sand.


A golfer who consistently plays to a score better than his handicap indicates that he should.


The card on which you write your score after each hole. If you are playing in a competition, you swap cards with your partner and write his or her score in the first column and your own score in the second column.

Scotch Foursome:

A type of competition wherein partners alternate hitting the same ball.

Scramble (also called Ambrose):

Term given to a type of game, played as a team, in which all players play from one position. For example, a team of 4 players all hit drives. The next shot is played, again by all 4 players, from the position of the best drive. Play continues in this manner until the ball is holed. Scramble is also a term applied to a player who often hits his ball in trouble, but typically recovers very well, with a "good" score.


A handicap of 0, indicative of a highly skilled player.

Second Cut:

Term applied to a section of rough (or higher grass) that borders the first cut (See First Cut) of rough. The second cut is farther from the fairway and is generally more severe than the first cut.


Type of golf club in which memberships are sold, but that allows public play during specific time periods.

Senior Golfer:

Any golfer 50 years of age or older is considered to be a senior golfer.

Shag Bag:

A bag to carry practice balls.


A shot that is struck in the hosel area of the golf club. The resulting ball flight is generally straight to the right. A shank may also be called a "hoseled shot".

Shotgun Start:

When competitors all begin play simultaneously from different tees around the course. The starter used a shotgun blast to announce the start. An air horn is now generally used.


A “side” is a player, or two or more players who are partners. In match play, each member of the opposing side is an opponent. In stroke play, members of all sides are competitors and members of different sides playing together are fellow-competitors.


A match in which one player plays against another player.


To make a putt.


Type of match play game in which each hole is worth a given amount of points or money. Points or money is often "carried over" in the event of ties, making all subsequent holes potentially worth considerably more.


To strike the top of the ball with an upwards, glancing blow. Similar to "hitting it thin".


Term give to a shot, usually with a wood, that goes much higher and shorter than desired. A "skied" shot is often hit on or near the top of the club.


A shot that tends to start to the left of the target and curve to the right of the target, most often more that the player desires (assuming a right-handed player.) A slice is the most common shot among amateur golfers.

Slope (Index):

Mathematical formula used in the USA to compare the difficulty of one course to the next. It takes into account length, hazards, terrain, etc. A course with a slope rating of 150 will be far more difficult than one sloped at 100. Slope ratings allow fair matches between members from clubs of varying difficulty.


A long putt; with different slopes and holed from a long distance. Also a hustler who wins money regularly.

Snap Hook:

A shot that starts quickly to the left and angles sharply downwards and further to the left generally producing a very short and undesirable result.

Soft Spikes:

Plastic spikes instead of the metal ones on a golf shoe.These softer spikes are believed to do less damage to the course, especially to the greens. (See "Spikes.")


Metal implements on the bottom of golf shoes designed to aid in traction. Spikes are approximately ½" in length. "Spikes" may also be a slang term used for golf shoes themselves.

St. Andrews:

Considered to be the "home" of golf, St. Andrews is the location of Europe's rules-making body, the R & A, as well as being the location of one of the most famous courses (St. Andrews) in all of golf.


Type of competition in which points are awarded in relation to a fixed score on each hole. For example, a par may receive 0 points, a birdie, 2 points, and eagle 5 points, a bogey -1, and so on. Points are established for each individual competition.


Position of the feet prior to making a shot. A player placing his feet in position to make a stroke is said to have taken his stance.


The distance between the feet should be shoulder width with the irons, a little wider for the woods and smaller than the shoulders for the short irons and putter.


A person who introduces you or sets you up with the first tee.


Term given to the speed of a green after measurement with a specialized piece of equipment (Stimpmeter.) The higher the Stimp reading, the faster the green. Most courses rate at between 6 and 9 on the Stimp Scale; pro tournament venues may rate at over 12.


Apparatus used to measure the speed of a green. It is basically an angled metal piece from which a ball is rolled onto a flat area of the green. Depending upon how far the ball rolls, a "Stimp" reading is determined. The farther the ball rolls, the higher the Stimp reading and the faster the green.

Stipulated Round:

The “stipulated round’’ consists of playing the holes of the course in their correct sequence, unless otherwise authorized by the Committee. The number of holes in a stipulated round is 18 unless a smaller number is authorized by the Committee. As to extension of stipulated round in match play.


The forward movement of the club made with the intent of hitting the ball. Also a lower handicap golfer gives the higher handicap golfer strokes on the difference of handicap.

Stroke And Distance:

Penalty assessed for a ball hit out of bounds or for a lost ball. It involves going back to the spot of the original ball, hitting another ball from there and adding a penalty shot to the score.

Stroke Play:

Type of competition, also known as medal play, in which the lowest total score (number of strokes) wins.


A situation, commonly on a putting green, in which one player's ball is directly in the line of another's. The Rules allow for the ball in the line to be marked and moved, allowing the player farther from the hole to play without obstruction. Stymie is also the generic term given to a situation when any object is between the player and the hole, blocking the normal play toward the hole.

Substituted Ball:

A “substituted ball” is a ball put into play for the original ball that was either in play, lost, out of bounds or lifted.

Sudden Death:

A type of playoff among tied individuals or teams at the completion of a competition. As soon as a team or individual makes the highest score on a hole, they are eliminated from play.

Tap In:

A short putt; to hole a short putt.

