Tournament Handbook - Golf Glossary
ACE - Slang for hole-in-one
Address - The position which a player adopts in order to hit the ball. A player is said to have "addressed" the ball when he has taken his stance and grounded his club; except that, in a hazard , a player has "addressed" the ball when he has taken his stance.
Approach - A shot played to the green from the fairway or rough. Most commonly applied to the shorter distance.
Apron - The area in front of the green that is cut a little closer than the fairway, but not as short as the putting surface.
Away - It is a natural rule of golf that a player takes his turn when his ball lies further from the hole. He is then said to be "away". In certain circumstances on the putting green, however, particularly in a medal competition, a player who has already putted once may hole out before his partner, who may be further from the hole, takes his shot.
Bag Valet - An attendant that gathers the player's clubs prior to the start of the round and appropriately places them on the assigned cart; and at the end of the round, cleans, organizes, checks for missing clubs, and delivers the club to the owners's vehicle.
Ball Mark - The depression on the ground caused by a hit ball.
Bent Grass - A finely textured grass commonly used in the sowing of putting greens and fairways.
Bermuda Grass - A coarsely textured species of grass used for both fairways and greens, especially in hot climates.
Best Ball - A match in which one player competes against the better score of two or more other players. It is not a fourball. Traditionally a team consists of two players. Each golfer plays his own ball, but only the lowest score from each team counts.
Better Ball - A match, usually a fourball, in which the better score of the two or more players determines the result of the hole.
Bingo - First ball hit onto the green.
Bango - Ball closest to the pin once all players are on the green.
Bongo - First person to hole out.
Birdie - A term of American origin and uncertain derivation for a score of 1 - under par for a hole.
Blind - A hole is said to be "blind" when the player cannot see the target at which he is aiming. It may apply to a fairway or a green. Modern architects strive to eliminate such shots from their design but, before the days of earth-moving equipment, they were particularly common in American and British courses.
Bogey - A hole played in one stroke more than par.
Bunker - A crater or hole in the ground filled with sand; derived from a Scottish word for a store place or receptacle. The American term is trap. A bunker, as laid down by the rules of golf, is a hazard in which a player must not ground his club before striking the ball.
Caddie - A person skilled in the game of golf who for a fee carries a player's clubs and offers advice.
Carry - The distance from the point at which the ball is struck to only the point at which it first touches the ground. The word is also used in the sense of succeeding in "making the carry", which is one of the most common and most challenging hazards of golf. The distance necessary to hit across a lake or clear a ravine may also be called the "carry".
Casual Water - Any temporary accumulation of water which is visible before or after a player takes his stance and which is not a hazard of itself or is not a water hazard. Snow and ice are either casual or loose impediments, at the option of the player. The most common cause is flooding after heavy rain.
Championship Course - Any golf course with a par of 70 or greater. Normally considered to have at least two par-5 holes and a minimum length of 6,000 yards for 18 holes. (Note: refer to Executive Course).
Chip - A short approach consisting almost entirely of run. It is usually played from just off the green with a variety of clubs.
Course Rating - A course is rated based on the score a scratch golfer should shoot on that particular course. The higher the course rating, the more challenging a course for the amateur golfer. (Note: refer to Slope Rating).
Cup - Another name for the hole cut on the putting green.
Direction Post - A post or flag specially erected to show the player the line to the hole. Most frequently direction post reveals the line to a concealed fairway but are also used to show the location of a hidden green. If a ball strikes a direction post, it must be played as it lies. Similarly, if a ball ricochets off a direction post and finishes out of bounds, no relief is allowed.
Divot - The piece of turf uprooted in making a shot. It is common etiquette that all divots must be replaced. No relief is allowed for a ball coming to rest in a divot mark.
Dogleg - A hole whose fairway is marked by a gentle or acute bend, usually about 200 yards from the tee, with a hazardous area with the bend; this poses the player the problem of attempting the carry or of playing more safely. Doglegs are most common on tree-lined courses and may curve left or right. A double dogleg curves twice.
