Golf Glossary A-Z – List of all Golf Club Related Glossary Terms

ACE – A hole made in one stroke.

ADDRESS – The stance taken by a player in preparing to hit the ball. The positioning of your body in relationship to the golf ball. Same as”addressing the ball”.

AGGREGATE – Refers to a score made over more than one round of play, or by 2 or more players playing as partners.

AIR SHOT – When a player intends to play a shot but misses the ball completely.

ALBATROSS – Former name of a “Double Eagle” – the score for a hole made in 3 strokes under par. A British term.

ALTERNATE BALL- Format in which players alternate hitting each other’s ball on each stroke until the hole is finished. For example, after teeing off, player 1 hits player 2’s ball and vice versa.

AMATEUR – A golfer who plays without monetary compensation.

ANGLE OF APPROACH – The angle or degree at which the club moves downward, or upward, toward the ball.

APPROACH SHOT – Normally a short or medium shot played to the putting green or pin

APRON – The grassy area surrounding the putting surface. See fringe.

ATTACK – To play with purpose and aggressively.

ATTEND THE FLAG – To hold and then remove the flag while another player putts.

AWAY – The ball that is the greatest distance from the hole when more than one golfer is playing. It is the first to be played.

BACK DOOR – The rear of the hole.

BACK LIP – The edge of the bunker that is farthest from the green.

BACK NINE – The last 9 holes of an 18 hole course

BACKSPIN – A reverse spin placed on the ball to make in stop short on the putting surface

BACKSWING – The backward part of the swing starting from the ground and going back over the head

BAFF – An obsolete term, Scottish in origin, meaning to hit or graze the ground behind the ball.

BAFFLE – Previous name given to a 5 wood.

BAFFY – A lofted wooden club developed from the baffling-spoon no longer in use. Also the alternate name given to the 4 wood.

BAIL OUT – To avoid trouble, such as a water hazard, in one area by hitting the ball well into another area.

BALATA – A hard, resilient sap-like substance from the South American Balata tree that is used to make a cover for rubber-cored golf ball.

BALL – The round object which we attempt to hit into the hole.Prior to the 17th century it was made of wood or wool in a leather cover. After the 17th century feathers were boiled and compressed, then sewn in a leather cover. It continued to evolve to a solid gutta percha(or a mixture with gutta percha other substances) in the 1850’s and strip rubber wound around a core in the 1900’s. Presently made of solid compressed synthetic rubber with hundreds of surface indentations which aid in the flight of the ball.

BALL AT REST – The ball has come to a complete stop on the fairway or green

BALL EMBEDDED – A technical term for a plugged ball

BALL HOLED – A ball is holed when it is entirely below the level of the lip of the hole

BALL IN PLAY – A ball is in play as soon as the player has made a stroke in the tee off area. It remains in play until it is holed out except when it is out of bounds, lost, lifted or when another ball is substituted in accordance with the rules.

BALL MARKER – A token or a small coin used to spot the ball position on the green prior to lifting it

BALL RETRIEVER – A long pole with a scoop on the end which is used to collect ball from water hazards and other areas.

BALL WASHER – A device found on many tees for cleaning golf ball

BANDIT – See hustler

BANANA BALL – A slice that curves to the right in the shape of a banana. An extreme slice.

BASEBALL GRIP – Holding the club with all ten fingers on the grip.

BEACH – A sand hazard on the course

BEND – The curve on a shot created by side spin.

BEND ONE – To hook or slice a shot by using side spin.

BENT GRASS – Type of grass seen for the most part on Northern courses. It is of the genus Agrostis, native to North America and Eurasia. It is a hardy and resilient type of grass that can be cut very short.

BERMUDA – Type of grass seen mostly on Southern courses in North America. Of the type Cynodon dactylon. Originally native to southern Europe. It was introduced to warmer areas of the world to be used on courses where bent grass will not grow.

BEST BALL – A match in which one player plays against the better of two ball or the best ball of three players. Also the better score of two partners in a four-ball or best-ball match.

