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Golf Definitions, Terms, Vocabulary and Slang
A
A game
The best golf you are capable of playing.
Active Season
An active season is the period of time, determined by the authorized golf association having jurisdiction in a given area, during which scores made there will be accepted for handicap purposes.
Ace
A hole-in-one; a score of 1 on any hole.
Action
To impart backspin onto the ball.
Address
Position taken by a player prior to hitting a shot. According to the USGA Rules of Golf, a player has "addressed" the ball when he has taken his stance and grounded his club. In a hazard a player is considered to have addressed the ball when he has taken his stance.
Adjusted Gross Score
Adjusted gross score is a player's gross score adjusted under USGA Handicap System procedures for unfinished holes, conceded strokes and holes not played, or not played under the principles of the Rules of Golf, or adjusted under Equitable Stroke Control.
Aerify
Process of boring small holes, typically less than 3/4" in diameter, into a putting green (or the fairway) in order to improve growth. The process is usually done once or twice per year.
Afraid of the dark
What a putt is when it won't go in the hole.
Aim
Generally, the direction in which your target lies and the direction you intend for your ball to go.
Aimline
The imaginary straight line, extended level with the hole, on which the player intends to initially strike his putt. After reading the green, an aimline is chosen to allow for all the breaks or curves which are expected to take place before the ball falls in the hole.
Air mail
To hit a shot much farther than planned (most commonly over the green).
Albatross
A double eagle; a score of 3 under par on a hole; examples are a 1 on a par 4 or a 2 on a par 5.
Alignment
How your body is aligned in relation to an imagined ball-to-target line.
All Square
In match play, a match is all square (tied) when both players or teams have won the same number of holes. It is abbreviated "AS" on the scorecard.
Amateur
Any golfer who plays the game for enjoyment and who does not receive direct monetary compensation due to his or her playing or teaching skills.
Ambrose
A system of team play whereby each player takes a tee shot, after which the most favourable ball position is chosen. All the team's players then take a shot from this new position, and so on. (Also known as a Texas Scramble)
Angle of Attack
Also referred to as "Angle of Approach". The angle at which the club head strikes the ball. This affects the trajectory the ball will travel and spin.
Approach
A shot from off the green toward the hole; also the closely-mown grassy area leading up to a green.
Approach putt (or lag putt)
A putt not directly aimed at the hole, but close enough to make the next putt a certainty.
Apron
The closely mown area encircling a putting green; also called "fringe".
Arc
The nearly circular curve around the body made by a golf swing.
Army Golf
Slang term given to a player who has directional problems, especially from the tee. One shot will go to the right, one will go left... (left, right, left, right.) Hence the term "army golf".
AS
The abreviaton on a score card or scoreboard for "All Squared" during a match play round of golf between players or teams.
Attend (the Flagstick)
When a player holds and removes the flagstick for another player.
Australasian Tour
Professional golf circuit for players in Australia and Asia. Similar to the U.S. PGA Tour, but playing courses on the continents of Australia and/or Asia.
Authorized Golf Association
An authorized golf association is a golf association that has jurisdiction and has been licensed by the USGA to issue USGA Handicap Indexes and/or USGA Course and Slope Ratings in its state, district or region through its golf clubs.
Away
The player farther from the hole whose turn it is to play.

B
Back nine
The final nine hole on a golf course.
Back Weight
A weight, usually brass or aluminum attached to the back of a wooden, graphite or titanium wood head. The back weight moves the center of gravity toward the back of the club to assist in getting the ball airborne..
Backspin
The backward rotation of a golf ball in flight around a horizontal axis as caused by the club hitting the ball. The more loft on a club, the greater the backspin.
Backdoor (Back Door)
The part of the cup located opposite the ball on the green. To reach the backdoor, a putt must curl around most of the hole before dropping in.
Backhander
A putt struck with the back of the putter blade. Sometimes golfers will do this in casual fashion when the ball is very close to the hole.
Baffling Spoon (Baffle, Baffy Spoon or Baff)
The name of a club used in the early 1800's that a wooded club with the loft of a wedge.
Bag rat
Caddie
Bail out
What many golfers do to avoid trouble on the course. That is, they hit a shot in the direction opposite the trouble. If the trouble is on the left side, they bail out right. If the trouble is on the right side, they bail out left.
Also can be used to describe how a golfer (after calling in sick to work) exits his cart after seeing his boss approaching.
Balance Point
The point where a shaft's weight is evenly distributed in both directions when rested on a single point.
Ball
A small sphere used in playing golf, which is intended to be struck by a club and soar in the general direction of the green for a particular hole, if one is playing on a regulation golf course. The important thing is to be able to identify your ball and distinguish it from the balls used by other players. Normally this is done by noting the brand and number of a ball, though some players will often add personalized markings to further differentiate their own sphere of choice.
Ball Mark
Indentation made to the grass/ground on a putting green when a lofted shot lands on the green. Ball marks must be repaired as soon as noticed to properly heal and to maintain a uniform putting surface.
Ballmark Tool
Tool used to repair an indentation on the green caused by the ball on an approach shot
Ballooned
A shot pattern wherein a golf ball accelerates upwards to an unreasonably high trajectory.
Banana Ball
A sliced shot that has a flight pattern shaped liked a banana.
Bandit
British version of the term Sandbagger. A golfer that carries a higher official handicap than his skills indicate, eg, carries an eight, plays to a two. Sandbaggers usually artificially inflate their handicaps with the intent of winning bets on the course, a practice that most golfers consider cheating. Also known as a bandit.
Bare Lie
When the ball lies directly on hard ground without any grass to buoy the ball up - ie where there is no grass creating a gap between ball and the ground. Applicable when practicing off hard mats.
Barkie
Achieving a score of par or better on a hole after the ball hits a tree on the same hole.
Baseball Grip
Grip style with all ten fingers on the club. Also known as the "Ten-Finger Grip".
Belly Putter
Type of putter that positions the grip against the player's stomach in order to create a pendulum effect. Most belly putters are about 40" in length.
Bent Grass
Type of grass, characterized by thin blades, found on most courses with varying seasonal climates.
Bermuda Grass
Type of grass found on most courses located in warmer or tropical climates. Characterized by thick blades and "grainy" surface.
Best ball
A match in which one player plays against the better ball of two players or the best ball of three players.
BIGGA
The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association. BIGGA is the professional association dealing with all matters of golf management from a greenkeeper's viewpoint.
Birdie
A score of 1 stroke less than par on a given hole, for example, a score of 3 on a par 4.
Bite
Slang term expressed when a player wants a ball to stop.
Black Numbers
Term applied to over par scores in a tournament.
Blade
The striking face of an iron head.
Blade Height
The measurement of an iron head at the center of the face from the ground line to the top line.
Blade Length
The measurement of an iron head from the radius of the crotch of the head to the farthest point of the toe.
Blade Style Head
Blades are also known as muscle-back irons due to a possible concentration of weight directly behind the center of the club face.
Blast
A shot made from a bunker that displaces a noticeable amount of sand.
Blind
A hole or shot where you can't see your target.
Block
A shot played severely to the right; as opposed to slices, which curve from left to right, a blocked shot goes directly right. Similar to the "push".
Bogey
A score of 1 over par on a hole, for example a 6 on a par 5.
Bogey Golfer
A male bogey golfer is a player who has a Course Handicap of approximately 20 on a course of standard difficulty. He can hit tee shots an average of 200 yards and reach a 370-yard hole in two shots at sea level. A female bogey golfer is a player who has a Course Handicap of approximately 24 on a course of standard difficulty. She can hit tee shots an average of 150 yards and reach a 280-yard hole in two shots.
Bogey Rating
A "Bogey Rating" is the USGA's mark of the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for the bogey golfer under normal course and weather conditions. It is based on yardage, effective playing length, and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring ability of the bogey golfer.
Bounce
The measurement (angle in degrees) from the leading edge of the club face to the groundline. Wedges typically have the most bounce in a set of clubs. Bounce helps these clubs go through sand and high grass easily. When looking at the sole of a wedge you will notice the trailing edge hangs beneath the leading edge. This angle in relation to the ground plane is called bounce angle.
Bounce Back
The percentage statistic of how many times a player is over par on a hole and then is under par on the following hole. The formula is (Number of holes under par after above par holes)/(Number of holes over par)
Box Grooves
Face lines or grooves pressed, cut, or cast into a rectangular shape onto the club face.
Brassie
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was fitted with a brass sole plate with about 15 degrees of loft. The term also applied to various lofted wooden clubs in the 1880s and 1890s. The modern equivalent would be the number three wood.
Break
The amount of curvature of a putt as it rolls on a putting green. The more the green slopes, the greater the break. In the United Kingdom, it is known as "borrow".
Bulge
The curvature of the face of a wood or metal wood from heel to toe. Bulge helps give corrective spin to shots hit on the toe or heel of the wood face.
Bump and Run
A style of golf shot that is most commonly used on traditional British-style courses. With a bump and run shot the golfers aims well short of the intended target and allows for substantial roll to his shot after its initial landing. The majority of American style courses are designed with "Target" golf shots in mind; ones that allow for higher ball flights and less roll.
Bunker
A bunker is a type of hazard consisting of a prepared area of ground, from which turf or soil has been removed and replaced with sand or the like.
Buried (Lie)
The lie of a ball, typically in a sand bunker, in which most of it is below the surface. See also "Fried Egg".
Butt (shaft butt)
The grip end of the shaft.
Buy.Com Tour
Male professional golf circuit, new in the year 2000, for players one level below the PGA Tour. The Buy.Com Tour plays events throughout the United States; the better players in a given year earn the right to play on the PGA Tour the next year. Sponsored by Internet site Buy.Com.
Bye
A short game played over the remaining holes when the main match finishes early because one player or team has won by a large margin. It serves the joint purpose of adding some competitive meaning to the rest of the holes and also for the losing side to attempt to regain some of the pride lost as a result of their humiliation in the main match.

