From Ace to Zinger: Exploring the Colorfull World of Golf Slang

Golf Slang
Golf Slang

Golf Slang Terms

A:

  • Ace: A hole-in-one shot
  • Air shot: Swinging at the ball and missing it completely
  • Albatross: Scoring three strokes under par on a hole
  • Approach shot: A shot played to reach the green
  • Away: The ball furthest from the hole
  • Augusta: Refers to the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament
  • Autograph: When a putt lips out of the hole
  • Address: The position of the player’s body and club when setting up for a shot
  • Amateur: A non-professional golfer
  • Ace cam: A camera placed in the cup to capture the moment a ball falls in for a hole-in-one

B:

  • Bunker: A sand trap on the course
  • Birdie: Scoring one stroke under par on a hole
  • Bogey: Scoring one stroke over par on a hole
  • Break: The slope of the green that affects the direction of a putt
  • Back nine: The final nine holes of an 18-hole course
  • Ball marker: A small object used to mark the position of the ball on the green
  • Bite: When a ball stops quickly on the green after hitting the ground
  • Blast: A powerful shot out of a bunker
  • Break left or right: The direction a putt will curve based on the slope of the green
  • Belly putter: A putter that is longer than a traditional putter and is anchored against the player’s stomach

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C:

  • Caddie: A person who carries a player’s clubs and assists with strategy during a round
  • Cart path: The path designated for golf carts to travel on the course
  • Chip: A short shot played from near the green to get the ball onto the green
  • Clubface: The part of the club that makes contact with the ball
  • Course rating: A numerical value assigned to a golf course that represents its difficulty for a scratch golfer
  • Cup: The hole on the green where the ball is intended to go
  • Carry: The distance a ball travels through the air before hitting the ground
  • Closed face: When the clubface is angled toward the golfer during impact
  • Compression: The degree to which a ball is compressed upon impact with the clubface
  • Cut: A shot that intentionally curves left for a right-handed golfer or right for a left-handed golfer

D:

  • Divot: A piece of turf that is removed from the ground when a shot is played
  • Dogleg: A hole that curves to the left or right
  • Driver: The longest and lowest-lofted club used for tee shots
  • Draw: A shot that intentionally curves right for a right-handed golfer or left for a left-handed golfer
  • Drop: The act of dropping a ball back into play after it has gone out of bounds or into a hazard
  • Downswing: The portion of the swing that follows the backswing and precedes impact with the ball
  • Double bogey: Scoring two strokes over par on a hole
  • Dormie: When a player has won enough holes to guarantee at least a tie in match play
  • Drive: The first shot played on a hole from the tee
  • Duck hook: A shot that curves sharply to the left for a right-handed golfer or right for a left-handed golfer

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E:

  • Eagle: Scoring two strokes under par on a hole
  • Easy swing: A controlled swing with less power than a full swing
  • Embedded ball: A ball that has partially or fully embedded itself in the

F:

  • Fairway: The closely-mowed strip of grass between the tee and the green
  • Fade: A shot that intentionally curves left for a right-handed golfer or right for a left-handed golfer
  • Flagstick: The stick with a flag on top that marks the location of the hole on the green
  • Flop shot: A high, soft shot played with a lofted club to get the ball over an obstacle
  • Follow-through: The continuation of the swing after the ball has been struck
  • Fore: A warning cry used to alert other golfers when a shot is headed in their direction
  • Fourball: A format of play where two golfers play as partners, each playing their own ball and taking the better score on each hole
  • Fringe: The longer grass surrounding the green
  • Foursome: A format of play where two golfers play as partners, taking alternate shots with one ball
  • Fried egg: A lie where the ball is partially buried in a bunker

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G:

  • Gimme: A putt that is close enough to the hole that it is assumed to be holed and is not required to be played
  • Green: The area of the course with short, closely-mowed grass surrounding the hole
  • Grip: The way the player holds the club
  • Grounding the club: Placing the clubhead on the ground behind the ball before making a shot
  • Gross score: The total number of strokes taken during a round, without adjusting for handicap
  • Green in regulation (GIR): Reaching the green in the required number of strokes for that hole
  • Golf cart: A motorized vehicle used to transport golfers and their equipment around the course
  • Golf glove: A glove worn on one hand to improve grip on the club
  • Golf shoes: Shoes specifically designed for use on the golf course, with spikes or cleats on the soles for traction
  • Golf towel: A small towel used to clean clubs, balls, and hands during a round

H:

