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Comprehensive Guide for Golf Terms


Time to read: 7 min

Introduction to Golf Terms

Whether you are new to golf entirely or a veteran, there are so many golf terms being thrown around on a golf course, many people get confused.  Whether you are asking the question, what is a bird thats also a term in golf?  Or what is an up and down?  We have you covered here.  Listed in alphabetical order and defined in an easy to understand writing, we have built our comprehensive guide for golf terms for the discerning golfer.  

Golf Terms - A through M

A picture of a bird next to a golf ball that says birdy in monochromatic, highlighting the golf term question, "bird thats also a term in golf"


Ace : A hole-in-one, achieved by hitting the ball directly from the tee into the cup with one stroke.

Address : The stance a golfer takes when preparing to hit the ball.

Airmail : Hitting a shot much farther than intended, typically over the green.

Albatross : A score of three strokes under par on a hole (also known as a double eagle).

Amateur : A golfer who plays without financial compensation, as opposed to a professional.

Approach : A shot intended to land the ball on the green.


Back Nine : The last nine holes of an 18-hole golf course.

Ball Marker : A small, flat object used to mark the position of the ball on the green.

Ball Striker : A golfer known for consistently making solid contact with the ball.

Bunker : A sand trap or hollow filled with sand, often located near the green or fairway.

Birdie : Scoring one stroke under par on a hole.

Bogey : Scoring one stroke over par on a hole.

Break : The way in which a putt curves due to the slope and grain of the green.

Bulldog : A shot that rolls along the ground.


Caddie : A person who carries a golfer's clubs and provides advice.

Carry : The distance a ball travels through the air.

Cart : A vehicle used to transport golfers and their equipment around the course.

Chip : A short shot played from near the green to land softly and roll toward the hole.

Club : The tool used to strike the golf ball, consisting of a shaft, grip, and clubhead.

Clubface : The surface of the clubhead that makes contact with the ball.

Clubhouse : The main building at a golf course, often housing the pro shop, locker rooms, and dining facilities.


Divot : A piece of turf displaced by the club during a stroke.

Dogleg : A hole that bends to the left or right, resembling the shape of a dog’s leg.

Dormie : In match play, a situation where one player is ahead by the same number of holes that remain to be played.

Double Bogey : A score of two strokes over par on a hole.

Draw : A shot that curves slightly from right to left for a right-handed golfer.

Drive : A long-distance shot played from the tee box, typically using a driver.


Eagle : A score of two strokes under par on a hole.

Embedded Ball : A ball that is partially buried in the ground.

Etiquette : The customary code of polite behavior among golfers.

Executive Course : A shorter golf course with fewer holes or shorter hole lengths, designed for quicker play.


Fade : A shot that curves slightly from left to right for a right-handed golfer.

Fairway : The closely mown area of grass between the tee box and the green.

Flagstick : A pole with a flag on top, located in the hole to indicate its position.

Flop Shot : A high, soft shot played with a wedge to land softly on the green.

Fore : A warning shout to alert other players that a ball is heading their way.


Gimme : A short putt that is conceded by an opponent, typically within a few feet of the hole.

Green : The closely mown area of grass surrounding the hole, where putting takes place.

Greenside : The area immediately adjacent to the green.

Grip : The way a golfer holds the club, as well as the part of the club held by the golfer.


Handicap : A numerical measure of a golfer's potential ability, used to level the playing field in competitions.

Hazard : Any bunker or water feature on the course that poses a challenge to golfers.

Hole : The target in each hole of golf, consisting of the cup, flagstick, and the surrounding area.

Hole-in-One : See Ace .

Hook : A shot that curves significantly from right to left for a right-handed golfer.


Impact : The moment the clubface makes contact with the ball.

Iron : A type of club with a flat, angled face, used for various shots depending on the number of the iron.

Interlocking Grip : A grip where the pinkie of the trailing hand interlocks with the index finger of the leading hand.


Jail : A difficult situation on the course, often involving trees or other obstacles.

Jigger : An old term for a short iron club.


Kick : The bounce of the ball after it lands.

Knockdown Shot : A low-flying shot designed to minimize the effect of wind.


Lag : A long putt played with the intention of getting the ball close to the hole rather than making it.

Lie : The position of the ball on the ground, as well as the angle of the clubface relative to the shaft.

Links : A type of golf course typically found in coastal areas, characterized by sandy soil, dunes, and few trees.


Match Play : A scoring system in golf where players compete to win individual holes, with the winner being the player who wins the most holes.

Medal Play : Another term for stroke play, where the total number of strokes determines the winner.

Mulligan : An unofficial do-over, typically allowed on the first tee shot.

Golf Terms - N Through Z


Nassau : A type of bet in match play, with separate bets for the front nine, back nine, and overall score.

Nineteenth Hole : A colloquial term for the clubhouse bar or restaurant, where golfers often gather after a round.


OB : Abbreviation for "out of bounds," referring to areas outside the designated playing area.

Open Stance : A stance where the golfer's front foot is positioned farther from the target line than the back foot.


Par : The number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to take to complete a hole or course.

Penalty Stroke : An additional stroke added to a player's score for rules infractions.

Pin : Another term for the flagstick.

Pitch : A high, soft shot played with a lofted club to land on the green.

Putt : A shot played on the green with a putter, intended to roll the ball into the hole.


Quail High : A shot that flies low and straight.


Rough : The area of longer grass surrounding the fairway and green.

Round : A complete game of golf, typically consisting of 18 holes.


Sand Trap : See Bunker .

Scratch Golfer : A golfer with a handicap of zero, indicating a high level of skill.

Shank : A poorly struck shot where the ball is hit with the hosel of the club, causing it to veer sharply.

Slice : A shot that curves significantly from left to right for a right-handed golfer.

Stableford : A scoring system where points are awarded based on the number of strokes taken relative to par.

Stroke Play : A scoring system where the total number of strokes taken over a round determines the winner.

Sweet Spot : The optimal point on the clubface for striking the ball.


Tee Box : The designated area where players begin each hole.

Thin Shot : A shot where the club makes contact with the ball above its equator, causing a low, weak flight.

Three-Putt : Taking three putts to get the ball into the hole from the green.

Tiger Line : A daring, aggressive shot over a hazard or obstacle.


Up and Down : Getting the ball into the hole in two strokes from off the green.

Unplayable Lie : A situation where the ball is in a position that makes it impossible or impractical to play.


Vardon Grip : Also known as the overlapping grip, where the pinkie of the trailing hand overlaps the index and middle fingers of the leading hand.


Wedge : A high-lofted club used for short approach shots, chips, and bunker play.

Whiff : A complete miss when attempting to hit the ball.

Wood : A type of club with a large, rounded head, traditionally made of wood, now often made of metal, used for long-distance shots.


X-Out : A golf ball that has been deemed imperfect by the manufacturer and is sold at a discount.


Yips : A sudden, involuntary wrist spasm occurring during the putting stroke, leading to missed putts.


Zinger : A shot that travels quickly and accurately.

Conclusion : Guide to Golf Terms

With this comprehensive glossary, you're now equipped to understand and keep up in conversations filled with golf terms . Whether you're on the course or watching from the clubhouse, these terms will help you speak the language of golf with confidence and precision. 

If you are new to golf, check out our beginner's guide to golfing.  This will get you established and comfortable to be able to approach your first round with confidence.  Happy golfing!

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