C
Cabbage
Deep, thick, inescapable rough. Also called spinach.
Can
The hole. The cup. The place to put your putts. When you sink a putt, you canned it.
Caddie (Caddy)
One who carries or tends to a player's clubs during a round.
Caddie Master
A course employee responsible for managing caddies and assigning them to players as required.
Camber
The radius measurement of the sole of a club. A sole can be cambered from toe to heel, or from front to back, or both.
Car Bounce
When a ball hits a cart path or roadway along side the fairway and bounces back into (or remains) inbounds.
Carry-Double
A caddie employed by two players and who typically carries two bags, one on each shoulder.
Carpet
The green. Soft, well-manicured fairways are also referred to as being "like carpet".
Cart
A four-wheeled electric or gas powered vehicle for use in transporting players from hole to hole (AKA golf car or golf cart).
A two wheeled hand-pulled (AKA pull cart or push cart) or motorized cart (AKA walking cart) that carries a golf club bag.
Cart Fee
Similar to a greens fee, the fee required to rent a golf cart or pull-cart for either 9 or 18 holes.
Cart girl
The lovely young lady who operates the beer (refreshment) cart (a motorized vehicle that carries refreshments to golfers out on the course).
Cart golf
Term for when two golfers riding in the same golf cart repeatedly hit the ball in the same direction.
Casual Water
Any temporary accumulation of water on the course that is visible before or after the player takes his stance. Water in a hazard is not casual water.
Cat Box
Slang term given to a sand bunker.
Cavity Back
An iron head with the weight is distributed toward the perimeter of the head. Cavity backs are easily identified by their recessed area on the back of the head.
Center of Gravity (CG)
The point in a club head where all of the points of balance intersect. The lower the CG, the higher the ball flight. Higher CG clubs produce lower ball flight.
Chili-Dip
A shot in which a player hits behind the ball, not moving it very far. May also be referred to as a "fat" shot or a "chunk".
Chip
Any number of short shots, typically played to the green, with a higher lofted club (#7, 8, 9 or wedges.)
Chip and run
A low shot that runs towards the flag played from near the green.
Chip Out
A shot, generally going only a short distance, made from trouble in an attempt to get the ball back in play. Chip-outs are commonly made from trees or similar positions.
Chunk
A shot in which a player hits behind the ball resulting in a more turf being removed than desired. The resulting shot is also much shorter than desired. May also be called a "chili-dip".
Cleek
Any of numerous narrow-bladed iron clubs, used in the early 1800's through the early part of the 20th century, variously adapted and used for playing long shots through the green, for playing from sand and rough and for putting. The Cleek was the longest of all the iron clubs, with the face only slightly lofted. The basic characteristics of cleeks were that they were narrow-bladed and relatively light. They were lofted at about 15 degrees or less. About the loft of a one iron.
Clone
An umbrella term generic or off-brand golf clubs that are based on and/or copies of high-end brand name golf clubs.
Closed Face
When (in relation to the target-line) the clubface is angled toward the player's body, ie angled left for right-handed players.
Closed Stance
When a player's front foot is set closer to the target-line. Used to draw the ball or to prevent a slice.
Club
A tool for the player to hit the ball. 14 clubs are allowed by the rules.
An organization of golfers.
Club Pro
A career in golf dedicated to helping others to enjoy the game. This may be accomplished in a number ways: giving lessons, managing operations, running events, etc.
Clubface
The area of the club that you use to hit the ball.
Clubhead
The part of the club attached to the lower end of the shaft, and used for striking the ball.
Clubhouse
This is where play begins and ends. The clubhouse is also your source for information about local rules, the conditions of the course, upcoming events and other essential information for the avid golfer. Normally, you can also purchase balls, clubs, clothes, and other golfing equipment at the clubhouse.
Coeffecient of Restitution (COR)
The energy transfer that occurs when one object collides with another. In terms of golf clubs, COR is directly related to the speed of a golf ball as it rebounds from a clubface. Generally, a club with higher COR will generate greater ball velocity, equaling more distance. COR is expressed as a percentage. To measure a club's COR, balls are fired at a clubface at a fixed speed, known as initial speed. The speed at which the balls rebound is known as rebound speed. The COR is generally equal to the rebound speed divided by the initial speed. For example, if the initial speed is 100 mph, and the rebound speed is 84 mph, the COR would be approximately .840. In terms of distance, a player with a swing speed from 100 to 120 mph should gain about two yards for every one percent increase in COR. Players with slower swing speeds will generally gain less yardage.
Collar
A closely mown area surrounding the putting green. It may be similar to the green in height (fringe) or it may be higher, similar to rough. Also a term for the edge of a sand hazard.
Come-backer
A putt required after the previous putt went past the hole.
Competitor
A player participating in a stroke play competition.
Compression
Loosely defined as the hardness of a ball. Identified by a number; a higher number indicates a ball that requires more force to compress it. Lower compression balls flatten more when hit.
Condor
A four-under par shot, a hole-in-one on a par 5 .
Country Club
Term typically applied to an upscale (normally private or semi-private) golf club that generally offers other amenities in addition to golf (swimming, tennis, clubhouse, etc.)
Course
The entire area on which a game (or round) of golf is played.
Course Handicap
A Course Handicap is the USGA's mark that indicates the number of handicap strokes a player receives from a specific set of tees at the course being played to adjust his scoring ability to the common level of scratch or 0-handicap golf. For a player with a plus Course Handicap, it is the number of artificial strokes the player gives to adjust his scoring ability to the common level of scratch or 0-handicap golf. A Course Handicap is determined by applying the player's USGA Handicap Index to a Course Handicap Table or Course Handicap Formula. A player's Course Handicap is expressed as a whole number of strokes
Course Rating
A numerical rating, usually by a recognized organization such as the USGA, that identifies the difficulty of a course. For example, a course rated 72.4 is more difficult than one rated at 68.5. A scratch player should expect to shoot a 68 or 69 on the course rated 68.5.
Course Handicap Table
A "Course Handicap Table" is a chart that converts a Handicap Index to a Course Handicap based on the Slope Rating for a specific set of tees.
Course Rating
The USGA's mark that indicates the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for a scratch golfer under normal course and weather conditions. It is expressed as strokes taken to one decimal place, and is based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring ability of a scratch golfer.
Cross-handed
Putting (and, occasionally, full-swing) grip in which the hands are placed in positions opposite that of the conventional grip. For right-handed golfers, a cross-handed grip would place the left hand below the right. Also known as the "left-hand low" grip.
Crown
The top of the head of a wood or metal wood. It's what the golfer sees at address.
Cut
Similar a fade, it is a shot that curves from left to right, but is generally higher in trajectory and more controlled than a standard fade. (Cut Shot)
Term that describes the players that have qualified to play the rest of the tournament for a chance to win the championship after the qualifying rounds on the previous days. (The Cut)
Cup
The tubular lining sunk in the hole. Also the hole itself.

D
Dance floor
The Green. Perhaps the term comes from the smooth surface and relative flatness of the green, or maybe it is meant to convey the joy that accompanies finally making it to the green.
Dawn patrol
The golfers who are the first to play each day, so named because they start their match around the course at sunrise.
Dead
Slang for a shot in which there is no favorable outcome possible.
Deep Face
A club face with higher than average distance from the sole of the club to the crown. Deep face clubs have a higher CG and launch the ball on a lower trajectory.
Deep stuff
Grass left to grow so that off-line shots are made more difficult. Also called 'rough'.
Deltahedral
Dimple pattern on a ball with 24 triangular rows of dimples.
Die it in the hole
The action of putting the ball so that it falls into the cup as it is dying, or losing the last of its momentum.
Dimple
Depression on the cover of a ball providing lift, leading to distance and/or accuracy. Deeper dimples cause lower ball flight; while shallow dimples add to trajectory. Large diameter dimples make the ball stay in the air longer than do smaller diameter dimples.
Dimple Pattern
The pattern of dimples on a ball, varying greatly from one manufacturer to another.
Divot
Turf removed as a result of contact between the club and the ground. Divots occur as a result of most shots from the fairway or rough.
Divot Tool
Tool used to repair an indentation on the green caused by the ball on an approach shot
Dog track
Derogatory term for a golf course that is not well maintained.
Dogleg (Dog Leg)
The design of a golf hole (a par 4 or 5) in which the layout changes direction, usually at the position a drive is designed to land. If the hole changes direction to the right, it is called a "dogleg right"; a direction change left is known as a "dogleg left".
Dormie
The player or side having a lead in a match equal to the number of holes remaining to be played. A player is dormie-two if he is 2 holes ahead with 2 holes remaining to play.
Double Bogey
A score of two over par on a hole. For example, a player scores a 5 on a par 3 hole.
Double Cross
a shot whereby a player intends for a slice and hits a hook, or conversely, intends to play a draw and hits a slice. So called because the player has aimed left (in the case of a slice) and compounds this with hitting a hook, which moves left as well.
Dodecahedral
Dimple pattern of 12 pentagonal arrays.
Double-Cut
Method of mowing putting greens in which the mower cuts in one direction and then cuts again in another direction, creating a fast putting surface. Fairways may be double cut as well.
Double-Eagle
A score of 3 under par on a hole, for example, a 2 on a par 5;also called an "albatross."
Downswing
The part of the golf swing from the top of the backswing to striking the ball.
Draw
A shot that tends to curve from right to left in the air (assuming a right-handed golfer.) A draw is a controlled shot preferred by many better players.
A tied match.
Dribbler
A shot that travels only a few feet, usually without getting airborne.
Drive
The first shot on a hole, played from the teeing ground.
Driving Range
A practice area, either at a course or on its own, where players of all ability levels go to practice their game. A range may be a simple as a large mowed field with hitting areas or may be as elaborate as a facility with target greens and practice putting greens.
Drop
When a ball must be lifted under penalty or otherwise, the player, standing erect, holds the ball at arm's length and shoulder height and drops it making sure that it does not land any nearer the hole.
Drop Area
An area identified by either paint or chalk in which a player may drop his ball under penalty of one stroke. Drop areas are most often found on holes with water hazards and allow the player relief, with penalty, from the water.
Duck Hook
A shot that starts straight at the target and curves dramatically to the left of target (assuming a right-handed golfer.) One of the most out of control shot types.
Duff
To miss-hit a shot by hitting the ground behind the ball and then top the ball.
Drive
A shot which is played from the tee, usually with a driver (a 1 wood).
Driver
The 1 wood, the most powerful club in the set, used for getting maximum distance off the tee.
Driving Accuracy
The percentage statistic of how many times a player teed off and hit the fairway divided by the number of holes played ina round, tournament or carreer.
Driving Cleek
The same as a Cleek.
Driving Iron
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was deeper in the blade than the cleek with slightly more loft; not as long as a cleek but more lofted. They were lofted at about 18 to 20 degrees or about the same as a modern 3 iron.
In modern times it is an iron that is used to tee off with. Usually an extra weighted 10, 12, 14, or 16 degree lofted club.
Driving Putter
The name of a club used in the early 1800's that was a wooden club with very little loft used when a low shot was needed.

E
Egg
The ball, but only within the context of putting. You can putt, broom, or roll the egg, but you dont want to chip, pitch or hit it.
Elephant burial ground
Collective term for the huge moounds found on the greens of certain golf courses. Where good scores often go to die.
Eligible Tournament Score
An eligible tournament score is a tournament score made either within the last 12 months or within the player's current 20 score history.
Equitable Stroke Control
Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) is the downward adjustment of individual hole scores for handicap purposes in order to make handicaps more representative of a player's potential scoring ability. ESC sets a maximum number that a player can post on any hole depending on the player's Course Handicap
Eagle
A score of 2 under par on a hole, for example, a 3 on a par 5.
Effective Bounce
The combination of bounce angle, loft, sole width and camber that affect the playability of a wedge during a shot. The more effective bounce, the easier it is to play in soft conditions.
Effective Loft
The actual face angle at impact created through the relationship of loft and face angle. For example, if a driver has a measured loft of 8 degrees and has a two-degree open face, its effective loft will be 6 degrees.
Etiquette
Accepted code of behavior and dress on the golf course. Examples include quiet while others play, not walking in another's line of play on the putting green, etc.
European Tour
Professional golf circuit for players in Europe. Similar to the U.S. PGA Tour, but playing courses in Europe.
Even Par
A player's score that matches the par for the course at any point during a round.
Executive Course
A course with a par of well less than 72, usually between 54 and 68. Executive courses are designed to be played quickly by those (executives) who do not have ample time to play a full 18 hole round on a regulation course.
Explosion
Type of shot played to extricate a ball from a sand bunker. An explosion, also called a blast, is characterized by a player hitting sand while getting his ball out of the bunker.

