Golf Terms

Is A 12 Handicap Good?

Is A 12 Handicap Good?

A 12 handicap in golf is generally considered average. It indicates a golfer who consistently shoots 12 strokes above the course rating. While there may be varying opinions on what…

Golf Shank

How to Fix Your Golf Shank

Phew, you think you’re having a swell time golfing, then boom, everything goes south at the speed of light at your mix shot. Many have voiced expletives that start with…

Birdie in Golf

What Is a Birdie in Golf?

In all honesty, the powers that be have chosen some incredibly funny words to describe the game of golf. Have you ever wondered where these words have come from? Have…

Golf Ball Weight

Golf Ball Weight

Have you ever wondered about the exact weight of a golf ball? Golfing geeks and people that find this topic interesting may know the answer to this question already. If…

What Is an Eagle in Golf?

What Is an Eagle in Golf?

The game of golf uses a wide variety of terms, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. If you’re new to the game, hearing the word “eagle” floating around…

Fairway in Golf

What Is a Fairway in Golf?

The question remains: what is a fairway in golf? As an avid golfer myself, the best way I can explain it to you is to consider a set of lines…

Albatross in Golf

What Is an Albatross in Golf?

When you first begin playing golf, you’ll recognize a number of weird rules and terms that you never heard of before. Some of the words used to describe this game…

Provisional Ball in Golf

What Is a Provisional Ball in Golf?

Golf certainly has its fair share of frustrating rules. But one role in particular definitely plays in a golfer’s favor on occasion: the provisional ball. By properly using this rule…


Ever gone to the golf course and heard your buddies ramble some stuff you’ve never heard of? Yeah, I get you. That was me for the first time. However, I get the hang of it through loads of research. You’ve gotta understand the golfing lingo – it’s one of those things you can’t escape. Don’t fret! I am here to help you.

Approximately one-third of the American population is familiar with golf or has interacted with the game in some form. More than 40 million people have played god over the last year. The numerous health benefits of the game are another enticing factor for luring adults and the elderly. How awesome is that? The game can be a pastime and a healthy workout! However, excelling at the game requires practice and knowledge. Swinging that golf club is no walk in the park!

To master those, we must be aware of all the ins and outs of the games. The initial step for this journey of becoming a successful golf player is learning golf terms. Ready, pal? Let’s get ‘em!

Golf Terms

Scoring Terms

Following are some of the terms every beginner hears after a well-executed shot.

Condor

It is the most remarkable and phenomenal shot in golf. Most beginners and intermediate players are unfamiliar with the term. It is understandable, as only five people in history have been able to execute a condor. Can you believe that! My jaw dropped when I first learned that fact!

The groundbreaking shot is a hole-in-one at par-5. In the case of 6-par, it will be two 4 strokes under the hole. Therefore, in only 2 strokes, a dexterous golfer can pull off a condor. The most recent condor shot was in 2020 in California at a par-6 hole. The odds of getting a condor in golf are 1 to a million. It is the highest honor a golfer can behold. Imagine yourself getting there! I know I did – I still am.

Ace

An ace is one of the most appreciable achievements any golf player can pull off. A hole in one term also indicates it. It is when the final swing lands the ball directly into the hole. Most players accomplish the ace in 3 pars.

Their shorter distance is ideal for getting the ace. However, some may also get one in 4-pars. After an ace, the player will get 1 on their scorecard. The rarest and most admirable shot in golf also binds the player to treat the club members and friends. A cold beverage is my go-to option to celebrate the hole-in-one shot.

Albatross

An albatross on your scorecard can bring all glory around your way. It is one of the most exceptional feats that only highly trained golfers can achieve. An albatross can be the shining star you need for your career.

The shot is possible with 3 par under. Therefore, most players get an albatross in a 5-par shot. In a few cases, a 4 par may also pave the way for albatross. The rules of getting an albatross do not align with lower pars, such as 3 par. Therefore, you cannot score 1 here.