BETTER BALL – A match play or stroke play game when two players on a side each play their own ball score the better of their two scores at each hole against the other side.

BIRDIE – One stroke under par for a hole. Also possibly derived from the term “It flew like a bird” to indicate a good shot.

BIRD’S NEST – A lie in which the ball is cupped in deep grass.


BITE – The backspin imparted on the ball that makes the ball stop dead, or almost so, with little or no roll.


  1. The hitting part of an iron club head, not including the hostel.
  2. To hit the ball with the leading edge of the blade of an iron.

BLADE PUTTER – A type of putter with an iron head with the basic form the same as other standard numbered irons.

BLAST – A shot that takes a large amount of sand with it when hitting out of a sand trap. An explosion shot. An aggressive shot. A powerful drive.

BLIND BOGEY – A type of competition in which each player tries to come the closest to a score that has been drawn out of a hat.

BLIND HOLE – If the putting green cannot be seen by the player as he approaches, the hole is called blind.

BLOCK – To play a shot by delaying the rotation of the wrists during a swing. This causes the club face not to be square at the point of impact resulting in a sliced ball.

BOGEY – A score of one over par for the hole. To play a hole in one stroke over par.

BOGEY COMPETITION – A form of stroke play in which players play against a fixed score at each hole. Scored as in match play with the winner being the most holes.

BOLD – A firmly played approach to a well -protected pin. Also, too strong or long a shot.

BORROW – To play to one side of the hole or the other to compensate for the slope of the green.

BOUNDARY – The edge of the golf course that defines the area of play.

BOWKER – This refers to a shot that appears to be horrible and then hits a tree, a rock, a spectator, etc. and bounces back into play.Sample usage: “I would have bogeyed the fourth hole but I got a bowker.” Pronounced “boughkur”.

BRAMBLE – A small molded bump on some types of golf ball(gutta purcha and rubber core). Intended to give aerodynamic properties like the dimples on present day ball.

BRASSIE – Former name given to a 2 wood. A wooden club with a brass sole plate with more loft than a driver and less than the than the spoon.

BREAK – To make less than a specified score. Such as when you finally broke 90.

BREAK THE WRISTS – To bend the wrists back during a swing.

BRITISH BALL – The type of golf ball specified by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. Diameter is not less than 1.620inches and the weight is not more than 1.620 ounces. Now used mainly in amateur play.

BRITISH OPEN – “The Open” – the first one ever held. The National Championship put on by the Royal And Ancient Golf Club of St.Andrews, Scotland.

BULGE – The curve across the face of a wooden club.

BULGER – A wooden club with a slightly convex face. Mainly a driver.

BULL DOG – Former name for a 4 or 5 wood.

BUMP AND RUN – A chip shot including the run of the ball after landing. Also known as ‘chip and run’

BUNKER – A depression in bare ground that is usually covered with sand. Also called a “sand trap”. It is considered a hazard under the Rules of Golf.

BUNT – To hit an intentional short shot

BURN – The Scottish term for a creek or stream

BURIED BALL – A ball partially buried beneath the sand in a bunker

BUZZARD – A score of two strokes over par for a hole.

BYE – A term used in tournaments. The player who draws a “bye”is allowed to advance to the next round without playing an opponent. In-match play, it is the hole or holes still left to play if the match iswon before the 18th hole.

CADDIE (CADDY) – Someone who carries a player’s club during play and offers him assistance in accordance with the rules.

CADDIE MASTER – The golf course employee in charge of managing the caddies.

CADDIE-CAR – A golf car or car.

CALAMITY JANE – The name that Bobby Jones gave to his putter. Also putters modeled after his hickory-shafted blade putter

CAN – In slang, to hole a putt.

CAP – The top end of a club grip and shaft

CARD – A card used to record scores in stroke play. Also, to make a record of your score.

CARPET – A slang term referring to the putting green or fairway.

CARRY – The length of travel by the ball after it is hit to the place where it first hits the ground

CART – A two-wheeled trolley on which a golf is fitted and pulled around the course. In some cases trolleys are battery powered.Can also refer to a golf car.

