Golf Terms

The Ultimate Glossary of Golf Terms (137 Terms, A-Z)

Ever felt nervous walking on to a golf course because you don't know the slang? Here is every golf term you need to know.

Last updated Sep 28, 2023

The Ultimate Glossary of Golf Terms (137 Terms, A-Z)

Ever felt nervous walking on to a golf course because you don't know the slang? Here is every golf term you need to know.

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Written By: Zach Gollwitzer

Golf Terms Starting With ‘A


An ace, also known as a "hole in one" is when a golfer makes their tee shot. This is most common on par 3 holes.

You won't believe what happened on the golf course today. I made an ace!

Read more: Ace

Acey Ducey

Players bet a set amount at the beginning of the round. After teeing off, players have the option to bet double the original amount if their ball lands in a specific area designated as the "Acey Ducey" spot.

For today's round, we'll be using the Acey Ducey scoring format.

Read more: Acey Ducey


The address position describes the starting point of the golf swing. In this position, a golfer should stand with proper posture and alignment.

When you get into your address position, make sure to keep your knees bent and back relatively straight.

Read more: Address


Aeration is the process of "punching" little holes in putting greens to help them stay healthy and grow.

Dang, they aerated the greens for the season! We are going to struggle to make putts today.

Read more: Aeration

Aggregate Score

Aggregate score is the cumulative score a golfer holds over multiple rounds and is most common in golf tournament scoring. Most PGA Tour events are 4 total rounds and the winner is the golfer with the lowest aggregate score over those 4 rounds.

Tiger Woods had an aggregate score of 275 during the 2019 Masters and won the tournament by a shot.

Read more: Aggregate Score


Aimpoint is a green reading system and it's close sibling, Aimpoint Express has become popular on tour for reading greens.

Adam Scott uses Aimpoint Express for reading greens on tour.

Read more: Aimpoint


An albatross describes a score of 3 under the designated par for the golf hole. This is equivalent to a hole-in-one on a par 4 hole, a score of 2 on a par 5 hole, and is not possible on a par 3 hole.

An albatross is one of the rarest scores in golf.

Read more: Albatross


A golfer's alignment describes how their feet, hips, shoulders, and club face are aimed relative to the target.

Make sure your alignment is square before hitting the shot!

Read more: Alignment

All Square

When a match is "all square", that means that two golfers are tied. This is most commonly used in match-play formats like the Ryder Cup.

The match is all square heading into the final hole!

Read more: All Square

Alternate Shot

Alternate shot, a popular Ryder Cup golf format, is when two golfers take turns hitting the ball every other shot. For example, player 1 hits the tee shot, player 2 hits the approach shot, and player 1 hits the putt. This continues until the hole is completed.

For today's match, we will be playing the alternate shot format.

Read more: Alternate Shot

Amateur Golfer

In golf, we talk about "amateur" and "pro" a bit differently than other sports. An "amateur" does not take money to compete in golf.

Since I'm an amateur golfer, I'm eligible to enter amateur tournaments such as the U.S. Amateur qualifier.

Read more: Amateur Golfer


For a long time, the USGA (governing body of golf rules) allowed players to "anchor" putters. This meant that the golfer used a longer-than-average putter and would "anchor" the butt end of it against their body for additional stability. This is no longer allowed in USGA-sanctioned golf competitions.

As of January, 2016, anchoring a putter is no longer permitted by the rules of golf, so I wouldn't recommend purchasing a long putter now!

Read more: Anchoring

Approach Shot

An approach shot describes the shot a golfer hits into the green. This could be the tee shot on a par 3, a second shot on a par 4, or any other shot where the golfer is a considerable distance from the hole but is aiming at the green.

Nice approach shot, it's 3 feet from the pin!

Read more: Approach Shot


The "apron" of a golf course describes the closely mown area surrounding the green, generally cut shorter than the fairway. This overlaps with the "collar", also known as the "fringe" and some greens don't have much of an apron at all.

In golf, you generally won't hear someone use this term casually, but instead, in a more formal setting describing parts of the golf course.

Read more: Apron

Army Golf

A humorous term for erratic play in which a golfer alternates between hitting left and right, similar to how one might march in the army (left, right).

I played a bit of "army golf" today. It didn't go very well.

Read more: Army Golf

Arnold Palmer

A format similar to "Nassau," but with additional side bets for things like longest drive and closest-to-the-pin.

For today's match, we will be playing the Arnold Palmer format.