F
Face
The surface of the clubhead that strikes the ball.
Face Angle
Position of the club face relative to the intended line of ball flight. For right-handed golfers, a square face angle aligns directly at the target, an open face aligns to the right, while a closed face aligns left.
Fade
Type of shot that generally tends to curve to the right in the air (assuming a right-handed player.) A fade is a controlled shot preferred by many players.
Fairway
The short grass between the tee and the green.
Fairway Percentage
The number of fairways hit (the ball lands on the fairway) off of the tee (first shot) divided by the number of holes played in a round, tournament or season.
False front
A green that has such a significant slope at the front that approach shots are likely to roll back off.
Fan
To miss hitting the ball completely. The air moves, but nothing else does.
Fat
Shot type in which a player hits behind the ball, resulting in a much shorter shot than normal. Fat shots are often characterized by a player taking an excessive divot.
Female Bogey Golfer
A female bogey golfer is a player who has a Course Handicap of approximately 24 on a course of standard difficulty. She can hit tee shots an average of 150 yards and reach a 280-yard hole in two shots.
Female Scratch Golfer
A female scratch golfer is a player who has a course handicap of approximately 0 on a course of standard difficulty and can hit tee shots an average of 210 yards and can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots at sea level.
Ferrule
Decorative trim ring, directly on top of the hosel on many woods and irons.
First Cut
Term given to a section of rough (or higher grass) directly bordering a fairway. The first cut of rough is deemed to be considered "light" rough and may vary from a few yards wide to over 10 yards wide, depending upon the course.
Five-Minute Rule
The amount of time (5 minutes) that the USGA Rules allow a player to look for his ball. A ball not found after 5 minutes after the search for it is begun is considered to be lost.
Flagstick
Also called the pin, flag, or stick, the flagstick marks the hole.
Flagstick
Also called the pin, flag, or stick, the flagstick marks the hole.
Flange
Mainly applies to putters, it's the part of the putter from behind the face to the very back of the head.
Flat Lie
A lie flatter than specification. For example, if the spec is 60 degrees, a 2 degree flat club would have a lie angle of 58 degrees.
Flex
The relative bending properties of a golf club shaft. Flex is usually identified by a letter: L for Ladies, A for Amateur, R for regular, S for Stiff, X for Extra Stiff and TX for Tour Extra Stiff flex.
Flop shot
A high, delicate shot that travels only a short distance and then rolls very little once it lands on the green. Essentially, it is flopped onto the green.
Flow Weighting
Head design where weight positioning shifts from one club to the next. For example, a #1 iron may have more weight concentrated on its toe, a #2 iron slightly less, and so on.
Flub
A terrible shot.
Flyer (Flier)
A shot that flies substantially longer than desired, usually as a result of too much grass between the club face and ball. Flyers are more common from the rough than from the shorter fairway grasses.
Follow-through
The part of the swing beyond impact with the ball.
Fore
Term yelled toward a group who may be in danger of being hit by an errant shot. The sound of fore is a danger warning to take cover to avoid injury by being struck with a ball.
Fore Caddie
One who directs golfers to their balls during competition. The fore caddy positions himself in the vicinity of where the tee shots will land, and marks its placement.
Form Forged
Iron club head manufacturing process in which a club is first investment cast from an alloy of carbon steel and then formed to shape through a series of forging dies.
Four Ball
A matchplay or strokeplay game of two players on each side in which two players play their better ball against the better ball of two other players.
Four-jack
To take four putts on a hole. Only tolerable for those who can drive the green on a par five. When asked how he four-jacked a hole at the Masters, Steve Ballesteros replied, "I miss. I miss. I miss. I make." Well said.
Four-jack
To take four putts on a hole. Only tolerable for those who can drive the green on a par five. When asked how he four-jacked a hole at the Masters, Steve Ballesteros replied, "I miss. I miss. I miss. I make." Well said.
Foursome
A match in which two players play against two others, with each side playing one ball. "Foursome" is also applied to any group of 4 golfers playing together; though this is not the USGA definition.
Fried Egg
Lie in a sand bunker in which most of the ball is below the surface of the sand. Visually, the ball looks like a "fried egg", hence the term.
Fringe
Area of grass that borders a putting green. The fringe is typically higher than the grass on the green, but lower than the grass on the fairway.
Froghair
Thick, tall grass that borders the fringe on certain courses. The froghair, due to its thickness, is a very difficult area from which to play a controlled shot.
Front Nine
The first nine holes of an eighteen hole round.
Full set
The 14 clubs which are allowed for playing a round. A full set usually consists of three or four wooden clubs or metal woods, nine or ten irons and a putter.
Funnies
Term used to describe various unusual (both positive or negative) events which may happen in the course of a game.
Futures Tour
Professional golf circuit for women players, one level away from the LPGA Tour. The top players on the Futures Tour each year gain membership in the LPGA Tour for the following season.

G
Gallery
Those who attend a golf event for the purpose of watching the tournament.
Gear Effect
The effect that tends to cause a ball hit toward the toe or heel side of face center to curve back to the intended target line.
Get down
A message from golfer to ball asking it to cease flying now! Usually heard after a ball is hit too far or offline; almost always uttered with great agitation.
Get legs
A term shouted by a golfer when a shot just made is assumed to be short of the intended goal.
GHIN
Golf Handicap Information Network. The USGA system used by a majority of golf courses in the U.S. to calculate handicaps.
Gimme
A shot, usually on the green, but that may be anywhere on the course, that is conceded by a player's opponent. Gimmees are usually applied to short putts that are almost certain to be holed.
Goldie Bounce or Golden Bounce
When an seemingly errant shot (usually off the tee) takes a good bounce and the ball lands back into the fairway.
Golden Ferret
Term used to describe holing out from a greenside bunker.
Golf Association
A golf association is an organization of golf clubs governed by amateur golfers, operated under bylaws and formed for the purpose of conducting competitions for amateur golfers, and otherwise promoting the best interests and conserving the true spirit of the game of golf in a district, region, or state.
Golf Ball
A small sphere used in playing golf, which is intended to be struck by a club and soar in the general direction of the green for a particular hole, if one is playing on a regulation golf course. The important thing is to be able to identify your ball and distinguish it from the balls used by other players. Normally this is done by noting the brand and number of a ball, though some players will often add personalized markings to further differentiate their own sphere of choice.
Golf Club
The piece of equipment used to hit a golf ball.
An organization that operates under bylaws with committees (including a Handicap Committee) to supervise golf activities, provide peer review, and maintain the integrity of the USGA Handicap System. A golf club must have at least ten individual members. Members of a golf club must have a reasonable and regular opportunity to play golf with each other. They must be able to return scores personally, and these scores must be immediately available for review by fellow club members.
Within the context of the USGA Handicap System a member is defined as one who is affiliated with a licensed golf club for the purpose of obtaining a Handicap Index.
Golf Professional
A career in golf dedicated to helping others to enjoy the game. This may be accomplished in a number ways: giving lessons, managing operations, running events, etc.
Golf widow
The wife of an obsessive golfer. She doesn't know who Jack Nicklaus is, and she doesn't care. Her husband will remember Jack's birthday before he remembers hers.
Gooseneck
General term given to a putter (or iron) that has an extremely offset hosel.
Gorse
Very thick grass and/or shrubs from which it may be impossible to play a shot. Gorse is common on European seaside courses.
Grain
Direction of growth of blades of grass. Particularly noticeable on putting greens, the grain will have an influence on the direction and speed of the ball as it rolls. Putting "against the grain" requires more effort than "with the grain."
Grass Putter
The name of a club used in the early 1800's that was more upright made much the same as a play club with a long nose. Used prior to 1850 with the feathery ball.
Green
The closely mown, carefully manicured target area in which the hole is cut.
Green Fee (Greens Fee)
Fee charged to play a golf course.
Greenkeeper
The person responsible for the condition, care and maintenance of the golf course. He or she may also be called the " greens' superintendent."
Greensomes
A variation of foursomes, where each side consists of 2 players. Both players play one tee-shot each from every tee. A choice is then made as to which is the more favourable of the 2 ball positions, the other ball being picked up.
Green in Regulation
A green is considered hit "in regulation" if any part of the ball is touching the putting surface and the number of strokes taken is 2 fewer than par, i.e. with the first stroke on a par-3 hole, second stroke on a par-4, etc.
Greens In Regulation (GIR)
The percentage statistic of the number of greens hit in regulation divided by the number of holes played (in a round, tournament, season or lifetime).
Grip
The part of the club you hold, and the way you hold it.
Grip Size
The size (diameter) of the grip. The grip size can influence how you release the golf club through the impact area and will also affect the way you align the club face to the target.
Grocery Money
Winnings from a golf bet that the winner pledges to spend on food and drink, or groceries, usually at the nineteenth hole.
Grooves
Grooves are the thin, straight, horizontal indentations found in the clubface of irons and woods. The purpose of grooves is to help the club impart backspin on the ball at impact. When the clubface, moving at a high rate of speed, makes contact with the ball, the cover sinks into the grooves, which "grab" the ball and impart backspin. The average, cleanly struck wedge shot spins at about 10,000 rpm.
Gross score
The number of shots taken (plus any penalty strokes) to complete the course before deduction of handicap to give the net score.
Ground Under Repair (GUR)
A marked area (usually by paint, chalk or roping) of the course from which a player may move his ball without penalty prior to playing his next shot. Common reasons for GUR to be marked are new constructions, damaged water lines, etc.
Grounding (the club)
To place the clubface behind the ball on the ground at address. Grounding the club is prohibited in bunkers or when playing from any marked hazard.
Grow teeth
A golfer's plea for the ball to stop quickly.
Guttie
A ball made from gutta percha. It lost popularity when the wound ball was introduced at the beginning of the 20th century.
Gutta Percha
A rubber-like material used in the manufacture of early golf balls. It was a hard, molded substance made from the sap of several types of Malaysian trees.