Double Eagle - A term used for a hole completed in three under par.
Draw - A stroke, usually deliberate, played across the ball from "in to out" causing it to travel at first to the right and then curve back towards the line required.
Driver - The no. 1 wood used from the tee at the hole where a player needs maximum distance with his shot.
Eagle - A hole performed in 2 strokes below par.
Executive Course - A golf course with an overall length of less than 6,000 yards for 18 holes; it is comprised mostly of par-3 holes and with an average par of less than 68. Normally considered a course without par-5 holes and / or fewer than 18 holes. (Note: refer to Championship Course).
Face - The surface of the club designed and prepared for hitting the ball; the only part intended to make contact with the ball. Bunkers also have faces; that part of the sand that rises steeply at the front.
Fade - The opposite of draw; a shot moving slightly from left to right towards the target. Usually deliberate and controlled, unlike a slice.
Fairway - The specially prepared and cut part of the course between tee and green, surrounded by rough, bunkers and other hazards.
Flagstick - Marker used to show the position of holes on the golf course.
Fivesomes - A group of five players usually playing as a team in tournament format.
Follow Through - The part of the swing after the ball has been hit; the follow through cannot alter the way the ball has been hot but it reflects the way the club has been swung.
Fore! - The golfer's traditional warning call when other players or bystanders are in peril of being struck by a ball.
Foursomes - A group of four players usually matched in pairs.
Green Speed - A desirable and consistent smooth and firm turf of a putting surface to deliver and appropriate speed of the ball when putted. Generally, a fast green speed (less friction) is more desirable because to achieve fast, there must be a very firm turf cut short and smooth yet dense enough to establish proper character and direction of putted ball. Factors that inhibit speed are 1) moisture 2) abrasions , i.e.ball marks, spike marks 3) firmest and length of grass cut 4) time of day and 5) temperature.
Gross Score - The player's score, before the deduction of his or her handicap when it becomes net.
Ground Under Repair - An area of the course from which the player is allowed to remove his ball without penalty, usually a temporary concession occasioned by re-turfing, re-seeding, and repairs.
Handicap - The rating of amateur players based on the average of their scores which they record for each round of golf. This rating of a handicap is used in U.S.G.A. governed events to equalize the competition. (i.e.; A player averaged a score of 90 per round of 18 holes. Par for the course is 72. The player averages 17 strokes above par. His handicap would be17, in a handicapped event and this player would receive 17 strokes.
Hi-Low - The low score of each hole wins a point from all other players. The highest score gives a point to every player.
Hole - The units into which a course is divided; most courses are made up of 18 holes. More specifically, hole means the opening ½' in diameter and at least 4' deep, cut in every green, into which the ball is played.
Hook - A stroke which starts to the right of the direct line to the target and finishes to the left. For a left-handed player, this is reversed. The hook is different from the pull, which is a stroke (often perfectly struck) in the wrong direction that travels straight or curves to the left of the intended line.
In - The holes of the second 9 of a course as opposed to "out", the holes of the first 9.
In Play - A ball is "in play" as soon as the player has make a stroke on the teeing ground. It remains in play as his ball until holed out, except when it is out of bounds, lost, or lifted, or another ball is substituted in accordance with the rules.
Irons - Clubs with metal blades for heads. They are graduated according to loft from 1 to 10, plus wedges and sand irons. A 1 iron has a 18 degree loft with an average carry of 230 yards; a 5 iron has a 31 degree loft with an average carry of 175 yards; and a sand wedge has a 58 degree loft with an average carry of 90 yards.
Lie - The situation in which the ball comes to rest. A "good lie" is one where the ball "sits up" on nice, spring turf; and a "bad lie" is when the ball nestles in a depression and may not be fully visible. It is a fundamental rule of golf that the ball should be played "as it lies". The word is also used to describe the angle between the horizontal and center line of the club's shaft. This all-important angle helps the golfer to make a correct swing. Too small an angle is likely to produce a pushed or sliced shot, while too large an angle will give a pulled or hooked shot.
