Letter R - Golf Definitions, Terms, Vocabulary and Slang
R Handicap Type
Handicap automatically reduced for exceptional tournament performance
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.
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.
A practice facility. "Driving Range."
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.
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.
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.
In ready golf each player may "fire when ready," a procedure instituted to speed up play.
The point in the downswing at which the wrists uncock. A late release (creating "lag") is one of the keys to a powerful swing.
Term given to under par scores in a tournament.
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.
To hit an errant tee shot and tee up a second ball.
A name given to any number of clubs that combine features of a wood and an iron.
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.
A shot which circles the lip of the hole without dropping in (the ball rolls back onto the green from the cup).
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.
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.
The measure of face curvature from crown to sole on woods.
Term given to a shot that does not get airborne and simply rolls along the ground.
Term for a low, hard hook that will run great distances after hitting the ground.
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.
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.
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.
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.