The Language of Golf

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Golf is a terrific sport and great way to meet interesting people. To help you get out there and start playing I’ve prepared a quick A to Z of some of the language you’ll hear on the course.

Action: Backspin on ball causing it to stop dead or spin backwards.

Albatross: 3 under par on one hole.

Approach shot: Hitting the ball to the green.

Birdie: 1 under par on one hole.

Bogey: 1 over par on one hole.

Divot:    The piece of turf that flies out when a shot is hit on the fairway.

Dogleg:  A hole where the fairway turns to the right of left.

Double Bogey: 2 over par on one hole.

Draw: The draw is similar to the fade with the ball being given a deliberate right to left spin and is considered to be a controlled and deliberate shot. Often adds yards onto the shot as the ball tends to roll further when it hits the ground following a draw.

Eagle: 2 under par on one hole.

Fade: Similar to the slice but with less movement of the club head across the ball and thus less spin. This can be a very useful shot to avoid obstacles or cope with windy conditions and is often played deliberately by experienced golfers.

Fat: When you hit the ground before the ball reducing distance.

Fore!:  Shouted immediately following a bad shout which is heading towards another person.

Fried Egg: When a ball remains in its own pitch mark after landing in the bunker.

Gimme: Applies to a shot that the other players agree can count automatically. Traditionally shorter than a jeroboam in friendly matches or your putter grip on not so friendly matches.

Lawrence of Arabia: Nickname a golfer earns when they’ve been in the sand all day.

Slice: Produced by failing to hit the ball square and thus putting some side spin onto it. Most often right handed golfers tend to strike the ball with the club head moving from right to left causing the ball to spin sideways and fly off to the right mid-flight.

Hacker: A poor golfer.

Handicap: Allows players of mixed ability to play against one competitively. Your handicap is the number of strokes it takes you over 18 holes plus par.

Hole In One : When the ball goes straight into the hole from your tee shot. I had one of these on the 17th July 1997.

Hook: The hook is simply the opposite of the slice and would occur when a right handed golfer hits the ball with the club head travelling across the ball from left to right. Causes the ball to ‘hook’ off to the left (often into the trees, often followed by swears).

Nineteenth hole: The bar.

Par:  Level par on one hole.

Pin: The flag.

Pitch Mark: The indentation mark the ball leaves on the green. You repair your pitch mark with a pitch mark repairer.

Pull: The pull shot is similar to the push shot but this time the path is to the left of the desired target.

Push: The push shot simply describes a shot which travels in a straight line, but a line which is to the right of the intended target.

Range: The place where you practice.

Rough: Grass which has been left to grow at the side of the fairway.

Shank: Striking the ball with the housel of the club causes a shank. Horrible feeling which once happened in a round has the tendency to come back.

Stableford: A scoring system which allocates points to scores (highest score wins). 2+ par=0 points, 1+ par=1 point, par= 2 points, -1 par=3 points, -2 par=4 points, -3 par=5 points and so on.

Stiff. The perfect shot – bang on the pin.

Tee: A small peg stuck into the ground on which a golf ball is placed. Also area where golfers play first stroke of any given hole.

Top: Hitting the ball half way up so it doesn’t rise into the air. runs along the ground. Some golfers refer to this shot as a ‘worm burner’, ‘sally gunnel’, ‘worker’, ‘bounder’, finger stinger’.

Triple Bogey: 3 over par on one hole.

Yips (the): Missing simple puts because of nerves.