CASUAL WATER – Any temporary accumulations of water that are visible before or after a player takes his stance and is not a hazardor in a water hazard. A player may lift his ball from casual water without penalty

CENTER SHAFTED – Putter in which the shaft is joined to the center of the head.

CHARGE – To surge from behind and display superior play. Also to play or putt aggressively.

CHART THE COURSE – Pace each hole so that you know how far you are from the green.

CHILI-DIP – To hit the ground before the ball, producing a weak lofted shot.

CHIP SHOT – A short approach shot of low trajectory usually hit from near the green. It is normally hit with over spin or bite.

CHIP-AND-RUN – A chip shot including the run of the ball after landing. Also known as ‘bump and run’

CHIP IN – A holed chip shot.

CHOKE – To grip down farther on the club handle.

CHOP – To hit the ball with a hacking motion

CLAGGY – As in “I’ve got a bit of a claggy lie”. A lie that is a bit wet and muddy – of British origin – almost a claim for casual water but not quite!

CLAIM – The term used in match play to denote a protest by a player regarding a possible breach of the rules.

CLEEK – Any one of many narrow-bladed iron clubs used for long shots through the green from the rough or sand. Another name for the #1 iron. Also, a shallower faced lofted wooden club. Another name forth #4 wood.

CLOSED STANCE – The left foot extends over the ball line of flight while the right foot is back

CLEAT – The spike on the sole of a golf shoe.

CLOSED FACE – When the club face is pointed to the left of the target when you address the ball.

CLOSED STANCE – A stance taken with the right foot pulled back, away from the ball.

CLUB – The implement used in golf to strike the ball. Consists of a shaft, grip and a club-head of wood or metal.

CLUB HEAD – The hitting area of the club.

CLUBHOUSE – The main building on the course.

CLUBHOUSE LAWYER – A self-appointed caller or arbiter of the rules

CO-CK – To bend the wrists backwards in the back swing.

COLLAR – The grassy fringe surrounding the putting green.

COLORBALL – A team game with teams of 3 or 4 players in which one player uses a colored ball. Team score comprises the score with the colored ball plus the best of the other 2 or 3 players. Players alternate holes playing with the colored ball.

COME BACK SHOT – The shot you make after you have overshot the hole.

COMMITTEE – The collective name for those in charge of a competition or a course.

COMPRESSION – The flattening of the ball against the club-face at impact. Also the degree of resilience of a ball.

CONDOR – A four-under par shot. A hole-in-one on a par 5 for example. Has occurred on a hole with a heavy dogleg, hard ground and no trees. Might also be called “a triple eagle”.

CONFUSION – A game in which a point is awarded to the first player of the group to get to the green, one for the players closest to the pin and one for the first player to hole out. The winner is the player with the highest number of points.

CONTROL SHOT – A shot that is played with less than full power

CORE – The center of the golf ball.

COURSE – The playing area which is usually made up of 9 or 18 holes with each hole having a tee off area, fairway and green

COURSE RATING – The comparison of playing one course as opposed to another in terms of difficulty. It is expressed in strokes or decimal fractions of strokes. The yardage of the course and the ability of a scratch golfer are the basis for determination

CRACK – To allow one’s good play to suffer when under pressure.

CROSS-BUNKER – A lengthy bunker that is situated across the fairway.

CROSS-HANDED GRIP – A grip where your left hand is below the right.

CUP – The container in the hole holds the flag stick in pace.

CUPPY – A deep and enclosed lie.

CUT – The score that reduces the field to a pre-determined number and eliminates players in a tournament. Usually made after 36 of a 72 hole tournament.

CUT SHOT – A controlled shot that results in the ball stopping almost immediately on the green without roll.

DANCE FLOOR – for the green. As in ‘you’re on the dance floor’.

DAWN PATROL – Golfers who tee off early to avoid the heavy traffic.