The par-5 second shot depends upon both your stroke and assessment to pull off a putt that leads the ball into the hole. A double eagle is a sign of absolute excellence in golf but with practice, even beginners can nail it.

Eagle

An eagle is another one of the shots that beginners can struggle with. An eagle is an under-par shot. 2 scores below the par will be your key to getting an eagle. All you need to do is deduct 2 from the par, and you’ll get the strokes for an eagle. There is no eagle on a 3-par. In such cases, a single stroke leading your ball into the hole gets you an ace. Therefore, an eagle is only possible on a higher par, such as pars 4 and 5.

In a rare golf pitch with a par 6, you get the eagle in 4 strokes. Golfers with great hitting power and ground assessment skills can pull off an eagle. Therefore, if beginners want to execute the shot they should aim for it at par 5.

In the case of shorter par, there is not much leverage for error. I would suggest amateur players also try their luck at par 6. Eagle also distinguishes the average players from the experts and provides them with a higher chance of winning.

Birdie

Birdie is a golf shot of one-stroke short of the par. For a birdie, you must perform a long powerful stroke and then a few putts to get the ball in the hole. The birdie term became popular during the 900s.

The exact origin of the word is still debated. However, it is said that a golf club in New Jersey laid the foundation stone for birdies. The early golfers used birdies to describe an amazing golf shot. It was often followed by high-fives and cheering from fellow golfers. Birdies can boost the confidence of golfers enabling them to aim for much greater shots.

A birdie can give a maximum score of 2 points on your card. If the points exceed three, then your shot will get the eagle. Birdies are my favorite golf moves. They can elevate your morale if you execute them properly.

Par

Par is the standard that gives the golfer an estimate for the required stroke. Every group has a variation of pars. There is a specified number of 3, 4, and 5 pars. Some clubs may also have a 6 par. However, they are not quite prevalent among golf clubs. The pars are also used to describe golf clubs.

If you come across a par 4 club, all the holes will be at a measured distance of 4 pars. On a golf ground with 8 holes, there are usually 4 to 6 par-3 holes and 10 to 12 par-4 holes.

The remaining is par-5 and in uncommon circumstances, par-6. The par-3 holes are the shortest in the ground. Therefore, I recommend all beginners to practice at a par-3. The distance of par-3 can range from 100 to 250 yards depending upon certain factors. The set of tees plays a significant role in determining the yard for a par-3 hole.

In the case of a more uphill tee, the effective playing length for such scenarios becomes smaller. Therefore, such holes are measured at a longer yard length. A par-4 hole measles up to 400 yards. In contrast, a par-5 is more than 470 yards. In the case of par-3 three strokes can help golfers swing the ball in the hole.

These usually include a long stroke and then two putts in case of a 3-par hole. The number of putts and strokes starts increasing with the par. You may hear players say they have par golf gameplay. It usually indicates that the average points on their cards are approximately 70. Are you with me? Good! Let’s go on.

Bogey

Each par defines the nur of strokes and putts a golfer needs to get the shot. In most cases, the number may fall short of the par. However, there are some scenarios where a golfer attains a stroke higher than the par. In such cases, they get a bogey on their score. In a par 3 hole, you may take two strokes and two putts.

A player with a bogey gameplay usually has a quite high score on a 72-par ground. It is not a sign of an adept golfer. Most beginners have a bogey. They have an average of roughly 90. However, for beginners, even these points can be an accomplishment. These indicate that you are making strides toward your goal of becoming a successful golfer.

Double Bogey

Double bogey is something a player experiences quite often during the informal practice session. In gameplay, a double bogey can severely impact your score and rank. Continuously getting double bogey may even lower your winning chances.

Two more strokes than the par indicate a double bogey. In the case of a par-3 hole, you get the shot in 5 strokes. These usually involve 3 strokes and two putts. However, these numbers can vary depending on your shot and skillset.

A double bogey on a 3-par would mean your gameplay requires more practice. Most competitive players would be devastated at scoring a higher number of double bogeys.