H
Hacker
A terrible golfer. A person who hacks it around the golf course. A player of lesser ability.
Half set
Either the odd or even irons, two woods and a putter. A half set of clubs is all a beginning golfer needs to start playing.
Halved
In match play, a hole is halved (drawn) when both players or teams have played the same number of strokes. In some team events, such as the Ryder Cup (though not in the Presidents Cup), a match that is level after 18 holes is not continued, and is called "halved", with each team receiving half a point.
Handicap (Handicap Index)
The number assigned to a player's ability level. A system devised to make play between golfers of different standards an even match. Your handicap is the number of strokes over par you average over four rounds at a golf course. For instance, if your average score is 88 on a par 72 course, you are given a handicap of 16. In strokeplay, if you play with a person that has a 2 handicap, you are allowed 14 strokes - the difference between your handicaps - extra strokes, one on each of the most difficult 14 holes. In matchplay, the longer handicap player would receive 11 shots - three quarters of the difference.
Handicap Allowance
A handicap allowance is the percentage of the Course Handicap recommended for a handicap competition. Allowances vary for different forms of competition and are designed to produce equitable competition.
Handicap Committee
A Handicap Committee is the committee of a golf club that ensures compliance with the USGA Handicap System, including peer review. A majority of the Handicap Committee must be members of the club. Club employees may serve on the Handicap Committee, but an employee may not serve as chairman. Any club using the USGA Handicap System is required to have a Handicap Committee.
Handicap Differential
A Handicap Differential is the difference between a player's adjusted gross score and the USGA Course Rating of the course on which the score was made, multiplied by 113, then divided by the USGA Slope Rating from the tees played and rounded to the nearest tenth. Handicap differentials are expressed as a number rounded to one decimal place, e.g. 12.8.
Handicap Type
The different types of handicaps. They are identified by letter designations. Each "handicap type" is identified as follows:
L - Local handicap
M - Handicap modified by the Handicap Committee
N - Nine-hole Handicap Index
NL - Local nine-hole handicap
R - Handicap automatically reduced for exceptional tournament performance
SL - Short Course Handicap
WD - Handicap withdrawn by the Handicap Committee
Handicap-Stroke Hole
A handicap-stroke hole is a hole on which a player is entitled to apply a handicap stroke or strokes to his gross score.
Handsy
A term used to describe a player with too much wrist movement in their putting stroke causing inconsistent putts.
Hanging Lie
A ball resting on a uphill slope. A lie where the ball is above the golfer's feet.
Hardpan
Term given to an area of the golf course (not bunkers or hazards) on which no grass is growing. Shots from hardpan are among the most difficult as it requires a high level of skill to get the club under the ball from such lies.
Hazard
A bunker, stream, ditch, lake, or pond are all hazards. Hazards are defined by a course committee.
Heavy Iron
The name of a club used in the early 1800's that had a lof of about 40 degrees and was used to get out of difficult spots.
Heel
The part of the clubhead beneath the end of the shaft and closest to the hosel. If a shot is struck there, it is said to be "heeled."
Heel-Toe Weighting
A type of club head design with weight positioned toward the heel and toe of the clubhead, resulting in stabilizing the clubhead (and produce straighter shots) on off-center impacts.
Hogan Tour
Now-defunct professional golf circuit for male players one level below the PGA Tour. The Hogan Tour, sponsored by the Ben Hogan Company, evolved into the Nike Tour and then into the Buy.Com Tour.
Hole
This can mean the actual hole that you putt into or the entire area between tee and green.
Hole Handicap
Each score card indicates a handicap number for each hole. The lower the number, the harder the hole is to play. Some courses split odd and even handicap numbers between the front nine and back nine while others handicap all eighteen holes together. For example, the front nine can have handicap numbers 1,3,5,7,9,11,13,15 & 17 while the back nine have 2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16, & 18. In this case, the number 2 handicap hole isn't necessarily the second hardest hole on the course. It's the first hardest hole for that nine. A lot of golfers prefer to have all eighteen handicapped together but it is up to the course to decide.
Hole In One
Getting the ball directly into the cup with one shot from the tee.
Home Match
A type of competition in which contestants play one round at one home course and the second at the other. Generally used in country club versus country club competition.
Home Green
The 18th green, or any other designated as the last to be played.
Honor
The player who hits first on a hole is said to have the "Honor". The honor is gained by having the lowest score on the most recently played hole.
Hook
Type of shot, for a right-handed golfer, that often starts to the right of the target and curves dramatically to the left, usually ending much more left of target than desired. A hook is normally considered to be a non-desirable shot.
Hook Face
A wood with a closed face angle. Hook face woods may help players who slice to hit the ball straight.
Hooding the club
A stroke in which the golfer moves his hands ahead and tilts the club head forward (to reduce the club's loft). Done to make the ball fly lower or to get more distance than normal from a club.
Hooters Tour
Professional golf circuit, sponsored by the Hooters restaurant chain, for male players a few levels below the PGA Tour. The Hooters Tour schedules events throughout the U.S. each year.
Horizontal Flow Weighting
Distributing weight from club to club in a set of irons, with the highest concentration of weight moving from the toe of the longer irons to the heel of the shorter irons.
Hosel
The entry point of the shaft into the head on any golf club. Hitting the ball off the hosel is known as a shank.
Hoseled Shot
A shanked shot (see "Shank" and "Pitch Out") that results in a ball flight directly to the right as a result of the ball being struck on the hosel.
Hot
A ball that is traveling at a high rate of speed without much backspin (and many times at a lower trajectory than desired) is said to be hot. A ball may come into the green hot or out of the rought hot. In most cases, this shot will run along the ground or green much farther than desired, making the golfer hot, too.
Hung it out
A golfer who attempts to play a draw but hits a straight shot instead is said to have hung it out.
Hybrid
A golf club with characteristics of both a wood and an iron. Often used in place of long irons in a player's set.

I
Icosahedral
Most popular type of golf ball dimple pattern in use today. 20 triangular groups of dimples allow the same air pressure on all parts of the balls as it flies through the air, reducing wind resistance.
Iffy lie
A questionable, where it is uncertain how the ball will react when struck.
In his bag
Expression used by a golfer who is confident in his ability to pull off a certain shot. The shot is in his bag or "In the bag".
In Jail
Term used when faced with a difficult shot with little option for hitting towards the green.
In the hunt
Term describing any player who has a chance of winning a tournament heading into its final stages. Alternatively, describes any hacker looking for his errant tee shot.
In the leather
Phrase meaning a putt is close enough to the cup (a distance no greated than the length of the putter grip) to be conceded.
Inactive Season
An inactive season is the period of time determined by the authorized golf association having jurisdiction in a given area during which scores made there will not be accepted for handicap purposes.
Initiation
Fee paid, up-front, prior to joining a private club. An initiation fee may vary between a few hundred dollars to nearly $100,000 at some of the most elite clubs in the world.
Inset Hosel
A club design with the hosel toward the center of the club face in an attempt to reduce head twisting.
Inside-Out
Swing path in which the player's club, on the downswing, crosses under its path on the backswing, ending up directed more to the right of target than desired. Inside-Out swings typically result in either pushes, draws or hooks, depending on the position of the club face at impact.
Interlocking Grip
Grip style where (for right-handed players) the pinkie finger of the right hand is hooked around the index finger of the left. Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods use the interlocking grip.
Invitational
Type of tournament in which contestants must be invited in order to play. The most recognizable invitational event in the world is the Masters Tournament held each spring in Augusta, Georgia.
Inward Nine
The back nine holes, so named because traditionally golf courses (especially links style) are designed to come back "in" toward the clubhouse after going out on the front nine.
Iron
Irons are metal-headed clubs used for most shots between tee and green. Sometimes you can use them from the tee at holes where accuracy is more important than distance. The sand and pitching wedges are also irons.
Is that any good?
Rhetorical question posed to stunned opponents by a golfer who has just hit a career-best shot.

J
Jail
Where a golf ball usually lies after a hacker hits it. A place from which escape is nearly impossible. Deep rough, woods, buried lies, and other unpleasant places represent jail for a golf ball.
Jaws
The yearning chasm that is in front of the cup, when a putt stops just inches short of its intended destination. For example, "He left it right in the jaws."
Jerk
To pull a shot or putt left of the intended line. Also, a term used to describe a playing partner who pulls a shot or putts left of his intended line.
Jigger
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was a moderately lofted, shallow-faced, short-shafted iron club that was used especially for approach and chip shots at about 32 degrees.
Jungle
The thickest, deepest, nastiest rough on the course.
Juicy lie
A lie in the rough where the ball is sitting atop the grass, offering a clean approach.
Junior Golfer
A golfer 16 years of age and under is considered to be a junior golfer

K
Kick
The way the ball bounces.
Kill
To hit the ball with great force.
Knee-knocker
A putt in the three-to-four foot range that causes emotional and physical problems for the golfer. The term comes from the nervous trembling that accompanies these short putts.
Knife
The one iron.
Knife
Slang term applied to a #1 iron due to its lack of loft.
Knockdown
Term for a shot that is intentionally played to keep a ball low in the wind. It is hit with an abbreviated follow-through or by reducing the length of a backswing and playing the ball back in the stance It produces a low-trajectory, slight fade, and plenty of spin. A knockdown shot usually doesn't travel as far as a normal shot. This shot is employed when control is paramount.

L
L Handicap Type
Local handicap
Lag
To putt with the goal of getting the ball close to the hole rather than sinking it. Players lag putts when they are far enough from the hole that they have difficulty even fantasizing about holing out.
Lateral
Type of hazard, defined by red boundary stakes, that often runs parallel to the line of play on a hole. The penalty for hitting into a lateral hazard is one stroke.
The term "lateral" may also describe a "Shank".
Lateral water hazard
A ditch, stream, or pond roughly parallel to the line of the hole. A ball picked out may be played from either side, with a one-stroke penalty.
Launched
Term for a drive that takes off like a Tomahawk cruise missile.
Launched
Term for a drive that takes off like a Tomahawk cruise missile.
Lay up
To aim short of the green and chip on rather than attempt a long or otherwise risky approach shot.
Leading Edge
The front edge of the clubface.
Leaf Rule
A rule, not recognized by the USGA, in which players agree that if a ball is lost in leaves, it is not treated as a lost ball (stroke and distance penalty.) This "rule" is common in certain climates (and times of the year) in which trees lose their leaves and make finding balls difficult.
Lie
The position of a ball on the ground at any point on the course. A ball in the fairway will typically be considered to have a "good" lie, one in high rough grass will be labeled as a "bad" lie.
The number of strokes it took the ball to get to where it sits. For example: The golfer lies "2" and will now be hitting his third shot.
Lie Angle
The angle between the sole of the club and the shaft from the face view (looking at the face of the club straight on).
Lift
Upward force on a golf ball as it flies.
Line
The expected path of the ball to the hole, particularly on putts. "Stepping in a player's line" on the green is considered a major golf faux pas.
Links
Specifically the label given to golf courses constructed in which the 1st hole begins at the clubhouse and the 18th ends there, with no holes except those returning to the clubhouse. Links courses are often built near water. Links is also a generic slang term given to any golf course having 18 holes.
Lip
The edge (or rim) of the hole.
Lip Out
A ball as it is rolling on a putting green, that hits the edge of the hole and does not go in because of usually spinning out.
Lob Shot
A high, soft shot, generally played near the green with a high-lofted wedge of some type (i.e., a lob wedge.)
Local Handicap
A "local handicap" is either a handicap that is above the maximum Handicap Index limit, a handicap that is revised more frequently than allowed or a handicap based on a player's temporary disability. A local handicap is not a Handicap Index, and it must be identified by the letter "L" to indicate that it is for local use only. A local handicap is expressed as a number taken to one decimal place and is used to convert to a Course Handicap.
Loft
The angle between the club's shaft and the club's face.
Lofting Iron (Lofter)
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was used to hit a ball high with spin. Similar to a modern day wedge.
Long Game
Shots over about 180 yards (164m) long, played from the tee or on the fairway with woods or low-numbered irons.
Long Spoon
The name of a club used in the early 1800's that was made of wood with a long nose similar in shape to the driver with more loft more loft at about 15 degrees.
Loose Impediment
A small natural item, which is not fixed or growing, solidly embedded, or stuck to the ball. Players can generally move them away but if they move their ball while doing so, there is a one-stroke penalty.
Lost ball
If after a five-minute search, a ball cannot be found, a competitor is penalized one stroke and plays another ball from the spot where the first one was hit, counting as the third shot.
Low Riser
Slang term given to a shot, intentionally played, that starts low and ends at a "normal" trajectory.
LPGA
Ladies Professional Golfer's Association. Governing organization of females making their living in golf-related endeavors. The LPGA issues guidelines and accreditation to its members depending upon their individual positions in the game.
Loose impediments
Twigs and leaves, not actually growing, and not stuck to the ball, which may be removed from around it without penalty. The ball must not be moved.