Read more: Arnold Palmer

Attend the flag

Attending the flag is when someone stands by the flag when a golfer is putting it so they can see it from far distances. Once the golfer hits, the person removes the flag so the ball does not hit it.

Could you attend the flag for me? I can't quite see the hole from this distance.

Read more: Attend the flag


"You're away" is golf slang which means you are the furthest from the hole and it is your turn to play. Generally, when a golfer says "you're away", they are telling you it's your turn to play and it is not meant in a derogatory sense. That said, more experienced golfers may use this slang for trash-talking their playing partners in good fun.

Looks like you're away, feel free to hit when you're ready!

Read more: Away

Golf Terms Starting With ‘B


The backswing in golf is when the golfer moves the club away from the ball to gain momentum and power before making a downswing into the ball.

During your backswing, make sure to maintain a good tempo.

Read more: Backswing

Ball Striking

In golf, "ball striking" refers to a player's skill when hitting approach shots (often with irons). It can also be used as a more general term to describe a golfer who hits the ball well overall.

Tiger Woods was one of the best ball strikers in golf history.

Read more: Ball Striking

Bent Grass

A prevalent grass type in the northern United States, often used for fairways, greens, and rough due to its fine texture and ability to withstand close mowing.

We're playing on bent grass fairways and greens today.

Read more: Bent Grass

Bermuda Grass

A popular warm-season grass that flourishes in hot conditions and is used for fairways, rough, and tees on golf courses, known for its durability and low maintenance requirements. You'll see this in the Southern United States, typically in Alabama, Florida, and the Carolinas.

That bermuda grass is tough to chip off in the winter!

Read more: Bermuda Grass

Big Ball First

Hitting the big ball first is golf slang for chunking a shot. The "big ball" is the earth (ground) while the "little ball" is your golf ball.

Oops, hit the big ball first on that one!

Read more: Big Ball First

Bingo Bango Bongo

Points are awarded for various achievements on each hole, such as being the first to reach the green, having the closest approach shot, and being the first to hole out. Points translate into monetary bets.

Let's play bingo bango bongo for $5 per point!

Read more: Bingo Bango Bongo


A birdie in golf is a golf term to describe a score made on a golf hole where the golfer takes one stroke less than the designated par for the hole. This is often expressed as "one stroke under par" or more commonly, just "one under".

Wow, great birdie on that last hole!

Read more: Birdie

Bladed Shot

When a golfer makes contact with the lower portion of the club face, causing the ball to fly lower than usual and in most cases, further than intended.

I bladed that chip shot across the green.

Read more: Bladed Shot

Blow Up Hole

A "blow-up hole" refers to a hole where you shoot a much higher score than you want to. For pro golfers, a double or triple bogey might be considered a "blow-up hole". For beginners, a "blow-up hole" would be making an 8, 9, 10, or worse on a hole.

If it weren't for that blow-up hole I had, I would have shot a great round!

Read more: Blow Up Hole


A bogey in golf is a golf term to describe a score made on a golf hole where the golfer takes one stroke more than the designated par for the hole. This is often expressed as "one stroke over par" or more commonly, just "one over".

I made bogey on that hole.

Read more: Bogey

Bump and Run

A bump and run, also known as a chip shot, is where a golfer hits a short and low chip around the green that rolls for most of the shot.

Since you're on the fringe with lots of green between you and the hole, I'd hit a bump and run with a 7-iron.

Read more: Bump and Run


The "bunker", otherwise known as the "sand trap" is typically found around the green. Typically, you'll hit bunker shots with a sand wedge or lob wedge.

Oops, I hit it into the bunker on accident!

Read more: Bunker

Golf Terms Starting With ‘C


A caddie is a person who carries a golfer's clubs during a round and in some cases, will give advice to the golfer.

For many years, Steve Williams was Tiger Wood's caddie.

Read more: Caddie

Cart Path

Most golf courses have a cart path, which is where carts drive. While playing, golfers get free relief if their ball lands on the cart path. You may also hear the phrase, "cart path only", which means the golf course is likely wet from rain and the superintendent requires all golfers to drive their carts on the path only to avoid damaging the wet grass permanently.

Today, the course is cart path only due to recent rainy conditions.

Read more: Cart Path

Chapman System

A team format where both players tee off, then they switch balls and play each other's second shot. After that, they choose the best ball and alternate shots until the hole is completed.

Let's play a similar game to alternate shot called the Chapman system.

Read more: Chapman System


Players accumulate points based on their net scores (score minus handicap) on each hole. Bets are placed on the point totals, which can lead to various payout structures.

