Here Are All The Golf Terms You Will Ever Need To Know

Get ready, because there’s a whole lot of them. Don’t worry, if you play golf for long enough, you’re bound to pick up the terms but if you want to really dive into the sport or up your knowledge, it doesn’t hurt to do a little learning off the green. Grab some flash cards and start jotting these down because the more you know, the better your game will grow.

 

Duck Hook:

When right-handed players hit a shot that flies quickly from right to left. It’s hard to control and usually hit by mistake.

Example: After hitting a duck hook, the ball flew in the wrong direction.

 

Alignment:

How the body is positioned in relationship to the tee and to the target.

Example: He plays well because his alignment is always correct.

 

Vector:

The measure of both force and direction that will determine where and how fast the ball travels.

Example: The vector of the ball is important for understanding the success of the swing.

 

Bump and Run:

When a player hits the ball into a slope in order to slow its speed before it hits the green and rolls towards the hole.

Example: The amount of mounds on the green that day caused many players to hit bump and run shots.

 

Aiming:

This is the act of lining up the club with the target. It’s no different than aiming for the net, goal, or basket in other sports.

Example: She was great at aiming, so she always got a hole in one.

golf ball

Whiff:

An instance when the ball is completely missed when trying to hit it.

Example: She wasn’t paying enough attention to her swing and whiffed the ball.

 

Balata:

Similar to rubber, it is a material used to cover golf balls. It makes the ball softer and increases the spin of it.

Example: Most players prefer balata-covered balls when they play.

 

Carry:

How far of a distance the ball will fly in the air after being hit.

Example: The carry of the ball was pretty significant for how lightly he hit it.

 

Waggle:

One or multiple motions in which a player tries to stay relaxed and achieve a smooth swing.

Example: His favorite player had a relaxing waggle and he wanted to achieve the same.

 

Angle of Attack:

The angle of the golf club when it hits the ball. This angle helps determine how far and which way the ball will travel after being hit.

Example: You need to hit the ball with a descending angle of attack if you want it to fly higher.

 

Cambered:

When the sole of the club is rounded to help reduce drag.

Example: That club had a cambered sole to help it with performance.

 

Dormie:

The point in the match when one of the players is up the same amount of holes that are required to finish the game.

Example: She had her rivalry dormie three so it looked like she was going to win.

golf course

Borrow:

When hitting a breaking putt, the borrow is the amount of break that the player allows to happen.

Example: New players must learn how to borrow on their putts to be successful.

 

Weak Grip:

When the hands are turned to the left on the club, even when the golfer is right-handed.

Example: He weakened his grip which caused the ball to fade.

 

Bunker:

A portion of the green that is hollowed out and comprised of sand or grass. They sometimes can pose a hazard.

Example: He practiced how to avoid the bunkers when hitting onto the green.

 

Axis:

This refers to the straight line that the upper body makes when rotating through a golf swing.

Example: If you keep your axis in a consistent position, you will hit the ball more successfully.

 

Uncock:

When the wrists are released from being straight at the downswing.

Example: She uncocked her wrists too soon.

 

Bladed Shot:

This kind of shot is achieved when the top portion of the ball is hit with the bottom half of the club. It usually achieves a shot that is low-running.

Example: He bladed his first shot to set himself up for a birdie.

 

Approach:

A shot that was taken towards the green or a hole.

Example: His approach for the 5th hole fell short.

golf approach

Shank:

The hosel side of the club hits the ball which causes it to send off to the right.

Example: When she hit the shank at the 8th hole, the ball almost flew into the pond.

 

Plumb-bob:

Players use this method to understand how much a putt will break. To do this, the player will position themselves behind the ball and vertically hold the putter so that the ball is covered.

Example: She usually plumb-bobs her putts.

 

Center of Rotation:

The axis of the swing that the body winds around during the movement.

Example: Having a strong and stable center of rotation is vital for a proper swing.

playing golf

Birdie:

When a score is one under the par on a given hole.

Example: She got a birdie on the 10th hole.

 

Upright:

When the swing plane is steeper than usual. Or, when a club’s shaft is placed at an angle that is steeper than usual.

Example: He used an upright swing to avoid the rough.

 

Balance:

How a golfer distributes their weight at the beginning and throughout a swing.

Example: He has the balance of a yogi, which is why his swings are always perfect.

 

Topped Shot:

When the shot is low bouncing because the bottom of the club hits the top of the ball.

Example: She topped her shot on the 2nd hole and wasn’t able to recover.

 

Casting:

When during the downswing, the wrist becomes prematurely un-cocked which causes loss of control and power.

Example: He always would cast the club at the top of the swing which set him up for failure in the beginning of the game.

 

Bowed:

When the top wrist is bowed inward during the backswing.

Example: She had a bowed wrist for many years until she learned to straighten it out.

 

Texas Wedge:

A shot that is played using a putter, far from the green.

Example: She played a Texas Wedge to ensure her win.

 

Square:

Used to talk about the stance of a player before hitting the ball.

