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The Language of Golf

Below is a glossary of terms for you to learn and become familiar with. Across the line The club shaft facing towards the right of the target when it is at the top of the backswing (right-handed golfers). Address The manner in which a golf player positions his or her body just before hitting the ball. Alignment The manner in which you aim the club face and line y our body at address. Amateur A golf player who competes but does not play for prize money. To earn money in a tournament, a player must compete as a professional. Approach shot Any shot that sends the ball to the green area. Away When you are the furthest distance from the hole it is your shot you are away. Back nine The second half of an 18-hole course (the last 9 holes). Backspin The reverse spin on the golf ball that has been hit towards a target. Backswing The first part of the golf swing, which ends as the club stops moving, and before the downswing portion. Balata A type of tree sap used in the making of golf ball covers. Ball marker A small-sized, flat object that is used to mark the specific location of your ball when it is on the green. Ball mark repair tool A fork-shaped tool that is used to fix any marks on the green left behind by your ball. Baseball grip A specific grip that is used to hold the club. When used properly, all 10 fingers remain in contact with the club grip. Best ball A golf game that uses the best score to be counted from a 2-person team. Birdie One less stroke than the total par on the specific hole you are playing. For example, if the hole is a par-4, and you sink the ball in only 3 shots, you have yourself a birdie. Blade Used in golf as both a noun and a verb. The noun describes the club head of an iron. The verb describes hitting the ball on its equator with the bottom of the blade. Block shot Refers to the ball sweeping to the right of the intended target (right-handed golfers). Bunker A hazard area that is completely filled with sand. It is typically near the green. Caddie Men and women who get paid to carry your golf clubs around with you on the course as you play the game. They can also offer advice on how to play the game. Carry How far a golf ball flies through the air. Cart Small vehicles that golf players use to drive around the course. The standard motorized cart can hold two or more players and also has a small dolly that travels on 2 wheels and is pulled manually (often referred to as the “pull cart”) Casual water Puddles that have accumulated on the course through rainy weather. These puddles of water are separate from the other standard hazards of the course. Cavity back iron A particular type of iron where most of the club head's weight is distributed around its perimeter. This design helps create a bigger head and a larger “sweet spot” area on the face. The back of the club head is basically just a large cavity. This helps reduce the mass in the center of the head, as well as the back. Certified PGA professional Any man or woman who has met or exceeded the golf teaching standards created by the Professional Golfers Association./ Check The action of the golf ball as it stops rolling because of the amount of backspin on it. Chip A shot that is typically played from the edge of the green. Closed face A clubface that points to the left of the target (right-handed golfers). Closed stance A stance where you body alignment is facing the right of your intended target (right-handed golfers). Club face The bottom section of the club that makes contact with the golf ball. Clubhouse Usually a large indoor area located on a golf course that maintains services, such as restaurants, golf pro shops, bathrooms, and conference rooms. Collar The collar is a strip of grass that runs around the green and is typically longer in length than the grass that grows on the putting surface. Coming over the top A phrase that describes the direction of the club as it moves through the downswing into a right-to-left pathway across the ball (right-handed golfers). Another term for this direction is the out-to-in blow. Compression The squeezing in of a golf ball as the result of the force put on it during impact with the club head. Course rating Every golf course has a course rating, which refers to the difficulty level of the course itself. The higher the course rating number, the more advanced and difficult the golf course is. Cross handed A specific putting grip where the left hand is below the right hand (right-handed golfers). The natural grip. Cup The hole that is at the end of each playing hole, and is the intended final target of the golf ball. Cupped lead wrist The backward bend of your lead hand when striking the ball. The lead hand is the one that is closest to the hole after you set up for your swing. For right-handed golfers, the lead hand is the left hand. Cut Another reference to a shot that bends towards the right (right-handed golfers). De-loft To decrease