Triple Bogey

A trip or triple bogey stands for three scores above par. When you carry out multiple strokes before the ball sinks into the hole, it might be a triple bogey. It may even further reduce your scoring average and score.

Amateur golfers are known for triple bogeys. However, professional golfers are determined to not have a triple bogey. For a 3-par hole, a triple bogey will grant you a score of 6 on your card. It includes 4 strikes and two putts for the ball to sink into the hole.

The poor scores due to the trip are frequent during recreational golf. However, making a bogey does not nullify your credibility as a golfer. I, too, have committed triple bogeys during the gameplay. Therefore, the key is to keep the number of bogeys minimal and try to balance it with an eagle or albatross.

Popular Terms

Following are some of the terms beginners frequently hear at golf clubs.

Caddies

The origin of the term dates back to the Mary Queen of Scots. She was the first known prominent woman golfer. The French cadet used to carry the equipment for her while she played.

She brought the word-to-back song with other customs. Therefore, today caddies, like the famous “Bones,” are the people that help you carry your golf irons and bags. Caddies should possess knowledge of the games and the scores. They can help you differentiate between different shots to get the correct mark on the scorecard.

Caddies hand you the clubs as you play. They may also identify the holes and help you navigate the greens. Caddies can also assist your entire group and may even provide additional tips to get low scores and excel at the game.

Some also have rangefinders to help them measure the length from the tee to the hole. You may also hear the term caddies. These are the people that can find the hole in the ground. Most caddies will drive the cart as you move across the golf course.

Fore

On a golf course, beginners usually hear the word fore. It is used as a warning and as a reminder for the player to protect themselves. The term was adopted from the battlefields. The front soldier used to shout beware before. It helped the other soldiers to protect themselves from grenades of bullets.

The golfers in earlier centuries picked up the term to alter the surrounding players. When a ball is near another player and may hit them the golfer should fore. The speed of the ball is usually above 180mph. In the case of beginners, it might be around 130 mph.

If you get in contact with such a ball you might injure yourself. As soon as you hear fore, it is advisable to get cover. You can hide in trees or while sitting in the cart or simply move away.

Tee

The most common golf term indicates the point where you place your ball. The tee box is the region from where you aim to hit your ball. There are tee markers that can help you place the ball for your next shot. Keep your ball some distance behind these to avoid any penalty.

Fairway

The region in the green lies 30 or more yards away from the tee. The golfers intend to land their balls in the fairway. The shortened grass there provides them with a high possibility of hitting the ball in the hole during the second shot.

Green

It is the area that contains the hole. There are several flags in the green to make yard distance. The ball reaches the green before going into the hole. The length of the green also depends upon the pars.

Fringe

It is the region adjacent to the green. It has slightly longer and thicker grass. If your ball ends up at the fringe you can simply put it into the green.

Rough

The patch of grass is thicker than the rest. A ball in the rough will require more effort from the golfer. A putt cannot take it back into the green. You might have to aim for your second stroke from the rough.

Putt

Putt is a gentle push to the ball. It takes the ball directly into the hole. Putts are more common on the fairway. Players may even attempt them from the fringe. To have a lower score average on your score card you should only make one or two putts.

The number of putts allowed per shot also depends upon the par. However, players may even go for a higher putt in a bogey shot.

Bunkers

Bunkers are specialized sand regions to test a player’s ability. These are constructed in the ground due to their presence in the early golf clubs. The bunkers are still included in the modern grounds and are a challenge to the pliers.

These can either be closer to the fairway or green. Taking the ball out of the bunker requires precision and accurate judgment. The players cannot use ordinary clubs. They cannot carry out the shots using the usual techniques.

The chance of getting penalized is quite high while playing bunker shots. If you ground your golf iron into the sand pit before taking the stroke you will get a penalty. These are mostly placed on a higher par hole or ground.

Links

The traditional golf grounds found across Europe went by the name of Link. These link-style golf courses were more prevalent in Scotland. The modern club in the US usually does not have link-style grounds. Therefore, it is wrong to refer to them as such. Link golf courses have numerous distinctive features. These include sand pits and fine grass.

