Every sport has it’s own lingo and golf is no exception. Some very common words have special meanings for golfers, like address, drive, and eagle. Here’s short list of terms that you need to know if you play golf or just watch it on television.
Address: The stance taken before a swing.
Airshot: A swing and a miss. Counts as one stroke.
Back Nine: The final nine holes of an 18 hole golf course.
Bunker (also known as a “trap”): Prepared area of ground, from which turf or earth has been removed and replaced with sand, water, or tall grass.
Birdie: One stroke under the par for the hole.
Bogey: One stroke over the par for the hole.
Clubhead: The base of the club, where the ball is intended to be struck.
Divot: Turf removed from the ground when a player’s swing hits the grass.
Dog-leg: A hole that follows a broken, sharply angled line from the tee to the green.
Drive: The longest type of stroke made during play, usually with a wood or low numbered iron.
Eagle: Two strokes under par for a hole.
Fairway: Closely mown grass area (usually one-half to three-quarters of an inch) between the tee and the green.
Flagstick: A movable pole centered in the hole to show its position, usually with a small flag at the top.
Fore: A shout to warn other players that a ball is headed in their direction.
Handicap: A numerical measure of playing ability. The lower the handicap, the better the golfer. Less skilled players are allowed to deduct strokes when playing against better players. (Hence, the latter are ‘handicapped’.)
Hazards: Natural and man-made obstructions that make a golf game more challenging and difficult. Examples: water, sand traps, or trees.
Hook: A stroke which curves the ball to the left of the target, if made by a right handed player, and to the right if made by a left handed player.
Iron: A metal golf club numbered 1-9, with a flat, thin, angled face. The lower the number, the less steep the loft. Lower numbered irons are intended to be used for longer shots.
Loft: The angle of the clubhead, measured with respect to the shaft.
Match Play: A type of competition in which each hole is a separate contest. (See “Stroke play”) The lowest number of strokes on a given hole, wins that hole.
Net Score: Gross score minus your handicap.
Par: The number of strokes a hole is designed to be completed in, based on it’s length. Also describes the number of strokes in which the course should be played.
Pitching Wedge: A club with a steeper face, used when close to the hole. (See “Sand Wedge”.)
Putter: A club with a vertical face designed for use on or near the green.
Sand Wedge: A club with a steeper face, used to hit the ball out of a sand trap or high grass. (See “Pitching Wedge”.)
Slice: A ball flight which curves to the right of the target. (If made by a right handed player; to the left if made by a left handed player.)
Stroke Play: Competition based on the total number of strokes taken. (See “Match play”.) The lowest number of strokes over the entire course wins that game.
Tee: A small, usually wooden (sometimes plastic), device designed to raise the ball off the ground. Must not be longer than 4 inches nor influence the movement of the ball.
Wood: A club with a large, rounded head (usually made of wood or composite), used to hit the ball over great distances.