Target Golf:

A style of golf played on the majority of American tournament courses where the golfer is required to hit a high, lofted, approach shot that allows for very little roll to the ball after it lands. This is in contradiction to "Bump and Run" style golf found commonly on British-style, traditional courses.


This has two meanings. One is the place where you put your ball down to play the first shot on each hole. You hit from behind an imaginary line drawn between the two tee markers(you can go back upto 2 club lengths). The second is the little wooden or plastic thing that you put the ball on when you play the first shot on each hole.

Tee Box:

A flat area on the course usually marked with stakes where the initial drive or longest shot is made.

Tee Marker:

Wooden, metal or other material objects between which the ball is teed prior to playing a hole. There may be several sets of tee markers on each hole, each designed to identify the tees suggested for a particular ability group. For example, black tee markers may indicate the longest, most difficult (pro) tees, blue tees are for low handicap players, white tees are for average player, gold tees are for seniors and red tees are for ladies.

Tee Time:

Specific time slot allotted for play on a given day. Tee times are assigned by the golf course, usually in 8–10 minute intervals, and are acquired by calling or signing up in advance of when play is desired.

Teeing Ground:

The area where the play of a hole starts. It is defined by a pair of markers between which play begins.

Texas Wedge:

Slang term given to a putter. The term evolved due to players in Texas, among other dry areas, using a putter to run the ball up to the greens due to the hard ground.

Third Cut:

A section of rough, generally found on tournament courses that borders the second cut (See "Second Cut.") The third cut is very severe and may not be found on all but the most difficult courses.

Three Ball Match:

A match play situation in which three players play against one another, each playing his own ball. Each player is playing two separate matches.


Type of match in which one player plays against two, with each side playing one ball. The term threesome is often mis-applied (according to the Rules of Golf) to a group of three golfers playing in the same group.

Through The Green:

A Term given to all areas of the course, except for the teeing ground, putting green and hazards.


The end of the club head most far away from the shaft. Also the term used when a player hits the ball on that area of the club, usually resulting in a shorter shot than desired as well as one going to the right of the intended target, i.e., a "toed" shot (assuming a right-handed golfer).


Shot that does not get airborne as a result of a player hitting the top of the ball. A "top" is most often a result of a player moving his head and not looking at the ball.


Fertilizer, soil and sand mix applied to greens after they are aerified in order to provide nutrients to the green.


The term given to the layout of a golf course; for example, that was a "good" track. Also term given to a putt as it rolls toward the hole; for example, a putt that is heading for the hole is "tracking."


Generic term given to a bunker that contains sand. Also called a sand trap.

Tripple Bogey:

Three over par on one hole.


The halfway point of an 18 hole round. A player "makes the turn" after playing #9 and heading to #10 tee.

Under Par:

Term given to stokes a player has taken relative to what hole he is playing. If a player has played the front 9 in 34 strokes and par is 36, he is said to be "2 under".


To take at least one club less than is necessary for the distance of the shot. The result of this shot will invariably be short of the intended target.

Unplayable Lie:

A ball hit into a position that does not allow a player to hit it is considered to be in an unplayable lie. Examples are balls hit under pine trees, balls hit into rocky areas, etc.

Up And Down:

The situation in which a player misses the green and then makes one chip and one putt to achieve his score.


Pre-shot movement in which a golfer moves the club back away from the ball a time or two, usually to relieve tension.

Waiting List:

The number and ranking of individuals waiting to join a private club that has a full membership at the time. Waiting lists at some private clubs can be many years. Also players who are waiting to get into a tournament in the event of drop outs, usually in a professional tournament.

Waste Area:

An area on a golf course that is similar to a sand trap, but is not declared an official hazard. It is generally not maintained or raked.

Water Hazard:

The term applied to any relatively permanent and open area of water (sea, lake, pond, etc.) anywhere on the course. The penalty for hitting your ball into a water hazard is one stroke.


A club used to give the ball maximum loft.


Term applied to the situation when a player has swung at the ball and missed completely. This is counted as a stroke.

Wind Cheater:

A shot that flies low into the wind in an effort to achieve less wind resistance and greater distance.


Clubs made of wood. They are made in varying sizes and thicknesses for different ways of hitting the ball. Today the wood is made of graphite, titanium, alloys etc. wooden woods are not made anymore.

Worm Burner:

A poor shot characterized by the ball not getting airborne and simply rolling fast along the ground.

Wrong Ball:

A “wrong ball’’ is any ball other than the player’s: ball in play; provisional ball; or second ball played under Rule 3-3 or Rule 20-7c in stroke play; and includes: another player’s ball; an abandoned ball; and the player’s original ball when it is no longer in play.
Note: Ball in play includes a ball substituted for the ball in play, whether or not the substitution is permitted.

Wrong Putting Green:

A “wrong putting green” is any putting green other than that of the hole being played. Unless otherwise prescribed by the Committee, this term includes a practice putting green or pitching green on the course.

Yardage Marker:

An object that indicates how far a specific location is from the hole. Yardage markers are often found at 200, 150, 100 and 50 yard intervals from the green. The markers may be trees or bushes along the sides of the fairway or rough or may be plastic, cement or similar objects sunk in the ground in the center of the fairways.


The condition, either mental or physical, in which a golfer cannot seem to make short putts, or may not even be able to get them close. A short putt that is missed badly is said to be "yipped".