Golfing Terms And Definitions: 45+ Expressions You Need To Know


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.

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.

Angle Of Attack – This is the angle the club travels to make contact with the ball. A steep angle of attack is one where you swing very steeply into the ground causing a large divot. A shallow angle of attack is one where the club skims the grass.

Approach Shot – This is a shot on a par 4 or 5 when you’re planning on hitting the green.

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.

Block – This is another name for a push. When a right-handed golfer hits the ball directly right.

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.

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).

Clubface – This is the front of the club where you want to make contact with the ball. It’s the area of the club where you see the grooves.

Compressing The Ball – In order to generate the most distance, you need to make contact with the ball so that it compresses (squishes). Energy is created when the ball decompresses after you make contact.

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 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.

Double Cross – This is a mishit in golf and happens when you plan to draw or fade the ball but you do the opposite.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Handicap – This is a way to score a golfers skill level to make it possible for two different people of different levels to compete against one another. The lower your handicap, the better you are.

Heel Of The Club – This is the section of the clubface that is closest to your body. Hitting the heel of the club will cause the ball to shank, push, or slice away from you.

High Handicap – You’re considered to be a high handicap golfer if your handicap rating is above 20 or if you normally shoot in the 90s and 100s. This is where the majority of golfers fall into.

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.

Hitting The Ball Thin – This is the same as when you top the ball. Your club makes contact with the top of the ball and you get a very low shot.

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 In One – This is what you call it when you hit your ball in the hole on the very first shot.

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.

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).

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.

Low Handicap – You’re considered to be a low handicap golfer if your handicap rating is 10 or less. Typically, these golfers will shoot in the 70s.

Michael DublĂ© – When you get a double bogey you can also call it a Michael DublĂ©.

Mid Handicap – You’re considered to be a mid handicap golfer if your handicap rating is between 11-19 or you normally shoot in the 80s. These golfers would be considered to be better than average.

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.

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.

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.

Pitching Wedge – This is the longest wedge most people will carry. The loft of a pitching wedge will be somewhere around 45 degrees.

Pull – This is the opposite of a push and is when you hit the ball directly 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.

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.

Scratch Golfer – You’re considered to be a scratch golfer if you can consistently shoot par on the golf course. An example would be if your average score on a par 72 course is 72.

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.

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).

Smash Factor – This is ball speed divided by club speed. It basically calculates the amount of energy transferred from the club to the ball.

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.

Sweet Spot – This is the center of the clubface and is where you should be making contact with the ball. If you miss the clubface, you’ll get less distance and have more mishits.

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.

Toe Of The Club – This is the section of the clubface that’s the furthest away from you. Hitting the toe of the club will usually pull or hook the ball.

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. It can also be called “topping the ball.”

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.

Wedge Bounce – The angle created between the leading and trailing edge of the club. It’s also the area of the club that makes contact with the ground.

Yips – When you’re putting the ball and you get nervous and shaky it’s called getting the yips.

Jon Webber

Just an average golfer trying to take my game to the next level. Was shooting around 100 not that long ago but have now been in the 80s consistently. Best round to date was 12 over. Best 9 holes were 4 over.

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