M
M Handicap Type
Handicap modified by the Handicap Committee
Major (Championship)
One of four of the most prestigious professional golf tournaments in the world for male golfers. Played every year, the Majors include the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA.
For female players, the Majors include the U.S. Open, The MacDonald's LPGA, the DuMaurier and the Dinah Shore.
Male Bogey Golfer
A male "bogey golfer" is a player who has a course handicap of approximately 20 on a course of standard difficulty. He can hit tee shots an average of 200 yards and reach a 370-yard hole in two shots at sea level.
Male Scratch Golfer
A male scratch golfer is a player who has a course handicap of approximately 0 on a course of standard difficulty and can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots at sea level.
Mallet
A type of putter head identified by its broad appearance from front to back when positioned at address.
Mark
To identify the spot on the green where a player has picked up a ball for cleaning or to clear the way for another player's putt.
Marker
A person who records a fellow competitor's score in stroke play.
Also, a coin or similar object used to indicate the location of a competitor's ball on a putting green.
"Marker" is also the term used to identify the boundaries of the teeing area.
Marshall
A volunteer, usually at professional tournaments, who job it is to keep the members of the gallery under control so that players can easily play shots, walk from tee to green, and so on.
Mashie
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was a lofted iron club, no longer in use, introduced about 1880 and used for pitching with backspin. The modern equivalent would be the number five iron with a loft of 35 degrees.
Mashie Iron
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was somewhat less lofted than a mashie at about 30 degrees that was used for driving and for full shots through the green.
Mashie Niblick
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was an iron club, having a loft between those of a mashie and a niblick, used for pitching with a loft of 30 to 34 degrees. The modern day equivalent would be the number six or number seven iron.
Match Play
Type of competition, typically among 2 individuals or two teams, in which the score is kept by the number of holes won and lost. The winner of a match play competition is the side who wins the most holes. A match play score may look like this: "3 and 2". This indicates the winning team was three holes up (ahead) with only two to play. "5 and 4" indicates 5 up with 4 to play, and so on.
Meat and potatoes par four
A long, straighttforward par four devoid of water, bunkers, and other hazards that might make the hole more difficult.
Medalist
The golfer with the lowest score in the qualifying round of a tournament.
Medal Play
Type of competition in which the lowest total score (number of strokes) wins. The same as stroke play.
Member's Bounce
Any favorable bounce of the golf ball that improves what initially appeared to be an errant shot.
Mickey Mouse course
A golf course with many flaws, possibly including poor maintenance, too many short holes, and tachy architectural features.
Mickey Mouse course
A golf course with many flaws, possibly including poor maintenance, too many short holes, and tachy architectural features.
Mid-Iron
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was somewhat more lofted than a driving iron. They were lofted at about 25 degrees or slightly stronger than a modern 5 iron.
Mid-Mashie
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was an iron at a loft of about 40 degrees.
Middle Spoon
The name of a club used in the early 1800's that was similar to a long spoon made of wood with more loft at about 18 degrees.
Million-dollar swing
A flawless swing a' la Tom Purtzer or Steve Elkington or Tiger Woods.
Mis-Read
When a player takes an incorrect line on a putt.
Mixed Foursome
Two men and two women playing a round of golf together.
Most Likely Score
A most likely score is the score a player shall post for handicap purposes when he starts but does not complete a hole or is conceded a stroke. The most likely score consists of the number of strokes already taken plus, in his best judgment, the number of strokes that the player would need to complete the hole from that position more than half the time.
Muff
To mishit a shot.
Mulligan
An "agreement" that allows a player to take second shot after a particularly "bad" shot without penalty. Usually only one is allowed per round and is limited to tee shots although the number can be agreed upon by players before the round begins. Mulligans are common on the first tee during friendly matches, but are disallowed under all Rules of Golf.
Municipal Course
Type of golf course, usually city or county managed, allowing play by the public, subject to tee time availability.
Muni
Abbreviated form of "municipal course"
Muscleback Iron
Muscle-back irons are also known as blades irons due to a possible concentration of weight directly behind the center of the club face.

N
N Handicap Type
Nine-hole Handicap Index
Nassau
Probably the most popular form of golfing wager. It's a three-part bet with the front nine, the backnine, and the total match being equally weighted wagers. The name comes from Nassau Country Club in New York, where the bet is said to have originated.
Nasty
A nasty is a junk bet you can cash in on if you hole a shot from off the putting surface and your score for that hole equals par or better.
Net score
A net score is a player's score after his handicap strokes have been subtracted from the gross score. A plus handicap player adds his handicap strokes to the gross score to yield his net score.
Niblick
The name of a golf club that was used throughout the 1800's and into the early part of the 20th century that was a short headed steeply lofted iron club, no used for playing out of ruts and tight lies. It would be lofted between 40 to 45 degrees, similar to today's nine iron or pitching wedge.
Nike Tour
Now-defunct professional golf circuit, sponsored by Nike, for male players one level below the PGA Tour. Now known as the Buy.Com Tour.
Nineteenth hole
The bar and grill you visit after your round.
Nip it
When you hit an iron shot without taking a divot, you have nipped it. Good golfers do this in an attempt to minimize backspin; bad golfers do it by accident.
NL Handicap Type
Local nine-hole handicap
Nuked
When you hit a shot that achieves the absolute maximum distance for that club, you have nuked it.

O
OB
The abbreviation for "Out of Bounds".
Occasional Water
A condition where water is unintentionally present and the areas are marked accordingly. The golfer may pick up, clean, and place the ball outside the occasional water area with no penalty.
Octohedral
Popular in the 1980's, a pattern of dimples with 8 triangular groupings of dimples on the ball.
Offset
The distance from the forward most point of the hosel to the leading edge of the blade. Offset is engineered into some model of irons to help players who tend to leave the clubface open at impact to square the clubface (aligning the club face with the target), thus reducing a slices, helping the player to draw the ball and may produce higher ball flight
On fire
You're on fire when everything you do on the course seems to work out just as you planned.
On the screws
Description for a well-executed shot. In the good 'ol days, when woods were made of wood, club makers fitted a piece of plastic insert into the club face as a safeguard against premature wear. These inserts were fastened to the club with screws. When a golf would hit a good shot, he would say, "I hit it on the screws."
One a side
When your sandbaggin opponent insists that his handicap is two strokes higher than yours, you'll have to give hime two strokes to make your match even. So you give him a stroke on the most difficult hole on each nine—one a side. Then you sit back and watch as he shoots sixty-eight.
One Wood
The proper name designation for a driver (the lowest lofted wood club).
Open
Type of tournament that is open to anyone who qualifies. Both professional golfers and amateurs may play in open competitions provided they meet certain qualifying criteria.
Open Face
When (in relation to the target line) the clubface is angled away from the player's body, ie angled right for right-handed players.
Open Stance
When a player's front foot is drawn backwards further from the target line. Used to fade the ball or to prevent a hook.
Open The Door
To misplay a shot that allows your opponent back into a hole, a match, or the tournament.
Out of Bounds
Any area encountered during a round of golf from which play is prohibited. Typically, but not always, out of bounds (OB) is off normal course property. The penalty for OB is stroke and distance. The player must return to the spot where the original ball was played, hit another shot from there and add a penalty stroke to his score.
Outside Agency
A term given to something not part of the match. A dog or bird would be examples.
Outside-In
Swing path in which the player's club, on the downswing, crosses over its path on the backswing, ending up directed more to the left of target than desired. Outside-In swings typically result in either pulls, fades or slices, depending on the position of the club face at impact.
Outward Nine
The first nine holes, so named because traditionally golf courses (especially links style courses) are set up where the first nine holes went "out" away from the clubhouse.
Overlapping Grip
The grip style in which (for right-handed players) the right pinkie finger rests on top of the left index finger. Also known as the "Vardon Grip".
Over Par
Term given to the number of strokes a player's score is over the par for the number of holes played. For example, if a player shoots a score of 40 on 9 holes whose par is 36, he is said to be "4 over."
Override
An override is a Handicap Committee's action which cancels a Tournament Score reduction. An override is not to be used as a preventive measure to block an anticipated reduction

P
Pace
The speed at which a putt must be struck to get to the hole. Pace and break are the two components of green-reading.
Par
The standard score for a hole, usually based on it's length. Holes up to 250 yards (228m) long are par 3's, up to 475 yards (434m) par 4's and any longer than that are par 5's. Course committees are now authorized to vary par when a hole's difficulty warrants not sticking rigidly to the distances laid down.
Par 3 Course (Par Three Course)
A short golf course comprised of all par 3 holes. Par 3 courses are good learning courses for beginners and help better players to improve their short games.
Partner
A player who is teamed with another player on the same side of a match.
Path
The imaginary line formed by the arc of a player's swing. (See "Square", "Inside-Out" and "Outside-In".)
Peer Review
Peer review is the process of providing a reasonable and regular opportunity for members of a golf club to play golf with each other, and providing access to scoring records and USGA Handicap Indexes for inspection by fellow members and the club's Handicap Committee.
Perimeter Weighting
Redistributing weight on a club head to the heel and toe in an attempt to stabilize the club on all types of impacts.
Penalty
Stroke(s) assessed when a ball is hit into a specific area either on (water hazard) or off (out of bounds) the course. Penalties may also be assessed for specific violations as defined in the United States Golf Association's Rules of Golf.
Penalty Score
A "penalty score" is a score posted by the Handicap Committee for a player who does not return a score or otherwise does not observe the spirit of the USGA Handicap System.
PGA
Professional Golfer's Association. Governing organization of males making their living in golf-related endeavors. The PGA issues guidelines and accreditation to its members depending upon their individual positions in the game.
PGA & LPGA Tour
Golf organizations for male and female professional golfers respectively, that are responsible for the management of a series of events throughout the world in which members play for monetary remuneration.
Pigeon
An easy mark—the golfer that everybody wants to play against. If you hear anyone refer to you as a pigeon, take up chess.
Pin
Also called the flagstick, flag, or stick, the pin marks the hole.
Pin High
Whenever the ball lies at the same elevation as the hole.
Pin Seeker
A shot that heads right for the flagstick from the moment it leaves the clubface.
Pitch
A reasonably high shot onto the green, traveling anything from a few yards to 120 yards (110m). You generally use a 9 iron, a pitching wedge, or a sand wedge.
Pitch Mark
Another term for a divot (ball mark) on the green caused when a ball lands
Pitch Out
Slang term for a "shanked" shot. That is, a ball struck on the hosel of the head resulting in a straight right ball flight.
Pitch and putt
A derisive term given to golf courses that are short and easily conquered, so named because just a pitch and a putt will get you into the hole.
Pitcher
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was an iron club with a loft of about 45 degrees.
Pitching wedge
A short iron with a large degree of loft, used for pitching high but short shots onto the green.
Play Club
The name of a club used throughout the 1800's and into the early part of the 20th century that was the longest hitting wooden club (today's one wood). It had a long nosed head usually made of Beechwood, sometimes weighted in the back, with rams horn at the front of the sole. It was used with the feathery ball.
Play 'em down
To play the ball as it lies.
Play Through
A situation in which a faster group is permitted to play a hole on which a slower group is playing. The slower group typically stands out of the way of the faster group, who is said to have "played through."
Playoff (Play off)
In the event of a tie at the end of any competition, continuing play to determine the winner. The playoff may be sudden death, a specified number of holes or an entire 18-hole round.
Plugged Lie
A bad lie (typically in a bunker) where the ball is at least half-buried in sand. Also known as a "buried lie" or a "fried egg".
Plus Handicap
A golf handicap index of below zero (0).
Plus Handicapper
A person with a handicap index of less than zero (0). A plus handicapper must add his handicap to his score
Pop-Up
A poor tee shot where the top of the clubhead strikes under the ball, causing it to go straight up in the air. In addition to being bad shots, pop-ups frequently leave white scuff-marks on the top of the clubhead, or dents in persimmon clubs. Also known as "sky shots".
Pot Bunker
A small, but very deep bunker, usually filled with sand.
Power Fade
A shot, generally from the tee, that combines the control of a left to right fade with the power and distance of a pull. A highly effective shot that is difficult to master. The preferred pattern of Ben Hogan and others.
Preferred Lies
Local rule that may be adopted by the committee in charge of the competition or the committee in charge of the course, in the event of adverse conditions that are so general throughout a course that improving the lie of the ball in a specified way would promote fair play or help protect the course.
President
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was an iron with a whole in the middle to hit balls out of water. It has about 43 degrees of lolf.
Private course
Type of course requiring a membership to play. Guests may play private courses for a fee at specific times, often accompanied by a member of the club
Professional Golfer (Pro)
An individual who earns a living based upon his or her skill at playing the game. May work as a touring pro in professional competitions, or as a teaching pro (also called a club pro).
Progressive Flexibility
Longer irons are fitted with more flexible shafts to promote feel and aid in getting the ball airborne and shorter irons utilize stiffer shafts for added control.
Progressive Offset
Iron sets with longer irons having more offset and shorter irons having less.
Provisional Ball
A ball that is played, usually in an effort to speed up play, as a potential replacement for a ball that may be lost or out of bounds. For example, a player hits his ball toward an out of bounds area, but is not sure the ball is out of bounds. He states the intention to hit a provisional (so he does not have to take time to return to the position from where he hit the original shot) in case the ball is out of bounds. If the original is out of bounds, the provisional becomes the ball in play, with penalty strokes added.
Public Course
A course open to play for all golfers, subject to time availability.
Pull
A shot that tends to go to the left of the intended target, in a straight path (assuming a right-handed player.) A pulled does not curve, but flies straight.
Punch
A shot, played intentionally low, to avoid wind, trees or other obstacles. The shot is played with a short backswing with the ball positioned rearward in the stance.
Punch-Out or Punch Shot
A shot played with a very low trajectory, usually to avoid interference from tree branches when a player is hitting from the woods. Similar to the knock-down, it can also be used to avoid high winds.
Push
A shot that tends to go to the right of the intended target, in a straight path (assuming a right-handed player.) A pushed does not curve, but flies straight.
Putt
The rolling shot taken on the green, with a putter.
Putting Average
The percentage statistic of how many putts per green (hit in regulation) divided by how many holes played in a round, tournament or carreer.
Putting Cleek
The name of the putter in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century.
Putting Green
The area of the hole being played that is specifically mowed for putting.
The term "Putting Green" may also refer to a practice putting area, usually near the clubhouse.