Since we are different skill levels, do you want to play Chicago for this round?

Read more: Chicago

Chilly Dip

Similar to a chunk, but this specifically refers to when you duff a chip shot.

I chilly dipped that chip shot.

Read more: Chilly Dip

Chip Shot

A short, low-trajectory shot usually played near the green.

I think the safest play here is a chip shot.

Read more: Chip Shot

Chunked Shot

Also known as a "duff", this is when a golfer hits the ground or turf behind the golf ball, causing poor contact and reduced distance of the shot.

That shot is going to come up a bit short. I chunked it a bit.

Read more: Chunked Shot

Course Rating

In golf, the "course rating" is a term related to golf handicaps and describes how difficult a golf course is relative to other courses.

The course rating for this course is 75.6 from the championship tees. It's a tough one!

Read more: Course Rating

Course Record

Every golf course keeps track of its course record, generally from the championship tees. This is the lowest documented score ever on the course.

Tiger Woods shot the course record in the final round.

Read more: Course Record

Cut Shot

A cut shot, also known as a "fade" is when a right-handed golfer curves the ball left-to-right, or a left-handed golfer curves the ball right-to-left.

I've got about 140 yards to the pin and I'm going to hit a 5-yard cut.

Read more: Cut Shot

Golf Terms Starting With ‘D

Dead Hands

When someone plays a "dead hands shot", it generally refers to a short game shot where they use as little wrist action as possible. This helps them control trajectory and spin better than a normal pitch shot by reducing as many variables (i.e. wrist hinge) as possible.

Try hitting this next pitch shot with dead hands to control the trajectory and spin a little bit more.

Read more: Dead Hands


A divot is the mark made on the fairway or tee box when you hit a full golf shot and the club displaces grass behind the ball. This happens as a natural effect of a good golf swing.

The grass is wet today, so you will take big divots.

Read more: Divot

Double Bogey

A double bogey is when a golfer makes a score 2 over the designated par. For example, if you make a 6 on a "par 4", you have made a double bogey. For beginners, a double bogey is a decent score and will be very common. For pros, it's considered a bad hole, and many pros will go multiple full rounds of golf without having a single double bogey. But they still make them!

Dang, I made a double bogey again!

Read more: Double Bogey


For right-handed players, this is a shot that starts right of the target, curves right to left, and ends at the target.

That pin is on the back-left of the green, so I think you should hit a draw here.

Read more: Draw

Draw Shot

For right-handed players, this is a shot that starts right of the target, curves right to left, and ends at the target.

Rory Mcilroy hits beautiful, high-draw shots.

Read more: Draw Shot


A driver, also referred to as "the big stick" is the longest club in your bag and hits the ball the furthest. The club head on the driver is large and is relatively easy to make contact with compared to other clubs.

Get out the driver, you're going to need it for this long hole!

Read more: Driver

Golf Terms Starting With ‘E


An eagle in golf is a golf term to describe a score made on a golf hole where the golfer takes two strokes less than the designated par for the hole. This is often expressed as "two strokes under par" or more commonly, just "two under".

Rory Mcilroy made a magnificent eagle on the last par 5!

Read more: Eagle

Golf Terms Starting With ‘F


Also known as a "cut", for right-handed players, this is a shot that starts left of the target, curves left to right, and ends at the target.

I think you should hit a 5-yard fade into this green.

Read more: Fade

Fade Shot

Also known as a "cut", for right-handed players, this is a shot that starts left of the target, curves left to right, and ends at the target.

Many tour pros prefer to play a fade off the tee due to its accuracy.

Read more: Fade Shot


The fairway is the short grass between the tee box and the green.

Great shot, right down the middle of the fairway!

Read more: Fairway

Fairway Wood

A fairway wood, also commonly referred to as a "fairway metal" or just "wood" is the second-longest club in your bag behind the driver. It is generally used when you need more accuracy on a tee shot and don't want to hit driver. The club head on a fairway wood is much smaller than a driver, and it comes in several variations such as a 3-wood (most common), 5-wood, 7-wood, and in some cases, a 9-wood.

This hole is narrow, so you might want to hit a fairway wood instead of driver for more accuracy.

Read more: Fairway Wood


Fescue, also known as "cabbage" is longer grass famously found on links golf courses, but also common on regular golf courses worldwide. You can play shots from this grass, but it's a lot harder and you'll often lose your golf ball in this type of grass.

