Golf Glossary: Everything You Need To Know About Golf
It can take years on the course to become an expert in the terminology of golf. The only thing golfers may enjoy more than a few drinks after their round is finding better ways to describe their golf shots. Here is my golf glossary A – B. These golf sayings are always tweaking and changing. So here is my easy guide in one place.
I’ve pulled together a total glossary of golfing terms and slang. I’m pretty sure it covers 99% of everything you need to know!
Comment below – did I miss any favorites?
The aim line is an imaginary line that a golfer intends to start the ball travelling upon. When standing in a neutral stance, a golfer aims to hit the ball straight, and this line is pointed directly at the target (usually the hole).
All Square (A/S)
In golf, “all square” means that opposing players (or teams) have an equal number of points or holes in their favor. This term comes from match play, a format of golf where players compete hole-by-hole, with the winner of each hole earning a point.
An “ace” is a hole-in-one, which is achieved when a golfer hits the ball into the hole on their first shot for that hole. Aces are most commonly achieved on par 3 holes, which are shorter holes that require the golfer to hit the ball directly onto the green.
An approach shot is any shot aimed at reaching the green. These shots are usually taken with irons and are intended to be accurate and land the ball on the green.
An “albatross” is a score of three shots under par on a golf hole. This is a very rare occurrence and usually happens when a golfer gets a score of 2 strokes on a par 5. Even rarer is a hole-in-one on a par 4.
The apron is the area of well-trimmed grass surrounding the green. It is also sometimes called the fringe.
Above the Hole
“Above the hole” is a putting term referring to anything that is uphill from the hole. Putts that are above the hole can be more difficult to make as they require more force to get the ball to the hole.
An alloy is a combination of different metals blended together to gain benefits from the mixture of the two substances. Golf club manufacturers often use alloys to create clubs that have specific properties, such as increased durability or improved performance.
The address is the position that the golfer takes up directly before swinging the club. This includes how the golfer stands, their grip on the club, and the position of the clubface.
With putters, the term “blade” is used to describe a club with a narrow club head from front to back. In relation to irons, it is the hitting area of the club, but it can also mean a type of iron which is traditional in shape and has no cavity back.
A ball retriever is a device used to collect the ball from awkward places like areas of water. They are often telescopic and designed to fit in a golf bag.
A ball marker is any object that is used to mark the position of a ball on the green. This is important because golfers are not allowed to touch their ball on the green unless they are marking its position.
A belly putter is a putter that is longer than a conventional putter, and the butt of the club rests on the torso of the golfer. This is used as a pivot point for the club to travel around. They are typically over 40 inches long, and when they reach around 45 inches, they become long putters. This putter type is surrounded by controversy due to claims that it makes putting too easy and violates the spirit of the game.
A buggy is an electric car used to transport golfers and their equipment around the course. They are often available to rent at golf courses.
Back weighting is usually found in woods to promote a higher trajectory and stability, or in mallet putters to promote a better roll of the ball and a more stable club.
A broomhandle putter is a type of long putter where the grip is placed at the top of the shaft and is held against the chest. This putter type is also surrounded by controversy due to claims that it makes putting too easy and violates the spirit of the game.
The backswing is the part of the golf swing that starts at the address position and ends at the top of the swing. To a large extent, the backswing determines how the club is swung on the through-swing.
A “bandit” is a term used to describe someone that plays golf better than their handicap suggests. This can be frustrating for other players, who may feel like they are playing against someone who is cheating the system.
“Bounce” is a term most commonly used when describing wedges (although all clubs have a value). It refers to the angle of the bottom surface of the club in relation to the ground. A high bounce in a wedge is useful for soft surfaces like sand, while low bounce angles are good for tighter and harder lies.
Also known as the ten-finger grip, the baseball grip is a way to hold the golf club. All ten fingers make contact with the grip, with the left hand high and the right hand low on the grip (for a right-handed player). It is seldom taught, however, some junior players and people with weak hands often find this grip helpful.
Below the Hole
“Below the hole” refers to the low side of the hole, the ground that lies downhill of the hole. Putts that are below the hole are generally easier to make, as gravity can help pull the ball into the hole.
The balance point is the precise location on the golf shaft where the club head end of the golf club and the grip end of the club balance when placed on a fulcrum. Finding the right balance point can help a golfer to hit the ball more consistently and with better accuracy.
Balata was the most popular choice for spin golf balls until the introduction of more durable materials like Surlyn. It is used to make the cover of the ball but is notoriously easy to damage when playing golf. Balata-covered balls are still used by some professionals who prefer the increased spin they provide.
To “block” the ball is to hit it straight and to the right of the target (for a right-handed player). The same as a push shot.
“Bore-through” is a way of attaching the golf shaft to the club head. A hole is drilled in the club head for the shaft to enter. In a bore-through club head, the hole continues through the bottom of the club head. Manufacturers like Callaway use this method and claim that it allows the redistribution of weight to more important areas.
When putting or chipping, “break” refers to how much the ball moves due to the slope of the green. This is an important factor to consider when lining up a putt, as it can dramatically affect how the ball rolls towards the hole.
A “bent shaft” is a type of shaft used with some putters to allow for different amounts of offset and for visual purposes. For example, some allow a clearer view of the golf ball at address giving a better view for alignment.
“Backspin” is the spin on the ball that causes it to rise up into the air and then stop quickly when it lands. This is an important factor for golfers to consider when hitting shots on the green, as it can help the ball to stop close to the hole. It is also needed to gain maximum distance on all shots as it provides the ball with aerodynamic lift.
The back nine is the second nine holes on an 18-hole course, also known as the inward nine or simply “in.” This is the portion of the course that a golfer plays after completing the front nine.
When chipping or putting, many teachers advocate the use of stiff wrists, meaning that the hands should not remain at a constant angle to the forearms. The breaking of wrists is an unwanted trait that reduces consistency and is a common cause of topping the ball, chili-dipping, and excessive power. Players often resort to breaking their wrists when trying to gain extra height on chips and pitches, or for more power on putts.
The “butt” is the very end of the club on the side where the grip is located. Often there is a hole in the top of the butt, which is often used as a reference point in golf instruction.
Bump & Run
A bump and run shot is a shot that is deliberately played along the ground or at a very low trajectory with several bounces before it reaches the target. This shot is used extensively on links courses which have notoriously hard greens and windy conditions that do not favor high-lofted shots. The purpose is to roll the ball up to the green or to feed the ball into toward the hole, much like a chip shot.
“Borrow” is how far to one side of the hole a golfer has to aim to account for the slope of the green. This is an important consideration when lining up a putt, as it can dramatically affect how the ball rolls towards the hole.
A bunker is an area on the course which is emptied of turf and prepared as a hazard by filling it with sand or a similar substance. The lip of a bunker that is not covered in grass is also considered part of the bunker. Certain rules apply when playing from bunkers that are different from normal play.
Better ball is a format of team match play where each golfer plays with their own ball. The player who gets the best score wins the hole for their team.
A blast shot is a shot used predominantly in bunkers, which aims to strike the ground underneath the ball at a precise depth so that the ball is not directly hit by the club but rather is moved with the sand or other material. This shot is used to lift the ball out of the bunker and onto the green.
A “birdie” is a score of one under the par of the hole. For example, if the hole is a par 4, a birdie would be a score of 3.
A “bogey” is a score of one over the par of the hole. For example, if the hole is a par 4, a bogey would be a score of 5.
If you’re looking to improve your golf why not check out our other article on the best cheap golf rangefinders, or have a look at our best golf balls for beginner golfers. We also review the best golf simulators to help improve your golf whilst at home.