Q
Q-School
PGA or LPGA Tour Qualifying School, a week-long, six-round tournament in which the Top 30 finishers (of nearly 200 entrants) earn their "Tour Cards", making them exempt for the following year's tour.
Quacker
Duck hook.
Quail high
A mishit shot flying very low to the ground.
Quick
When you rush your swing, your putting stroke, or your overall playing routine, you are getting quick. This usually results in poor play.

R
R Handicap Type
Handicap automatically reduced for exceptional tournament performance
Rails
Raised areas on the soles of metal woods, lowering the center of gravity of the club and providing less resistance as the club travels through the turf.
Rake
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was an iron that looks like a rake with vertical slots used to get a ball out of sand or water.
Range
A practice facility. "Driving Range."
Range Ball
Type of ball used at a driving range facility. The balls may be used balls or may be specially made, difficult-to-cut balls purchased by upscale ranges for durability. Usually range balls are marked in some way; typically by a red stripe and/or name encircling the ball.
Ranger
A golf course employee whose duty it is to keep the pace of play at an acceptable time. A ranger typically drives the course in a motorized cart, identified in some way (flag, sign, etc.), encouraging slow groups to speed up or to allow other groups to play through.
Rating/Slope
The United States Golf Association has committees all over the country that go to member courses to evaluate and assign each course a rating and slope. It is not an arbitrary number the USGA assigns--it's not meted out just because the officials think the course is tough, or the wind was blowing and taking most shots out of bounds on a given day.
The course rating is based on a course's difficulty for a scratch golfer, and the slope rating is the measure of difficulty for a non-scratch golfer. The USGA says that a course with a 113 slope rating is one of average playing difficulty. Slope ratings can range between 55 and 155. The highest rating is 149 for the Kiawah Island Ocean Course, a layout which the greatest pros in the world view as nearly impossible to conquer.
So, when you see a slope of 115, you are looking at a decent course with slightly above average difficulty values. From 115 to 125 slope? Expect a good challenge. From 125 to 130? A stronger test. From 130 to 135 is getting into the very demanding territory of the top-rated courses, and those that are trying to be. Above 135, bring an "A" game -- preferably Tiger Woods' A game!
In many cases the rating committee will not even play the course. The committee meets with the club pro or general manager to gather information such as total course length, length of the holes into the wind and length of holes downwind. They measure the speed of the greens, the height of the fairways, the height of the rough and the roll on the fairway. They also view and evaluate the tees, the landing areas and greens.
Topography, bunkers, out-of-bounds areas, water hazards and presence or absence of trees, naturally, also come into play when determining the rating and slope. Other factors include target areas, blind shots and holes that force the golfer to lay up. After all variables are accounted for, the numbers are calculated and the course rating and slope are assigned.
What does all of this mean to you and me? If you have a 10 handicap and a USGA index of 12.5 (you have an index if you have a handicap) and you traveled to another course with a higher rating and slope than your home course, your handicap would be adjusted. At the tougher course your 12.5 index factored into a handicap computer results in a higher handicap on that course.
A consistency problem can arise if your home course--where you established your 10 handicap-- happens to be very difficult. Your friend might have a handicap of 10 that was established on an easier course. The catch? If you put your respective indexes into the handicap computer at the same course, both of you will have the same adjusted handicap. Although the system is imperfect, it is the best one that we have so far. Many have suggested alternative formulas, but so far none has USGA approval.
So, for good or for ill, those rating and slope numbers on the score card are not just pulled out of the hat and applied to the course. Time, effort and calculations have been put into making the playing field as level as possible for all golfers.
Reading the green
Looking at the slope and contours of the green to decide the line and speed of your putt.
Ready Golf
In ready golf each player may "fire when ready," a procedure instituted to speed up play.
Release
The point in the downswing at which the wrists uncock. A late release (creating "lag") is one of the keys to a powerful swing.
Red Numbers
Term given to under par scores in a tournament.
Relief
Under the Rules of Golf, moving (either placing or dropping) a ball in order to make a normal stroke at it. Relief may be with or without penalty depending upon the situation. Common items from which relief is taken are trees, water and obstructions.
Reload
To hit an errant tee shot and tee up a second ball.
Rescue Club
A name given to any number of clubs that combine features of a wood and an iron.
Resort
Type of golf course catering to the guests of the resort with which it is associated. Resort courses may sell limited memberships and may allow public play at specific times.
Rimmed Out
A shot which circles the lip of the hole without dropping in (the ball rolls back onto the green from the cup).
Rider
Slang term, usually applied to a beginner's shot, in which that shot has been hit far enough that the player has to ride in a cart (rather than walk) to hit the next shot. Somewhat of a derogatory term applied to the skill of a beginner.
Robbed
Golfers love to complain about being robbed, usually when a putt doesn't break when it should have, or when a putt traveling at Mach 2 doesn't fall into the hall as it should have, or when a tee shot forty yards off line winds up six inches out of bounds. If you want to be cool on the golf course, don't whine about being robbed every time something doesn't go your way.
Roll
The measure of face curvature from crown to sole on woods.
Rolled
Term given to a shot that does not get airborne and simply rolls along the ground.
Rope hook
Term for a low, hard hook that will run great distances after hitting the ground.
Rough
Type of grass, bordering fairways, that is higher and generally more coarse than the grass in the fairway. Rough may also be present near green, tees and bunkers depending upon the particular course; it may vary in height from one are on the course to another and from course to course as well.
Round
Term applied to a typical round of golf, generally 18 holes, but sometimes 9.
Royal and Ancient
One of the two governing bodies of golf, along with the USGA. Often called the "R & A", it is headquartered in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Rub of the Green
A term given to a ball affected in some way by an outside agency. A rub of the green occurs if a ball is headed out of bounds and hits an animal, tree, cart or anything else deflecting it back in to play.
Run
Whenever the ball is moving along the ground, it is said to be running. This is also what you should do if you bet and then don't have enough money to cover your losses.
Run-Up Shot
An intentionally low shot designed to roll on to the green, usually played with a lower lofted iron such a #6 iron or lower.
Rutter (Rut Iron)
The name of a club used throughout the 1800's and into the early part of the 20th century that was the same as a niblick with a shorter blade. Used to get out of cart ruts.