I hit my drive into the fescue and now it's going to be hard to find.

Read more: Fescue

Flat Stick

"Flat Stick" is common golf slang for a putter (type of golf club). Since a putter has a relatively flat face (usually around 4 degrees of loft), we call it a "flat stick" since other clubs have significantly more loft than this.

Hey, let me see that flat stick you got there, I want to try it out on the greens today.

Read more: Flat Stick

Flop Shot

This is a short-game shot where the golfer "opens the club face" and takes a big swing, which produces a high shot where the golf ball lands softly and the ball travels a short distance. Also known as a "lob shot", these are risking shots, but fun to watch when executed correctly. Take a look at these PGA Tour pros hitting some beautiful flop shots.

Phil Mickelson just hit a beautiful flop shot to save par on that hole.

Read more: Flop Shot

Foot Wedge

A play on words, the "foot wedge" is where a golfer who dislikes his/her lie kicks the ball to a more favorable position. This is technically not legal to do in golf, but casual golfers may use it to make the game more enjoyable. It is also common to see casual golfers use when playing during fall and winter where course conditions are not as good.

Your ball is behind a tree, you might need a little foot wedge to help you out on this one!

Read more: Foot Wedge


When a golfer yells "Fore", watch out, because a golf ball is about to land near you. This is another golfer shouting at you from a distance, "Hey, I just hit a bad shot and it's coming right at you!" While yelling on the golf course might sound rude, it is a good thing to yell "Fore!" if you think your golf ball is at risk of hitting someone from another group. Golfers yell this all the time.


Read more: Fore


Also known as "better ball" or "best ball", each golfer on a team plays their own ball, and the lowest score among the team members is recorded for each hole.

For today's round, we will play the fourball format.

Read more: Fourball

Free Drop

A free drop is when a golfer gets to move their golf ball without taking a penalty stroke. Most commonly, this happens when taking relief from a cart path. This is also known as "free relief".

My ball is on the cart path, I'm going to take a free drop.

Read more: Free Drop


The "fringe" is slightly longer grass than the putting green, typically found on the "collar" (edge) of the putting green.

I think that landed a little bit over the green, but I think you're still on the fringe.

Read more: Fringe

Golf Terms Starting With ‘G


Also known as "in the leather", this golf term is used in recreational golf where your playing partner "gives you the putt". When it is "in the leather", that refers to the distance between your ball and the hole being within the leather of your putter grip. In other words, since it's a short putt (typically less than 3 feet), your playing partner assumes you will make it, so you don't have to putt it. In professional and competitive golf, there is no such thing as a gimme. No matter how short the putt, you have to hit it.

C'mon, that putt is less than a foot, it's a gimme!

Read more: Gimme


When you hit a "green in regulation", this means you landed your ball on the putting surface in the designated number of strokes. For example, if you are a playing a par 4 and you hit the green in two shots, you have hit a "green in regulation".

I hit 14/18 greens in regulation during that round.

Read more: GIR


To get a better grip on your golf clubs while swinging, you'll wear a golf glove.

I put on my golf glove for every shot so I can hold onto the club better.

Read more: Glove

Go-to Shot

Golfers refer to their "go-to shot" as the type of shot they are most comfortable hitting, especially when they are a bit nervous. Typically, this is used for tee shots to get the ball in play. For example, my "go-to shot" is a fade. I'll always try to hit a fade when the pressure is on.

When you're under pressure, you'll need a go-to shot that you are comfortable with.

Read more: Go-to Shot

Ground Under Repair

When a golf course is performing maintenance, there may be unplayable areas that the greenskeepers will mark as "ground under repair". You should NOT hit your ball off these areas because the golf course staff does not want you to. For that reason, you get free relief and can drop your ball next to the designated area without penalty.

That's marked as ground under repair so you can move your ball without a penalty.

Read more: Ground Under Repair

Grounding the club

Grounding the club is when you set up to a shot and your club touches the ground behind the ball. This is not allowed in the bunker or hazards.

When you hit that bunker shot, make sure you don't ground your club!

Read more: Grounding the club


Teams of two players tee off, and opponents choose which ball the team must use for their next shot. The goal is to make it difficult for the opposing team. Bets are based on hole outcomes.

Let's spice things up a bit and play Gruesomes for this round!

Read more: Gruesomes

Golf Terms Starting With ‘H


Based on the score a golfer shoots and the assigned difficulty rating of the golf course they played, they will get a "handicap" which is an approximation for how good a golfer is.

