Golf Avenue's Complete Golf Glossary

Holing the ball in a single stroke. Also known as a hole-in-one.
The setup you take before hitting the ball.
Three shots under par. (2 on a par-5)
The shot that will usually get you on, or close to the green.
Back Nine
The last nine holes of an 18-hole golf course. Called a back nine because most courses are designed in a way that makes you feel as if you’re walking back to the clubhouse.
Back Swing
The part of the golf swing where you draw back your club to begin the swinging motion
A spinning effect in the ball that forces it to roll back when it makes contact with the ground.
A nickname often given to sand hazards. “Looks like this one’s headed for the beach”
A birdie is the result of a player carding a score of one shot below par on a hole. (2 on a par 3; 3 on a par 4; 4 on a par 5)
A type of putter. Usually a small thin club head. For reference, Tiger Woods uses a blade putter.
A bogey is the result of a player carding a score of one shot over par on a hole. (4 on a par 3; 5 on a par 4; 6 on a par 5)
The angle between the leading edge of your iron or wedge and the bottom of the club’s sole. You’ll usually find the bounce of the wedge near the loft angle.
It is the point where your putt will change direction on the green when you’re rolling it toward the cup.
A synonym for a sand hazard.
The person who usually carries the bag for the player. They will also be your reference when playing a difficult course.
This can refer to multiple things: - The distance covered through the air with your shot - A carry golf bag
Usually refers to cast irons, which is usually the assembly process for game-improvement irons as they are built from multiple molded pieces.
It refers to a type of iron. Cavity-back irons will feature a thin club face with an empty space behind it to allow for more forgiveness with the irons.
Usually refers to a wedge with a high loft angle.
A type of shot mostly used near the green with the goal of landing the ball on the green and letting it roll toward the hole.
Choke or “choking” the club simply means bringing your hands down on the grip of the club.
Usually used to describe a miss hit when you dig into the ground before hitting the ball. “I chunked this one.”
Closed face
A closed face will usually be used to describe a club with a face angle to the inside of your swing path. It is often featured on offset clubs.
Club Fitting
A session with an expert where the specs for your clubs will be determined. This includes the length and stiffness of your shafts, loft angles, the best model, and the best club settings for you.
Club Length
The length of the club which spans from the heel of the club head to the top of the shaft.
The clubhead is the main part of the golf club that comes into contact with the ball.
Coil refers to the difference in angle between your upper and lower body at the highest point of your back swing. The higher the coil, the further your ball will travel.
In golf, compression will be used when talking about golf balls. The higher the compression level, the harder the ball will feel.
Cross-handed usually refers to a golfer using a left-hand grip (right-hand high, left-hand low) while playing right-handed or vice versa.
This designates the top part of your clubhead and more precisely the outer limit on the back of the clubhead.
Synonym for the hole in the green.
Cut Shot
A cut shot is a synonym often used to refer to a fade or a draw trajectory on the golf course. The name comes from the clear cut that the ball seems to take in midair to complete its flight.
A divot is an empty patch of grass created in the ground following a strike of the ball.
Dormie is a term associated to match play. It is used to describe a player, or team, being down in a match and facing a deficit that forces them to win the remaining hole to halve the match. (I.e.: 4 down with 4 holes to go)
Double Bogey
Two shots over par. (5 on a par-3; 6 on a par-4; 7 on a par-5)
Double Eagle
Synonym for Albatross. Used mainly in North America. Three Shots under par. (2 on par-5).
Down Swing
The second part of the golf swing. It simply refers to the action of bringing down the golf club to make contact with the ball after the backswing.
A term used to describe a golfer sinking a shot in the hole. “You drained that putt.”
A controlled curved shot. The draw will start out by going away from you at first, to finally pull back towards the center mid-flight.
The shot you hit off the tee. Most commonly used for a Driver shot.
Used to be known as the 1-wood. The longest and biggest club in the bag.
Driving Iron
Usually designates the long irons in the bag. Some brands like PING have designed actual driving irons, a cross between a hybrid and an iron.
Driving Range
The field where you go to practice your shot. Most golf clubs will have one of those. Sometimes referred to as Top Golf in some places.
Duck Hook
A sharp hook that your shot will take mid-flight.