Line - The direction in which the player intends the ball to travel after it is hit. In most cases, the correct line is a straight one. It often happens, however, that the line is different for two players, particularly if one is a longer hitter than the other.
Links - Traditional term meaning a natural seaside golf country among the sand dunes with little or no plant coverage other than dune grasses and mosses. Courses only located between the sea and more fertile areas.
Loft - The degree of slope on the face of a club which varies the distance and trajectory that can be achieved with each.
Lost Ball - A ball is lost if it is not found and identified within five minutes of the player's search of it. Five minutes is the maximum time allowed for search but the player can declare a ball lost before the time is up.
Marker - A disc used to mark the position of a ball when lifted from the putting green.
Marshall - A person responsible for the safety of players and the speed of play while on the course.
Match - A contest between two players or two sides which is determined by the number of holes won and lost. "Matchplay" is a tournament or championship conducted under the rules of match rather than those of stroke play. It was the original form of the game.
Match Play - A tournament or championship conducted under the rules of medal play as distinct from matchplay. The winner is the player returning the lowest total or, in handicap events, the player with the lowest net total. This method scores games by hole rather than strokes. The player with the lowest score on each hole wins a point. The winner is the player who wins the most holes. If the hole is tied, wazzu it carries over to the next hole to equal 2, and so on.
Mulligan - Slang for a friendly arrangement whereby a player has the option of a second drive for the first tee. Not acceptable for competitive matches.
Municipal Course - A public course run by a local authority on which anyone may play on payment of a green fee.
Nassau - 3 matches in one round. A point is allotted for the results of the first 9 holes, and another for the second 9; and another for the overall 18.
Net Score - A player's score when his handicap has been deducted.
Pace of Play - The length of time that is required to complete a hole and/or round of golf. The average "pace of play" is 4-1/2 hours based on the industry's average of course designs (18 holes with four (4) par-3's, four (4) par-5's; and ten (10) par-4's with an average length of 6,400 yards and a slope of 115). Four (4) Par-3;s (175 yards each) 8 minutes play = 32 minutes* Ten (10) Par-4's (370 yards each) 15 minutes play = 150 minutes* Four (4) Par-5's 500 yards each) 22 minutes play = 88 minutes* 18 holes of golf 6,400 yards 270 minutes play = 41/2 hours*. (*) denotes the pace of play including the travel time between each hole.
Par - The score that an expert golfer would be expected to make for a given hole. Par means errorless play without flukes and under ordinary weather conditions, allows 2-strokes on each putting green. Par is based on yardage and applies on the length of the hole and not necessarily by its difficulty. Difficulty is determined by the course rating system in the U.S Penalty Stroke A stroke added to a players score for a hole or a round under the penalty clauses in the Rules of Golf; i.e. lost ball, out of bounds, accidentally moved, etc.
Pick & Drop - The act if picking the ball out of a ditch, cart path or a puddle, etc. and dropping it on a playable lie behind, or as otherwise allowed by the Rules of Golf.
Pin High - A ball is "pin high" when it comes to rest at a point level with the hole for distance.
Pinsheet - A diagram of each of the 18 hole's green dimensions and the measurement of the pin in relations to the distance from the edge and center of the green.
Pitch - A shot of varying length in which the ball is lobbed of lofted into the air. It is often not a full shot, usually no greater than 100 yards in length.
Pitch and Run - A shot so played that part of the desired distance is covered by the roll of the ball after it has pitched.
Playing Gross - Whatever you shoot is your score. Handicaps are not taken into consideration.
Playing Net - Handicaps are utilized here. In a net competition, the difference between handicaps of two competing players is applied to the first handicap holes. The player with the higher handicap receives strokes.