My handicap is a 6 right now, but I hope to get it down to a 3 by the end of the year.

Read more: Handicap


A headcover is a "glove" made of soft material that you put over your golf clubs to keep them clean and protected from various weather conditions. Headcovers also prevent your clubs from hitting against each other, metal to metal in your golf bag while you drive the golf cart or walk.

You left your driver headcover on the last hole!

Read more: Headcover


Teams of two players compete. On each hole, the higher handicap player's net score is paired with the lower handicap player's net score to create a team score. Bets are placed on team scores.

Want to play high-low for a bit of money this round?

Read more: High-Low

Hitting Bombs

Made famous by Phil Mickelson's social media accounts, "hitting bombs" refers to hitting the driver a far distance in golf and swinging hard.

Phil Mickelson was hitting bombs off the tee during that round.

Read more: Hitting Bombs

Hole in One

A hole-in-one, also known as an "ace" is when you hit a shot from the tee box and make it in the hole. In the golf world, if you are playing with a group and make a hole-in-one, it is tradition to buy drinks for everyone in the group after the round. That is why a golfer who recently got a hole-in-one might say, "That hole-in-one drained my bank account!"

Great hole-in-one! Now you have to buy all of us drinks after the round!

Read more: Hole in One


Also known as a "snap hook", a hook shot for a right-handed golfer is one that curves severely right to left and is generally an erratic shot.

I have a bad case of the snap hooks today. I just can't seem to keep the ball on the course!

Read more: Hook


A "hybrid" is a mix between a fairway wood and an iron. In recent years, hybrids have become very popular because they are easier to hit than an iron, but offer the feel and distance of a fairway wood.

I like my hybrids because they are much more forgiving than irons.

Read more: Hybrid

Golf Terms Starting With ‘I


Irons are the most common club in your bag. Typically, you will carry a 4-iron, 5-iron, 6-iron, 7-iron, 8-iron, and 9-iron. Occasionally, you might carry a 3-iron or 2-iron, but most amateurs will opt for a hybrid to replace these longer irons instead.

I just got a brand new set of Taylormade irons!

Read more: Iron

It's your honor

According to the rules of golf, the player who had the lowest score on the previous hole "has honors" and should hit the first tee shot on the next hole. Some golfers respect this rule while others like to play "ready golf", which is a style of golf aimed to speed up play where you hit whenever you get to your ball and are ready.

Nice birdie on the last hole. It's your honor!

Read more: It's your honor

Golf Terms Beginning With ‘J’:

Golf Terms Beginning With ‘K’:

Golf Terms Starting With ‘L

Las Vegas

Players compete as partners against an opposing team. Scores of both partners are combined for a two-digit number, and the lower number is compared to the opponents' number for betting purposes.

Want to play Las Vegas for this round?

Read more: Las Vegas


When someone says, "That's a terrible lie" or "he has a perfect lie in the middle of the fairway", they are referring to how your golf ball is sitting on the turf and how hard or easy it will be to hit well. If your golf ball is sitting low in a bunch of thick grass, that would be a "bad lie". If your golf ball is sitting up perfectly in the middle of the fairway, that's a "good lie".

What a terrible lie, you got unlucky!

Read more: Lie

Courses located near coastlines, featuring natural dunes, sandy soil, and often exposed to the elements. They offer open layouts, firm turf, and challenges influenced by winds and undulating terrain. The "Open Championship" is always played at a Links style golf course. Bandon Dunes is a good example of this type of course.

When you play links golf, you're going to need to learn to hit the low shot!

Read more: Links Courses

Lip Out

A lip out is when a putt rolls over the edge of the hole, almost goes in, then "lips out" and misses.

What a terrible lip out, you got robbed on that putt!

Read more: Lip Out

Lost Ball

A lost ball is when a golfer hits a shot and then cannot find it. When a ball is declared lost, the golfer must take penalty strokes and play a provisional.

Sergio Garcia hit his tee shot into tall grass, couldn't find it, and had to declare a lost ball and take penalty strokes.

Read more: Lost Ball

Golf Terms Starting With ‘M

Match Play

In this golf format, golfers compete against each other on a hole-by-hole basis. The golfer who wins the most holes wins the match. The most popular examples of this include the Solheim Cup (women) and Ryder Cup (men). Second to these well-known tournaments, the Presidents Cup and WGC Match Play are also popular pro tournaments that use this format.

The Ryder cup is one of the most exciting match-play tournaments in golf!