DAYTONA – A game for 4 players divided into 2 sides. The scores of a side for each hole are combined to form a number of points; if one player has a score of par or better then the lower score of the team is placed first – if the scores on a par 3 are 3 and 4 then the team score is 34. But if the best score for the hole is over par then the higher must be placed first – if scores on a par 3 are 4 and 5, the team score is 54. The side with the lower number of points for the round wins.

DEAD BALL – A ball is said to be dead when there is no doubt that it will be sank on the next shot

DEEP-FACED – Pertaining to a club face and meaning having a club face that is relatively thick from top to bottom.

DEUCE – A hole made in two strokes. Primarily used in the United States.

DEW SWEEPERS – The first groups of golfers on the course in the morning.

DIMPLE – The round indentations on the golf ball cover which are scientifically designed to enable the ball to make a steady and true flight

DIVOT – A piece of turf removed with by the club when making a shot. It is always replaced and tamped down.

DOGLEG – A left or right bend in the fairway

DORMIE – When playing in match play, being five up with five to go, four up with four left, etc. To be as many holes up as there are to play. Sometimes spelled dormy.

DOUBLE BOGEY – A score of two over par for a single hole

DOUBLE EAGLE – A score of three under par for a single hole. Same as “albatross”

DOWN – Being a specific number of holes behind your opponent.

DOWNHILL LIE – When addressing the ball and your right foot is higher than your left (for right-handed players).

DOWNSWING – The motion of swinging a club from the top of the swing to the point of impact.

DQ’d – Slang for a golfer being disqualified.

DRAIN – To sink a putt.

DRAW – The pairing of golfers for a match play tournament

DRAW SHOT – A controlled “hook” used to get in position for the next shot or get out of trouble. A shot that curves from left to right.To play a shot so that it curves owing to side spin from right to left with a right-handed player. Conversely from right to left for a left-handed player.

DRIVE – To hit the ball with maximum force and full stroke. Usually with a driver from the tee.

DRIVE-AND-PITCH – The type of hole on which the green can be reached with a drive and a pitch. Could also refer to a course where all holes are of this type.

DRIVER – The longest-hitting modern wooden club, used primarily from the tee when maximum distance is required. Also called the No. 1wood.

DRIVING IRON – Another name for the number one iron. Formerly one of various iron clubs used for shots through the green.

DRIVING MASHIE – Obsolete club with less loft than a mashie iron and used for driving and long shots through the green.

DRIVING PUTTER – Obsolete wooden club used primarily for low shots into the wind.

DRIVING RANGE – An area or building used for the purpose of practicing tee-shots and other strokes.

DROP – To deposit the ball on the course after which you put the ball back in play after it has been declared unplayable or after the ball has been lost.

DUB – A missed or badly-hit shot

DUFF – To mishit a shot by hitting the ground behind the ball and then top the ball.

DUFFER – An unskilled golfer. Also called a hacker

DUNCH – A fat hit from a claggy lie. British origin.

DUNK – To hit your ball into a water hazard.

EAGLE – Two strokes under par for a single hole. To play a hole at 2 under par.

ECLECTIC – An individual stroke play game comprising a defined number of rounds. At the end of the series each of the competitors records his best score of the series at each hole.

EIGHT-IRON – An iron club giving distance of between 115-150 yards. Also called a pitching nib lick.

EQUIPMENT – Anything that is used by a player or is carried or worn. His ball in play is not included

EXPLODE – To hit the ball from sand using a steeply lofted club with the club hitting into the sand behind the ball and spraying a large amount of sand.

EXPLOSION SHOT – A shot that takes large quantities of sand out of a sand trap.

EXTRA HOLE – As with extra innings, golfers play extra hole to break a tie.

FACE – The hitting area or surface of the club head

FADE – A term used to describe the slight turning of the ball from left to right (by a right-handed player) at the end of its flight.From right to left for a left-handed player.

FAIRWAY – The area of the course between the tee and the green that is well-maintained allowing a good lie for the ball

FAIRWAY WOOD – Any other wooden club other than a driver.

