The game of golf is hard enough as it is. All the terminology and lingo just makes it that much more complicated. Luckily for you, we’ve put together the ultimate list of golf terminology.
Our list is sorted into three separate categories.
Golf Terminology: These are terms that you would find in the official golf rules and will help you understand the game.
Golf Lingo: These are terms that are used on the golf course. Though you wouldn’t find in the rulebook are still used quite often.
Golf Slang: These terms are primarily used as jokes and come in handy if you’re looking to get some laughs on the course.
Beginners Golf Terminology
Par: the number of strokes a first-class player should normally require for a particular hole or course.
Birdie: A hole with a score of one stroke under par.
Bogey: A score of one stroke over par at a hole.
Bunker: A hollow comprised of sand or grass or both that exists as an obstacle and, in some cases, a hazard.
Divot: The turf displaced when the club strikes the ball on a descending path.
Double Bogey: A score of two over par on a hole.
Draw: A shot that flies slightly from right to left for right-handed players.
Eagle: A score of two-under-par on a hole.
Fade: A shot that flies slightly from left to right.
Lie: As it relates to the ball, the position of the ball when it has come to rest.
Line: The intended path of the ball, usually referred to in the context of putting.
Loft: The degree of angle on the clubface, with the least loft on a putter and the most on a sand wedge.
Ready Golf: This refers to a faster method of playing golf. Instead of shooting in order of who is furthest away, you shoot in order of who is ready.
Short Game: Those shots played on and around the green, including putting, chipping and pitching, and bunker shots.
Slice: A ball that curves from left to right to a greater degree than a fade.
Sweet Spot: The point on the clubface where, if it is struck with an object, the clubface will not torque or twist to either side.
Tee Box: The area where players tee to start a hole.
Break: The amount a putt will curve to the side because of the slope, grain and wind that affect the movement of the ball.
Ace: Hitting the ball directly into the hole, AKA a hole in one.
Air Mail: Shooting a ball past your target while in the air.
Albatross: A score three strokes under par ex: 2 strokes on a par 5
Back Door: When a putt falls into the back of the cup.
Beaching or Going to the beach: Hitting the ball into a sand bunker.
Big Dog: A nickname for your driver.
Bump and Run: A pitch shot around the green in which the player hits the ball into a slope to deaden its speed before settling on the green and rolling towards the hole.
Cabbage: terminology for thick rough.
Carry: The distance a ball will fly in the air
Chunk: When the club hits the ground behind the ball.
Cuban: A putt that falls just short, “it needs one more revolution”.
Dance Floor: Alternative name for the green.
Dawn Patrol or Dew Sweepers: Golfers who tee off very earlier in the day
Dog Track: When a golf course is in poor condition.
Dribbler: A Ball that rolls forward usually not even airborne.
Duck Hook: A severe hook to the left and down also known as a snap hook.
Fan: To completely miss making contact with the ball.
Flatstick: A slang term for a putter.
Flop Shot: A very high short shot. Also known as a Phil Mickelson flop shot.
Fried Egg: The slang term for a buried lie in the sand.
Frog Hair: Slang for the fringe.
Gimmie: A putt so short that the players agree counts automatically.
Hacker: Slang for inexperienced or beginner golfer. Meant to mean they “hack” at the ball.
Kick: A positive bounce that puts your ball in a better position.
Golf Slang + Golf Jokes
Afraid Of The Dark: A ball that is scared to get in the hole.
Adolf Hitler: Two Shots in a bunker
Army Golf: Shooting the ball back and forth across the fair way or green. Or as the army would say ” LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT”
Cat Box: nickname for a sand bunker.
Foot Wedge: A joke referring to use your foot to ick your ball into a better position.
Hand Wedge: Similar to foot wedge, it is a joke referring to use your hand to help your ball.
Hook: A shot that curves sharply from right to left for right-handed players.
Hosel Rocket: Hitting a ball off the hosel of a club, usually flying sharply right.
Jaws: When a player leaves his ball “right in the jaws” his putt was just short of falling in the hole.
Jungle: refers to a ball hit into the deepest thickest part of the course.
Knife: Another name for the 1-iron a very hard to hit club.
Lay Up: Hitting a safe shot to set your self up instead of going straight for the green.
Lip Out: When a putt rides the lip of the hole and does not go in.
Lumberjack: Consistently hitting the ball into the woods.
Mickey Mouse Course: A course of low quality that cannot be taken seriously.
Milk the Grip: Repeatedly squeezing the grip of club and letting go as if you were milking a cow.
Muff: A mishit or flubbed golf shot.
Mulligan: This term refers to redoing a poor golf shot. If your first shot goes poorly you may say it was a mulligan and hit again. This is not a legal maneuver.
Nineteenth Hole: The nineteenth hole usually refers to the Clubhouse bar or restaurant.
Nip It: Hitting a iron shot “thin” as you do not hit the ground or take a divot.
OB: This is golf slang for out of bounds.
Pin High: A golf term that refers to the ball travelling far enough to be at the pin. Whether it is left or right even off the green if the ball was hit the proper distance it is pin high.
Pin Seekers: A ball that is travelling directly towards the pin.
Punch Shot: A low-flying shot played with an abbreviated backswing and finish.
Saddam Husein: Going from Bunker To Bunker
Sand Bagger: Someone who plays much better than there stated average score. Used to win tournaments and bets
Sandie: Saving par after being in the sand.
Short Stick: Slang for putter
Snowman: Shooting a score of eight on a hole.
Texas Wedge: Slang for a putter when putting from off the green.
The Tips: The Championship or GOlf Tee blocks
Twigs: Slang for your clubs also known as “sticks”
Up And Down: Shooting the ball up onto the green and putting it down into the hole in one putt.
Weekend Warriors: Golfers who can only find time to play on the weekend usually don’t play well.
Wormburner: A hard golf shot that never gets more than a few feet off the gorund.
Yips: Nerves cause your hands began to shake potentially causing you to mishit your putt.
Concluding Thoughts – Golf Terminology Guide
We hope you enjoyed our article on golf terminology. If there are any more terms you are unaware of please feel free to reach out and ask. You can do this in the comments or through our contact page.
If you enjoyed this guide please check out some other such as our guides to the games of golf.
Hi I’m Nate, I’ve been golfing for over fifteen years but more importantly, I’ve owned several Amazon and eCommerce businesses. I’m able to use my behind the scene knowledge to help golfers find the best and most trusted products when online shopping.