Read more: Match Play

Maxed my Handicap

"Maxed out my handicap" is where a player's actual score on a hole or for a round is so high that it exceeds the maximum allowable score for their handicap

Put me down for a 7, that's the max for my handicap on this hole.

Read more: Maxed my Handicap

Golf Terms Starting With ‘N


A common betting game divided into three matches: front nine, back nine, and overall 18 holes. Bets are placed on each match separately.

Let's keep it simple today and put a $10 nassau on each side.

Read more: Nassau

Golf Terms Starting With ‘O

On a Rope

You might hear, "That shot was on a rope" or "That shot was on a string". This means that the golfer has hit a perfectly straight golf shot that never left the target line. This is a compliment that describes a great golf shot!

Nice, that shot was on a rope!

Read more: On a Rope

Out of Bounds

Marked with white stakes, out-of-bounds areas on the course require the golfer to re-hit and add 2 penalty strokes to their score.

I sliced it out-of-bounds on the last hole and had to take penalty strokes.

Read more: Out of Bounds

Golf Terms Starting With ‘P


A "par" is both a scoring term and a term to signify the length of a golf hole. Par 3's can be reached in one shot, par 4s in two shots, and par 5s in 3 shots.

I made a par on that hole.

Read more: Par

Penalty Stroke

A penalty stroke is when a golfer gets penalized for hitting a bad shot or committing a rules infraction and must add 1 or more strokes to their score.

I hit it in the water and had to take a penalty stroke on that hole.

Read more: Penalty Stroke

Peoria System

A handicapping system where a golfer can allocate their handicap strokes on any hole before the round starts. The golfer can choose when to use these strokes during the round.

Let's play the Peoria system today so I can get some strokes on my least favorite hole!

Read more: Peoria System

Pitch Mark

Also known as a "ball mark", this is the small indentation the ball makes when it lands on the green.

Make sure and fix your pitch mark when you get to the green.

Read more: Pitch Mark

Pitch Shot

The pitch shot is a shot generally played between 20-50 yards, but there is no exact yardage that determines this. Often this is called a "mini full swing" due to its resemblance to a full golf shot.

I'm going to work on my basic pitch shots today.

Read more: Pitch Shot

Play it as it lies

In a round of golf, you can get free relief and change your "lie" in some scenarios. For example, if your ball is plugged in the fairway, sitting on a cart path, or resting against a man-made structure like a water fountain. In other cases, you must "play it as it lies", which means you cannot touch the ball or change how it sits. In the majority of golf shots, you will "play it as it lies".

Be an honest golfer and play it as it lies!

Read more: Play it as it lies


A "plugged" golf ball is one that makes an indentation into the ground and rests in that indentation. Except for in hazards, golfers get free relief from this.

Your ball plugged in the bunker.

Read more: Plugged

Poa Annua Grass

A cool-season grass found on golf courses worldwide, recognized for its adaptability and ability to thrive in various climates. It's often used for both fairways and greens.

The fairways are poa annua grass.

Read more: Poa Annua Grass

Pot Bunker

A special type of bunker that is commonly found on links golf courses and is characterized by its steep "walls" that are tough to hit over.

It's going to take a big swing and a lot of loft to get out of this pot bunker!

Read more: Pot Bunker

Practice Green

Typically, the "practice green" refers to the putting green located near the first tee box, but NOT on the actual golf course. This is where you warm up your putting stroke before the round. In some cases, a "practice green" can also refer to a chipping and pitching green.

I'm going to head over to the practice green to get in a few putts before the round.

Read more: Practice Green


A provisional is when a golfer hits a second golf ball from the original shot location in case they can't find their first ball or it is out-of-bounds.

I'm not sure if that ball stayed in play. I'm going to hit a provisional just in case.

Read more: Provisional

Pull Shot

For a right-handed golfer, a pull shot is one that starts far left of the target and travels straight.

I pulled that shot a little, but it should be okay.

Read more: Pull Shot

Punch Shot

A punch shot is when a golfer hits a low golf shot, usually with a 4, 5, or 6 iron that helps them escape from trouble. For example, if a golfer has a tree in front of them, they may hit a punch shot to get the ball under the tree and back in the fairway.

I think you're gonna need a punch shot to get out of those trees!

Read more: Punch Shot

Push Shot

For the right-handed player, a push shot is where the ball starts right of the target and flies relatively straight.

I pushed that shot a bit too far right and missed the green.

Read more: Push Shot


The shortest club in the bag, the putter is what golfers use on the green and occasionally from the fringe.

