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Golf Definitions

ADVISE: Any counsel or suggestion made by one golfer to another about the choice of club, method of play or making of a shot, which contains no more than five errors of fact, contradictory statements or harmful recommendations. Six or more such pieces of misinformation shall constitute a formal lesson.

ALL SQUARE: A term used in match play to indicate that both teams or individuals have cheated on an equal number of holes.

APPROACH SHOT: A shot which, if it had not caught the lip of the bunker and dropped back into the sand would have rolled across the green and gone into the water.

BACKSWING: The part of the swing that takes place after the ball has been improperly addressed but before it has been sent in the wrong direction.

BIRDIE: A mulligan, the best of one or more practice swings and a 20-foot “gimmie” putt.

CUP: The metal or plastic cylinder fitted into the hole in the green. Strictly speaking, it is only the liner of the hole. But in regular golf usage players will often say “cup” when they mean “hole,” just as they frequently will say “just in bounds” when they mean “just out of bounds,” “Oh, here it is” when they mean “I can’t find it,” and “five” when they mean “seven.”

DRESS: Although clothes in a variety of styles are acceptable on a golf course, the following should be remembered. Clothing should not: be visible to an individual with normal eyesight looking out the window of an orbiting space craft; be made of fabric derived from a substance that was mined or refined rather than grown or raised; be composed of more than eight separate colors or shades nor should bear four or more distinct emblems; be allowed when scuffed shoes should require repainting instead of shining.

ETIQUETTE: The rules of behavior in golf. There isn’t room for a complete list but a few of the important ones are: (a) Never put tees in your nose, (b) Never sneeze into your glove, (c) Never concede a chip shot, (d) Never hold a ball for another player to hit, (e) Never practice drives against a backboard, and (f) Never wear golf shoes to a dance.

FOLLOW-THROUGH: The part of the swing that take place after the ball has been struck but before the club has been thrown.

HOLE IN ONE: A ball which is hit directly from the tee into the hole on a single shot by a golfer playing alone.

LIP: Perimeter of grass surrounding the hole or remarks made by fellow golfers when your putt stops there.

LOCAL RULES: A set of regulations that are ignored by players on one specific course rather than by golfers as a whole.

PIN: Familiar term for flagstick. A ball that lands on the green even with the hole is “pin high.” A ball that lands right next to the hole, leaving a very short putt is “stiff to the pin.” Such putts are usually conceded, but some players insist on putting them anyway. These players are called “pinheads.”

SCORECARD: A piece of paper on which a player’s opening offer is written prior to the commencement of serious negotiations.

SHORT GAME: The short shots played around the green (chips, putts, pitches and sand trap blasts) and the cheap shots taken between the green and the next tee (quips, digs, cracks, slams and jests).

STROKE: Any forward movement of the club that is made with the intention of hitting and moving the ball that is observed by another golfer.

TAP-IN: A putt short enough to be missed on-handed.

TARGET LINE: An imaginary line from a player’s lie to the target which the ball would follow if an imaginary golfer hit it.

TIGHT LIE: Poor playing position in which the ball is lying low in the grass or sitting on a bald or bare spot. Also known as a “close lie” or, more commonly, as an “original lie,” “preliminary lie” or “former lie.”

WHIFF: A stroke that completely missed the ball. The more prevalent terms for this type of shot are “warm-up swing” or “practice swing.”

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