Golf Glossary

Glossary of Golf Terms

While many of the terms here don’t apply to pitch and putt (Par 3) golf (ie albatross), they are common terms used when speaking “Golf Talk”.

For a quick reference of scoring golf terms, check out the scorecard.

Click on any of the letters to go directly to the glossary terms associated with that letter.

A

ace
hole-in-one; a score of 1 on a hole
address
the position that the player assumes when preparing to make a stroke
albatross
double eagle; a score of 3 under par for a hole (This is one of the hardest shots to achieve in pitch and putt {ie. Par 3 golf})
all square
term used in match play scoring to indicate that the match is even at present (abbreviated as “AS” on scoreboard)
approach putt
a long putt that is not expected to go in, but hopefully will finish close to hole
apron
the short grass that separates the putting green from rough or fairway
away
farthest from the hole

B

back nine
the last 9 holes (10-18) of an 18 hole golf course
ball in pocket (B.I.P.)
when a player has picked up his ball and does not intend to complete a hole with a valid score
ball mark
the depression that a ball makes when it strikes the ground
ball marker
usually a small, flat object (like a dime) used to mark the ball’s position on the green while other players putt and/or the ball is cleaned
ballooning
excessive climbing or lifting of a shot beyond its normal trajectory, usually into the wind and usually causing the shot to fall short of the intended distance
baseball grip
a method of holding the club using all ten fingers on the grip with no overlapping or interlocking fingers
beach
any sand-filled hazard
below the hole
when the ball is in a position lower than, or downhill from, the hole on ground that is not level
bent grass
a very smooth, fine-bladed grass usually used for putting greens
better ball
the best score for a team
birdie
a score of one under (less than) par for a hole
blast
a shot that removes a large amount of sand or earth in addition (hopefully) to the ball, as from a buried lie in a bunker
blind shot
a shot where the intended landing area is not visible from the player’s perspective
bogey
a score of one over (more than) par for a hole
break
the curve of a putt or running shot due to the slope of the terrain and gravity
bunker
a depression in the ground usually (but not always) filled with sand
buried elephant
a particularly large mound or hump, usually used in reference to the surface of a putting green

C

cabbage
deep rough or vegetation off the fairway
caddy
someone who carries a players bag of clubs and/or assists a player with advice and the details of play
call up
wave up; common practice at some courses (usually on par 3 holes) where the group ahead (group A) signals for the group behind (group B) to play their shots when group A reaches the green rather than waiting for them to finish the hole in an attempt to improve pace of play — also could be when group A wishes for group B to play-through at any point on the course
carve
expression has been used to describe shaping or bending a shot to fit a hole’s terrain or curve around something
casual water
a temporary accumulation of water (outside of a water hazard) that is visible before or after a player takes their stance
chili dip
when a short chip or pitch shot is hit fat or chunked, causing the ball to go a much shorter distance than intended
chip
chip and run, chip and roll, bump and run; a shot that is designed to roll farther than it flies
chip-off
play-off; a method of breaking a tie by seeing who gets a selected chip shot closer to the hole
chip out
punch out; hitting a relatively small chip shot to extricate oneself from trouble (e.g., trees) when a longer shot is needed but obstructed
chunk
chunky, fat, thick, heavy, laying the sod over it, hitting the big ball before the little ball; hitting the ground before the ball, usually resulting in the ball not going as far as intended
Claw grip
Gator grip, Psycho grip; an unusual method of gripping the putter, popularized by PGA Tour player Chris DiMarco, where the fingers of the bottom hand curl over the top of the club’s grip (palm oriented thumb-up and pinky-down) rather than under the grip, as in more common methods
Club professional
a golf professional associated with the operation of a golf facility, specifically as opposed to a Touring professional golfer
clubhouse
the main building or structure of a golf facility which can, but does not necessarily, include the pro shop, food service, locker rooms, lounge, offices, and more
coil
the turning of the body away from the target in the backswing
collar
apron, fringe, frog hair; the short grass that separates the putting green from rough or fairway
comebacker
a putt remaining after the preceding putt goes past the hole
committee
the person or group in charge of the competition, or if not in competition, the person or group in charge of the course
condor
triple eagle; a score 4 under par on a hole (e.g., a hole-in-one on a par 5)
continuous putting
a common practice where a player, having putted the ball close to the hole, chooses to finish putting rather than to mark their ball and wait to finish until their turn is decided by distance from the hole
cross bunker
a long or wide bunker that crosses the fairway rather than running adjacent or parallel to the fairway
cup
generically refers to the hole but also includes the base and liner, or sleeve, inside the hole that holds the flagstick in place
cup lining
cup liner; rigid sleeve inside the hole

