Golf isn’t just a tough game to play but it also has a number of weird terms that the average person wouldn’t understand. If you’re playing the game you should probably know the majority of these so that’s why I created this list of golf terms and definitions. It’ll be tough to list every single golf term out there but I’ll do my best and continue adding more in the future.
Basic Golf Terms
Hole In One – This is what you call it when you hit your ball in the hole on the very first shot.
Birdie – This is what you call it when you finish a hole 1 under par. If you get 2 on a par 3, 3 on a par 4, or 4 on a par 5 then that’s a birdie.
Eagle – This is when you get 2 under par on a hole. If you get 2 on a par 4 or 3 on a par 5 then that’s an eagle.
Double Eagle – This is when you get 3 under par on a hole. If you get 2 on a par 5 then that’s a double eagle.
Par – If you shoot a 3 on a par 3, 4 on a par 4, or 5 on a par 5 then that’s a par.
Bogey – If you get 1 over par on a hole then that’s a bogey. A 4 on a par 3, 5 on a par 4, or 6 on a par 5 are all bogeys.
Double Bogey – If you shoot 2 over par on a hole then that’s a double bogey. A 5 on a par 3, 6 on a par 4, or 7 on a par 5 are all bogeys.
Slice – This is the most common mishit for golfers. A slice is when you hit the ball and the shape is extremely left to right (for right-handed golfers).
Hook – This is the opposite of a slice. A hook is when you hit the ball and the shape is extremely right to left (for right-handed golfers).
Push – This is another shot shape in golf where you hit the ball directly right (for right-handed golfers) and almost looks like you’re pushing it away.
Pull – This is the opposite of a push and is when you hit the ball directly left (for right-handed golfers).
Topping The Ball – This is when you make contact with the top of the ball (or bottom of your club) which will give you a very low shot.
Hitting The Ball Fat – This is one of the more common mishits for golfers and happens when you hit the ground before you make contact with the ball.
Additional Golf Terms
Ace – This is another name for a hole in one.
Address The Ball – This is when you put your club on the ground directly behind or ahead of the golf ball.
Albatross – This is another name for a double eagle.
Approach Shot – This is a shot on a par 4 or 5 when you’re planning on hitting the green.
Block – This is another name for a push. When a right-handed golfer hits the ball directly right.
Bunker – The areas on the golf course that has sand are called bunkers. They’re also called sand traps.
Chip Shot – A shot in golf where you hit the ball in the air for a second or two, it lands on the ground, and then it rolls ahead to the flag. Normally it’s when you’re close to the green and you don’t have any obstacles. The ball will roll further than it flies.
Chunk – This is the same as hitting the ball fat (when you hit the ground before the ball).
Divot – When you hit the ground and remove some of the grass or when your ball lands on the green and leaves a dent. Both of those are divots.
Dogleg – This is when the hole you’re on turns left or right. If it’s a dogleg right then the hole will turn right at some point.
Double Cross – This is a mishit in golf and happens when you plan to draw or fade the ball but you do the opposite.
Draw – This is a shot in golf when you hit the ball from right to left (for right-handed golfers).
Duck Hook – This is a mishit in golf where you hit a low hook that doesn’t travel very far.
Fade – This is the opposite of a draw. It’s when a right-handed golfer hits the ball from left to right. It can also be called a cut shot.
Fairway – This is the nicely groomed area between the green and the tee box.
Fairway In Regulation – When you hit your tee shot and land in the fairway, you’ve just hit the fairway in regulation. If you hit the ball in the rough (off the fairway) and then hit the ball to the fairway, you didn’t hit the fairway in regulation.
Flop Shot – When you use your wedge and hit a really high shot.
Fore – This is what you yell if your golf ball is going way left or right and is close to hitting someone.
Gap Wedge – This is an iron that normally has a loft of 52 degrees. It’s also called an approach wedge.
Gimmie – When your ball is super close to the hole you can ask for a gimmie. This means you don’t have to putt the ball because your playing partner is confident you’ll make it.
Green – This is the area around the hole where you use your putter.
Green In Regulation – On a par 3, you’ll get green in regulation if you land the ball on the green with your first shot. You’ll get a GIR on a par 4 if you land on the green in 2 shots. You’ll get one on a par 5 if you land on the green in 3 shots.
Hole High – When you hit the ball and it ends up the same distance as the hole. It’s not short and it’s not long.
Hole Out – When you hit the ball in the hole from off the green. It could be from the fairway, the bunker, or just off the edge of the green.
Lip Out – When you putt the ball and it hits the rim of the hole and stays out.
Lob Wedge – This is the most lofted club you can get and is normally around 60 degrees.
Loft – Each of your clubs will have a different loft. Less loft will give you more distance while more loft will give you higher shots. If your driver says 10.5 then that means there are 10.5 degrees of loft.
Long Game – Your long game is when you hit your driver, woods, hybrids, or 3-5 irons. If you can hit these clubs really well then your long game is good.
Michael Dublé – When you get a double bogey you can also call it a Michael Dublé.
Mulligan – If you tee off and have a bad shot you can take a mulligan and redo your shot. If you take a mulligan you won’t lose a stroke. It’s not allowed in tournament play but if you’re playing with friends you can set how many mulligans you’ll get each round.
Over The Top – A common swing fault for a lot of golfers where they use too much upper body and don’t swing their club on the right path. The result will be a slice for right-handed golfers.
Pin – This is the name for the flagstick on the green.
Pitch Shot – This is similar to a chip shot but the ball will fly further than it rolls.
Rough – This is the area beside the fairway where the grass is longer. It’s a lot harder to hit out of and the grass can be a few inches tall or it can be a few feet tall.
Sand Wedge – This is a wedge that’s most commonly used out of the sand and is normally 56 degrees.
Shank – This is when you hit the ball with the innermost part of your clubface. It normally causes the ball to go straight right (for a right-handed golfer).
Short Game – This is the opposite of your long game. Your short game is when you use your putter, wedges, or 8/9 iron. It’s considered the most important part of your game.
Snowman – Quite simply, when you get an 8 on a hole.
Stroke – A stroke is simply a shot. If you take 5 shots to finish a hole then you’ve added 5 strokes to your score.
Tee Shot/Tee Off – This is when you hit your first shot on each hole at the red, white, or blue markers.
Tee Time – This is the time you start your round of golf.
The Tips – When you tee off, you’ll have 3 or 4 options to pick from. Normally there are red, white, and blue markers (sometimes black). The markers that are the furthest back are called the tips.
Up And Down – This is when you miss the green in regulation and chip or pitch the ball and then putt the ball in the hole.
Yips – When you’re putting the ball and you get nervous and shaky it’s called getting the yips.
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