S
Sand Save
When a player gets up and down from a greenside sand bunker onto the green, regardless of score on the hole.
Sand Save Percentage
The statistic of the number of times a player had a sand save divided by the number of times the player's ball was in a green side bunker.
Sand Trap
Term given to a bunker filled with sand.
Sandie (Sandy)
Another term for Sand Save.
Sand Wedge
Also called a sand iron, the shortest, most lofted iron used for playing out of bunkers and for very short pitch shots.
Sandbagger
A golfer who consistently plays to a score better than his handicap indicates that he should.
Scramble
When a player misses the green in regulation, but still makes par or better on a hole.
Scramble (Round, Game or tournament)
Term given to a type of game, played as a team, in which all players play from one position. For example, a team of 4 players all hit drives. The next shot is played, again by all 4 players, from the position of the best drive. Play continues in this manner until the ball is holed. Scramble is also a term applied to a player who often hits his ball in trouble, but typically recovers very well, with a "good" score.
Scramble Percentage
The statistic of the number of times a player misses the green in regulation, but still makes par or better divided by the number of times that a player misses the green in regulation.
Scrambler
A golfer who plays somewhat erratically but manages to salvage good scores from inconsistent play.
Scraper
The name of a club used in the early 1800's that was used the same as the heavy iron with a loft of about 35 degrees.
Scratch
A handicap of 0, indicative of a highly skilled player.
Scoop (Dig) Sole
An iron with a leading edge lower than its trailing edge.
Score Type
Indicates specific aspects of a score within a player's scoring record. The designated letter(s) must immediately follow the adjusted gross score if the score type is either a tournament score or an internet-posted score. Score types are designated as:
A - Away
AI - Away Internet
C - Combined Nines
I - Internet
P - Penalty
T - Tournament
TI - Tournament Internet
Scoring
Marking on a club face for decorative or alignment purposes.
Scoring Record
A file of up to twenty of the most recent scores posted by a player, plus any eligible tournament scores, along with appropriate USGA Course Rating, Slope Rating, course name/location, and date of each score.
Scotch Foursome
A type of competition wherein partners alternate hitting the same ball.
Scratch Golfer
A player who can play to a Course Handicap of zero on any and all rated golf courses.
Scratch Golfer Rating
A male scratch golfer who can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards and can reach a 470-yard hole in two shots at sea level. A female scratch golfer who can hit tee shots an average of 210 yards and can reach a 400-yard hole in two shots at sea level.
Second Cut
Term applied to a section of rough (or higher grass) that borders the first cut of rough. The second cut is farther from the fairway and is generally more severe than the first cut.
Semi-Private
Type of golf club in which memberships are sold, but that allows public play during specific time periods.
Semi-Private
Type of golf club in which memberships are sold, but that allows public play during specific time periods.
Set Up
To position yourself for the address. It includes aim, foot and shoulder alignment, grip, ball placement and position.
Senior Golfer
Any golfer 50 years of age or older is considered to be a senior golfer.
Shaft
The length of the club down to the clubhead.
Shaft characteristics terms and descriptions:
Butt O.D.
The outer diameter measurement of the butt section at 4 inches. Most manufacturers of golf shafts strive to stay around .600" so that most grips will fit onto the shaft. Club Builders can use the Butt OD to make the grip the proper size for the golfer.
Butt Stiffness
Frequency measurement of the butt section of the shaft. A higher reading means the butt section of the shaft is stiffer or stronger.
Launch Angle
Launch characteristics of a particular model. Several factors contribute to the launch characteristics of the shaft – weight, torque, tip technology and butt stiffness.
Length
The stock/factory (before made into a golf club) length of the shaft. Shafts can be tip trimmed and/or butt trimmed to make the desired club length.
Mid Stiffness
Measurement of strength for the mid section of the shaft. A higher reading means the mid section of the shaft is stiffer or stronger.
Torque
Measurement of how much the shaft twists when a force is applied. A higher reading means the shaft will twist more during the swing.
Tip O.D.
The outer diameter measurement of the tip section before paint at the very tip. Wood shafts can be parallel dimensions of .335" or .350" and Iron shafts can be parallel .370" or tapered .355". Different Tip ODs are used to fit different head (or hosel) configurations.
Tip Parallel (PTS or Parallel Tip Section)
Amount of the tip section of the shaft that is designed to a specific diameter. At the end of the Parallel Tip Section, the shaft will begin to taper.
Tip Stiffness
Measurement of tip strength. Tip flex factors into the launch characteristics of the shaft. A stronger tip generally launches the ball lower while a more flexible tip will help launch the ball higher.
Shallow Face
Any wood or iron having a face height shorter than normal.
Shank
Area of an iron's clubhead at the hosel
Shanked
A shot that is struck in the hosel area of the golf club. The resulting ball flight is generally straight to the right. A shank may also be called a "hoseled shot", a "pitch out" or a "lateral."
Short Game
Chipping, pitching, bunker play and putting on the green and around it up to a distance of 100 yards (90m) away.
Short Grass
Where you are when you hit the fairway with your drive.
Short Spoon
The name of a club used in the early 1800's that was the same as a middle spoon made of wood with at loft of about 21 degrees.
Short Stick
Slang for the putter, because it's the shortest club in the bag.
Shotgun Start
When competitors all begin play simultaneously from different tees around the course. The starter used a shotgun blast to announce the start. An air horn is now generally used.
Sit
Telling the ball to drop softly, and not roll after landing.
Skins
Type of match play game in which each hole is worth a given amount of points or money. Points or money is often "carried over" in the event of ties, making all subsequent holes potentially worth considerably more.
Sky
Term give to a shot, usually with a wood, that goes much higher and shorter than desired. A "skied" shot is often hit on or near the top of the club.
Skull (Skulled) (Skulling)
To strike the top of the ball with an upwards, glancing blow. Similar to "hitting it thin". Sometimes spelled "scull" as in the glancing motion of an oar that makes improper contact with the water.
SL Handicap Type
Short Course Handicap
Slice
A shot that tends to start to the left of the target and curve to the right of the target, most often more that the player desires (assuming a right-handed player.) A slice is the most common shot among amateur golfers.
Slope (Index or Rating)
Mathematical formula used to compare the difficulty of one course to the next. It takes into account length, hazards, terrain, etc. A course with a slope rating of 150 will be far more difficult than one sloped at 100. Slope ratings allow fair matches between members from clubs of varying difficulty. The lowest USGA Slope Rating is 55 and the highest is 155. A golf course of standard playing difficulty has a Slope Rating of 113.
Smother
To bring the clubface down and over the ball when hitting a shot causing the ball to be poorly struck.
Snake
A long putt; one that is usually holed from a long distance.
Snap hook
A shot that starts quickly to the left and angles sharply downwards and further to the left generally producing a very short and undesirable result.
Snipe Hook
Similar to "Snap Hook" The ball dips and dies quickly to the left.
Snowman
A score of eight shots on a hole.
Sod
A chunk of turf from the course. Commonly referred to as a "divot".
Soft Spikes
Generic term given to the plastic type of spikes required on many courses. These softer spikes are believed to do less damage to the course, especially to the greens.
Sole
The bottom or undersideof any type of golf club. It is where the club rests on the ground in playing position.
Sole Camber
The curvature from the leading edge to the trailing edge.
Sole Weighted Iron
An iron head with the majority of its weight concentrated near the sole of the club, producing a lower center of gravity.
Sole Width
The measure of a sole from the leading edge to the trailing edge. A narrow sole is better from firmer ground; wide soles are helpful in getting the ball airborne from softer ground.
Spade (Spade Mashie)
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was a deep-faced iron club some what more lofted than a mashie with a loft of 34 degrees. The modern equivalent would be the number six iron.
Spikes
Metal implements on the bottom of golf shoes designed to aid in traction. Spikes are approximately 1/2" in length.
"Spikes" may also be a slang term used for golf shoes themselves.
Spikes
Metal implements on the bottom of golf shoes designed to aid in traction. Spikes are approximately 1/2" in length.
"Spikes" may also be a slang term used for golf shoes themselves.
Spin
The amount of spin on a golf ball. A high-spin ball will carry longer and roll less than a low spin ball, and are easier to draw or fade as a result. Low spin balls fly lower and roll farther so their overall distance may be greater.
Spoon
Any of a group of early wooden clubs (early 1800's through the early part of the 20th century) having graduated lofts greater than that of the grassed driver, and correspondingly shorter shafts. The name originated because the loft on early club faces, both wooden and iron lofted up to 20 degrees, was most often concave and sometimes, therefore, resembled the bowl of a spoon. In the early 20th century it was a somewhat more lofted club than the brassie. The modern equivalent would be the number three to five wood.
Spring-Like Effect
How much the face of metal-face woods compress and decompress (flex or spring back) upon ball impact.
Square
When the clubface is placed at right angles to the imaginary ball-to-target line.
Square Grooves
Face lines or grooves pressed, cut, or cast into a rectangular shape onto the club face. Similar to a U-Groove, with the exception that the bottom of the groove is flat intstead of curved.
St. Andrews
Considered to be the "home" of golf, St. Andrews is the location of Europe's rules-making body, the R & A, as well as being the location of one of the most famous courses (St. Andrews) in all of golf.
Stableford (Stableford Scoring System)
Type of competition in which points are awarded in relation to a fixed score on each hole. The winner is the one with the most points. For example, a par may receive 0 points, a birdie, 2 points, and eagle 5 points, a bogey –1, and so on. Points are established for each individual competition.
Stake It
Slang term used to indicate a player hits the ball close to the hole.
Stance
Position of the feet prior to making a shot. A player placing his feet in position to make a stroke is said to have taken his stance.
Standard scratch score (SSS)
The score expected of a scratch player on any given course.
Stoney It
Slang term used to indicate a player hits the ball close to the hole.
Stimp
Term given to the speed of a green after measurement with a specialized piece of equipment (Stimpmeter.) The higher the Stimp reading, the faster the green. Most courses rate at between 6 and 9 on the Stimp Scale; pro tournament venues may rate at over 12.
Stimpmeter
Apparatus used to measure the speed of a green. It is basically an angled metal piece from which a ball is rolled onto a flat area of the green. Depending upon how far the ball rolls, a "Stimp" reading is determined. The farther the ball rolls, the higher the Stimp reading and the faster the green.
Stipulated Round
The stipulated round consists of playing the holes of the course in their correct sequence unless otherwise authorized by the Committee. The number of holes in a stipulated round is 18 unless a smaller number is authorized by the Committee. The Committee may, for the purpose of settling a tie, extend the stipulated round to as many holes as are required for a match to be won.
Stroke
A shot in golf.
The forward movement of the club made with the intent of hitting the ball.
Stroke Hole
A hole on which a player is entitled to apply a handicap stroke or strokes to his gross score.
Stroke and Distance
Penalty assessed for a ball hit out of bounds or for a lost ball. It involves going back to the spot of the original ball, hitting another ball from there and adding a penalty shot to the score.
Stroke index
The numbers on a scorecard indicating the order of the holes at which a handicap player receives strokes.
Stroke Play (Strokeplay)
Type of competition, also known as medal play, in which the lowest total score (number of strokes) wins.
Stymie
A situation, commonly on a putting green, in which one player's ball is directly in the line of another's. The Rules allow for the ball in the line to be marked and moved, allowing the player farther from the hole to play without obstruction. Stymie is also the generic term given to a situation when any object is between the player and the hole, blocking the normal play toward the hole.
Sudden Death
A type of playoff among tied individuals or teams at the completion of a competition. As soon as a team or individual makes the highest score on a hole, they are eliminated from play.
Summer Rules
Term given to standard USGA Rules' play. When playing "summer rules", courses are generally in their best shape (in the summer); the ball must be played as it lies except on tees and greens.
Super Senior
A senior PGA Tour player who has reached the age of 60.
Supination
A term made popular by Ben Hogan referring to the rotation and angling of the right wrist during the golf swing.
Sweet Spot
The location on the clubface where the optimal ball-striking results are achieved.
Sweet Swing
Term given to a player who swings at the ball in a skilled manner. A golfer who makes a smooth swing is considered to be a "sweet swinger".
Swing
The movement a golf player makes with his/her club to hit the ball.
Swing Speed (swingspeed)
The speed of the clubface at point of impact with the ball (at the bottom of the swing arc)
Swing Weight (swingweight)
A club's weight distribution around a fixed fulcrum point. The fulcrum point is typically 14" from the butt of the club. It is measured in alpha-numeric units such as D-1, D-2, and so on with higher letter-number units indicating more weight in the head relative to the grip.