D

depth charge
a putt that is lagged softly down a slippery (fast) slope and intended to just get close rather than hit the mark
deuce
a score of 2 on a hole
dimples
the indentations on the surface of a golf ball which increase friction and lift
dip
downward movement of the spine and head during the swing – not desirable
disconnected
when the arms move separately from, or independently in relation to, the torso, particularly through impact
divot
a portion of turf that is ripped out of the ground
dogleg
a hole on which the fairway has an angle, turn or bend in it like a dog’s rear leg
double bogey
a score of two over (more than) par for a hole
down
1. as it lies; playing the ball as you find it, with no alteration of its position or condition
2. behind in a match (usually counted by holes in match play, but could also apply to the number of strokes a player is behind their opponent)
DQ
scoreboard abberviation for “disqualified” (for rules violation, etc.)
drain
1. to sink a putt
2. a player who seems to make a lot of putts
drink
another term for a water hazard
drop
when the ball is released by hand with an extended arm at shoulder height and put back in play after being lifted under various situations within the rules of golf
drop area
an area of ground where players can drop their ball, usually in situations where there is not another practical area to take a drop or for maintenance reasons
dub
duff, top; a badly misplayed shot, usually associated with the ball never leaving the ground as a result of hitting the top or side of the ball or hitting the ground well behind the ball
duck hook
snap hook, snapper, quacker; a shot that curves abruptly and severely right to left (right-handed player)
duffer
hacker; an unskilled golfer

E

eagle
a score of 2 under (less than) par for a hole
embedded ball
plugged; a ball stuck in the ground as a result of its impact
etiquette
rules of behavior, propriety, decorum, manners, etc.
even par
even, level, level par; anytime one’s score is level with, or equivalent to, par during, or at the conclusion of, a round of golf
executive course
a golf course with very short holes, mostly par 3′s and short par 4′s

F

fade
a gently curving shot from left to right (right-handed player)
fairway
the closely mown area between the tee and green
fairway bunker
a sand or deep grass hazard situated in, or adjacent to, the fairway
fairway wood
fairway metal; a wood other than the driver or 1 wood (more commonly made of metal rather than wood nowdays)
fan
whiff; missing the ball completely
fat
chunky, fat, thick, heavy, laying the sod over it, hairpiece, hitting the big ball before the little ball; hitting the ground before the ball, usually resulting in the ball not going as far as intended
feel
touch; the sensation of, or level sensitivity for, playing shots in golf
finish position
finish; the last position, or end, of the swing
flag
usually, but not always, a fabric banner atop the pin or flagstick to make the location of the hole visible
flagstick
pin, stick; a slender pole, usually about 7 feet in height, with a flag on it placed inside the cup to mark the location of the hole
flare
block, push; a shot that is typically high and a push (to the right for a right-handed player)
flat stick
another name for the putter
flier
flier lie, flyer, shooter, jumper; 1. a shot that flies further than desired as a result of decreased backspin, usually resulting from long grass (but also could be water) between the ball and clubface at impact
2. a lie that causes the ball to fly farther than intended
fluffy
fluffy lie; when the ball is sitting up in longish grass with a lot of air underneath it and a lot of grass surrounding it
follow-through
finish; the continuation of a golf stoke after the bottom of the swing and impact area
foot wedge
kicking the ball (which, of course, is against the rules)
foursome
1. four players playing together in a group
2. a match in which two 2-person teams compete against each other with each side only playing one ball
Four-Ball
a match in which two 2-person teams compete against each other using the one best score from each side
free drop
free relief; dropping the ball without penalty in any number of situations allowed by the rules of golf
fried egg
a lie (usually in a sand filled bunker) in which the ball is half buried and thus resembles a fried egg
fringe
apron, collar, frog hair; the short grass that separates the putting green from rough or fairway
frog hair
apron, collar, fringe; the short grass that separates the putting green from rough or fairway
front nine
front, front side; the first 9 holes (1-9) of an 18 hole golf course
full finger grip
baseball, ten finger grip; a method of holding the club using all ten fingers on the grip with no overlapping or interlocking fingers