Slopes

Slopes in a golf course are the benchmark of difficulty levels. These are present on your scorecard to estimate the efforts beginners have to put into the game.

Scratch

Most beginners can attain proficiency in golf by becoming a scratch golfer. When the players shoot the ball at par they get the title. Such golfers have an average of 72.

Handicap

The mean of all the above-par scores is a handicap. For a 20 handicap, you will have an average of 92. In the case of 0, it will be 72. Scratch golfers have a 0 on the handicap scale. However, they do not prevent you from playing with players of lower average.

Short-sided

If you hit the ball to either side of the hole missing the green you get short-sided. The players have less area to play the next shot. Therefore putting the ball in the hole becomes quite difficult.

Funny Slags

Following are some of the terms that create light banter during the game.

Mulligan

Mulligan is every time you hit a dissatisfying shot. You may even call it a trial shot among our friend circle. It is assumed that you were not warmed up enough to play the shot. However, you cannot do a mulligan during a competition.

Chunk

Chunk is a miscalculated shot that does not have a constructive outcome. A chunk occurs when hitting the ground before hitting the ball. It causes you to miss the target. The ball lands only a few yards away from your position.

If your ball goes far beyond the target then you get the thin. These scenarios are likely to happen when you inaccurately use the club irons.

Gimme Putt

When you are so close to the hole that you nudge your friend saying gimme the putt.

Flop Shots

The lob shots stp as soon as they reach the green. They are also considered trick-shots by the exceptional golf players; they can then turn around the game by taking a putt or another stroke to land the ball in the hole.

Yips

Most golfers suffer from wrist spasms called yips. These occur whenever a player tries to putt the ball. They may cause the player to have a swing stance which may lead to an ineffective putt.

In most cases, the payer’s anxiety leads to the yips. However, certain underlying medical conditions may give rise to the problem. Therefore, the players must consult the physicians if the yips persist.

Shank

Most players dread the shank and dare not utter the name. Shank is when the club irons do not hit the ball correctly. The hosel of your club hits the ball, and it takes off at 45 degrees.

The club face misses the ball, landing way off from your target. The golf shank is considered a superstitious and contagious phenomenon. Golfers usually associate it with bad luck. Its malignancy is so powerful that all players in a group end up having shanks. However, I always recommend my fellows to keep the anxiety away and let the shank die a natural death.

Topped Shot

Golfers also become anxious about taking a topped shot. It is the point when the bottom of the iron hits the top region of the ball. As a result, it only covers a few yards from your position.

Fried Egg

A fried egg occurs when a ball becomes deeply buried in the sand pitch. It requires golfers a great deal of strategic planning to pull it out.

FAQs

What Is the Most Successful Shot in Golf?

Condor is the most phenomenal shot in golf. However, albatross and a hole-in-one are also pretty decent shots. Only the most proficient players can pull these off.

Where Did Golf Come From?

Golf came from Scotland. It was mostly played in Edinburgh and the surrounding regions. That is why today most of the terms are inherited from Scottish lingo.

What Shot Should Beginners Aim For?

Beginners should begin their golf career slowly but steadily. They should first be determined to become a scratch golfer. It is the highest achievement for amateurs. They can have bogeys along the way however, they should keep their average between 70 and 80.

Conclusion

Whew! That was a lot, wasn’t it? But it was worth it! Beginners can only excel at the game if they are familiar with the terms. It makes you feel part of the game and more so, part of the elite squad of golfers, especially during banter.  Learning the golf terms can help you understand most of the gameplay. Therefore, take your time and be clear about the rules and the terms. The preparation will give you the headstart you need.

About 

Christopher is an avid golfer who calls Miami home. As a Phil Mickelson fan, he set up this website as an informational portal for all other fans of "Lefty." He also occasionally reviews equipment and golf training programs, but admits he'd rather be on the course than anywhere.

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