Golf Terminology 101: Essential Golf Lingo Every Player Should Know

Every field of human activity inevitably develops its own unique jargon, and golf is no exception. In fact, golfers have taken slang to a whole new level. Newcomers to the world of golf may find themselves wondering if they'd accidentally strolled into a birdwatcher convention, with all those mentions of albatrosses, eagles, and other birdies being thrown around.

To make your life easier and give you something to do while you're waiting for your new golf equipment to arrive from your preferred online golfing store, we've prepared a list of official and slang terms every golfer should know.

What are the essential golf-related terms to know?

Before getting to the actual terminology, remember that everyone was new at some point. There's no shame in not knowing every single term. That being said, if common golf terms sound like an alien language to you, you should take a few minutes to study the following list before packing your golf equipment and heading to your local golf club.

Must-know golf terms for beginners include:

  • Birdie. This is a 1 shot below par. For example, let's say you're playing a par-4: scoring a 3 on the hole would mean you scored a birdie.
  • Eagle. This is when you score 2 shots below par, eg., scoring 2 on the hole while playing a par-4.
  • Albatross, or double eagle, is when you hole out your second shot on par-5. This is a very rare occurrence for high-handicappers.
  • Bogey. This is when you finish the hole in 1 more stroke than the par (eg., 5 strokes on a par-4).
  • Double bogey. When you finish the hole in 2 more strokes than the par (eg., 6 strokes on a par-4).
  • Fairway. Most fields have a stretch of shorter grass that leads to the hole. You generally don't want to leave this part of the field if you can at all avoid it.
  • Sand trap. Also known as bunkers, these sand-filled areas line fairways and guard the greens. Avoid them at all costs.
  • Mulligan. This is when you redo your previous shot because you don't like how it turned out. They're frequently used among friends and beginners.
  • Rough. Areas of longer grass that line the fairway are called this. Try to keep the ball out of them.
  • Lie. The way a ball is resting on the ground. A ball that has come to rest on the green or the fairway is said to have a "good lie", whereas a ball that's in the sand trap or the rough is considered to have a "bad lie".
  • Hazards. Tall grass, sand traps, water, rocks, and all the other parts of the landscape that make a golfer's life more difficult.
  • Green. This refers to the area of finely trimmed grass at the end of each hole. 
  • 19th hole. Affectionate term for a clubhouse bar.

Intermediate terms for advanced players include:

  • Par. How many strokes you should theoretically take to finish a particular hole. For instance, on a par-4 hole, you shouldn't need more than 4 strokes to get the ball in the hole.
  • Handicap. This is your "potential" average score in relation to par. Players who are high-handicappers are generally considered worse or inexperienced at the game of golf.
  • Ace. Also known as a hole-in-one, is the best score a golfer can get. It means you can put a nice, big "1" on the scoreboard. Aces happen so rarely that players who score them commonly buy their group a round of drinks to celebrate.
  • Gimme putt. This is when the ball is so close to the hole that putting it inside becomes a mere formality, in which case your fellow competitors may simply give you the putt to save time. 
  • Flop shot. These shots land softly after going very high into the air. They’re commonly done using a sand or lob wedge.
  • Fore. This is what you shout when you hit a bad shot. The goal is to alert all of the players on the field that a stray ball may be flying toward them.
  • Scratch. What every amateur player hopes to become one day. These skilled and experienced golfers have a handicap of 0, which means they usually shoot par or better.
  • Three-putt. This is when you need three putts to put the ball in the hole. If you find yourself getting these on a semi-regular basis, consider visiting an online golfing store and ordering a quality putter.
  • Shank. This is when you strike the ball with the hosel of the club. Avoid this at all costs.
  • Slope. This number attempts to determine how difficult a particular golf course is for the average amateur player. It ranges from 55-155, with higher values denoting a harder course.
  • Match play. When golfers go at it one on one and compete against one another on a hole-by-hole basis.
  • Divot. The chunk of earth you tear out of the ground after hitting a shot. Be sure to replace these.
  • Fat. A divot turns into this when you rip out too much turf after you hit your shot.
  • Caddie. The person who carries your clubs while the round is ongoing.
  • Ranger. This is an employee of the golf course whose job it is to make sure games are proceeding at an acceptable pace. If a ranger visits you, it means you're playing too slowly.

What is the best online golfing equipment store available today?

BombTech Golf specializes in designing, manufacturing, and selling modern golf club sets that combine quality materials, eye-catching aesthetics, and competitive pricing. Our products are sold directly to our customers through our online golfing equipment store, allowing us to offer better value than any of our competitors.

We're also passionate golfers in our own right and strive to share our love of the game with as many people as possible. Our blog is full of handy information, including a guide on how to prevent golf-related injuries, useful tips on how to manage different golf courses, how to golf in the rain like a pro, how to become good at winter golfing, and more.

Visit our online golf store today, or call us directly if you'd like to learn more about our company and our 60 day guarantees.

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