  • Half shot: A shot played with less than a full swing
  • Handicap: A numerical value assigned to a player that represents their skill level relative to par
  • Hazard: A feature of the course that is considered a hindrance to the golfer, such as a bunker or water hazard
  • Head: The part of the club that strikes the ball
  • Hole: The area on the green where the ball is intended to go, as well as the entire playing area from tee to green
  • Honors: The privilege of playing first on the next hole, earned by having the lowest score on the previous hole
  • Hook: A shot that curves sharply to the left for a right-handed golfer or right for a left-handed golfer
  • Hybrid: A type of club that combines features of a long iron and a fairway wood
  • Hitting it pure: Making solid contact with the ball on the clubface
  • Hitting the ball fat: Hitting the ground before making contact with the ball, resulting in a poor shot
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I:

  • Iron: A type of club with a flat, angled face used for shots with shorter distances
  • Inside: A shot that lands to the left of the target for a right-handed golfer, or to the right of the target for a left-handed golfer
  • Interlocking grip: A grip where the pinky finger of the bottom hand interlocks with the index finger of the top hand
  • In the leather: A term used when a putt is conceded, referring to the length of the putter grip from the clubhead
  • In the zone: A state of intense focus and concentration where the golfer is playing at their best
  • In the woods: A term used when a shot is hit off the fairway and into the trees
  • Iron Byron: A machine used for testing golf clubs and balls by mimicking the swing of a professional golfer
  • Inverted saucer: A green with a bowl-like shape that slopes upward at the edges
  • Impact: The moment when the clubface strikes the ball
  • Iced: A putt that stops short of the hole and comes to rest on the edge of the green

J:

  • Jack Nicklaus: One of the greatest golfers of all time, with 18 major championships
  • Jigger: An old-fashioned type of club similar to a short iron, used for chip shots and pitches
  • Jimmy: A shot that is struck poorly and goes off-course
  • Jinx: A term used to avoid mentioning a golfer’s score or impending shot to avoid jinxing them
  • Juggernaut: A player who is dominating their opponents and playing exceptionally well
  • Jumbo grip: An oversized grip on a club that can help golfers with arthritis or hand injuries
  • Jumping the ball: Hitting the ball with an upward angle of attack, causing it to fly higher and shorter than intended
  • Jaws: The part of the clubhead that grips the ball at impact
  • Junk: Any object on the course that can interfere with a golfer’s shot, such as rocks or debris
  • Juice: Referring to the extra distance added to a shot by using a harder swing or a more powerful club

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K:

  • Keeping your head down: A common instruction given to golfers to keep their head still and down during the swing
  • Kick-in: A short putt that is assumed to be made without actually being played
  • Knockdown shot: A shot played with less loft and a lower trajectory, typically used to control distance in windy conditions
  • Kooch: A nickname for golfer Matt Kuchar
  • Kentucky windage: A term used when taking aim and adjusting for wind conditions when there is no clear indication of how the wind is blowing
  • Knees knocking: A feeling of nervousness or anxiety before a shot or important putt
  • Kick left/right: A term used to describe a slope or contour on the green that causes a ball to roll in a certain direction
  • Knocking on the door: A term used when a golfer is consistently close to making a putt, but has not yet succeeded
  • Kikuyu grass: A type of grass common in many golf courses in warmer climates, known for its toughness and resistance to drought
  • Keep it on the short grass: A common instruction given to golfers to hit the ball onto the fairway, as opposed to hitting it into the rough or hazards.

L:

  • Links: A type of golf course that is typically located near the coast and features open, windy conditions and natural hazards such as sand dunes and tall grasses
  • Lob wedge: A type of club with a high loft used for short, high shots that stop quickly on the green
  • Lip: The edge of a bunker or the cup, which can interfere with a shot or putt
  • Lag putt: A long, slow putt played with the goal of leaving the ball close to the hole for an easy second putt
  • Leave: The position of a ball after a shot, such as “good leave” for a ball that has landed in a favorable position
  • Leeward: The side of a golf course that is sheltered from the wind
  • Loose impediment: Any object on the course that is not fixed or growing, such as a pebble or leaf, that can be moved without penalty
  • Low round: The best score a golfer has ever shot on a single round of golf
  • Lucky bounce: A fortunate bounce of the ball that results in a better position than expected
  • Line: The direction a putt is intended to travel, often visualized by a player with a straight line from the ball to the hole

M:

  • Mulligan: A free do-over shot that is not counted against a golfer’s score, typically allowed only in casual play
  • Marker: A small object, such as a coin or tee, used to mark the position of a ball on the green
  • Medal play: A format of golf where the golfer’s score is based on the total number of strokes taken over the course of the round
  • Miss the cut: Failing to make the cut in a tournament by shooting a score higher than the established cut line
  • Mashie: An old-fashioned type of club similar to a 5-iron, used for mid-range shots
  • Mulligan stew: A term used to describe a scramble format of play where golfers take turns choosing shots and playing as a team
  • Mind games: Psychological tactics used by golfers to intimidate or distract their opponents
  • Mini-tour: A lower-level professional golf tour, often used as a stepping stone to higher-level tours such as the PGA Tour
  • Mis-read: A term used when a golfer misjudges the slope or break of a putt or shot
  • Muni: A municipal golf course, owned and operated by a city or town
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N:

  • Niblick: An old-fashioned type of club similar to a pitching wedge, used for short, high shots
  • Nassau: A betting game played within a round of golf, consisting of three separate bets for the front nine, back nine, and entire round
  • Near miss: A shot that comes close to its intended target but does not quite hit it
  • Nervous Nellie: A player who is prone to nervousness or anxiety on the course, often resulting in poor shots or missed putts
  • Net score: A golfer’s score after handicap strokes have been applied, calculated by subtracting a player’s handicap from their gross score
  • Nuked it: A term used when a player hits a particularly long drive, often with great speed and power
  • Nick the ball: To hit the ball cleanly and precisely, without any excess spin or sidespin
  • Nine and dine: A social event where golfers play a nine-hole round and then enjoy a meal together
  • Non-conforming: Referring to equipment that does not meet the specifications set forth by the USGA and R&A

O:

  • OB: Short for “out of bounds,” which is any area outside the boundaries of the golf course where a ball is considered to be lost or unplayable
  • Overclub: To use a club with too much loft or distance for a particular shot or situation
  • Open face: A clubface that is turned slightly outward at impact, resulting in a shot that tends to slice or curve to the right for right-handed golfers
  • Over par: A score higher than the established par for a hole or round of golf
  • On the screws: A term used when a shot is hit squarely in the center of the clubface, resulting in a solid and accurate shot
  • One-putt: A term used when a golfer sinks a putt with only one stroke, resulting in a birdie or par
  • Out: The first nine holes of an 18-hole golf course
  • Out of bounds: An area outside the boundaries of the golf course where a ball is considered to be lost or unplayable
  • Overlapping grip: A common grip style in which the pinky finger of the bottom hand overlaps the index and middle fingers of the top hand
  • Overhanging tree: A tree that overhangs the golf course and can interfere with a golfer’s shot

P:

  • Par: The established number of strokes a skilled golfer is expected to take to complete a hole or round of golf
  • Pitch shot: A type of shot played with a lofted club that results in a high, soft landing on the green
  • Pin: A small flagstick located in the center of the hole on the green, used to indicate the location of the hole
  • Play through: A term used when a faster group of golfers is allowed to pass through a slower group on the course
  • Penalty stroke: A stroke added to a golfer’s score as a result of a rules infraction or penalty, such as hitting the ball out of bounds or into a hazard
  • Pop-up: A type of shot that results in the ball being hit directly upward, typically caused by hitting the ball on the bottom of the clubface
  • Pro-am: A golf tournament in which professional golfers are paired with amateur golfers to form teams
  • Provisional ball: A second ball played by a golfer when the original ball may be lost or out of bounds, allowing the golfer to continue play without returning to the previous spot
  • Punch shot: A type of low-trajectory shot played with a short iron, typically used to escape trouble or hit under trees
  • Pull: A shot that starts left of the target for a right-handed golfer, typically caused by a clubface that is closed at impact

Q:

  • Quail high: A term used when a shot is hit very high into the air, resembling a quail in flight
  • Quick greens: Greens that are very fast and difficult to putt on, often requiring delicate touch and precise speed control
  • Qualifier: A tournament or round of golf used to determine which golfers will advance to a higher level of competition
  • Quota system: A handicap-based scoring system in which a golfer’s score is compared to a predetermined number, with points awarded or deducted based on the difference between the two
  • Quarter shot: A type of shot played with a shortened backswing and follow-through, resulting in a shorter distance and greater accuracy
  • Quicksand: A term used to describe a difficult situation or position on the golf course, similar to being stuck in quicksand

R:

  • Range: Short for “driving range,” a practice area where golfers can hit balls and work on their swings
  • Read: To analyze the slope, speed, and direction of a putt in order to determine the best line and speed to aim for
  • Reverse overlap grip: A grip style in which the pinky finger of the top hand overlaps the index and middle fingers of the bottom hand
  • Rough: The longer, thicker grass found outside the fairway and around the green, making shots more difficult to control and limiting a golfer’s ability to hit the ball cleanly
  • Round: A full 18-hole game of golf
  • Rubber match: A term used when a match is tied after two players have each won one match, requiring a third match to determine the winner
  • Run: The distance a golf ball travels after it hits the ground, often affected by the slope and firmness of the fairway or green
  • Rhythm: The tempo and flow of a golfer’s swing, which can affect the accuracy and power of a shot
  • Range ball: A lower-quality golf ball typically used at driving ranges and practice facilities, as opposed to the higher-quality balls used on the course
  • Ready golf: A style of play in which golfers are encouraged to play their shots as soon as they are ready, rather than waiting for others to play first
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S:

  • Sandbagger: A golfer who intentionally misrepresents their skill level or handicap in order to gain an advantage in competition
  • Scratch golfer: A golfer with a handicap of 0, indicating that they can be expected to shoot par on any given hole or round
  • Shank: A shot in which the ball is struck by the hosel of the club, resulting in a low, sharp shot that typically goes far to the right for right-handed golfers
  • Slice: A shot that curves to the right for right-handed golfers (or to the left for left-handed golfers), typically caused by a clubface that is open at impact
  • Sand trap: A hazard on the golf course filled with sand, also known as a bunker
  • Short game: The area of a golfer’s game that focuses on shots played from within 100 yards of the green, including pitching, chipping, and putting
  • Snipe: A term used when a golfer hits a shot that travels much farther than intended, often overshooting the green or fairway
  • Stance: The position of a golfer’s feet and body in relation to the ball and target, affecting the angle and direction of the swing
  • Stroke play: A style of golf in which the total number of strokes taken over the course of the round is used to determine the winner
  • Sweet spot: The center of the clubface, where a shot is most likely to be hit solidly and accurately

T:

  • Tee: A small peg used to elevate the ball off the ground for the first shot on each hole
  • Tee box: The area of the golf course from which the first shot on each hole is played, typically marked by colored tee markers indicating the different levels of difficulty or distance
  • Thin: A shot in which the ball is struck by the bottom of the clubface, resulting in a low, skimming shot that typically travels farther than intended
  • Top: A shot in which the ball is struck by the top of the clubface, resulting in a low, weak shot that typically travels much shorter than intended
  • Trap: Short for “sand trap,” a hazard on the golf course filled with sand

U:

  • Up and down: A term used when a golfer successfully makes a par after hitting the ball off the green, typically requiring a chip and a putt
  • Uphill lie: A lie in which the ball is on an uphill slope, typically requiring a shot that travels shorter and higher than normal
  • Unplayable lie: A lie in which the ball is in a position that makes it impossible or impractical to hit, such as in a bush or behind a tree
  • Utility club: A hybrid club that combines elements of a wood and an iron, typically used for longer shots that require accuracy and distance

V:

  • Vardon grip: A grip style in which the pinky finger of the bottom hand overlaps the index and middle fingers of the top hand, named after legendary golfer Harry Vardon
  • Vertical drop: The difference in elevation between two points on the golf course, often affecting the distance and direction of a shot
  • Visualize: To mentally picture the intended shot before taking it, helping golfers to focus and make better swings
  • Volvik: A brand of brightly colored golf balls that are popular among some golfers for their high visibility and unique look

W:

  • Waggle: A small, rhythmic movement made by a golfer before taking a shot, typically used to loosen up and set the tempo of the swing
  • Wedge: A type of club with a high degree of loft, typically used for shots played from within 100 yards of the green
  • Windage: The amount of adjustment needed to compensate for wind when taking a shot, typically measured in inches or feet
  • Worm burner: A shot that travels low and fast along the ground, typically caused by hitting the ball with a downward angle of attack

X:

  • X-factor: A term used to describe the rotational separation between a golfer’s shoulders and hips during the swing, which can affect power and accuracy
  • X-outs: Golf balls that have slight blemishes or manufacturing defects, sold at a discount price

Y:

  • Yardage book: A booklet containing detailed maps and measurements of a golf course, used by golfers to plan their shots and navigate the course
  • Yellow ball: A game played in groups of four, in which a yellow ball is rotated among the players and used for a designated number of holes. The player whose turn it is to use the yellow ball must play it until the end of the designated holes, while the other players use their own balls.

Z:

  • Zeroed in: A term used when a golfer is playing particularly well and making accurate shots consistently
  • Zinger: A term used to describe a long, powerful drive or shot that travels a great distance. It can also refer to a witty or humorous comment made by a commentator during a golf broadcast.

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