HomeSportLearning golf — Part eight, golf terms/words

Learning golf — Part eight, golf terms/words


Having been welcomed to playing the game of golf you now need to be welcomed to the golf terms/words too. I previously pointed out that every sport is governed by specific rules that relate to it. Some golf terms you are going to come across and become accustomed to can be puzzling. It can be a very boring day if you are the only non-golfer or beginner who happens to be among two or three enthusiastic golfers.

There is that instinct among the sports persons, of wanting to share with others how they fared on the course or field, particularly if they will have done  very well. You will for example hear some expressions like, “I missed a birdie/bird”, or “I got a birdie”, and another one saying, “oh! on that same hole I missed an eagle last week”. You may then wonder what exactly these people were doing on the golf course. Does it not sound like they were hunting birds?  No, not it, these are golf terms. Do not be puzzled any more as I am going to go through some of them. However, I will not be able to cover all of them in this week’s issue.

Today I will list a number of those golf terms/words. Know them, and as you play golf with others, ask for the meanings of any terms you do not know or understand, and if you are in the rural areas, if you meet visiting people in your areas who have some knowledge of golf, take advantage of their presence and ask them. Of the terms/words listed below, whatever I am not able to cover today will be dealt with at a later date: pro shop, club house, captain, president, air shot/fresh air, par, albastros, eagle, birdie/bird, bogey, double bogey, double eagle, hole in one, ace, two club, under, over, stroke, mulligan, hacker/duffer, amateur, professional, regulation, sudden death, teeing ground, tee box, front tees, back tees, pin, nearest the pin,  sweet spot, tee, greens fees, fringe, gimmie, ob,  stance, stipulated round of golf, bunker, fairway, handicap, fore!, driver, overclub, underclub, cut, carry, course rating, yips, shank, dogleg, dogleg left, dogleg right,  address, caddie, fore caddie, score card, most golf, nineteenth hole.

Today I am just going to explain a  few terms/words and leave the rest for the next time. Par — the number of strokes/hits expected to be made by a professional, scratch golfer and some low handicapped players. If you dig deep into the origins of some of the golf terms or words, you will discover that the words par and bogey were at one time treated the same. Players who had reached a stage where their game were nearly flukeless set the standard which was to become the benchmark of a good score for certain distances.

There are three groups of holes differentiated by their lengths. In a stipulated round of golf which is 18 holes, there are normally 4 par 3’s commonly known as short holes, of length of approximately 100 to 190 metres; 4 par 5’s, and finally 10 par 4’s. The number of strokes expected of a professional or a scratch handicap player is denoted the word par. For a par 3, the pro or a scratch player is expected to hole out on three strokes. They are expected to be on the green in regulation, which means that they should make two putts on every hole irrespective of whether they are par 3, 4, or 5 and end up with a par. Par 3’s are the shortest holes on the course followed by par 4’s and lastly par 5’s.

Having decided to separate a par from a bogey, it was agreed that any score which was one over par for example on par 3 a score of 4 was to be called a bogey or one over. Double bogey therefore means 2 over par. Par 3 is where most of the hole in ones’ are made where a player’s ball played from the tee box ends up rolling into the hole after a single stroke (hit). Another name for a hole in one is ace.  If you play so well that your score on a hole is less than the par of that hole there are special terms/words given for those exceptional achievements. Thus a birdie/bird is a score of one under par. Eagle is two under par, and an albatross is three under par.

Shank — the worst shot in golf, the ball will have been struck at the hosel and it will shoot sharply to the right. Cut — on a cut shot, the ball will bend towards the right. Sudden death — this is applied when say two players will have come up tied i.e having the same scores. They are made to play extra holes and the first to win a hole becomes the winner. Sweet Spot — the central part of the club face where if the ball is struck at, it produces a perfect shot and you will feel it too. So please endeavour to strike the balls at the club face’s sweet spot every time. YOU ALSO CAN.

For any feedback/ comments and any assistance you may need contact the writer, Tavenganiswa Mabikacheche at The Centre for Training and Research Services on email:  or mobile no. 263712200922 /263772319612

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading