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golf terms

Learning to play golf is one of the great challenges in all of sports. Learning the game’s golf terms and lingo may be just as difficult.

Golf terms frequently searched in our golf dictionary:

Golf Terms: Birdie. Bogey. Mulligan.

Golf Terms: Slice. Hook. Shank.

Golf Terms: Driver. Wedge. Hybrid.

What’s a newbie to make of all these baffling golf terms? Heck, even veteran golfers are sometimes stumped by the language that pops up on the course.

There’s one set of words and phrases covering the swing (address, backswing, follow-through), another describing results (fade, draw, fat), still another devoted to different types of shots (chip, pitch, bump-and-run). Then there’s the golf course (fairway, green, bunker) and equipment (putter, perimeter weighting, center of gravity).

You’ve got to know golf’s basic rules (out of bounds, penalty stroke, ground under repair) and its byzantine etiquette practices (honors, away, marking your ball). And you can’t walk a yard on a golf course without hearing a few slang terms (19th hole, chicken wing, sandy) or statistical talk (green in regulation, up-and-down).

That, friends, is merely the tip of a massive linguistic iceberg.

When learning any new language, total immersion in the culture is the best way to go. By playing and practicing often, hanging around the clubhouse, talking to other golfers and watching golf on TV, you’ll pick up the lingo lickety-split. If your golf time is limited, however, you’ll find the Golf-Info-Guide.com Golf Terms Glossary a terrific resource for boning up.

Before long, you’ll be slinging golf slang like an old pro.
“Man, I am loving my new progressive offset irons.”
“Maybe I should try a left-hand-low putting grip.”
“Did you see Bob cut the corner on that dogleg?”

On those occasions when you hear a new golf term, dial up this page and scroll down. You’ll probably find it here. We’re constantly expanding our own vocabulary, adding words and phrases to help all golfers – from novices to old hands – better understand this perplexing game.

Please find below a glossary of golf terms. A dictionary with definitions, and golf terminology of the most popular golf jargon terms used by other golfers, golf web sites, and golf videos.