the amount of loft on the club face by tilting your club shaft in the direction of your intended target. Dimple The hundreds of small holes in the golf ball. Divot A small chunk of grass and dirt that is removed from the golf course after the ball is hit. These divots should be repaired as basic golf course etiquette prescribes. Dogleg The curved shape of a hole from the tee to the green that turns either left or right. Double bogey When you complete a hole with 2 additional shots over the par of that hole. For example, if the hole is a par 3, a double bogey would be sinking the ball in 5 shots. Double eagle The completion of a par-5 hole in 3 shots less than that par. Downhill lie Your stance whereby the front foot is below your back foot at address. Draw A shot that bends from right to the left (right-handed golfers). This is the correct ball flight Drive The initial shot taken from the tee. Driver The longest club in your bag, which sends the ball flying at more distance than any other golf club. Driving range A facility that is built specifically for golf players to practice their swings. Each driving range has separate booth-like areas where you can knock a bucket of balls as long and as far as you want. Some driving ranges also have areas where you can practice your short game. Drop When you drop a from shoulder height ball after it was considered unplayable. Duff To totally mess up or miss a shot or “ruin” the shot. Eagle A player who finishes a hole in two under par when playing a par-4 or a par-5 hole. Explosion shot A bunker shot that sends along with it an “explosion” of sand flying through the air. Fade A shot that sends the ball veering slightly to the right (right-handed golfers). Fairway The entire distance (in-bounds) that runs from the tee all the way to the green, and is kept nicely trimmed. Fat When you take a swing and your club face strikes the ground before hitting the ball. This is a “fat”. Flagstick The flagged pole that rests inside of the hole on each green. Flex The amount of bend within a club shaft. Flier lie What you have when you take your swing and too much grass comes between the ball and the club face. This has a tendency to reduce the amount of backspin on the ball as well. Flop shot A type of pitch shot that skyrockets the ball high up into the air, but comes down short and lands soft. Follow through The movement of your club and your body after you take your swing and make contact with the ball. Fore A warning signal that is shouted loudly whenever a ball is flying towards another player. Fringe The collar of grass that surrounds the green. The length of this grass is typically shorter than that of the fairway, but longer than the green itself. Front nine The first 9 holes of an 18-hole golf course. Gimme A putt that is so short and close to the hole your playing partners do not expect you to actually hit the ball in. Why? Because it is an obvious shot. Valid only in social play. Glove Golfers use a glove (typically worn on the lead hand) while playing golf to help enhance their grip and prevent skin blisters. Grain The direction in which the grass is growing. Green The closely mowed surface that surrounds the hole It is also called the putting surface. Green in regulation Getting your ball onto the green in one shot on a par-3 hole, in two shots on a par-4 hole, or in three shots on a par-5 hole. Greens fee Amount of money charged to you for playing a round of golf at a particular course. Grip How you hold your club. The grip also refers to the covering (made of rubber) on the club shaft where you place your hands. Grooves The etched lines on the face of the club. The grooves help obtain the desired backspin on the ball. Ground under repair An area on the golf course that is under repair. You may also get a relief from this area when playing (see Relief). Handicap A scoring adjustment plan that allows players of different skill levels to compete with one another, without the better players dominating the game. Hard pan Turf or ground area on the golf course that is extremely hard-packed. Hazard Areas in every golf course that are made of sand or water that penalize the player. Hole The final destination of the golf ball to sink into at the end of every hole. (See also Cup.) Holed out When the golf ball falls into the cup. Honour The privilege of playing first within your group. Hook A shot that bends to the left (right-handed golfers). Hosel The section of the club head that is attached to the club shaft. Impact The exact moment that you hit the ball (when the club face meets with the ball). Impediment Loose debris that can be moved aside and away from your ball. Interlocking grip A grip that links the index finger of one of your hands and the pinky finger from the other hand. Iron Any club that uses a metallic blade for the club head. Most golfers carry with them at least 8-10 irons, which range from 2-irons to the sand wedge. Each club provides a different loft. Lag putt A