FAN – To miss the ball completely

FAT SHOT – When the club hits the ground behind the ball. This results in high or low shots with a loss of distance

FEATHERIE – An old leather ball stuffed with compressed feathers. Replaced by the gutta percha after 1848. Also spelled feathery.

FESCUE – Grass of the genus Festuca, widely used on for rough on golf courses>

FIELD – The players in a tournament

FIVE-IRON – An iron club used for distances between 145-180 yards for men’s clubs. Also known as a mashie.

FIVE-WOOD – A wooden club used for distances between 190-210 yards for men’s clubs.

FLAG – The marker attached to the flag stick.

FLAG COMPETITION – A stroke play game in which each player has a flag. When the player has played the number of strokes equal to the par of the course plus his handicap, he places a flag in the course at that point. The winner is the player who goes farthest around the course with the allotted number of strokes.

FLAGSTICK – A movable marker to show the location of the hole

FLAN GE – The additional surface of the club head which protrudes at the sole

FLASH TRAP – A shallow and small sand bunker

FLAT – The type of swing that occurs when the club head is carried back in a flat manner – usually inside-out

FLEX – The amount of bend or the degree of stiffness of the club shaft.

FLIER – A ball is hit without spin and goes for a greater distance than normal

FLIER LIE – A good lie in the rough

FLIGHT – In tournament play, the division of players with players of equal ability being placed in the same flight. Sixteen is usually the number of players in a flight however any number of players may be placed in a flight.

FLIP SHOT – A short shot played with a high trajectory with a highly lofted iron such as an eight or nine.

FLUB – A poorly hit shot usually caused by hitting the ground before the ball

FLUFFY – A ball that is sitting up in grass.

FOLLOW-THROUGH – The continuation of the swing after the ball has been hit.

FORE – A warning shouted out to warn anyone who may be in danger from the flight of the ball.

FORECADDIE – Someone employed by the course or tournament committee to mark the position of a player’s ball

FORM – A golfer’s standard of play based on past performance.

FOUR BALL – A match in which the better ball of two players is played against the better ball of their opponents

FOUR-IRON – An iron club used for distances of between 155-190 yards for men’s clubs. Also known as a mashie iron.

FOUR-WOOD – A wooden club used for a distance of between 200-230 yards – for men’ clubs. Also called a spoon.

FOURSOME – A term given to four players playing together. Also a match in which two players play against another two players with each side playing one ball.

FREE DROP – A drop where no penalty stroke is incurred.

FRIED-EGG – A ball half-buried in the sand.

FRINGE – The area surrounding the putting green which is sometimes cut to a height lower than the fairway but not as short as the green itself. Same as “apron”

FROG HAIR – The short grass that borders the edge of the putting surface

FRONT SIDE – The first nine holes of an 18 hole course.

FULL HOUSE – A game in which a player is set a points target calculated by deducting his handicap from 36. The winner is the one who surpasses his target by the most points. Scoring is 8 points for an eagle, 4 for a birdie, two for a par and 1 for bogey.

GALLERY – The group of tournament spectators.

GIMME – A putt that is certain to be made on the next shot and will most likely be conceded by an opponent.

GOLF – The game. Played by playing a ball from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules of Golf.

GOLF GLOVE – A glove generally worn by a right-handed golfer on the left hand, and by a left-handed golfer on the right hand, to improve the grip.

GOBBLE – An obsolete slang term meaning a hard-hit putt that holes out.

GOOSE-NECK – Having the neck of a club curved so that the heel is slightly offset from the line of the shaft.

GORSE – A shrub primarily found on link land type courses. It is a spiny evergreen with bright yellow flowers.

GRAIN – The direction in which the grass on a putting lies after it has been shortly cut

GRAND SLAM – The four major championships: the British Open, the U.S. Open, PGA Championship and the Masters.

GRAPHITE – A lightweight material used to make shafts and club heads.

GREEN – The whole golf course according to golf rules. However, in popular usage, it refers to the putting surface.

GREEN COMMITTEE – Members of a golf club who are responsible for the maintenance and management of the course.

GREEN FEE – The charge made by the course to allow the player to use the course.

