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 S – T. 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?
A stepless shaft is a type of golf club shaft that has a smooth, uninterrupted transition in diameter from the grip to the club head. This differs from traditional steel shafts, which have visible steps or sections of varying diameters along the length of the shaft. Stepless shafts are designed to provide a more consistent feel and performance, as the absence of steps can reduce vibration and improve the transfer of energy from the golfer’s swing to the ball.
The sweet spot is a term used in golf to describe the ideal location on the clubface for striking the ball. It is generally the spot that offers both the best distance and the nicest feel upon impact with the ball. While the exact location of the sweet spot can vary depending on the club, it is typically near the center of the clubface. Hitting the ball on the sweet spot can result in a more solid and accurate shot.
A shotgun start is a method of starting a golf tournament in which all golfers begin their round at the same time, but at different holes on the course. For example, if the tournament has 18 holes, groups of golfers may start simultaneously at holes 1 through 18. This allows for a faster pace of play and can also create a more exciting atmosphere as multiple groups are starting and finishing their rounds at the same time.
In golf, a stroke refers to any attempt to hit the ball, regardless of whether the ball is actually struck or not. Each stroke is counted towards the golfer’s score for the hole and the round.
Square grooves, also known as U-grooves, are found on the clubfaces of irons and wedges and are designed to create greater backspin on the ball than other legal types of grooves, such as V-grooves. Square grooves have sharp edges that can grip the ball and create more friction, leading to greater spin and control on approach shots.
A stimpmeter is a device used to measure the speed of a putting surface on a golf course. It is used by rolling a ball down a ramp at a consistent speed and measuring the distance it travels on the putting surface. This measurement is then used to determine the speed of the greens, which can affect the strategy and execution of putts during a round.
Swing speed refers to the speed at which the head of the golf club travels during the swing. The average male swing speed is around 90mph, while the average professional swings between around 115 and 125mph. Swing speed can impact a golfer’s distance, accuracy, and ability to control their shots.
Sink a Putt
To sink a putt is to successfully hit the ball into the hole on the putting green with one stroke. It is also commonly referred to as “holing a putt.”
The short game in golf refers to the range of shots played from approximately 100 yards or closer to the green. This includes shots such as pitching, chipping, and putting. The short game is often considered the most important aspect of a golfer’s game, as it can greatly impact their score and ability to recover from difficult situations on the course.
Scratch / Scratch Golfer
A scratch golfer is a player with a handicap of 0 or better, meaning they typically shoot par or better on a consistent basis. The term “scratch” comes from the idea that such a golfer would not need any strokes added or subtracted from their score to determine their net score in a round
A spike mark is a depression or hole left in the putting surface of a golf green as a result of the golfer’s spiked shoes. These marks can affect the line and speed of putts, making them a concern for golfers looking to sink their putts. Golfers are often advised to repair any spike marks they see on the putting surface to maintain the integrity of the course and ensure fair play for all golfers.
Sand Iron / Sand Wedge
A sand iron, also known as a sand wedge, is a type of golf club with a high loft designed to help golfers hit out of sand traps or bunkers. The clubhead is specifically designed to glide through the sand, allowing the golfer to make contact with the ball without getting stuck in the sand. Sand wedges typically have a loft between 54 and 58 degrees and are also used for a variety of other shots around the green.
Spin rate is a measurement of the amount of spin that is imparted on the ball during a shot, given in revolutions per minute (RPM). High spin rates can lead to greater control and stopping power on approach shots, but can also result in more side spin and potential accuracy issues.
The shaft is the long, tapered part of the golf club that connects the clubhead to the grip. It is often referred to as the “engine” of the club and can greatly impact a golfer’s performance. Shafts come in a variety of lengths, materials, and flexes to suit different swing speeds and player preferences.
A slice is a type of shot in golf that curves severely to the right (for a right-handed golfer) and often results in a loss of distance and accuracy. Slices are typically caused by an open clubface or an out-to-in swing path.
A stepped shaft is a type of golf club shaft that has distinct steps or sections of varying diameter along the length of the shaft. These steps are designed to provide specific performance characteristics, such as increased stiffness or better vibration dampening. Stepped shafts are often used in steel shafts, while stepless shafts are used in graphite shafts.
Stroke play is the most common method of scoring in golf, in which each golfer tallies their total number of strokes over the course of a round. The golfer with the lowest total score at the end of the round is the winner.
Spring Effect / Trampoline Effect
The spring effect, also known as the trampoline effect, is an attribute of many modern golf clubheads, particularly drivers, that allows the face of the club to flex at impact and increase the transfer of energy to the ball. This can result in greater distance and speed on shots hit with these clubs.