G

gallery
spectators
GHIN
Golf Handicap & Information Network; handicap service begun in 1981 maintained by the USGA
gimme
derived from “give me”; “concede the next stroke to me as holed”; a putt that is short enough in length to be certain to be holed with the next stroke
go to school
to learn from another player’s shot (most commonly associated with putting – seeing how a putt on a similar line to your own will break)
green
putting green, putting surface, dance floor; the most closely mown and smooth area on the course, which is specifically prepared for putting and on which the hole is placed
green fee
the fee paid to play a course
green grass
used to indicate a retail golf shop operation on the premises of a golf course
greenkeeper
older term for an individual involved in maintaining and caring for a golf course and grounds
grip
1. the handle of a golf club (usually covered with rubber, leather, etc.)
2. the holding, or method of holding, a golf club
gross
the raw, actual or unadjusted score (strokes) before a handicap has been applied

H

half shot
half swing, knockdown, knockdown shot, punch, punch shot; a shot played with less than a full swing, mainly to control distance, trajectory and spin
halve
a tie on a given hole in match play
ham and egg
when players on a team (usually a two-man team) compliment each other during a match — usually thought of in terms of “better ball” situations
handicap
abbr: “hcp, hdcp”, related: “handicap differential, handicap index, index; the average difference between a player’s scores and a set standard, as calculated by specified procedures and formulas
hardpan
very firm, unyielding ground (many times bare)
hazard
any bunker – usually a hollow of some kind with a prepared surface, generally sand or similar or water hazard – sea, lake, pond, ditch, etc. usually marked with either yellow or red stakes or lines
high side
the uphill edge of the cup when it is on any slant
hitch
a noticeable rough spot or hiccup in the flow of a golf swing
hold
check, grab; 1. when the ball stays near where it lands, not rolling much (if any) forward
2. to stay on the green after landing
hole
1. 4¼ inch diameter hole in the ground into which the ball is to be played
2. the entire length of the playing area and immediate vicinity from the teeing ground to the putting green (all inclusive)
3. hole out, make, drain, sink; to play the ball into the hole
hole high
pin high; when the ball has travelled the correct distance and is even with the hole, but off to one side or the other (whether or not it’s on the green)
hole in one
ace; a score of 1 on a hole, holing the tee shot
holed
hole(d) out; when the ball goes in the hole (as of 2008 the entire ball must be at rest below the level of the lip)
home
1. to reach the green with a shot
2. the clubhouse or vicinity of the starting point and ending point of a round of golf
honor
the privilege of playing first from the tee
hook
a shot that travels from right to left (right-handed player) – more severe than a draw

I

improved lie
improved lies, improving your lie, preferred lies, winter rules, bumping it; altering the ball’s position, or the way it rests (lies) on the ground, so as to make the it easier to contact cleanly — mainly put into effect when course conditions are not acceptable for playing the ball down, usually due to wet, soggy conditions)
in play
officially — the ball is in play once the tee shot comes to rest anywhere on the course (not out of bounds)
informally — more commonly used to also include the fact that the next shot is “playable” (i.e., not in the forest, a water hazard, potentially lost, etc.)
inside
1. closer to the hole than
2. closer to the body than (e.g., inside the target line, inside takeaway)
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)
interlocking grip
interlock grip; a method of placing the hands on the club such that the index finger of the top hand (nearest the end of the handle or grip) and the pinky of the bottom hand hook together, intertwine or interlock
iron
a club with a head made of steel or iron and a relatively narrow sole usually somewhere between 16° and 65°

J

jumper
flier, flyer, shooter; a shot that flies farther than intended or a lie that causes the ball to fly farther than intended

K

kitty litter
another term for a sand-filled bunker
knife
another term for a one iron
knockdown
knockdown shot, punch, punch shot, half shot; a shot played with less than a full swing, mainly to control distance, trajectory and spin

