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Golf N Swing

Golf Glossary



A slang expression for a hole-in-one.


The player's position while preparing to play a shot. Formally a player has addressed the ball when the feet are in position and the club has been grounded.


The aiming of your body at address, including the feet, knees, hips and shoulders.


A score of 3 under par on a hole, usually called double eagle.

All Square

A phrase meaning the score is tied in match play.


A golfer who plays for pleasure without remuneration.


A shot played with the intent of reaching the green (pitch or chip), though not usually applied to "full" shots.


The area surrounding the green where the grass is cut shorter than on the fairway but not as short as on the green. Also referred to as the fringe.


The ball lying furthest from the hole, and therefore the next ball to be played.


A putt which rolls around the cup and into it from the back side.

Back Nine

The second nine holes of an eighteen hole course.

Banana (ball/slice)

A slang term for a ball which curves wildly from left to right.

Best Ball*

A match in which one golfer plays against the best ball of three players or the better ball of two players.


One stroke under par.


A ball struck with enough backspin to make it stop quickly.


A putter with a thin head, may also aplly more generally to the shape of a club's head.


An old term for a broad-soled bunker club; now called sand wedge.

Blind shot

A shot in which the target area cannot be seen.


One stroke over par.


To allow for slope (or occasionally wind) when putting the ball.


An old word for a #2 wood.


A depressed area filled with sand. Because it is a hazard, the club may not touch the sand before the ball is struck in a bunker. Also Sand Trap (US).


A person who carries the clubs of a golfer.


The distance a ball travels from where it was struck to where it lands.

Casual Water*

A temporary accumulation of water not part of a water hazard.

Chapman A Foursomes formula whereby both partners drive, the choosing one ball, play alternately for the rest of the hole.


A short approach shot taken from near the green intended to have a short flight and a longer roll.

Choke down

Place to hands on the club lower down the grip closer to the shaft than normal in order to add control or lessen distance. (Player's grip on caddie's neck following incorrect advice.) 

Closed stance

The left foot is closer to the target line than the right foot at address. This is the classic set up for creating a hook or draw.


A player may "concede" an opponent's putt in match play, meaning the opponent is considered to have putted out on the next stroke.


The whole area within which play is permitted.

Course Rating

The evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for scratch golfers stated in yardage. In practice (here in France) this relates to the difference between the Par of the Course and its Standard Scratch Score (SSS). Note that the Slope of the course is designed to describe the relative difficulty of the course in question relative to the "average" course which has a  difficulty of 113. A "playing Handicap" is calculated by multiplying the player's Handicap Index by the slope of the course and dividing the result by 113. This gives the Playing Handicap for normal Medal Play and Match Play. For Stableford and Against Par competitions, the difference between the SSS and Par is also accounted for in the calculation of the "Strokes Received /Coups Reçus) and often implies a stroke more or less than the playing handicap.

Curtis Cup

The competition between amateur women golfers of the United States and Britain (see Walker Cup).

Cut shot

A ball struck with an intentional outside-in swing path giving a clockwise spin to the ball causing it to curve from left to right - a deliberate slice.


A ball which stops so close to the hole that the next putt is a certainty. (Person missing such a putt!)


Small concave markings on the golf ball helping the ball rise in flight.


A piece of turf dislodged by a golf swing.


A hole with a fairway which bends sharply to the right or left.


In match play, when a player or team is leading by the number of holes remaining to be played.

Double Bogey

A score of two strokes over par. The words "triple" or "quadruple" are linked to bogey to signify 3 or 4 strokes over par.

Double Eagle

A score of three strokes under par, more usually called an albatross.


The number of holes a golfer or a team is behind in match play.


A ball that starts straight at or a little right of the target and then curves slightly to the left with counter-clockwise spin, causing it to roll more when it lands. It is caused by the club moving on a slight inside-out path with a square club face at impact. See also Closed Stance.


To hit the ball off the tee or with a driver.


A #1 wood.


A poorly skilled golfer or a poor shot.

Duck hook (snap hook)

A ball that curves very sharply from right to left, also called a snap hook.


A slang term for a poor golfer, also called a hacker.


A score of two strokes under par on a hole with a par of more than 3 strokes.

Explosion shot

A shot hit in the sand trap where the club slides under the ball and displaces a large amount of sand.


The part of the club head that strikes the ball.