Example: His hips, shoulders, and feet were all square to the target line.

golf stance

Cavity-back:

This is a kind of iron that has a part of its club head hollowed out and a distribution of weight around the outside edges of it.

Example: He wanted to buy a new cavity back iron to see if it improved his game.

 

Break:

The degree in which a putt curves to the side because of grain, slope and wind, which affects the way the ball moves.

Example: The strong winds caused a tremendous break during his final shot.

 

Yips:

It is technically a psychological condition that makes a player lose control of the club and his hands. It usually affects people when hitting a tee shot or putting.

Example: She has dealt with the yips since she was young.

 

Double Bogey:

When a hole has a score of two over par.

Example: She could no longer defend her title after hitting a double bogey on the hole.

 

Backspin:

The spin of the ball after the club makes contact with it. If the backspin is greater, the ball will spin more and fly higher. Sometimes, it will stop or even spin backwards once it hits the ground.

Example: The ball had so much backspin that it bounced into the woods once it hit the turf.

golfer

Chicken Wing:

A flaw while swinging which consists of a bend in the lead elbow, pointing away from the body. This flaw causes a pushed or blocked shot.

Example: He lost power of the swing due to the chicken wing position of his arm when hitting the ball.

 

Pushed Slice:

When a shot starts at a target’s side and curves away further.

Example: During the first hole, he pushed slice which set up the tone for the match.

 

Iron Byron:

This device tests balls and clubs. It was named after Byron Nelson’s swing.

Example: The new balls were determined to be longer after an Iron Byron test.

 

Backswing:

The motion of the club when pulling it back from the ball, getting it into position, and making impact with the ball during the hit.

Example: My backswing is longer than most peoples’.

 

Visualization:

Imagining a shot or swing that would be ideal.

Example: When she started to visualize her shots, her game got better.

 

Bogey:

A one over par score on a hole.

Example: The bogey on the last hole is what cost her the game.

golf

Supination:

When a player is standing in a position where the palms are facing the body and the hands are positioned in an outwards rotation from the center of the body. This is the motion of the right-hand rotation during the backswing and the left-hand rotation on the forward swing.

Example: The supination of the forearm and wrist is the difference between an average shot and an amazing shot.

 

Centrifugal Force:

While the body rotates, moving mass away from the center area, you feel a force occur in the downswing. This pulls the clubhead swing both out and down.

Example: Her swings usually create a strong centrifugal force.

 

Eagle:

When the score is two-under-par at any given hole.

Example: He got an eagle on the 16th hole which made victory seem probable.

 

Lag:

A shot that is meant to land short of the target. Usually a putt, chip or pitch.

Example: He hit a lag chip since the green was really sloped.

 

Baseball Grip:

When all 10 fingers are used to hold the golf club.

Example: You can be a successful golfer even if you use a baseball grip.

 

Calcutta:

An event, similar to an auction, where teams and players are bid on during a tournament.

Example: Calcuttas were a popular occurrence at many tournaments in the past.

 

Mulligan:

When a player can hit a second ball at a hole with no penalty. This usually occurs at the first tee.

Example: Mulligans are not usually allowed in golf.

golf clubs

Block:

A type of swing in which the forearms are prevented or delayed from being rotated while hitting the ball. This causes the ball to fly right at the target.

Example: He blocked his shot to prevent the ball from flying into the nearby lake.

 

Bobbing:

Raising and lowering the center of the swing throughout the swinging motion.

Example: His bobbing actually caused his swings to be inconsistent.

 

Swing Plane:

This refers to the surface that describes the angle and the path of a club throughout the swing.

Example: The swing plane for tall players is usually different.

 

Stroke Play:

A competition based on the number of strokes taken over one or several rounds.

Example: Majority of professional tournaments are stroke play events.

 

Off-green Putting:

When a player decides to putt from off the green instead of trying to chip.

Example: She was better at off-green putting so she did that more often.

golfer

Hooding:

When the player places their hands ahead of the ball during impact and address. This reduces the loft of the club that is actually effective.

Example: She hooded a 9-iron and drove the ball onto the green.

 

Center of Gravity:

This refers to the area in the human body where the body’s weight and mass are evenly balanced. This is usually in the pelvic region.

Example: Shorter golfers have a lower center of gravity than the taller ones.

 

Fried Egg:

A term for a lie that is buried in the sand.

Example: She was quite disappointed when she realized she was facing a fried egg lie.

 

Lie:

The position of the ball when it stops moving.

Example: The trajectory of the ball didn’t look good but he ended up with a nice lie.

 

Carryover:

When a hole is tied during a game so that the bet has to be carried over to the next hole.

Example: He won the carryover to everyone’s surprise.

 

Half of golf is learning the language and with these terms and examples, it won’t be long before you know exactly what is going on. There are so many terms that it’s difficult to learn them all at once, so take your time, let the terminology sink in and do your best! You can follow golfing pages on social media to increase your general knowledge of the game. When you’ve got the lingo down, you can go on a golf holiday to celebrate!