You’ve taken the plunge and decided to join the exciting world of golf, you head of to your nearest course and prepare to show those little white balls what you’re made of. However, you’re not exactly sure what it means to have a birdie or what your handicap is. What you do know, is that “Fore!” means lookout.
It’s okay, we’ve all been there and we’re here to help you brush up on the lingo before your next round.
Basic Golfing Terminology
- Par: This is the number of strokes it should take a golfer to complete a specific hole. Every hole on the golf course has a par rating, and the goal is to beat it. For example, a par-3 implies that it should take three shots for you to sink the ball.
- Birdie: This is when you use one shot less than par to sink a ball. So, if the hole was a par-3, you would’ve used two shots to finish the hole.
- Eagle: This is when you use two shots less than par to complete a hole. For example, on a par-5 hole, you would need to use three shots to have an eagle.
- Albatross or double eagle: This is three shots below par and is incredibly rare.
- Bogey: If you use one shot more than the par of the hole, you’ll have a bogey. For example, a par-5 hole would take you 6 shots to complete.
- Double bogey: As the name implies, this is two over par.
- Triple bogey: Three over par will land you a triple bogey.
- Ace: This is known as a hole in one, which is when you get the ball into the hole with one shot.
- Handicap: This is your average number of strokes above par per round of golf.
- Fore: This is used to warn someone about a ball that’s headed their way.
- Putt: This is any shot you take on the green.
- Drive: This is the first shot that you take from the tee box on each hole.
- Approach: This is the shot that carries the ball from the fairway to the green.
- Bank shot: This is when a steep slope is used to influence the speed or direction of the ball.
- Over clubbing: Hitting the ball further than necessary.
- Best ball: This is used during tournaments to determine a team’s score; the person with the best score at each hole is used to determine the final score.
- The turn: The halfway point during a round of golf.
- Explosion shot: This is the technique used to hit a ball that’s landed in a sand trap.
- Duff: A disappointing shot.
- Mulligan: This is only used when playing a friendly round. This a do-over given to duff and the points aren’t used to calculate your score.
- Hacker: Someone who is not good at golf.
- Fairway: The grass that runs between the tee box and the green.
- Rough: The long grass the borders along the fairway.
- Green: The smooth grass at the end of the fairway where the hole is located.
- Hazard: This is anything on the course that can negatively impact your score.
- Bunker: A ditch containing sand, this is one of the hazards on the course. Also referred to as the beach.
- Casual water: This occurs when water accumulates on the course, often as a result of rain. When this happens, you are allowed to move the ball without a penalty.
Don’t Duff It Up
When it comes to understanding the world of golf, it takes a swing and a miss, time and practice, but once you’ve got it, you’re good to go.