L

lag
lag putt, approach putt; a putt that is intended to stop close to the hole but not presumed to be holed
lay up
lay back, play for position, transport shot; a shot played to a particular location to allow for an easier subsequent shot or to keep the ball from going too far
leader in the clubhouse
the player with the lowest score having completed regulation play
lie
1. the quality, manner, style, way, or position relative to level in which a ball rests on the ground
2. can also refer to the number of strokes taken up to the current moment on a given hole when the ball is at rest
lights-out
playing excellently
line
1. target line, intended line; direction, as indicated by a vertical plane
2. line, line of a putt, putting line; the path on which the ball rolls, or will roll, enroute to the hole
line up
1. align; position/direct/orient the body and/or club 2. assessing the direction of a shot or putt
links
1. originally referred to seaside courses on “links land” (seaside grassy area), now used loosely to mean any golf course
2. links style course, links course; an exposed, windswept (sometimes seaside) course characterized by gently rolling mounds/dunes and very few trees
lip
rim; the top edge of the hole, above the cup
lip out
when the ball hits the edge of the hole and spins out instead of dropping
lob
lob shot; a relatively vertical (steep arced) shot, usually played with a lofted wedge, intended to land softly and not roll far
local knowledge
awareness of a course’s idiosyncratic playing characteristics from having played it many times
long game
the part of golf played with full, or substantial, swings where the ball is intended to cover relatively longer distances
loop
1. (mainly used by caddies) another term for a round of golf
2. reroute; a noticeable difference in the path of the club head between the backswing and downswing
loose impediment
any natural object that is not fixed or growing (e.g., rocks, twigs, leaves, etc.)
lost ball
any ball that cannot be found within five minutes of beginning a search for it
low side
the downhill edge of the cup when it is on any slant
lunch ball
Muligan, Sunday ball; taking a second attempt (replay, “do over”) at a shot when one doesn’t like the result of the first

M

Major
1. one of four annual tournaments (The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open or PGA)
2. could also refer to a tournament of greater significance than usual due to tradition or the sanctioning body
mark
spot; to put down a ballmarker to be able to replace the ball precisely in its original location after lifting
marker
1. ball marker; usually a small, flat object (like a dime) used to mark the ball’s position while other players putt and/or the ball is cleaned
2. a person designated to record a player’s score in stroke play
markers
tee markers, blocks, tee blocks; two objects that indicate the foreward boundary of the teeing area
marshal
1. a person designated by a tournament committee to help with crowd control and to keep order
2. a person designated to patrol the course, keeping an eye out for problems in general, but usually present to promote a reasonable pace of play or keep things moving
match play
scoring by holes rather than strokes, the way golf was originally played
medalist
the player in a stroke play, or medal play, competition with the fewest strokes/lowest score, the winner
medal play
stroke play; scoring by the total number of strokes
Mulligan
breakfast ball, lunch ball, Sunday balll taking a second attempt (replay, “do over”) at a shot when one doesn’t like the result of the first attempt

N

NC
scoreboard abbreviation for “No card”, meaning that the player did not turn in a scorecard
net
a players score after a handicap has been applied
nineteenth hole
the bar or lounge after a round of golf
nutted
flushed; hitting it squarely and on the sweetspot

O

OB
out of bounds, Oscar Brown; out of bounds, off the golf course premises
off the deck
hitting a driver off the fairway or ground rather than on a tee
on the screws
hitting it on the sweetspot, usually of a wood, or driver in particular
one-putt
when only one putt is taken on a green to hole the ball
open
1. a tournament in which any eligible competitor can play, if they qualify
2. open clubface, open stance; refers to the alignment of the body/stance or clubface
out
1. front, front nine, front side, first nine; the first nine holes of an eighteen hole course
2. away; another term for “away”, i.e., farthest from the hole
out of bounds
out of play, ob, Oscar Brown; area that is not part of the course, on which play is not permitted
outside
1. on the opposite side of the target line from the golfer
2. away; farther from the hole than
overlapping grip
overlap and “Vardon grip” after famous player, Harry Vardon) the most common grip in golf, placing the hands on the club such that the pinky finger of the bottom hand rests on the index finger of the top hand, or between the index and middle fingers of the top hand