Golf Terms Definitions Term Details
Ace Synonym for hole-in-one
Address Taking a stance and placing
Aeration A golf course maintenance practice
Aim Direction in which the player
Albatross Same as the golf term double eagle
Alignment The manner and direction in
Alternate Shot Match Match play format pitting a
Angle of Approach Angle at which the clubhead
Approach Shot On a given hole, this
Approach Wedge Approach Wedge,also known as Attack Wedge
Apron Similar to a fringe
Arc Path traveled by the clubhead
Army Golf Slang term for the golfer
Away When playing in a group
Back Weighting Irons A process called back-weighting
Backspin A golf ball rotating opposite
Backswing Initial section of the swing
Bad Lie When the golf ball sits
Bailout A shot intentionally aimed away
Balance Point The point on a golf shaft
Ball Core The ball’s center
Ball Cover Hardness Tests measure the amount a golf
Ball Cover The ball’s outer layer
Ball Dimples Small, round indentations on a golf ball
Ball Initial Velocity According to golf’s rules
Ball Layers Most golf balls are constructed
Ball Mantle The layer between the ball’s
Ball Mark Tool A tool that is used
Ball Marker Is a small, flat object
Ball Overall Distance Standard Established by the USGA in 1976
Ball Position At address, the ball’s placement
Ball Size A golf ball no less than 1.68 inches
Ball Speed The velocity at which the golf ball
Ball Weight Rules state a golf ball may weigh
Banana Ball An extreme slice
Baseball Grip A grip style used
Belly Putters Longer than conventional putters
Bend Point Point of maximum bending on a shaft
Bentgrass Grass strain used on courses
Bermuda Grass Grass strain very common
Best Ball A type of tournament played
Between Clubs When a golfer faces a shot
Biarritz Green A green with a deep swale
Bias A clubhead that is weighted
Birdie A score of one stroke less
Bite A golf shot is said to bite
Blade Irons The term refers to irons
Blast A shot from a bunker
Blocked Shot Right of the target and curves farther right
Blocked Shot Shot that flies directly right
Bogey Golfer Golfer who averages a bogey per hole
Bogey Rating Similar to Course Rating and Slope Rating
Bogey Double Score of one stroke more than par
Bogey Averaging one over par
Bomb and Gouge Golfer drives the ball as far as possible
Bounce Trailing edge of a club’s sole is lower
Bowed Wrist When the left wrist is bent
Break of a Putt Direction a putted ball will roll
Broomstick Putters Extra-long putter
Bulge and Roll Faces of woods that aren't flat
Bump-and-Run A low-trajectory shot
Bunker Lip May refer to the edge
Bunker A hazard filled with sand
Caddy Assistant to the golfer
Camber Curvature on the sole of a golf club
Cape Hole A hole with a severe dogleg
Carry Measurement of distance the ball travels
Casting the Club A quick movement of the hands
Casual Water Water which collects on the course
Cavity-Back Hollowed-out space on the back of the clubhead
Center-Line Bunker A sand bunker that lies in or near the middle
Center-Shafted Putter Putter shaft in the clubhead's center
Check Up Golf shot that stops abruptly
Chicken Stick Any club, except the driver, used to tee off
Chicken Wing Unwanted motion of the left elbow outward
Chili Dip Slang for a short shot
Chip In Chip shot goes into the hole
Chip Shot A shot, played near the green
Chippers Cross between a putter and a mid-iron
Chipping A short shot from very near the green
Choke Up Move hands down on the club’s handle
Chop Chop the ball from thick rough
Chunk the Ball Synonymous with hitting the ball fat
Church Pews Bunker Large bunker with strips of turf
Claw Putting Grip Left (lead) hand is placed on top
Clear the Hips Rotating the hips to the golfer’s left
Closed clubface When the face of the club points left
Closed Stance Left foot (right-handers) is closer than the right foot
Club Center of Gravity Spot on the clubhead where all balance points intersect
Club Crown Top of a clubhead is the crown
Club Grooves Lines that are cut into the golf clubface
Club Length Measured from the butt end of the grip
Club Loft Also called face angle
Club Swingweight A club's weight distribution
Clubface Area used to strike the ball
Clubhead Swing Speed Rate the clubhead is traveling
Clubhead Part of a club which contacts the ball
CNC Milled Putters Computer Numeric Controlled process to create putters
Coefficient of Restitution Measurement of how much a ball will rebound off a clubface
COR COR of golf clubheads is limited to 0.83
Coil Tension of turning the hips
Collection Area A swale or hollow
Come Up and Out Raising of the shoulder just before impact
Comeback Putt When a putt goes past the hole
Concede or Concession A golfer may concede a shot or the match at any time
Conforming Any ball or club that meets USGA standards
Course Management A skill when a player uses his strengths of his game
Course Rating A classification of difficulty of a course
Cross Bunkers Series of bunkers intersecting or crossing
Cross-Handed Grip A method of holding the putter
Crown (of a club) The very top portion of a wood
Crowned Green A green that is highest in the center
Cubic Centimeters More cc equates to a broader hitting area
Cup Another word for hole
Cupped Wrist When the back of the top hand forms an angle
Curved Shaft A putter whose shaft bends
Cut Shot A shot that curves gently from left to right