long putt by a golf player whose goal is to have the ball land and stop within a couple of feet (or less) from the hole. Laid off When your club shaft is pointing to the left of the target at the top of the backswing (right-handed golfers). Lay up A shot that is intentionally hit short from the green to avoid getting into trouble. Lie Where your ball is sitting after a shot; also description of the condition of that area of ground where your ball is. Lip out When the golf ball travels right up to the cup, teeters on the edge of dropping into the hole, but instead pops back, and does not sink. Loft The angle that the clubface makes with the ground. Loft also refers to how high up a specific club will hit the ball. Matchplay The original way that golf was played, hole-to-hole. Whoever scores lowest on the first hole is the winner of that hole, and then goes “one up”. Then the winner on the second hole goes “two up”. This score pattern continues for each hole thereafter. Should you lose a hole then you go “down one”. If a hole is tied you then “halve” the hole. The final outcome of the matchplay is decided by how many holes you are either up or down by, compared to the number of holes left. For example, if you are 4 up with only 4 holes left in the game, you are the winner of the match. Mulligan An illegal second try at a shot which went wrong, which is seen often during casual play with friends on the golf course. Neutral grip When a right-handed golfer can see 2 left-hand knuckles when looking down at his or her grip during address. Neutral stance When both feet are in line, perfectly parallel to the target line. Open face When the club face is aligned to the right of the target line (right-handed golfers). Open stance Your body alignment as it points towards the left of the target when set up (right-handed golfers). Out-of-bounds Any area outside the course proper typically marked with white stakes. Out-to-in blow Another way of saying “Coming Over The Top” which states: “The direction of the club as it moves through the downswing and into a right-to-left pathway across the ball (right-handed golfers)”. Overlapping grip A standard grip where you grip the golf club with the pinky finger of your top hand laying over the index finger of your bottom hand. Par Shooting the ball into a hole at the same number of shots allowed by that particular hole. A round can also be scored as par, as well as the final score of a player's total rounds. Pin Another word that describes the flagstick, which sits in the hole until the player's ball is on the green (or sooner). Pitch When the ball is hit very short, the goal being to hit the green so that when it lands, it has a slight roll at the end of its flight. Plumb-bob A special technique that golfers use in order to determine the break of a putt. Pre-shot routine Before every shot, most, if not all golfers, have a specific routine for getting ready. They may move a certain way, practice visualization of a successful shot, or concentrate on something motivating. Every player has a unique prep ritual. Primary rough The first section of longer grass that you walk through when you leave the fairway. Private golf club Golf clubs that are closed to the public and open only to paying members and their guests. Pro-Am The name of a tournament that includes both professional golf players and amateurs who team up together for an enjoyable day on the course. Professional Golfer Men and women whose skills on the course have enabled them to be paid for playing golf. (I took this picture in Malaysia whilst watching an Asian Tour Tournament.) Pro shop Most golf clubs have a central shop where you check in and where you may purchase golf equipment. Golf lessons may also be offered at the pro shop. Provisional shot A second shot made when the player thinks the first shot led to a lost ball. However, if the player finds that first ball then the provisional shot does not count, the first shot does. Public golf course A public course where anyone can walk up and enjoy a round of golf. Some courses are free but most charge a small fee, which is affordable for everyone. Pull A shot that was intended to travel in a straight path but ended up veering to the left of the target (right-handed players). Punch shot A shot where you are trying to hit the ball out of some kind of troubled area, typically a low recovery shot. Push A straight shot that is hit towards the right of the target (right-handed golfers). Putter The small, straight-faced club, which is used predominately to hit the ball on the green. Range An area used for practice shots. You can find a golf range either on the course or close by an open course. Release When your downswing is in motion and you come to the very moment in which your wrists unlock. Relief One of the standard golf rules, which gives a player permission to move the ball when it has landed in a troubled spot without incurring any penalties. Reverse overlap grip Standard grip, typically