P

par
1. the standard number of strokes in which a scratch player would be expected to complete a hole or course
2. even, even par, level, level par; to score par on a course, or the state of being at that score during or at the conclusion of play
par in
to score a par on each remaining hole
path
swing path; the direction the clubhead is traveling (generally referred to through the impact area and in relation to the target line)
peeking
looking up to see the result of the shot before impact, mainly used in reference to putting, and particularly on short putts
peg
tee; another term for a tee – a small (usually, but not always, wooden) device for setting the ball up above the ground
penalty stroke
a stroke that must be added to the score, for a variety of reasons (e.g., lost ball, unplayable lie), in accordance with the rules of golf
PGA
Professional Golfers’ Association; organization to promote and regulate the profession of golf
pick up
lifting the ball and discontinuing play on a hole, for various reasons (e.g., informal – too many strokes and too much time has elapsed, causing the following group to wait unduly; team or match play competition situation: partner or competitor has already completed the hole with a better score)
pitch
pitch shot; a relatively short, lofted shot designed to land softly and not roll much (differs from a chip in its trajectory and amount of roll)
pitch and putt (course)
pitch ‘n’ putt; a par 3 course with extremely short holes (usually not much longer than 130 yards)
pitch and run
a lofted shot that is also intended to release/run/roll
pitch mark
ball mark; the depression that a ball makes when it strikes the ground
playing the ball down
playing it down; playing the ball as it lies, as opposed to improving the lie
play through
go through; passing the group in front of you (for various reasons) while they wait
pop
another term for a handicap stroke
pop stroke
a (typically putting) stroke characterized by an abrupt little “hit” or twitch of force at the ball rather than a smooth acceleration through the ball
postage stamp
postage stamp green; a green with a particularly small surface area presenting a demanding target
pot bunker
a small deep bunker, typically with steep sides, requiring a very steep angle of ascent to escape
practice green
practice putting green; a green which is separate from the golf course and is designated for practicing putting only or putting and/or the short game
practice range
practice facility, practice tee, driving range, range; an area, separate from the golf course, designated for hitting practice balls
practice round
a round of golf usually thought of as being for the purpose of familiarizing a player with a particular course, and referred to specifically to differentiate it from a round in a competition
practice swing
rehearsal swing; a swing through the air made (without hitting a ball) to work on, or feel, the movements that you intend to make when you hit the ball, or just to loosen up
pre-shot routine
procedure prior to hitting a golf shot, usually thought of as a consistent sequence
preferred lies
improved lies, winter rules, bumping it; a local rule under which a player can improve his lie without penalty
Pro shop
usually thought of as the building or room where the retail operation of a golf course takes place
provisional ball
provisional; an additional shot played in a situation where it is believed that the original ball may be out of bounds or lost
pull
1. yank, jerk; a shot that goes to the left of the intended line for a right-handed player
2. to select a club or remove it from the bag
punch out
chip out; hitting a relatively small chip shot (many times sideways or even backward) to extricate oneself from trouble (e.g., trees) when a longer shot is needed but obstructed
punch shot
punch, knockdown, knockdown shot, half shot; a shot played with less than a full swing, mainly to control distance, trajectory and spin
pure
flush, solid, on the sweet spot, on the screws, on the nut; a shot struck perfectly on the center of gravity of the club
push
shove, block; a shot that goes to the right of the intended line for a right-handed player
push fade
a shot that is both a push and a fade, starting and curving to the right of the intended target line for right-handers
putt
a shot that is intended to make the ball roll
putter
flatstick, wand; a club with a fairly straight face used for putting, or rolling the ball on the ground
putt out
finish; to complete play by holing your ball, or to putt your ball into the hole whether you are away (farthest from the hole) or not
putting green
green, putting surface, dance floor; the most closely mown and smooth area on the course, which is specifically prepared for putting and on which the hole is placed

Q

quail high
a very low trajectory shot
quit
not following-through completely with momentum, decelerating through impact

R

rainmaker
skying, skyball, pop up; another term for skying the ball or hitting a pop-up
ranger
marshal; a person designated to patrol the course, keeping an eye out for problems in general, but usually present to promote a reasonable pace of play or keep things moving
rating
see course rating
regulation
conforming to regulations, official (e.g., the specified number of holes for a competition, or a club that conforms to the rules of golf)
relief
a rules term meaning “to pick up the ball and move it away from” some condition, obstacle, etc.
reload
an expression used when a shot is certainly out of play
rough
longer grass adjacent to the fairways, greens and perhaps tees
round
a complete circuit of (usually) 18 holes
rules of golf
regulations and procedures of the game as set forth by a collaborative effort of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in Scotland and the United States Golf Association (for specific rules see this page)