I just got a new putter yesterday!

Read more: Putter


In golf, putting is the part of the game where you hit short shots that stay on the ground on the "putting green" with your "putter" club.

If you want to improve in golf, it's important that you practice your putting stroke often!

Read more: Putting

Putting Green

The "putting green", also known as "the green", represents the area on the golf course where the hole is cut. This is the shortest grass on the course and golfers hit putts on it.

Nice shot! That's safely on the green!

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Golf Terms Beginning With ‘Q’:

Golf Terms Starting With ‘R


A rangefinder, or "laser rangefinder" is a device you carry along with you to measure the distance from your golf ball to the hole. This is the most accurate way to measure distances in golf.

Can you throw me my rangefinder so I can see how far away I am from the pin?

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Read the Break

Reading the "break" of a putt means the golfer is evaluating the slope of the green to determine which way the putt will curve.

Make sure you read the break on this one, it's a tricky putt!

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Red Hazard

Also known as a "lateral hazard", this can be a water hazard, tall grass, a creek, or other unplayable spots on the course where the golfer takes one penalty stroke and drops next to where it went in the hazard. Compared to out-of-bounds, this is a less penalizing type of hazard because you are only taking an extra stroke, not stroke and distance.

Is this tall fescue grass a red hazard?

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The "rough" is not a type of grass, but rather a generic part of every golf course. This generally describes the longer grass between the fairway and the "1st cut". The "rough" can also be referred to as "the second cut".

Oh no, I hit my drive off-target! I'm going to end up in the rough.

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Round Robin

Players rotate partners on each hole, resulting in different teams for every hole. Bets can be placed on each hole individually or on the overall outcome.

We've got a good group here today, so let's play Round Robin.

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Golf Terms Starting With ‘S


A team format where all players tee off, then they choose the best shot and all play their next shots from that spot. This continues until the ball is holed. A scramble is the most common format for corporate and charity golf tournaments where there are lots of players on the course of all different skill levels. This helps speed up play and make the round more fun for everyone!

Do you want to play in my company's annual golf scramble next week?

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Similar to a scramble, but in this golf format, after selecting the best drive, each player plays their own ball for the remainder of the hole.

A shamble is a bit harder than a scramble because a player must play their own ball for most of the round!

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Also called a "hosel rocket", this is when you hit the ball with the hosel (club's neck) instead of the clubface, resulting in an erratic shot. If you are a right-handed golfer, this results in the ball traveling severely right of your target and usually out of play. This is one of the worst types of shots in golf because it almost always results in a penalty stroke.

I have a bad case of the shanks right now and I can't get rid of them!

Read more: Shank

Short Putt

A "short putt" describes a putt in golf that is generally between 3 and 8 feet. It is longer than a tap-in, but still makeable for most golfers.

Nice shot! That should leave you a fairly short putt for birdie.

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Shot my age

You may hear older golfers say, "I'm just trying to shoot my age today". This is generally a good thing. As you get older, it gets tougher to shoot low scores in golf, so if a golfer who is 84 years old shoots an 84, that's an excellent score!

I shot my age today!

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The ShotLink System is a proprietary system used by the PGA Tour to track golf shots in real-time. With this system, the tour can track every shot a player takes during a round and turn this into advanced golf statistics such as strokes gained data.

These statistics are brought to you by the PGA Tour's ShotLink system.

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Teams of two players compete, and the lower score between the partners is used. Bets are placed on the lower score for each hole.

Want to play sixes for this match?

Read more: Sixes


Players compete for a "skin" on each hole. The player with the lowest score on a hole wins the skin. If multiple players tie for the lowest score, the skin carries over to the next hole. Generally, players throw money into a "pot" and that is equally allocated based on how many skins a player earns.

I made eagle and took a skin on that hole!

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For right-handed players, this is a shot that curves left to right and ends right of the target. Generally, this is an inconsistent and erratic shot.

Dang, I sliced it into the woods again!

Read more: Slice

Slope Rating

Similar to course rating, the slope rating is an approximation of how difficult a course will play for a high handicapper, or "bogey golfer".

The slope rating for this course is 134.

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Soft Hands

When someone has "soft hands", that means that they have great feel around the greens and are good at chipping and pitching. On tour, Phil Mickelson is famous for having one of the best short games (putting and chipping), so we might say, "Phil has soft hands around the greens".

Try and soften up the hands on this next chip. You're hitting it too hard.

