Glossary of Golf

Playing with people who know golf and you don’t?

Feeling that you might get left behind with the golf lingo?

Have no fear. Get worded-up before you head off into the Outback this winter and be in-the-know-like-a-pro with this helpful and handy little glossary for newbies interested in golf.

The important ones for this adventure:

Airswing: A swing of your club, which misses connecting with the ball, still counts as a stroke. (P.S. Points to your friends for not laughing out loud and it’s only fair that someone buys you a drink at the end of the day to commiserate your woeful game…)

Birdie: One stroke under par for the hole. (Aim for this. This is a good thing.)

Bogey: A score of one over par on a hole. (This is generally not a good thing. You want to be under par for a hole or on par. More on that further down the line…

Bunker: A hollow comprised of sand or grass or both that exists as an obstacle and/or hazard. (While it’s fun to watch the sand fly in a majestic arc, as you struggle to get out of the mess you have found yourself in, raking your foot steps and proof that you landed there, is not as fun as it seems…)

Caddie: A person hired to carry clubs and provide other assistance. (Aka – minion. Usually this person is not hired, but is your best mate, family member or significant other.)

Chip: A short shot usually around the green where the ball lifts off the ground and then runs along the ground for a short distance. (Also called a chip and run, get used to this one cause it’s going to happen to you a lot.)

Choke: A derogatory term which describes a poor play, usually resulting from nervousness. (Well, no one ever said golf was easy. Why else would the Scots have invented it? Practice so you don’t choke during the championship…)

Double Bogey: A score of two over par on a hole. (Really, really bad and you should aim not to do this, as a general rule.)

Driving Range: A term for a practice area for golf. Known also as a practice range or golf range. (It’s where you can hit a lot of balls, that doesn’t mean anything…)

Eagle: A score of two under par on a hole. (Do this and you are sure to be in the top ten. Do it, do it now!)

Fore: Originally a Scottish interjection ‘fore’ is used to warn anyone standing or moving in the flight path of the golf ball. (Not unlike yelling ‘Duck’ or ‘Incoming’ into a crowd. Unfortunately duck could be one literally out on course and incoming would take too long to say by the time the ball hit you in the forehead…)

Green/s (as in on the green/s): The green/s means where the putting green, golf hole, flagstick/pole and hole are located. (You want to hit your ball always on the green. This is the ultimate goal…)

Handicap: A number allocated to you that reflects your golfing ability. The lower the handicap of a player, the better the player. (Again, for you this is just for fun right? No competition necessary for having fun. A for effort!)

Honour: The right of the player to hit off first, usually the person with the lowest score on the previous hole. (Don’t worry dear. It’s never me either…)

Lie: Where the ball has come to rest. It can also relate to the club as in the angle of the club face to the club shaft. (Not to worry. Just think about how comfortable it is to lie down in your bed one way, but not the other.)

Marker: A person who keeps your score. (You and everyone else is not to be trusted not to fib your score. Hence someone else in your group, marks your scorecard.)

Markers: Used to show where you are allowed to hit your golf ball from, off the tee. (Similar to only being able to swim between the flags, you can only tee off between the markers…)

Par: The score an accomplished player is expected to make on a hole, either a three, four or five. (To be in it to win it, make par! If a hole is a par three this mean you have three hits of the ball to get it in the hole.)

Scorecard: A critical component for any game of golf (even putt-putt), this one keeps everyone honest. Used to keep score, a player’s marker records the player’s score, after completion on every hole.

Stroke: The times you hit a ball while playing on each hole. (Remember, less is more.)

Stroke Play: It’s a form of play for a competition based on the cumulative number of strokes taken, either over one round or several. (Most professional tournaments are stroke play events. Even though Outback Queensland Masters is not a professional event, you will feel like one playing it as, guess which type of format it is? Answer: Stroke Play…)

Tee: A stand used to support a stationary golf ball so that you may hit it easier. (Some people like to use a tee while teeing off and others not so much. No right way to do it, just what feels right.)

Teeing off: Term for when you have taken your stance and are ready to commence play. (Players have all kinds of routines. Be sure to check out YouTube if you need any ideas on this…)

Teeing Ground: The area in which each hole begins, indicated by two markers

The good-to-know ones, if you want to show off your know-how:

Angle of Approach (or Attack): In which the relative angle of your clubhead approaches the ball at impact. (The aim here is to hit the ball towards the hole, while successfully avoiding any hazards or obstacles such as ponds, trees or spectators.)

Course Rating: a number, usually the same or one or two shots above or below the par of the course, which indicates the difficulty of the course. Your handicap is based on the course rating. If two courses have a par of 72, and one has a rating of 70 and the other has a rating of 72, the course with a rating of 72 is considered more difficult than that rated 70.

Double Eagle: A score of three under par on a hole. (If you can do this, you are in the running to be in the hall-of-fame).

Grand Slam: The Modern (or Professional) Grand Slam describes winning the four professional Major Championships — the PGA Championship, the Masters and the United States and British Opens — in a calendar year. The Career Grand Slam describes winning each of these events once in a career. Only a handful of players have won all championships.

Level-Par: When you have a score of even par (meaning you are right where the course thinks you need to be. Doesn’t mean you are great, just the average-par).

For those who want to know the full glossary of terms, and brush up on their future trivia knowledge, you would be best to check out the following sites:

Golf Australia’s Golf Definitions – https://www.golf.org.au/golfdefinitions

PGA’s Golf Dictionary, Glossary and Golf Terms – https://www.pga.com/news/golf-buzz/golf-dictionary-glossary-and-golf-terms

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