S

sand trap
trap, bunker, sand bunker; another commonly used term for a sand-filled bunker – a depression in the ground filled with a prepared surface of sand or similar
sandbagger
liar, cheater; a golfer who lies about their ability in order to gain an advantage in a match or wager, or posts (submits/enters/turns-in) artificially high scores in order to inflate their handicap
score
1. the number of strokes taken on a hole or course (see also the chart of scores and their names)
2. to keep the number of strokes taken to a minimum
scorecard
card; the card used to record and tally scores during and after a round of golf
scoring
1. the markings (grooves, dimples, scratches, etc.) on the face of a golf club
2. the act of keeping one’s total strokes taken to a minimum
3. the act of recording scores or running the scoreboard (see also the chart of scores and their names)
scramble
1. a tournament format in which all players in a group (foursome or otherwise) hit a shot from the tee, and each subsequent location, always playing from the position of the best or preferred ball until the ball is holed (more on tournament formats)
2. to extricate oneself from trouble, or recover, after an errant shot well enough to salvage a decent score
scratch
1. zero handicap, no handicap strokes deducted
2. a player with (approximately) a 0 handicap
screws
on the screws; the sweetspot, usually refers to hitting a wood, or driver in particular, right in the center (many woods originally had an insert in the center of the face that was attached with screws, thus the expression)
set up
setup, address, address position; the position that the player assumes when preparing to make a stroke
shoot
1. the act of playing a golf shot
2. another way to refer to one’s score for a round of golf, or tournament
shooter
1. flyer, flier, jumper; a shot that flies further than desired as a result of decreased backspin, usually resulting from long grass (but also could be water) between the ball and clubface at impact
2. a lie that causes the ball to fly farther than intended
3. colloquial term for a golfer or player
shootout
1. a match play format in which one player is eliminated at the conclusion of each hole based on having the highest score or, in cases of a tie for the highest score, a sudden death type playoff (called a "shootout") decides which player is eliminated
2. generic term for a playoff or on some golf tournament titles (e.g., "The Shark Shootout")
short game
the part of the game that consists of short range shots (i.e., putting, chipping, pitching, greenside bunker shots, etc.)
short grass
another phrase for the fairway
shot
1. a stroke in golf and its result (assumes contact with the ball)
2. the act (past tense) of playing a stroke
3. another way (past tense) to refer to one’s score for a round of golf, or tournament
shotgun start
a golf tournament format in which all groups of players tee off simultaneously from different holes
side
back side, front side; another term for each 9 holes of an 18 hole course
side-hill lie
uneven lie; when the ball lies on an uneven slope, with either the ball above the feet or below the feet
sidesaddle
a putting stance where the legs and feet are, more or less, facing the hole and the stroke is made to the side of, rather than in front of, the body
signature hole
a hole that that uniquely identifies a course by its characteristics or style
slice
banana ball; a wildly curving shot from left to right for a right-handed player
starter
tee master, master of the tee; the person in charge of controlling play at a golf course
starting time
tee time, time; a reservation or appointment to play at a specific time
stoney
stick it, stiff; a shot that stops close to the hole
stripe
to hit a tee shot solidly and straight, implying that it finds the center stripe of the fairway (the direction of mowing and subsequent leaning of the grass blades has the visual effect on the fairway of making it appear striped: grass that is mown and leans in the direction away from the tee appears lighter in color than areas mown toward the tee)
stroke
1. shot; the act of swinging a club with the intention of striking the ball
2. the qualitative aspect of the swing (most frequently associated only with putting)
stroke and distance
2-stroke penalty; counting one stroke for the stroke itself and one stroke for the distance travelled by the ball (meaning the ball must be replayed from the original point)
stroke hole
a hole on which a player’s handicap strokes fall in net scoring match play situations (e.g., a 1 handicapper only gets a stroke on the number 1 handicap hole, whereas an 18 handicapper gets a stroke on every hole)
stroke play
medal play; scoring by the total number of strokes
stymie
1. term referring to another player’s ball (usually on the putting green) blocking one’s path to the hole — obsolete since the practice of marking the ball on the green
2. general term for a situation where the desired line of play to the hole is blocked by an object or obstruction
summer rules
another way some people use to indicate that the ball will be played "down" or "as it lies"
Sunday ball
lunch ball, Muligan; taking a second attempt (replay, "do over") at a shot when one doesn’t like the result of the first
superintendent
head greenkeeper or greenkeeper; the person in charge of overseeing the golf course maintenance and crew
swale
a depression, valley, or low portion of undulation on a course
sweet spot
sweetspot, screws, nut; the center of mass of the club (the solid spot on the clubface)
swing
1. to make a stroke
2. a significant change in the score (as in a scale, or the balance, shifting)