A ball hit straight towards the target and then curving slightly to the right. It is caused when the ball is struck across on an outside-in path with a square club face at impact, imparting a slight clockwise spin on the ball. 


The part of the golf course between the tee and the green where the grass is cut fairly short - or as the rules of golf have it - "a closely mown area through the green".

Fat shot

Hitting too the ground before the ball, thereby taking too much divot under the ball, causing the club head to lose speed thus lessening the distance the ball travels.


The pole in the cup on the green, usually with a flag attached, also called the pin familiarly.

Flat swing

A swing in which the club is closer to a horizontal than the ideal 'over the shoulder' plane.


A ball that goes further than intended because grass is caught between the club and ball at impact reducing the effect of the grooves on the club face; usually hit from the rough. This will also cause the ball to roll more.

Follow- through

During the swing, the movement of the hands and arms after the ball has been struck.


A warning cry that lets people know an errant shot is headed their way.

Forward press

The slight forward motion of the hands or the legs just prior to the beginning of the swing.


Particularly US - four golfers playing together - should more properly be called a four-ball (or two foursomes in a 2-ball), etc., even in the US according to USGA recommendations.


A doubles formula whereby two players team together to play a single ball. Taking turns to drive and then alternately playing the subsequent shots until the ball is holed out. Other foursomes formulas are Greensome and Chapman 

Front nine

The first nine holes of an eighteen hole course.


A slang word for a putt that is conceded in match play.

Golf widow(er)

The slang term for the non-golfing spouse of a golfer.


The part of the golf hole surrounding the cup where the grass is closely cropped to facilitate putting.

Greensome A Foursomes formula whereby both partners drive, then each player plays the partner's ball, then, choosing one ball, play alternately for the rest of the hole.


The direction in which the flat grass on a green lies, certain grasses (e.g. Bermuda) can have a significant impact on the line of a putt.


The parallel lines on a club face that impart (back) spin to a ball. Keep them clean!

Gross score

The total number of strokes taken without regard to handicap.

Ground the club*

To place the club head on the ground behind the ball prior to taking the swing. One of the 

Ground under repair*

Areas on a golf course which are designated as being under repair, and from which a free drop may be taken.


A poor golfer, also called a duffer.


A term used when players have the same score on a hole in match play.


A number indicating a player's skill allowing players with different skill levels to play together on a relatively equal basis.


The designation for a bunker, water area or water hazard.


The part of the club furthest from the shaft with which the ball is struck.


The part of the club face nearest the shaft.

High side

The part of the green above the hole on a sloping green.


A 4 1/4 inch round hollow on the green into which one hits the ball, also called the cup; or the area from the tee box through the green, normally numbering 18 or 9 on a course.

Hole in one

The act of hitting the ball from the tee into the hole in one shot.

Hole high

Hitting the ball to a spot level with to but not into the hole.

Hole out

Stroking the ball into the hole.

Hollywood handicap

A slang expression for a handicap which is too low, making the golfer sound "like a star." The opposite of a Bandit handicap!


The privilege of hitting first from the tee box, based on who won the most recent hole.

Hooding the club

Shutting the face of the club, usually by playing the ball further back in the stance (closer to the right foot for right handers) than normal. One of the aspects of making a punch shot into the wind.


A ball which may start towards the target but then curves greatly to the left with a counter-clockwise spin. It is caused by hitting the ball on an exaggerated inside-out path with a closed club face at impact. See banana and draw.


The extension of the head of the club into which the shaft fits.


The designation found on the scorecard for the second 9 holes of an 18 hole course.

Inside the leather

A slang expression for a short putt, no longer than the length of the putter to the (leather) grip; sometimes agreed upon as an automatic gimme distance in friendly match play.


A grip in which the left forefinger and the right little finger are intertwined.


To putt the ball with the intention of having it end up close to the cup as a priority, rather than trying to hole out, in order to guarantee the 2 putt.

Lateral water hazard*

A water hazard that runs parallel to a hole or green, and so marked by (normally red) stakes. It allows additional dropping options over those available with frontal water hazards. (Notably dropping within 2 club lengths, not nearer the hole, either where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard - OR on the opposite bank at the same distance from the hole.) 


The situation of the ball on the ground after it has been played.


