Glossary of Golf Terms for Beginners

Glossary of Golf Terms for Beginners Part 1

Getting started with golf can be intimidating for many reasons, but while you can take lessons to get the basics of play down, what about the foreign phrases and words used to describe certain aspects of the game? We’ve put together this handy glossary to golf terms, specifically with beginners in mind, so you’ll never be left out of the conversation.


The act of getting into position and placing the head of the club behind the ball is called an address. A one-stroke penalty is instituted if the ball moves once a player has addressed it, unless it is clear that the act of the player did not cause the ball to move deliberately.


The player whose ball is farthest from the hole is known as away and this player should always play first.

Back Nine

The last nine holes of an 18-hole golf course is known as the back nine and playing it is known as “heading in”.


A hole played one stroke under par is known as a birdie.


A hole played one stroke over par is known as a bogey.

Bump and Run

A low-trajectory shot that is intended to get the ball rolling along the fairway and onto the green is known as bump and run. It’s similar to a chip shot, but is played from a greater distance.

Close-up of man playing golf on green golf course. Hitting golf ball


A swing resulting in the head of the club hitting the ground before the ball, causing a large chuck of ground being taken out as a ‘divot’, is known as a chunk.


Scoring an eight in any single golf hole is known as ‘dog balls’. Rather stick to online pokies NZ, you’ll definitely have better luck!


An in-game situation when a player leads by as many holes as there are left to play is known as a dormie or dormy.


A hole played in two strokes under par is known as an eagle.

Flop Shot

A short shot, played with an open stance and open club-face, played in order for the ball to travel high in the air and land softly, is known as a flop shot. It is useful when there is not much green to work with.


A player who demonstrates very little or no golf etiquette, or a poor player who often becomes frustrated and quits is known as a hacker.


A handicap is a number assigned to each player based on his/her ability, used to adjust each player’s score to provide equality amongst players, essentially levelling the playing field.

Hole in One

Hitting the ball from the tee straight into the hole, using only one stroke, is known as a hole in one.

In Contention

A player with a chance of winning a tournament is described as in contention.


Links is a type of golf course generally located on coastal sand dunes.


A mulligan is a do-over or a replay of the shot, without counting the shot as a stroke or assessing any penalties that may apply.


A par is a standard score for a hole defined by its length or a course which is the sum of all holes’ pars.

Happy golfing and be sure to come back for A Glossary of Golf Terms for Beginners Part 2!