Archive: July, 2010

The Language of Golf

Anyone who has wandered unexpectedly into a conversation about golf finds out very quickly there is a language golfers speak which is a little hard to understand for a newcomer to the game.  If I said to friend, “You should have seen this shot I hit on number 12 today.  I had 220 to the stick and I hit this towering, high cut with my 5-iron that took one bounce and then checked up and left me a tap in.  The whole day was like that; I was knocking down flagsticks it was like I was playing darts out there.  My irons were totally dialed in!”  A lot of people might be curious what I just said.  Translated this means “I hit a five iron shot from 220 yards to the hole on number 12 that ended up very close to the hole.  I hit good iron shots all day.”

It struck me that being a new or casual golfer trying to figure out all the golf specific language must be about the same as when I stroll into a computer store.  As soon as I here a word that ends in “hertz” I start to panic!  So, for all of you who would like to understand the golfers at your office, your spouse or would like to sound like a cool golfer, here is a crash course in Golf Speak 101!  At the bottom, there are a few fun terms used to lighten the mood.

Golf Club Words

Clubhead – Large chunk of metal on the end of the shaft.

Shaft – Long pole made of steel, graphite or other exotic material, which joins the handle and the clubhead.  Shafts vary in flexibility.  Some common flexes are; Senior Ladies, Ladies, Senior Men’s, Men’s Regular, Men’s Stiff and Men’s Extra Stiff.

Grip – The handle of the golf club.  Usually made of rubber.

Driver – #1 Wood.

Fairway Woods – Every other wood!!

Irons – Skinny headed clubs.  Should be made of Stainless Steel.

Sand Wedge – Special iron designed specifically sand traps.

Putter – Flat faced club used for playing shots on the green.

Golf Score Words

Par – The regulation number of strokes that are set for a particular hole from tee to cup, if played flawlessly.

Birdie – A score of one under par on a hole (ex. score of 3 on a Par 4)

Bogey – A score of one over par on a hole (ex. A score of 5 on a par 4)

Eagle – A score of two under par on a hole.

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

Double Eagle (Albatross) – A score of three under par on a hole.

Hole-in-One – A score of one on a hole.  Golf’s most cherished accomplishment.

Snowman – Score of eight on a hole.  Coincidentally, most pros are
“frosty” after making one!

Golf Course Words

Par – The regulation number of strokes that are set for a particular hole from tee to cup.  Or the total of each hole’s par for a course par.

Cup – The hole in the green.

Green – Closely mown area where the hole is located.

Tee – Patch of grass where play is to begin for each hole.

Tee Markers – Pairs of objects, between which you should tee your ball to begin a hole.  Different colours are used to distinguish skill levels.

Fairway – The cut grass and preferred route between tee and green.

Sand Trap – A hazard which is maintained and full of sand.

Clubhouse – Main building at a golf club.  It usually houses the
Pro Shop, Restaurant and Locker Rooms.  A triple-decker sandwich with turkey, bacon and tomatoes.

19th Hole – Clubhouse Bar.

Pro Shop – Place where you check in to play and can purchase balls,
clubs, etc,

Head Pro – Golf Professional in charge of the Pro Shop.

Assistant Pro – Golf Professional training to become a Head Pro.

Teaching Pro – Golf Professional who specializes in teaching people how to golf better.  I happen to know a good one at Gorge Vale!!

Caddy – Person who carries your clubs during a round of golf.

Driving Range – Place where people go to hit practice balls.

Putting Green – Place to go to practice your putting.

Flag Stick – The stick with a flag at the top used to indicate the location of the cup.

Hazard – Can be either a sand trap or water hazard.  Avoid them at all cost!!

Front Nine – Holes 1 thru 9.

Back Nine – Holes 10 thru 18.

Starter – Person in charge of the first tee.

Tee-Time – When you start off at the first tee.  It may be at a strange
time like 12:17.  This is your exact time.  There are strange times because
tee times will start on an even hour first thing in the morning and then
may run every nine minutes after that.

Bunker – A sand trap

Pin – Flagstick

Golf Shot Words

Slice – A shot that curves dramatically from left to right for a right-handed golfer.

Hook – A shot that curves dramatically from right to left for a right-handed golfer.

Topped Shot – A shot resulting from only hitting the very top of the golf ball.  Usually rolls along the ground. Also known as a thin shot.

Fat Shot – A shot, which results from hitting the ground before the ball. Usually causes a large chunk of grass and soil to fly through the air.  We call it “Hitting the big ball first”!

Putt – A shot played on the green that rolls along the ground.

Chip – A shot played near the green, which spends a little time in the air and then rolls along the ground like a putt.

FORE!!!! – What you shout when your ball is headed towards another player.  Presumably, “Hey look out I just hit my ball at you!!!” would take too long to say!!

Gimme – A short putt someone in your group says you don’t need to
hole out because you could never miss it!

Ace – A hole-in-one.

Mulligan – Playing a shot over.

Whiff – A swing, which misses the ball.

Handicap – For example, someone whose handicap is 16 is expected to shoot 88 on a Par 72 golf course

Golf Slang – (Just for Fun)

Go to the hip – Quit playing on a hole, as in pick up your ball and put it in your
hip pocket!!

Hacking – Playing poor golf

Three Jack, Three Stab, Three Tap – Take three putts.

Better throw a provisional – Said to someone who has just thrown a club that ended
up in the trees or bush.

Dance Floor – The green.

Jail – When you find your ball and there is no escape.

Army Golf – When a player hits shots left and then right and then left again…Left, Right, Left!!

Where bears go to die – Said after a ball goes particularly deep into the woods

Human rain delay – A very slow player.

Motorboat stroke – Said when someone three putts a lot! (putt putt putt putt putt…)

Shanks – Hitting golf shots off the hosel of the golf club resulting in shots that go directly sideways.

Lateral hazard – Someone who has the shanks.

Radio Station – A very high score. As in: “Bob fired a ‘radio station’ today. Was that 98 Rock or Magic 105?”

Turf hockey –When your divot travels further than your ball.

Playing croquet – Hitting two or more consecutive topped shots.

Drive – By Shooting – A whiffed drive

Banana Ball – A big slice

Taking it Deep – Shooting a low score

Laurel & Hardy – A ten on one hole

A Gust of Gravity – When your ball surprisingly stops short of the green.

Honk – A missed easy putt, as in: “I honked that two footer.”

Let The Big Dog Eat – Make a very aggressive swing with your driver.

Chief – Your driver

Assistant Chief – Your 3-wood

Please let me know if you or your group use different words for golf related subject matter.