The angle the shaft makes with the sole of the club. This is an important, oft neglected, part of fitting a club to persons of different heights. The lie can easily be shop adjusted so that the sole of the club lies parallel to the ground at address (and at impact) this maximises the chances of hitting the ball squarely with the club. (See Loft.)


An account at the 19th hole of the number of birdies opportunities (or similar) during an average round of club play. 


In strict terms a seaside course, with typical treeless, undulating, sandy aspect, but used to refer to any golf course.


The edge of the hole; also to hit a putt to the edge of the hole which does not fall in.

Local knowledge

The useful information a golfer acquires by playing the same course many times.


The backward slope on the face of the club, defined in degrees for each club. (See Lie(2).)

Loose impediments*

Natural objects such as leaves or loose stones which may be moved as long as the lie of the ball is not changed.

Low side

The part of the green below the hole on a sloping green.


An old term for a #5 iron.

Match play*

Competition based on the number of holes won or lost by each side.

Medal play*

A stroke play competition based on the number of strokes taken by each golfer to complete a stipulated round. A player (or the competitors team) being required to complete and record a score for every hole (unlike, for example, in Stableford competitions).

Military golf

A slang term for a person who hits a ball to the right, then one to the left, etc.

Mixed foursome

A foursome in which a female golfer is paired with a male golfer.


A second shot allowed after a poor first shot from the first tee in friendly play.


A three-way bet made on both the front nine and the back nine as well as the total round.

Net score

The score for a round or a hole after the handicap has been deducted from the gross score.

Never up, never in

A cliché of golf meaning that unless a putt is struck hard enough to reach the hole it has no chance of falling into the cup.


An old term for a #8 iron.

Nineteenth hole

An expression for the club bar, or having a friendly drink at the end of the round.


A club with a head that is set back from the hosel, putting the hands further in front to help square the club at impact.

Open stance

The left foot is further from the target line than the front (right) foot at address, setting the player up to hit across the ball for a fade or slice (or simply to clear the hips away on a short shot)


The designation for the first 9 holes of an 18 hole course on the scorecard.

Out of bounds*

Areas where play is prohibited, often marked by red stakes or listed in the course scorecard.


A grip in which the right little finger laps over the left forefinger.


A fixed number of strokes for each hole used as a standard of excellence, allowing for 2 putts and additional strokes depending on distance.

Penalty stroke*

A stroke added to a player's score enabling escape from ceratin situaitionOne of the two basic forms of golf for which the Rules of Golf refer, the other being Match play. Stroke play competition are based on the number of strokes taken by each player to complete a stipulated round; also called medal play.


See flagstick.


An approach shot to the green which has a high arc and stops quickly.

Preferred lie*

A relaxation of the rules under poor ground conditions which allows the golfer to move his ball on the fairway; also called winter rules.

Presidents's Cup

A competition between the male professional golfers of the United States and the "rest of the world" except Europe held every four years. Not to be confused with the real thing!

Pro side of the cup

The side above the hole when the cup is cut on a sloping green, since the professional usually allows for the slope better than the amateur.

Provisional ball*

A ball played when a golfer is unsure whether it will be possible to find or play the first shot, i.e. a ball that may be lost, out of bounds, or in a water hazard. It may continue to be played as a provisional ball until the area where the first ball probably lies is reached. It is picked up without penalty if the first ball may be legally played. It immediately becomes the ball in play if it is struck from a point nearer the hole than the first ball's probable or actual resting place.


A shot that goes directly to the left because of the action of the club (outside-in swing with a clubface square to the line of the swing at impact - closed with respect to the target line).


A ball that goes directly to the right because of the action of the club (inside-out swing with a clubface square to the line of the swing at impact - open with respect to the target line).


A short stroke taken on or near the green intended to put the ball in the hole, generally with a specific club, the putter.


A short club with a straight (lofted less than 5°)  face designed for use on the green; also the person putting the ball.


To hit a putt with a short but very firm backswing and follow-through.

Reverse pivot

An incorrect move made during the downswing when the weight is transferred to the back foot instead of the front foot.

Rakes Denizens of 19th holes; also devices (obstructions) for smoothing sand in bunkers. It is recommended that rakes be placed outside bunkers as on balance it is felt there is less likelihood of an advantage or disadvantage to the player (R&A).


The playing of an agreed upon number of holes, usually 18 but sometimes 9; named after the circular design of early golf courses.


Any part of the course off the fairway where the grass or weeds are allowed to grow freely or are cut only slightly.