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In this golf format, points are awarded based on the number of strokes taken on each hole. Golfers earn more points for fewer strokes, with the goal of achieving the highest point total.

Want to play stableford for our match today?

Read more: Stableford


On some golf courses, there will be a "starter", which is a person that checks you in at the first tee, verifies that you paid for the round, and gives you instructions for the course that day.

I talked to the starter and he said it is cart path only today.

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Made famous by Tiger Woods, the "stinger" is a low, penetrating shot with a controlled trajectory, often used for accuracy in windy conditions.

Tiger hit a marvelous stinger, which stayed under the wind and landed in the fairway.

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Stroke Play

Also called "medal play", this golf format requires each golfer to play their own ball the entire round. The total number of strokes taken is recorded, and the golfer with the lowest total wins. Most professional and competitive golf tournaments are played in this format.

We are playing stroke play format for this tournament.

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Strokes Gained

The strokes gained methodology is the most accurate way to measure the overall skill of a golfer. It can assess a golfer's putting skill, chipping skill, approach shot skill, driving skill, or all of these combined into one statistic. It is a relative statistic based on average "benchmarks" for each type of shot.

During the Tour Championship, Tiger Woods gained 0.8 strokes putting, lost 0.3 strokes around the greens, gained 1.1 strokes on approach shots, and gained 0.2 strokes on drives. Overall, he gained 1.8 strokes on the field across his entire game during this tournament.

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Golf Terms Starting With ‘T

Tap In

In golf terms, a "tap in" is a very short putt (typically less than 1 foot) where the golfer doesn't have to line anything up. They just walk up and tap it in casually. There is no official distance that determines what a "tap in" is.

The golfer chipped it close to the pin, leaving themself with a tap in for par.

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Tee Box

A tee box is where you hit your first shot on a single golf hole from.

The first tee box is down the road and to the left.

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Tee Shot

A tee shot is when the golfer hits from the designated "tee box". There are multiple tee boxes on each hole for men, women, and senior golfers.

If you want to have a chance at hitting the green in two, you must first hit a great tee shot.

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Texas Wedge

This isn't a golf club, but rather a technique where a golfer hits a putter from off the green, typically from the fringe.

You're gonna need a Texas Wedge for that one!

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Topped Shot

A topped shot is when a golfer hits the top of the golf ball, causing it to only travel a short distance forward.

I'm working on my golf swing because I keep topping my fairway woods.

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Golf Terms Starting With ‘U


An unplayable shot is a situation where you have found your golf ball, but you determine it is not playable and intentionally take a penalty stroke and drop the ball in a spot that is playable. For example, if you hit the ball and it gets stuck in a tree, you would call that "unplayable". You would drop the ball next to the tree, take one penalty stroke, and continue playing.

I found my ball in the tree, but I'm going to declare it unplayable and drop with a penalty stroke.

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Up and Down

When you miss the green on the approach shot, you'll have a chip shot. If you hit that chip shot close to the hole and then make the putt, it's called an "up and down". Another term for this is "scrambling". You might hear someone say, "Wow, he really scrambled to make that par", which means the golfer hit a challenging pitch shot or chip shot and then made a good putt.

Nice up and down!

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Golf Terms Beginning With ‘V’:

Golf Terms Starting With ‘W


Golf wedges are the shortest full-swing clubs in your bag and are used for full shots and short game shots around the green.

I'm going to use my sand wedge for this chip shot.

Read more: Wedge


A "whiff" is when a golfer swings but misses the ball entirely. According to the rules of golf, this counts as a stroke.

Oh no, I whiffed it!

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Players take turns being the "Wolf," who chooses a partner or plays against the other three players on each hole. Bets are placed on individual hole outcomes.

Let's play Wolf for this match.

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Golf Terms Beginning With ‘X’:

Golf Terms Starting With ‘Y

Yellow Hazard

Also known as a "regular hazard", this is usually a water hazard of some kind and will be played similarly to a red hazard.

This pond is a yellow hazard right?

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This is less of a swing fault and more of a mental game problem and describes a golfer who makes involuntary movements during the swing. While this is most common with short putts, it can also occur in chipping or even the full swing and is tough to get rid of!

I have a bad case of the yips right now. It's awful!

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Golf Terms Starting With ‘Z

Zoysia Grass

A warm-season grass known for its dense growth and resilience to heat, making it suitable for fairways and tees in warmer climates. You'll typically see this at golf courses in the Midwest, United States.

That zoysia grass is much easier to hit off than bent grass!

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