Monday, December 5, 2011

Golf 101: Terminology

After I was finished giving rules and format announcements to our Frostbite Open participants this weekend, I realized that I was using some terms that not every golfer quite understands. Although some of these terms seem very basic to some of us, I thought I would go through and give a brief definition of twenty-five of the more commonly used golf terms. If there is a term that you don't understand that isn't listed below, please let me know and I will try and give you a good definition and understanding of it.

1. BACK NINE: The back nine consists of the last nine holes of a golf course.

2. BIRDIE: A birdie occurs when you finish any hole one shot below the par rating for that hole. For example, if you are on par 5 and you only take 4 shots to get your ball in the hole, then you have scored a birdie on that hole.

3. BOGEY: A bogey is the opposite of a birdie. A bogey occurs when you hit the ball into the hole using one more strike than par. So if you are on par 5 and you take 6 shots to get your golf ball in the hole, then you have scored a bogey.

4. CUP: The cup is simply another word the hole in the green which is the ultimate target for the golf ball.

5. DIVOT: A divot is a small piece of turf which is removed by your golf club when you hit a ball. Divots should be repaired (replaced) as a matter of basic golf course etiquette.

6. DRAW: A draw describes a shot which bends to the left (for right handed golfers).

7. FADE: A fade is a shot which sends the ball veering slightly to the right (for right-handed golfers).

8. FAIRWAY: The fairway is the playing area between the tee and the green. This does not include hazards.

9. FLAGSTICK: A flagstick is a movable marker that shows the location of the hole.

10. FRONT NINE: Front nine referes to the first nine holes of a golf course.

11. GREEN: The green area is a closely mowed area on which the hole is situated. It is also referred to as the putting surface.

12. HANDICAP: A handicap is a system of adjustment to the score system so that golfers of different skill levels can compete with one another without the better players dominating the game.

13. HONOR: To be 'given the honor' is to be granted the privilege of playing first within your group. Typically this is achieved by scoring the lowest of the group on the previous hole.

14. HAZARD: A hazard is a bunker, sand trap or water on the golf course that may cause golfers difficulty.

15. IMPEDIMENT: An impediment is loose debris around the ball which is obstructing your shot and which can be moved away from your ball.

16. LATERAL WATER HAZARD: A lateral water hazard is a water hazard or that portion of a water hazard which is situated so that it is impossible, or impracticable, to drop a ball behind the water hazard. All of the ground and water within the margin of a lateral water hazard are considered to be part of the lateral water hazard.

17. MATCH PLAY: Match play is a type of competition in which each hole is a separate game. The winner of a match play game is whoever wins the most holes.

18. NUKED SHOT: A nuked shot is a shot which is hit far harder and longer than you would normally hit the ball with a particular club.

19. OB: OB stands for out-of-bounds. This is the area which is outside of the course and which is often marked with white stakes. The ball should not be played from this area.

20. PAR: One of the most basic golf terms, a par is the number of strokes assigned to each hole. This can range from anywhere between 3 to 6 strokes.

21. ROUGH: According to golf language, the rough refers to the high grassy area close to the fairway and green.

22. STROKE: A stroke is contact, or an attempt at contact, with the golf ball. A stroke is the forward movement of a golf club that aims to hit the golf ball.

23. STROKE PLAY: Stroke play is a competition that is based upon the number of strokes each golfer takes for a given round.

24. THROUGH THE GREEN: Through the green refers to the whole area of the course except for the teeing ground, the putting green of the hole being played and any hazard areas.

25. WATER HAZARD: A water hazard is any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open water course (whether or not it contains water) and anything of a similar nature on the course.

Obviously there are many more, but hopefully this may help a few of you "Talk the Talk"!

If you are new to the game or know someone who is new to the game, MCG also offers a great instructional program for beginners called "Get Golf Ready". The Get Golf Ready Program is designed to teach you, in five short lessons, everything you'll need to know to step onto a golf course and get out to play with confidence, including terminology. Get Golf Ready is taught by trained PGA and LPGA Professionals who will make sure you have fun each step of the way. For more information, visit our website at

Matt Jarvis
General Manager
Poolesville Golf Course

No comments: