April 26th, 2023

The Meaning of the Most Common Golf Terms

If you're new to the amazing game of golf, you may have noticed that players have their own terminology. From common golf terms such as "par," 'birdie," and "mulligan," to uncommon golf terms such as "line" and "dogleg," having a diverse golf vocabulary will not make you a better golfer, but it will certainly help you understand what the game involves and how to use these words when talking to other players.

The following is a list of the most common golf terms and their meaning:

  • Fairway: the stretch of grass that directs you to the hole
  • Hazards: water, sand traps, and tall grass that make the game challenging
  • Par: the number of strokes a golfer should take to complete a hole
  • Starter: the person stationed at the first tee, making sure you tee off on time
  • Tee box: the designated area marking the beginning of each hole where you tee off from
  • Stroke: the act of making a swing with your golf club
  • Ranger: the person who drives around in the cart monitoring the speed of play
  • Green: the area of trimmed grass at the end of each hole where you should end up
  • Fore: a word golfers yell when they hit a bad shot to alert other golfers where their ball is headed
  • Birdie: completing a hole in one less stroke than the par
  • Eagle: completing a hole in two fewer strokes than the par
  • Bogey: completing a hole in one more stroke than the par
  • Double-bogey: completing the hole in two more strokes than the par
  • Hole-in-one: hitting the ball in the hole on your first shot
  • Lie: the way the ball comes to rest on the ground – it may on a "good lie" in short grass or a "bad lie" in deep grass on the rough
  • Mulligan: a "re-do" or "re-hit" that is without a doubt a golfer's best friend
  • Sand trap: the sand-filled pits that line fairways and guard the greens, also known as bunker
  • Three-put: when it takes you three putts to get the golf ball in the hole
  • Slice: a shot moving severely left to right for right-handed golfers and the opposite way for the left-handed
  • Dogleg: a bend to the left or the right in fairways
  • The 19th hole: golf slang for the clubhouse bar where you can have a few drinks after the round
  • Caddie: the person who carries your golf clubs during the round
  • Handicap: a number given to golfers that determines their average score in relation to par
  • Stroke play: a format of golf in which players count all their strokes to determine the final score
  • Gimmie: a putt so short that you can't miss it, so your buddies give it to you
  • Away: the rule where the player farthest from the hole is the first to play
  • Divot: a piece of turf removed with a shot; it is proper etiquette to replace it
  • Match play: a game played with each hole as a separate contest in which the golfer or team winning the most holes is the winner

This is by no means a comprehensive list, as there are many other golf terms, but these are some that you're most likely to hear while playing or while talking to veteran golfers. If you're a beginner, becoming familiar with each of these words might be overwhelming, which is why you should be patient and learn them as you go along and master your game. When in doubt, it's best to ask what a certain term means, as you'll surely find someone to explain it to you.