A strong loft is a term used to describe a club with a lower loft than usual. For example, a strong three wood may have a loft of 13 degrees instead of the more standard 15 degrees. Clubs with stronger lofts are often used to achieve greater distance on shots.
A shank is a type of mis-hit in golf where the ball strikes the hosel of the club instead of the clubface. This can result in a shot that goes in an unintended direction and often does not travel far.
A sand save is a term used to describe getting the ball into the hole within two shots of being in a bunker. It can also refer to making par on a hole where the golfer has been in a bunker at any point. Sand saves can be an important part of a golfer’s strategy for scoring well on a course.
Shot making refers to the ability of a golfer to control the trajectory, direction, and distance of their shots. It involves using different clubs, shot types, and techniques to adapt to the varying conditions of a golf course and achieve the desired outcome on each shot.
Stymie is a term used in golf to describe a situation where a golfer’s ball is in the path of another golfer’s putt, obstructing their direct line to the hole. This was once a legal tactic in golf, as the obstructed golfer would have to play around the ball, but it is no longer allowed under the modern rules of golf. Instead, the obstructing ball must be marked and moved to allow the obstructed golfer to make a direct putt toward the hole.
Spikes are the studs or cleats that are attached to the bottom of golf shoes to provide traction and stability during the golf swing. Different types of spikes are available, including metal and plastic, and golfers can choose the type of spikes that work best for their playing style and the course conditions.
Swing weight is a measurement of a golf club’s balance, and it is represented by a letter and number. Club makers can adjust the balance of a club by adding or removing weight to different parts of the clubhead or shaft, which can affect a golfer’s swing and performance.
Stroke Index (SI)
Stroke index is a rating system used to rank the difficulty of each hole on a golf course, from hardest (SI 1) to easiest (SI 18). This rating is used to adjust a golfer’s handicap and calculate their net score, allowing for fair competition among golfers of different skill levels.
The sole of a golf club is the part of the clubhead that rests on the ground at address. The design of the sole can greatly impact the way the club interacts with the turf and the ball, and different types of soles are available to suit different playing styles and course conditions.
Through Swing / Follow Through
The through swing, also known as the follow through, is the part of the golf swing that occurs after the ball has been struck. It involves the golfer’s body and club continuing in the direction of the shot and can greatly impact the flight and direction of the ball.
Trajectory is the path that the golf ball takes through the air after it has been struck. The trajectory can be affected by a variety of factors, including the angle of the clubface, the loft of the club, and the speed and direction of the golf swing.
The toe of a golf club is the part of the clubhead that is farthest from the shaft or hosel. Toe hits are a common mis-hit in golf and can result in shots that travel shorter distances and have less accuracy than intended.
Tungsten is a dense metal that is often used in golf club construction to add strategic weight and improve the moment of inertia (MOI) of the club. Tungsten inserts are commonly found in putters and other clubs to provide greater stability and accuracy.
The Texas wedge is a term used to describe using a putter for shots that are played off the green, typically from the fringe or rough. This technique is often used to keep the ball low and rolling on the ground, rather than flying through the air.
The Tiger line is a term used to describe a straight shot hit directly at the green, often over an obstacle, in homage to the golfing legend Tiger Woods. This shot requires accuracy and skill to pull off successfully.
A travel cover is a protective covering used to transport golf bags during transit. These covers come in a variety of styles and materials, including hard and soft covers, and are designed to protect the clubs from damage during transportation.
The top line of an iron is the part of the clubhead that is visible when looking down at the club in the address position. This line can vary in thickness and shape depending on the design of the club and can affect the golfer’s confidence and visual perception of the club.
Tempo is the rhythm and timing of a golfer’s swing. It is an important aspect of a consistent and effective golf swing and can be developed through practice and training.
A thin shot in golf is when the ball is struck on the upper half of the ball or along its equator, rather than the bottom half. This often results in a low, skimming shot that travels a shorter distance than intended.
A tight lie is a lie where the ball sits very close to the ground with little or no grass underneath it. These lies offer little margin for error and can be challenging to hit, requiring a precise and controlled shot.
A tap in is a very short putt that requires minimal skill or effort to complete. These putts are typically very close to the hole and can often be completed with a simple tap of the putter.
A topped ball is a mis-hit shot in golf where the ball is struck on or near the top of the ball rather than the center or bottom. This can result in a shot that travels a short distance and has a low trajectory.
The trampoline effect is a characteristic of some modern drivers where the clubface flexes inward upon impact with the ball, increasing the transfer of energy and resulting in a greater distance on the shot.
Toe in is a term used to describe a golf club with a closed face, meaning the toe of the club is angled slightly inward toward the golfer at address. This can affect the ball flight and direction and is typically a result of a golfer’s swing path and clubface angle.
Keep reading Golf Glossary U – Z
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.