Rub of the green*

When a ball in motion is stopped or deflected by an outside agency (a spectator, bird, etc.), it is called the "rub of the green" and the ball must be played as it lies.

Ryder Cup

A competition between the male professional golfers of the United States and Europe held every four years. See Solheim Cup.

Sand trap

US. See bunker.

Sand wedge

A high lofted club with a flange (bottom of the club) which is lower than the leading edge, allowing the club to move through the sand easily. This design feature is called bounce. The usual sand wedge has a loft of around 56°. A lob wedge has around 60° of loft. Another popular wedge is the 52/53° wedge, offering a range of shots between the Sand and Pitching wedges. 

Scratch player

A player who averages par.


The long part of the club to which the grip and the club head are attached.


A ball struck sharply to the right; normally the result of being hit on the neck or hosel of the club, as a result of an error of swing path.


A player or two or more golfers playing as a team.

Sky shot

A ball hit with a wood which goes almost straight up with little forward distance; caused by too steep an angle of descent in the downswing or leaning forward into the ball. (Sometimes Angel Raper)


A ball starting to the left then curving sharply to the right due to an outside-in swing path and an open club face at impact.


A handicap index rating the playing difficulty of a course for above scratch golfers.


The bottom of the club.

Solheim Cup

A competition between the female professional golfers of the United States and Britain held every four years.


An old term for the #3 wood

Square stance

The toes of the golfer are at equal distance from the target line at address, putting the entire body and shoulders parallel to the target line.


The position of the golfer's feet at address.


A ball struck very close to the hole.


Reference to the flexibility (flex) of a club's shaft.


State of some players on finishing the 19th hole.


A golf shot. A player may also be assigned Penalty Strokes under the rules as part of the procedures for getting out of a predicament or for a breach of the rules. 

Stroke play

One of the two basic forms of golf for which the Rules of Golf refer, the other being Match play. Stroke play competition are based on the number of strokes taken by each player to complete a stipulated round; also called medal play.

Sweet spot

The best spot on the club face to hit the ball, somewhere about equal distance from the toe and the heel.

Sudden death

Extra holes played at the end of a competition between players who have tied for the lead, the winner being the first player to win a hole outright.


The initial part of the golf swing.

Target line

An imaginary line which runs from the ball to the intended target.


The section of the course from which one hits the first shot on every hole; also a small conical piece of wood or plastic (originally a small earthen mound) on which one places the ball to hit the first shot on each hole.

Texas wedge

A nickname for the putter when it is used to stroke a ball from off the green.

Thin shot

A ball hit with the leading edge of the club at precisely the middle causing a low shot with lessened distance. Half way to a top!

Through the green

A designation for the entire course including hazards except the tee box and the green of the hole being played. The "green" was the name given to early courses.


The part of the club head furthest from the shaft.


Striking the ball above the middle with the leading edge of the club, causing the ball to roll or bounce forward for only a short distance.


The ability of a golf shaft to resist the Torsion or twisting of a shaft during the swing.


The degree of twist occurring in the shaft of the club during the golf swing. See also Torque.


The flight of a golf ball while in the air.


The transition from the first nine holes to the second nine holes of play; the rotation of the player's body during a golf shot. 

Unplayable lie*

A ball, not resting in a water hazard, which is deemed unplayable by its owner.

Upright swing

A swing in which the club is closer to the vertical than the "normal plane" passing above the shoulders.


The to-and-fro motion of the hands and club prior to hitting the ball. See also Sergio Garcia at his worst!

Walker Cup

The amateur competition between men from the United States and Britain.


A short high lofted club intended to make the ball go high but not long. A pitching wedge usually has a loft of 48 degrees or more, while lob wedges have a 60 degree or higher loft. See Sand Wedge.


A swing which is intended to hit the ball but misses entirely; counts as one stroke.

Winter Rules

A relaxation of the rules under poor conditions which allows the golfer to move his ball on the fairway; also called preferred lie.


A slang term for the psychological affliction that makes a golfer afraid that short putts will be usually missed and introduces a tremor into the stroke. There is evidence that the tremor may also be physiological, however the consequence is the same, a genuine inability to sink short putts.

* These terms also defined as part of the Rules of Golf



Copyright © 2012 SAC Golf Section. Certain images reproduced with permission of AS Villarceaux.
Last changed : 09/11/12 01:13