Two shots under par. (2 on a par-4; 3 on par-5).
The code of rules you should follow on and around a golf course.
Even Par
Your shot total is equal to the number of shots recommended by the course at that point. (You hit 4 shots on the par 4 first hole? Then you are even parred)
The contrary of the Draw. The Fade flight pattern will begin on the inside to finally move back to the middle.
The target you are trying to hit off the tee box on most Par 4 and 5. The fairway will usually stand in the middle of the alley and it will feature the shortest grass aside from the green.
Missing the ball on your swing. (Hardo’s will call it a +1)
Hitting the ball “fat” means that you’re digging into the ground much like a chunk. This usually results in very poor shots.
First Tee
This simply designates the first tee box of a golf course.
Flag (flagstick)
The pole that sticks out of the green on every hole. It is there to help you know where to aim at.
Flex refers to the flexibility of your club shaft. From softest to stiffest: Ladies, Senior, Regular, Stiff, X-Stiff.
The final step of the swing. It is the step that follows the contact with the ball. It is essential to have complete follow-through on every swing.
Foot Wedge
It’s the cheaters’ favorite club. A little foot action to get your ball in a better lie is the greatest lie of all.
You’ve likely heard that before. It is the call sign of any golfer slicing or hooking a ball into another fairway. Make sure to keep your head up when you hear one of those.
A term used to describe a club that will allow for errors or imperfections at impact.
A term that refers to a group of four golfers in the same group. A foursome.
Fried Egg
This is a term often used to describe the position of your ball in the sand. If your golf ball is half buried in the sand, it will usually qualify as a “fried egg”.
Front Nine
The first nine holes of an 18-hole golf course.
a game in which clubs with wooden or metal heads are used to hit a small, white ball into a number of holes, usually 9 or 18, in succession, situated at various distances over a course having natural or artificial obstacles, the object being to get the ball into each hole in as few strokes as possible.
Golf Range
The range is where you go to practice the different aspects of your game. Most ranges will usually feature a row of stations where you can golfers can take a place and hit their golf balls toward an open field of grass.
Usually refers to the shaft of a golf club. Some golf clubs are fitted with graphite shafts, a softer material usually appreciated by ladies and senior players.
The patch of short grass sitting all around the hole. This is what you’re aiming for off the tee.
Green Fee
A green fee is the term used to describe the amount of money it cost to play a round of golf at a given golf course.
Green Jacket
The holy grail of golf. A green suit jacket is awarded to the winner of the Masters tournament by the winner of the previous year. The winner gets to keep the jacket for a year, then it is kept in the winner’s locker room at Augusta National.
The top part of the shaft where you place your hands for the shot. As the name suggests, it is the stickiest part of the club.
The grooves are the lines in the face of your club. They are your best friend on the course, and it is important to keep them clean and sharp.
A term used to describe a player touching the ground with his club. It’s most used in officials ruling, especially when a player makes contact with the ground in a proscribed area.
A hack, or hacker, is a player who tends to struggle badly while leaving divots all over the golf course. Their swing will often be referred to as “hacking at the ball”.
The handicap is an index used in golf to determine a player’s skill level. The lower the handicap number, the better the player is. A player with a “+” handicap (better than 0.0 or scratch) means they’ll typically play their round under par.
Water, Sand traps, or whatever other obstacles may be on your way on the course. Hazards are simply there to make your life harder on the course.
The cover that goes over the head of the club to protect it.
Putting the ball in the hole with a single shot off the tee box. Also known as “Ace”.
Having the honors on the tee, means that you get to hit your ball first. It is usually decided on the first tee by tossing a tee in the air to decide the order of the golfers.
A hard curve to the inside right from impact.
The little plastic part of the club that connects the head to the shaft.
A club that can only be described as a cross between the wood and the iron.
The moment when your club face comes into contact with the ball.
An insert is usually inserted at the top of the shaft of the golf club. Some taller players will need to get such an insert to make their clubs more comfortable.
Usually ranging from 1 to 10, the iron is the classic golf club. It is mostly composed of a metal club head (originally made out of iron) attached to a shaft (graphite or steel)
Lag Putt
A lag putt is a technique usually used on downhill putts as the objective of the lag putt is to roll the ball more smoothly than your typical putting stroke which forces the ball to skip before rolling towards the hole.
Launch Angle
Refers to the angle from which your shot will lift off the ground at impact.
An option available to golfers when playing an approach shot. Golfers will sometimes have the option of laying up when hitting their approach shot. A layup will tend to be shorter and safer than the other shots available to the golfer.
Leading Edge
The front end of the clubhead where the sole and the clubface come together.
A. The lie will usually refer to the position of your ball on the ground. A ball sitting on the ground at an angle would be considered a bad lie. On the other hand, a ball sitting on a flat surface will almost always give you a good lie. B. It can also refer to the lie of the golf club. The lie of a golf club is based on the angle of the hosel with the clubhead. A flat lie means that a shaft will be closer to the ground. A strong lie means that the shaft will be very steep compared to the clubhead.
The line is the direction you’re picking for your shot. Off the green, you’ll mostly be thinking about aerial lines. On the green, you’ll be the reading lines of the ground’s surface.
Commonly used term to describe the edge of a hole or a sand trap.
Lob Shot
A very high arching shot, usually executed with a wedge. Normally used to put the ball in very close proximity to the hole while avoiding any hazard.
Lob Wedge
The highest lofted wedge possible. Their loft angle will usually be around 58º and up.
The loft of a golf club refers to the angle of the clubface. You can often find this number on the hosel or the sole of the club.
Long Irons
As their name suggests, the long irons are longer than the rest of the irons. It usually designates the 1, 2, and 3 irons.
It is a type of putter. The mallet, as its name suggests, has a bigger head than the rest of the putters.
The golf course worker in charge of supervising the pace of play and etiquette. They roam the course with their golf cart to oversee activities.
Will usually designate the 5, 6, and 7 irons.
Milled will usually be used to describe some golf clubs. It comes from milling, as some manufacturers have introduced this new method of working metal to their products.
A do-over on a previously missed shot. (Better learn that one quick)
Muscle-back (blade)
A type of iron that is traditionally built from a single piece of steel. The clubhead of musclehead irons is a forged piece of metal. These irons are usually played by highly skilled players or pros.
Nineteenth (19th) Hole
The best hole in golf. It is usually located near the bar in the clubhouse.
Offset is used to describe golf clubs that are designed to fight a slice. The heel of the clubface is not level with the hosel, creating a naturally closed clubface, which will fight the slice, by design.
Open Club Face
As the name suggests, this simply refers to a golfer opening the clubface wider than usual at address.
Open Stance
An open stance refers to a golfer opening up their stance by moving back their front foot.
Out of Bounds (OB)
Designates the area where the ball is unplayable. Will usually result in a drop and a one-stroke penalty.
Pace of play
The speed at which you are going through the course. Always remember to keep a good pace of play so you don’t slow down everybody else.
The number of shots it should take the player to complete a hole or a course.
A synonym for the flagpole. It is used to mark the hole in the green.
A type of approach shot that is intended to spin fast upon impact. Usually used within 100 yards of the hole as it is meant to provide players with slightly more accuracy on approach shots.
In golf, the pivot is the key to a powerful golf swing. The better the pivot in your hip, the more powerful your swing will be.
Punch Shot
A punch shot is a low trajectory shot that is usually used to escape a tight spot, especially when playing from under the trees.
Push/Pull Cart
A push/pull cart is a healthy alternative to the golf cart. It is a device created to help log your golf bag around.
The club you use on the green to putt with. It comes in many shapes and sizes, but it will generally feature a short shaft and an almost flat loft.
Range Finder
A device designed to help measure the distance between your position and the pin. They usually use a laser-aiming system to help you pinpoint the flag stick.
There are multiple rating indicators in golf: - Course rating – an index that indicates the difficulty of a golf course - Player rating – Usually called “handicap”, refers to a player’s skill level
Designates the taller grass parts of the course. It is normally situated on the outskirts of the fairway.
Sand Bunker
A depreciation, or pit, in the course, in this case, filled with sand.
Sand Trap
A man-made hole in the course, normally filled with sand or sand-like material.
Sand Wedge
The wedge usually preferred to escape a sand trap. It mostly stands between 54 and 58 degrees.
A type of format to play, especially useful for tournaments as you get to play the best ball from the group every time! Each golfer plays their ball, from the same location. The team picks the best ball after every strike and all players will hit their following stroke from the location of the agreed upon “best ball”.
In golf, scrambling is the art of getting out of trouble on a hole. A player will have successfully scrambled when they collect a par on a hole, despite not getting their ball on the green in regulation.
Usually refers to a golfer that will play even par when they’re out on the golf course. They typically have a perfect 0.0 handicap.
The position in which you are setting up before hitting the golf ball.
The part of the club that starts from the top of the club head and goes all the way into your hands. The top part is covered with a grip. Shafts come in different stiffness and lengths, and they can either be made out of some metal material (mostly steel) or out of graphite.
A missed shot that goes completely offline.
Short Game
Refers to shots played in short distance to the hole. Can be any shot played with a short iron or a wedge.
Short Irons
Mostly refers to the last club of the iron set like 7, 8, 9, and sometimes Pitching Wedge.
“SIT!” is often heard on the golf course. It’s usually shouted out by a golfer who wants to their ball to stop its flight and land down.
A shot will be skulled when a player makes contact with the ball with the bottom edge of a wedge. This will normally result in a very hard shot that will go much further than a chip would.
The result of a pronounced curved trajectory of the golf ball in the air after you hit it. A slice will curve away from you (to the right for righties, to the left for lefties)
The slope is the premier mathematical measure to better illustrate the difficulty of a golf course. These measurements are based on the USGA par rating and the expected performance of players with a high handicap.
The bottom part of a club head.
The little studs that are the bottom of golf shoes.
The position in which you set yourself at address.
The person in charge of sending off the group and managing the starts on the first tee.
A synonym given to golf clubs.
Stroke Play
A stroke play refer to the type of event being played. It’s the most common scoring method. The player with the lowest total amount of shots wins the event.
Swing Speed
Refers to the quickness of the movement before making contact with the ball.
The moment when you bring back your hands at the start of the swinging motion.
A very small putt from within a few feet of the cup.
Tee Box
The designated area where players are meant to hit their first shot on a hole.
The little thing that holds up your ball for you. It can be made out of various materials such as wood and plastic.
The Tips
A term that refers to the furthest tees from the hole. These are usually the tees from where pro players play.
The Turn
The path between the ninth and 10th holes. Originally, golf courses were designed in a way that the first nine holes would take you away from the clubhouse and the last nine were on the way back to the clubhouse. This is why the space between nine and 10 is referred to as the turn.
Hitting a ball thin is to hit a low-rising shot with the leading edge of your golf club.
Tight Lies
Golfers will be faced with tight lies when their ball is resting on a small surface that requires a clean strike. The same can also be said when you’re faced with a short distance to the hole, but obstacles stand in your way, and you need to stop your ball quickly on the green.
The external edge of a club face, very much like the toe of a foot.
The line your ball will take in the air to get to the hole.
Most commonly referred to as a sand trap. A “trap” is simply a slang term used on the course by golfers.
A trolley is a synonym for push/pull carts. Trolleys are usually the name of the push/pull carts you rent at the golf course.
Utility Club
A utility club is a synonym for a driving iron. It’s usually an oversized iron designed to be as forgiving as a hybrid while providing performances similar to long irons.
The art of wiggling your clubhead before hitting your ball when you’re getting comfortable in your stance. We strongly recommend keeping this to a minimum for the sanity of your playing partners.
A very high-lofted club. Usually referred to as Pitching, Gap (Approach), Sand, Lob, and Chipper.
Whiffing on a ball simply means that you’ve not made contact with anything even after swinging your club to make contact with the ball. This will count as a strike if that were to happen to you in actual competition.
This can refer to multiple things: - Golf courses are often lineup by lots of trees which often create massive woods or forests. - A fairway wood is a type of golf club designed to be used right off the ground to help reach the pin in fewer strikes on longer holes, such as par 5s.
A discomfort experienced by a lot of golfers when setting up to hit the ball. The yips will set uncertainty in your mind when you’re standing over the ball, which forces some players to freeze when it comes to hitting their shot.

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