T

tap in
gimme; a very short put that is certain to be made
tee
1. peg; a small (usually, but not always, wooden) device for setting the ball up above the ground
2. the act of placing the ball on a tee
3. teeing ground, teeing area, tee box; the starting point of each hole, the area designated as the teeing ground
tee blocks
blocks, tee markers, markers; two objects that indicate the foreward boundary of the teeing area
tee markers
markers, tee blocks, blocks; two objects that indicate the foreward boundary of the teeing area
tee off
to hit a shot from the tee
tee shot
tee ball; a shot from the tee, the first shot on a hole
tee time
the time assigned for a group to begin play on their first hole
teeing ground
teeing area, tee box, tee; the starting point of each hole, where the tee markers are
tend the flag
attend the flag, flagstick or pin; holding and then removing the flagstick after a player has made a stroke
that’ll play
that will play; refers to a shot (usually off the tee) that might be less than ideal, but that is certainly good enough to proceed on the hole without damage (penalty strokes, difficult recovery, etc.); also occasionally used to facetiously downplay a great shot
tips
The tips or playing from the tips; playing each hole from its longest possible yardage so that you play the entire course at its longest possible yardage
tight
1. a very narrow hole or course
2. a compact and efficient swing
3. hole location that is very close to the edge of the green
4. a ball resting on the ground or in grass with very little air underneath it, making clean and solid contact difficult
trap
1. bunker, sand trap; another commonly used term for a sand-filled bunker – a depression in the ground filled with a prepared surface of sand or similar
2. a descending strike at impact that squeezes, or traps, the ball between the club face and the ground to varying degrees
turn
1. the rotation of the body in the swing (e.g., shoulder turn, hip turn)
2. going from the ninth green to the tenth tee
3. curving a golf shot
4. break or curve in a putt

U

under par
subpar; less than or below par
uneven lie
sidehill lie, uphill lie, downhill lie; when the ball lies on an uneven slope, with either the ball above the feet or below the feet, and/or one foot higher than the other
unplayable lie
the player has determined that the ball cannot be played from its current spot

V

verticut
a procedure to cut grass vertically (the cutting blades dig into the grass up and down rather than cutting it off horizontally) to promote new blade growth, more turf density and smoother greens or fairways

W

waggle
some kind of motion or movement of the club for the purpose of staying loose, feeling the club, keeping the body in motion instead of holding still
walk-on
typically thought of as a single player with no reservation, but could be more than one player
water hazard
any sea, lake, pond, ditch, etc. (whether it contains water or not), usually marked with either yellow stakes or lines
wave up
call up; common practice at some courses (usually on par 3 holes) where the group ahead (group A) signals for the group behind (group B) to play their shots when group A reaches the green rather than waiting for them to finish the hole (it is done in an attempt to improve pace of play) — also could be when group A wishes for group B to play-through at any point on the course
WD
scoreboard abbreviation for withdraw
wet
ball in water hazard
whiff
a swing with intent to strike the ball and a miss
winter rules
preferred lies, improved lies, bumping it; a local rule under which a player can improve his lie without penalty
work the ball
to deliberately shape or curve a shot
wrong ball
any ball other than the player’s ball in play, provisional ball or second ball played under Rule 3-3 or Rule 20-7b in stroke play

X

X
a score that cannot be determined, as play on a hole was not completed

Y

yank
pull, jerk; a shot that goes severely to the left of the target line (for a right-handed player)
yardage marker
some type of landmark indicating the yardage to the green
yips
nervous twitching in the putting stroke resulting in poor accuracy and a lack of touch

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