GREEN JACKET – The prize awarded to the winner of the Masters Tournament.

GREENKEEPER – The employee of the club who is responsible for the maintenance of the course.

GREENSIDE – Adjacent to the putting green.

GRIP – The part of the shaft by which the club is held. Covered with leather or other material. Also means the manner in which you hold the club

GROOVE – Linear scoring on a club face

GROSS SCORE – The actual number of strokes taken by a player for hole or round before the player’s handicap is deducted

GROUNDING THE CLUB – Placing the club head behind the ball at address.

GROUND UNDER REPAIR – Any part of the course being repaired is ground under repair. A ball that lands in such an area must be removed without penalty.

GUTTA PERCHA – Material used in the manufacture of early golf ball. It was a hard, molded substance made from the sap of several types of Malaysian trees. These ball were in use from 1848 until the early 1900’s.

HACK – To chop violently at the ball. To make bad shots. To play bad golf.

HACKER – An unskilled golfer. Same as “duffer”

HALF – Used in match play when score is tied on a hole. Each side credited with a half.

HALF SHOT – A shot played with a less than full swing.

HALVED – When a match is played without a decision. A hole is “halved” when both sides play it in the same number of strokes

HANDICAP – The number of strokes a player may deduct from his actual score to adjust his scoring ability to the level of a scratch golfer. It is designed to allow golfers of different abilities to basically compete on the same level.

HANDICAP CERTIFICATE – A document issued by the player’s home club or golfing association that indicates his current handicap.

HANGING LIE – A ball resting on a downhill slope

HAZARD – A hazard is any sand trap, bunker or water on the course that may cause difficulty.

HEAD – The part of the club that makes contact with the ball. Usually made of wood, iron or some substitute material.

HEEL – The part of the club head nearest the shaft.

HICKORY – Wood from a native North American tree used at the beginning of the 19th century to make club shafts. Use continued until the 1920’s.

HIT – To play a shot or stroke.

HOG’S BACK – A ridge of ground or a hole having a ridge on a fairway.

HOLD – To hit the ground and stay in place with little roll or bounce.

HOLE – A 4 1/4″ (108 mm) round receptacle in the green – at least 4″ (100 mm) deep. Also refers to one of the nine or eighteen areas between the tee and the green.

HOLE HIGH – A ball that is even with the hole but off to one side

HOLE IN ONE – A hole made with one stroke. Same as “ace”

HOLE OUT – To complete the play for one hole by hitting the ball into the cup

HOME AND HOME MATCH – Match A match made up of rounds played on the home course of each participant or group.

HOME GREEN – The last hole green.

HOME PRO – A professional who holds a position at a golf club, teaches, and plays only in local events

HONOR – The privilege of hitting first from the tee. Usually assigned at the first tee. After the first tee, the privilege goes to the winner of the last hole.

HOOK – To hit the ball in a manner that causes it to curve from right to left in the case of a right-handed player or left to right fora left hander.

HOSEL – The hollow part of an iron club head into which the shaft is fitted

HUSTLER – A golfer with greater ability who purposely maintains a higher handicap in order to win more bets.

IMPACT – The moment when the ball strikes the club.

IN – The second nine holes as opposed to out – the first nine holes

INLAND – in play Within the course (not out of bounds).

INSIDE – Being nearer the hole than the ball of your opponent.

INTERLOCKING GRIP – A type of grip where the little finger of the left hand is intertwined with the index finger of the right hand for a right handed player. The converse applies to a left hander.

INTENDED LINE – The line you expect the ball to travel after hit.

IRON – Any one of a number of clubs with a head made of iron or steel. See definitions for individual clubs “two iron” etc.

JAIL – Help, I’m in jail! Stated when you are faced with a very difficult shot.

JER K – To hit the ball from a bad lie, rough or sand, with a downward cutting motion causing the club head to dig into the ground beneath the ball.

JIGGER – An iron with moderate loft and a short shaft. No longer in use. Present equivalent is the 4 iron.

JUNGLE – A slang term for heavy rough.