Plus Handicap - A handicap better than scratch. A "plus" player adds his handicap to his total instead of subtracting it.
Preferred Lie - Usually a winter rule to preserve the fairway whereby the player is allowed to select a lie within close limits.
Press - To strive to hit the ball excessively hard in an attempt to get extra distance, but at the expense of control. "Press" also means to double the bet on the 9-hole section of a Nassau after becoming 2 down or, according to other interpretations, to begin another match for a halved stake when a bad start has been made and winning the original bet is unlikely.
Putting Green - The specially prepared part of every golf hole on which the hole id cut and the putting takes place. Ideally, greens have beautifully smooth and fast surfaces but this depends largely on the type of grass, the climate, and other factors.
Ready Golf - A pre-determined method of play among a foursome to play each owns ball when the player is "ready" for their next shot rather than play to "away" etiquette; promotes the best pace of play for amateur level tournaments yet is not recommended or endorsed for professional sanctioned tournaments.
Registration Table - An assigned station located normally near the entrance of the clubhouse or near the first tee box to verify and assign the player's starting position and cart number prior to the start of a tournament.
Rough - That part of the course which is neither tee, green, fairway not hazard. Usually a thicker length of grass thus a more difficult lie for the golfer to play his or her ball.
Rub of the Green - Any chance deflection of the ball while in play.
Scotch - 5 points per hole - Team or individual. 2 pts = low ball, 1 pt = low total, 1 pt = closest to the pin. 1pt =natural birdie (no handicap). If all 5 are won by one player, the score is doubled to 10.
Scratch Player - A player who needs no handicap.
Shotgun - A tournament that positions the starting of players at different holes and yet, starts all players at the same time. This tee time format is used in order to accommodate a large group of players on the course and allowing them to finish simultaneously. Normally considered an acceptable format if the group has a minimum of 72 or more players.
Skins - Each hole is assigned a "skin". The lowest score on each hole wins the "skin". If the hole is tied by any two or more players, the next hole is worth 2, and so on; thus, there is no winner in the event of a tie. At the end of the round, the prize is divided by the total number of skins won. Four skins can be worth a point or value of choice.
Slope Rating - A rating system used by the U.S.G.A. to measure the relative degree of difficulty for the average golfer. The higher the slope rating, the more difficult the average golfer will experience on the course.(Note: refer to Course Rating).
Stroke - A forward movement of the club made with the intention of hitting the ball. A stroke does not necessarily move the ball.
Stroke Play - A competition in which the player's total strokes for the round are recorded and compared with the scores of other players in the field. Considered a more testing form than matchplay and therefore as a better indication of ability. This format may be used with handicap (the player's handicap is deducted from the total score, giving a "net" score) as illustrated below. A player with a handicap of 21 records a score of 93 for 18 holes; Gross score: 93 Less Handicap: 17 Net Score: 71 The standard game of golf in which the player with the lowest score at the end of round wins with handicaps included.
Sudden Death - A form of play-off in strokeplay competitions used when one or more players tie with the same score. The first person to win a hole outright is the winner; with more than 2 players, a process of elimination is involved.
Takeaway - The act of taking the club away from the ball to the swing. Although covering only a few inches, it is generally considered to be a movement of prime importance.
Tee - A wooden peg on which the ball is placed for the initial shot to each hole only.
Tee Box - The area reserved at each hole for the initial shot to be taken. Usually this area is designated by two parallel markers facing the fairway of the hole by which the player may place his tee anywhere between these markers so long as it is not past the markers and closer to the hole.
Texas Wedge - A putter when used from off the green. When the ground short of the green is dry and hard and use of a broad-soled club is difficult, a putter is often the most effective club.
Thin - A ball hot off the bottom of the club that does not attain normal height or flight and tends to finish beyond its target.
Yardage Guide - A printed description of each hole of the course with yardage information, noted hazards and green location to assist a player not familiar with the course.