T
Tagged it
Used to refer to a good golf shot. Usually a tee or fairway shot that is long and on target.
Takeaway
The start of the backswing.
Talking Golf
When the group all agrees to not stop the conversation that occurs as the round is played, provided that the conversation is not intended to interfere with the player actually playing his ball. Therefore players must concentrate a little more, and good conversation and "talking golf" can ensue.
Tap In
A short putt; to hole a short putt.
Target Golf
A style of golf played on the preponderance of American tournament courses where the golfer is required to hit a high, lofted, approach shot that allows for very little roll to the ball after it lands. This is in contradiction to "Bump and Run" style golf found commonly on British-style, traditional courses.
A type of golf competition played at practice ranges wherein golfers compete while shooting to specific targets.
Target Line
The straight line from the ball to its intended target, also extended backward past the golfer's rear foot.
Tee
The wooden or plastic implement on which a ball is placed prior to the play of the first shot on a hole (tee peg). The term "Tee" may also be used to describe the Teeing Ground (The area of a hole from which you play the first shot.).
Tee Marker
Wooden, metal, plastic or other material objects between which the ball is teed prior to playing a hole. There may be several sets of tee markers on each hole, each designed to identify the tees suggested for a particular ability group. For example, black tee markers may indicate the longest, most difficult (pro) tees, blue tees are for low handicap players, white tees are for average player, gold tees are for seniors and red tees are for ladies.
Tee peg
You can put the ball on this device for your first shot to help raise the ball off the ground. It is then much easier to attain height.
Tee Time
Specific time slot allotted for play on a given day. Tee times are assigned by the golf course, usually in 8-10 minute intervals, and are acquired by calling or signing up in advance of when play is desired.
Tee Up (tee it up)
To place a golf ball on a tee (tee peg).
Teeing Ground
The area where the play of a hole starts. It is defined by a pair of markers between which play begins.
Ten-Finger Grip
Grip style with all ten fingers on the club. Also known as the "Baseball Grip".
Tempo
The timing and rhythm of your swing, which should be even and smooth throughout. Ideally, the swing should be like a metronome, with an evenly paced transition from backswing to downswing.
Tester
A putt that's long enough so that it's not a gimme but short enough so that a decent player should hole it, so called because it tests a golfer's skill.
Tetrahedral
Dimple pattern on a ball consisting of four large triangles.
Texas Scramble
A system of team play whereby each player takes a tee shot, after which the most favourable ball position is chosen. All the team's players then take a shot from this new position, and so on. (Also known as an Ambrose)
Texas Wedge
Slang term given to a putter. The term evolved due to players in Texas, among other dry areas, using a putter to run the ball up to the greens due to the hard ground.
Also a marketing term used by some manufacturers in association with giant, over sized, sand wedges meaning "Texas-sized".
Thin (Shot)
To hit the ball in the center with the club's leading edge, instead of sliding under it. Chances are your shot will fly lower and farther than you intended.
Third Cut
A section of rough, generally found on tournament courses that borders the second cut (See "Second Cut.") The third cut is very severe and may not be found on all but the most difficult courses.
Three Ball Match
A match play situation in which three players play against one another, each playing his own ball. Each player is playing two separate matches.
Three off the tee
If a ball is lost, out of bounds, or unplayable from the tee shot, the player is penalized one stroke and tees off again - the third shot.
Threesome
Type of match in which one player plays against two, with each side playing one ball. The term threesome is often mis-applied (according to the Rules of Golf) to a group of three golfers playing in the same group.
Through Line
When putting, the imaginary path that a ball would travel on should the putted ball go past the hole.
Through the Green
A Term given to all areas of the course, except for the teeing ground, putting green and hazards.
Tiger
Someone who is playing unusually well.
Tight
If there is very little cushion (grass) between the ball and the ground (dirt), you have a tight lie.
Tip Stiff
A shaft with a tip stiffer than the rest of the shaft. Tip stiff shafts are generally designed with harder swinging players in mind.
Toe
The end of the club head most far away from the shaft.
Also the term used when a player hits the ball on that area of the club, usually resulting in a shorter shot than desired as well as one going to the right of the intended target, i.e., a "toed" shot (assuming a right-handed golfer.)
Toe Iron
The name of a club used in the early 1800's that was an iron with a loft of about 18 degrees.
Top
Shot that does not get airborne as a result of a player hitting the top of the ball. A "topped shot" is most often a result of a player moving his head and not looking at the ball.
Topline
The top part of an iron blade, running from heel to toe visible to the golfer at address.
Tournament Score
A tournament score is a score made in a competition organized and conducted by a committee in charge of the competition. The competition must identify a winner(s) based on a stipulated round(s), and must be played under the principles of the Rules of Golf.
Using the above definition as a guideline, the committee in charge of the competition shall determine in advance if these conditions are met, and announce in advance whether the score shall be identified by the letter "T" when posted.
Routine events, such as regular play days, normally are not to be designated as T-scores because they are not significant in the traditions, schedules, formats and membership of the club. Nine-hole scores are not to be designated as T-Scores.
Examples of inter-club competition scores that should be posted as tournament scores when they meet the above conditions are: team matches, competitions restricted by age, member-guest competitions, qualifying rounds for city, state and national competitions, and competitions conducted by golf associations.
Examples of intra-club competition scores that should be posted as tournament scores when they meet the above conditions are: low gross-low net competitions, four-ball match- or stroke-play competitions, Stableford competitions, and club championships which are stroke or match play, scratch or with handicap.
Topdress
Fertilizer, soil and sand mix applied to greens after they are aerified in order to provide nutrients to the green.
Track
The term given to the layout of a golf course; for example, that was a "good" track.
Track Iron
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was an iron at about 43 degrees or about 9 iron loft.
Tracking
A term given to a putt as it rolls toward the hole; for example, a putt that is heading for the hole is "tracking."
Trailing Edge
The back edge of the sole.
Trap
Generic term given to a bunker that contains sand. Also called a sand trap or sand bunker.
Trend Handicap
A trend handicap is an unofficial estimate of a handicap, which may include unreviewed scores since the previous revision and might not be based on the current scoring record. The trend is not an official handicap and should not be used in formal competition. Use of trend is not recommended by the USGA.
Triple Bogey
A score of three over par on a hole. For example a score of 7 on a par 4 hole.
Trouble Club
Clubs used to play the ball from a difficult lie. Trouble clubs often have unusual sole construction - perhaps rails - that lower the center of gravity. Trouble clubs may be irons, woods or hybrids.
Turn
The halfway point of an 18 hole round. A player "makes the turn" after playing #9 and heading to #10 tee.
Type 1 Golf Club
The members of a Type 1 club are located at a single specific golf course with a valid USGA Course Rating and Slope Rating where a majority of the club's events are played and where the club's scoring records reside.
Type 2 Golf Club
The members of a Type 2 club are affiliated, or known to one another, via a business, fraternal, ethnic, or social organization. The majority of the club members had an affiliation prior to organizing the club.
Type 3 Golf Club
The members of a Type 3 club had no prior affiliation and a majority of the recruiting and sign up of the membership is done by solicitation to the public (e.g., newspaper, Internet).

U
U-Groove
Used in iron face structure, more pronounced than "V" grooves. pressed, U Grooves are cut, or cast into a "U" shape during club manufacture.
U-turn
A putt that rolls all the way around the edge of the cup before coming out.
Uncock
To straighten the wrists in the down swing. To unbend the wrists or to return the wrists in line with the arms again.
Unplayable
A player can declare his ball unplayable at any time when it is in play (other than at a tee), and can drop the ball either within two club-lengths, or further from the hole in line with the hole and its current position, or where he played his last shot. A penalty of one stroke is applied. A ball declared unplayable within a hazard must be dropped within that hazard.
Unplayable
A player can declare his ball unplayable at any time when it is in play (other than at a tee), and can drop the ball either within two club-lengths, or further from the hole in line with the hole and its current position, or where he played his last shot. A penalty of one stroke is applied. A ball declared unplayable within a hazard must be dropped within that hazard.
Up and down
When a player holes the ball in two strokes starting from off of the green. The first stroke, usually a "pitch", a "bunker shot" or a "chip", gets the ball 'up' onto the green, and the subsequent putt gets the ball 'down' into the hole.
Up and In
Also termed "Up and Down", the situation in which a player misses the green and then makes one chip and one putt to achieve his score.
Upshoot
A shot hit with a higher-than-anticipated trajectory to a point short of the target. Also called ballooning.
Under Par
Term given to stokes a player has taken relative to what hole he is playing. If a player has played the front 9 in 34 strokes and par is 36, he is said to be "2 under".
Uphill lie
When a ball is positioned on ground sloping up ahead of the player.
Upright Lie
A club's lie that is more upright than the standard specification for that particular head.
Unplayable
A ball hit into a position that does not allow a player to hit it is considered to be in an unplayable lie. Examples are balls hit under pine trees, balls hit into rocky areas, etc. A player may choose to deem a ball unplayable, taking a penalty stroke and dropping the ball no nearer the hole. A ball that is unplayable in a bunker must be dropped in the bunker or stroke and distance taken.
USGA Course Rating
A "USGA Course Rating" is the USGA's mark that indicates the evaluation of the playing difficulty of a course for a scratch golfer under normal course and weather conditions. It is expressed as strokes taken to one decimal place, and is based on yardage and other obstacles to the extent that they affect the scoring ability of a scratch golfer.
USGA Handicap System
The "USGA Handicap System" is the USGA's mark that denotes the USGA's method of evaluating golf skills so that players of differing abilities can compete on an equitable basis.

V
V Grooves
Face grooves pressed, cut, or cast into a "V" shape during club manufacture.
Valleys
On an undulating green, the relatively flat areas between mounds. The most famous valley is the Valley of Sin, located on the eighteenth hole at the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland.
Vardon Grip
The grip style in which (for right-handed players) the right pinkie finger rests on top of the left index finger. Also known as the "overlapping grip," most golfers grip with this style. It is named for Harry Vardon, a champion golfer of the early 20th century.
Variable Face
A golf club face with a different face thickness on one or more areas.
Velocity
The speed of a golf ball.
Vertical Flow Weighting
Club set weighting with weight shifting vertically from a concentration of weight toward the sole of long irons to more traditional weighting on short irons.
Victory lap
The circle a putt makes around the rim of the cup before falling in.
Volume
The measurement of the size of a wood head as measured by liquid displacement.

W
Waggle
Pre-shot movement (moving the club head back and forth before beginning the takeaway) in which a golfer moves the club back away from the ball a time or two, usually to relieve tension.
Waiting List
The number and ranking of individuals waiting to join a private club that has a full membership at the time. Waiting lists at some private clubs can be many years.
Waste Area
An area on a golf course that is similar to a sand trap, but is not declared an official hazard. It is generally not maintained or raked and is often comprised of sea shells or pebbles.
Water Club
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that was an iron with a whole in the middle to hit balls out of water. It has about 43 degrees of lolf. Same as a President Club.
Water Hazard
The term applied to any relatively permanent and open area of water (sea, lake, pond, etc.) anywhere on the course. The penalty for hitting your ball into a water hazard is one stroke.
Watery Grave
Where your golf ball has gone when it has gone into a Water Hazard.
Wedge
A club with an extremely lofted face. Most common wedges are the pitching wedge (PW), approach wedge (AW), sand wedge (SW) and lob wedge (LW).
Weekend warriors
Golfers who play infrequently, so called because the only time they can play or practice is on weekends.
Whiff
Term applied to the situation when a player has swung at the ball and missed completely.
Whins
A British term for extremely heavy areas of rough.
Wind Cheater
A shot that flies low into the wind in an effort to achieve less wind resistance and greater distance.
Winter rules
In certain areas where the winters are harsh, golf courses don't receive much maintenance between October and April. To make winter golf more palatable in these areas, many courses enact winter rules, which golfers are, on certain parts of a golf course, allowed to improve their lies without penalty.
"Winter rules" is not codified in any of the 34 rules that make up the Rules of Golf. The practice is only mentioned in an appendix to the rules, where there is also a sample local rule for use by courses, clubs or committees.
Generally, winter rules are put into place during, of course, the winter, when adverse weather conditions can impact the golf course itself. Under the most common winter rules, a player whose ball is in the fairway would be allowed to improve the lie if that ball was, for example, on a bare patch of ground.
Winter rules can differ from course to course; only a course, club or committee can declare winter rules in effect (a player may not declare, in absence of a ruling from the club or course, that he is playing under winter rules).
If you carry a handicap, rounds played under winter rules must be reported for handicap purposes.
Wood
A club normally used for distance shots. It can be made of wood, metal, or graphite.
Wooden Cleek
The name of a golf club that was used in the mid-late 1800's through the early part of the 20th century that had a wooden head club and was lofted at about 18 degrees.
Worm Burner
A poor shot characterized by the ball not getting airborne and simply rolling fast along the ground.

X
X
What you put on your score card when you do not finish a hole. A common optical illusion makes it look like a four or a five.
X Factor
Applies to the differential between hip angle and shoulder angle during a golfer's backswing.
X Out (X-Outs)
Usually top grade balls with a slight cosmetic or manufacturing defect, X-outs are identified by a row of X’s somewhere on the cover.

Y
Yank
A putt that is pulled to the left for a right handed golfer, to the right for a left handed golfer.
Yardage (distance) chart
A plan of the holes on a course showing the distance from one point to another. It can be printed by the course or prepared by the golfer or his caddie.
Yardage Marker
An object that indicates how far a specific location id from the hole. Yardage markers are often found at 200, 150, 100 and 50 yard intervals from the green. The markers may be trees or bushes along the sides of the fairway or rough or may be plastic, cement or similar objects sunk in the ground in the center of the fairways.
Yips
The condition, either mental or physical, in which a golfer cannot seem to make short putts, or may not even be able to get them close. A short putt that is missed badly is said to be "yipped".

Z
Zinger
A shot that takes off from the head of the club and files toward the target reminiscent of a line drive in baseball. Often associated with a shot hit thin.
Zone (The Zone) (In the Zone)
When everything you do is right, and you know it's right before you do it, that's the zone, you're in the zone. The number of times you get to visit the zone, and the amount of time you spend there, is in direct proportion to your ability.
Zoomie
A drive that goes further than most drives ever hit by the golfer who smacked it.
Zoysia
Creeping, wiry grass, often used for fairways, roughs and/or greens.