used when putting, where the index finger from the left hand covers the pinky finger of the right hand (right-handed golfers). Rough Any part away from the fairway where the grass is allowed to grow to longer lengths. Round A round of golf is the entire course played out. One round could be 18 holes or 9 holes for the smaller courses. Run How far a ball rolls after landing, bouncing, and then into a traveling roll. Score A tally of how many shots it took you to play the course. Scorecard The record of your game scores and other statistics. Scramble A golf game where 4 players on the same team will tee off and the best shot of all of them is selected as the spot where everyone takes their next shot. This process is continued until the ball is sunk into the hole. Scratch golfer A golfer who routinely scores par on the golf course. Secondary rough The thicker rough (grass) area you cross once you are past the primary rough. Setup The same as address, where you prep up for your shot. Shaft The long and thin section of the golf club that gives you most of the club's energy on your shots. Shag bag A bag for storing your practice balls. Shag bags are specifically designed to allow you to grab each ball from inside without having to bend over. Shank A shot that makes contact with the ball from the hosel of the club instead of the face. Short game All shots on the course that are within 50 to 60 yards of the hole. The short game is the hardest to master due to the various obstacles and hazards that get in the way. Side hill lie At address, the golf ball is either above your feet or below your feet. Skied A tee shot that, when hit, flies almost straight up into the air. Slice A shot that causes the ball to veer far to the right of your target line (right-handed players). Slope A number that is assigned to every golf course to describe its level of playing difficulty. For example, the average slope number for United States golf courses is 113. (The term slope can also be used to describe the contours of the green.) Spikes Designed to help you play golf with better traction from your shoes. They are small cleats that may be made from rubber, plastic, or metal, and are fastened to the bottom of your golf shoes. These shoes are very helpful when it comes to maintaining better control of your swing. Square stance Your setup when the club head is perpendicular to your target line, and at the same time your shoulders, hips, and feet are parallel to the same target line. Splash A bunker shot with a divot of sand, splashing everywhere, along with the ball. Stance The position of your feet at address. Starter The man or woman who is in charge of sending the players out onto the course. Stroke One swing of your golf club with the intention of hitting the ball. Stroke play Standard way of determining the winner of a round. The person who finishes with the least number of strokes wins the match. Strong grip When you can see more than two knuckles of your left hand as you grip he club. A strong grip can also be used to steer the ball to the left. Surlyn An artificial compound that is used in the manufacturing of golf balls, specifically the material that covers the ball. Sweet spot The area on the club face (center portion) that provides maximum distance and pinpoint accuracy when you take a swing. Swing plane The angle of the club shaft in relation to your body during the swing process. Everyone has a different swing plane angle. Tap in A short, sweet putt shot that is very close to the hole, less than 12 inches that requires very little concentration. Target line An imaginary line from your current swing position to your ball’s destination. Tee A small pin with a flat head to hold the ball in place for the first shot of every hole. The tee can be made of rubber, plastic or wood. Tee box Area from where you hit the first shot of each hole. Tee shot The shot that is made from the tee. Tee time The time when you and your group start a round of golf. Ten finger grip Another term for describing the “baseball grip”. Texas wedge A strategic swing using the putter to get the ball onto the green instead of using the traditional wedge. Certain conditions must be met before this type of shot can be successful. Thin Hitting the golf ball on its equator causing it to maintain a low trajectory. Through the green Running through the entire course, excluding the tee boxes, hazards and putting greens. Topping Making contact with the golf ball above its equator. A topped shot does not travel very far and is an unwanted mistake on the golf course. Torque The amount of twisting motion of the club shaft that goes into a swing when impact occurs.

Tour Series of professional golf tournaments that are played in succession. Trajectory The characteristics of a golf ball after contact is made and it is sent flying. Trap

Another term for a bunker. Triple bogey Finishing a hole in 3 more shots than par.

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