Decelerate To slow the pace of the swing
Deck Slang term for fairway
Deep-Face Drivers Driver with a face that’s taller than standard
Deuce A score of two on a hole
Die-Casting Production process where metal is injected into a pre-formed mold
Dimple A small indentation in the cover of a golf ball
Dipping the Shoulder The player lowers his right shoulder excessively
Divot Piece of turf cut out when the golf club, contacts the ground
Dogleg Golf Hole A left or right bend in the fairway
Dormie Player is ahead of his opponent by a score exactly to the number of holes that are left
Double Bogey A score of 2 over par
Double Break break in one direction then break to the opposite direction
Double Eagle A score of three strokes less
Double-Cross Swing When a player intends to play a left-to-right shot
Down Hill Lie When the ball position is on the down slope
Downswing Motion from the completion or top of the backswing
Drag Wind resistance to a golf ball in flight
Drain Hole a shot, usually a putt
Draw A shot that curves a small amount to the left
Drivers Longest shaft, biggest head and least loft
Driving Irons Similar to a hybrid but with more characteristics
Drop Kicking Club hits the ground before contact
Drop The action of dropping the ball back in play
Dub To hit a shot poorly
Duck Hook A shot which starts left of target
Duff Miss hit that the ball only travels a short distance
Eagle A score of two strokes less than par on a hole
Elevated Green A green whose surface is higher than the surrounding ground
Etiquette The behavior of players
Even Par Golfer's score is the same as the courses
Explosion Shot Where the player strikes sand before ball
Face Angle The distance between the clubface and ground
Face Insert A separate piece of material inserted into the face of a clubhead
Face Progression Measurement of the angle between the shaft's centerline and leading edge
Face Tape An opaque strip of tape
Face-Balanced Putter A putter whose face points upward
Fade A shot that curves a small amount to the right
Fairway Bunker An indentation located in the fairway
Fairway Woods Slightly shorter, with smaller heads and more loft than the driver
Fairway Area of a par 4 or par 5 hole between the tee and green
Fairways Hit Any part of the ball is touching the fairway surface
Falling Off the Ball When you lose balance during the swing
Fat Shot Club makes contact with the turf before the ball
Feel Having a good judgment
Ferrules Part attached to the club just above the hosel
Finish The end of the golf swing
Flag A pole with a flag at the top
Flat Lie Measurement of the angle between the shaft and the bottom
Flat Swing Plane Describes a horizontal swing plane
Flex Point Also called the bend point
Flier Lie A ball position (lie) in the rough
Flop Shot A short pitch shot played
Flub To hit a shot poorly
Flush Hit Contacting it directly on line with the golf club’s center of gravity
Follow-Through Section of swing beyond the point the ball is struck
Fore A loud warning shouted when a ball may hit other players
Forgiving Clubs A club that delivers adequate distance and accuracy
Four-Ball Where 2 teams of two players compete against each other only recording the best individual
Free Drop Player is allowed to pick up his ball from a specific area
Frequency Matching Shafts Shafts within a matched set have identical flexibility
Fringe Area bordering the green
Gallery A group of spectators
Game Improvement Irons Clubs which are designed to help recreational golfers
Gap Wedge This club has a loft from 50° to 54°
Gear Effect The bulge (heel-to-toe curvature) on the face
Gimme Very short putt that is considered unlikely to be missed
Golf Bag Is a long cylinder shaped bag
Golf Ball Compression Measurement of how much a golf ball will compress on impact
Golf Club Alignment Some golf clubs feature a built-in visual aid
Golf Club Fitting The process of measuring a golfer’s physical dimensions
Gooseneck An extremely offset hosel
Grain on a Green The direction of growing grass
Grand Slam A term used to describe winning the for major PGA championships
Green in Regulation Any part of the ball is touching the putting surface
Green Speed The pace at which a putted ball rolls across a green
Green Extremely close-cropped area where the hole is placed
Grip Core Size The internal diameter of a grip
Grip A covering around the end of the shaft
Gross Score Is the actual score shot before any adjustments
Ground Under Repair Golf course marked by stakes
Grounding the Club Placing the clubface behind the ball on the ground at address
Hacker Slang term for a poor golfer
Handicap A number assigned to each golfer
Handsy Swing A golfer with a large amount of wrist
Hardpan Lie Extremely hard ground conditions
Hazard A natural or manmade course feature
Heel-Shafted Putters putter whose shaft enters the head at the heel
Heel-Toe Weighting Clubhead in which more weight is toward heel and toe
High Finish The golfer who holds the club at or above head
Hip Turn Rotation of the hips
Hole High Ball finishes on a line directly left or right of hole
Hole In One Score of 1 on any hole
Hole Out The action of making the ball go into the cup
Hole A cup located on every green
Honors The player who records the lowest score
Hood Reducing the loft of the club
Hook A shot that curves to the left
Hosel Where the shaft connects to the clubhead