Basic Golf Glossary Terms Every Golfer Should Know

When discussing the vast volume of Golf Glossary definitions, you will find that there are Golf Slang words and special Golf Lingo terms involved as well.

Words such as "A" game, Ace, Airmail and Albatross are all Golf Slangwords. Even the word "Bag Rat"(A Caddie) are considered slang words. My, this is such a wonderful game to be involved with!

Have fun browsing through these 'Golf Language' pages.

(This Golf Glossary is not all-inclusive, and is aimed primarily at the Beginning and Intermediate Golf Level. Words which are italicized in green are also defined elsewhere in the Golf Glossary).

Golf Glossary I:


Iron: A golf club with a flat-faced, lofted, solid metal clubhead, generally numbered from one (1) to nine (9). The higher the number, the greater the loft.

Impact: In Golf Glossary terms, the "Impact" is defined as the moment in the golf swing when the club strikes or comes in contact with the ball.

Improving The Lie: The most basic of concepts in golf, is that it is a game of both skill and fortune. Outcomes determined not just by the talent of the golfer, but also by the whims of nature and luck.

From this comes the principle of "playing it as it lies". The phrase means that if fortune has seen fit to cause your ball to come to rest within a divot or below an inch of sand, you will have to extricate your ball from those circumstances with the normal swing of the club.

Or, you will suffer a one-stroke penalty for manually repositioning the ball in a more favorable location.

Improving one's lie literally means to manipulate the ball, either by foot or hand or instrument in a manner that makes the ball easier to strike.

Any good Golf Glossary includes terms relating to golf carts

J (Sorry no Golf Glossary "J" terms available)

Golf Glossary K:


Knock-down Shot: Within Golf Glossary terms, a "Knock-down Shot" is a type of shot designed to have a very low trajectory (hit with a low-lofted club), usually employed to combat strong winds, or to hit under low-hanging tree branches.

Golf Glossary L:


Lag: A long putt designed to simply get the ball close to the hole.

Leading Edge (Club): The front-most surface or edge of the sole of the golf club. The "front" of the club that leads in a golf swing, and the part which touches the ball first at impact.

Lie: In relationship to the ball, the "lie" is the position of the ball in which it has come to rest. A good lie would be on the fairway, fringe, or the green. A bad lie would be in the rough or a bunker.

Line: The expected path of the ball to the cup while putting.

Line of Flight: The actual path the ball takes after being struck by the golf club.

Loft Angle: The loft, or "loft angle," is a measurement in angular degrees, of the angle at which the clubface lies relative to a vertical surface represented by the club shaft.

Loft (equipment): The designed and manufactured angle between the golf club shaft and the clubface.

Lofted Clubs (Low): (Average or approximate Lofts)

Driver 10
3-Wood 13
5-Wood 16
2-Iron 19
3-Iron 22

Lofted Clubs (Medium): (Average or approximate Lofts)

4-Iron 25
5-Iron 28
6-Iron 31
7-Iron 34
8-Iron 37

Lofted Clubs (High): (Average or approximate Lofts)

9-Iron 41
PW 45
GW 50
SW 55
LW 60

Long Irons: Within Golf Glossary terms, "Long Irons" are those clubs with a lower loft. Normally considered the one (1), two (2), and three (3) irons.

Looking Up: Prematurely lifting your head to follow the flight of the ball after impact.

Your Golf Glossary should include terms on playing bad golf

Golf Glossary M:


Markers (Boundary): Markers designating those areas outside the golf course from which play is not allowed.

Out-of-bounds will normally be marked by the use of stakes or barriers such as fence lines, property walls, etc. These items utilized to designate "Out-of-Bounds" are not considered obstructions, or to be considered fixed, therefore may not be removed in order to continue play.

In all cases, the innermost portion of whatever is designating "Out-of-Bounds" is itself considered out of bounds. A ball is considered out of bounds when all of it is outside the boundaries.

Miss-read: To incorrectly discern the proper line of a putt or to "miss-read" the green.

Middle Irons: According to the Golf Glossary of golf terms, "Middle Irons" are those clubs with a medium loft. Normally the four (4), five (5), six (6), seven (7) and eight (8) irons.

Mulligan: In non-tournament play, the custom of hitting a second ball without a penalty stroke, usually taken on the first hit or drive off the tee. This practice is not allowed according to the official Rules of Golf.

N (Sorry no "N" terms available)

Golf Glossary O:


Off-Green Putting: When a player elects to putt from off the green rather than chipping with a lofted club.

One-piece Takeaway: When the shoulders, arms, wrists and hands move as one unit during the beginning of the backswing.

Open Clubface: When the clubface is angled away from the player's body (relative to the target-line). Angled to the right for right-handed players.

Open Grip: When the hands are turned counter-clockwise beyond the typical center position on the grip of the club. Also known as a "weak grip".

Open Stance: When the player's front foot is pulled back farther from the target-line than the back foot. Usually promotes a left-to-right ball flight (for a right-hander). Also known as a designed "fade" shot.

Out-of-Bounds: The area outside the boundaries of the course, usually indicated by white posts.

Golf Glossary P:


Pace: The speed or tempo of the golf swing. Also, the speed of the greens. Also known as "Green Speed". The speed at which a putt must be struck to get to the cup.

Par: The score an accomplished player or "Pro" is expected to achieve on a hole. An abbreviation for "Professional Average Result".

Par (Above): A level attained when having a score higher than the designated par for the particular hole being played. Anything one stroke or more over par is considered "Above Par".

Par (Below): A level attained when having a score lower than the designated par for the particular hole being played. Anything one stroke or more under par is considered "Below Par".

Par 3: A par 3 hole is a hole that an advanced golfer is expected to require only three (3) strokes to finish or complete. The shortest holes on the golf course are Par-3 holes that usually a golfer can hit the Green with one tee shot.

A hole's par designation includes two putts; therefore a Par 3 is a hole where the advanced golfer is expected to hit the Green in one stroke, subsequently take two putts to drop the ball into the "Cup".

Par 4: A par 4 hole is a hole that an advanced golfer is expected to require four (4) strokes to finish or complete.

A par 4 hole is the most common par for holes on full-sized golf courses. You can consider par-4 holes the standard golf hole for the majority of golf courses. (Except Par 3 Courses)

A hole's par designation includes two putts, therefore a par 4 is a hole where the advanced golfer is expected to hit the Fairway with his tee shot, then to proceed to hit the green with his second shot, and subsequently take two putts to drop the ball into the "Cup".

Par 5: A par 5 hole is a hole that an advanced golfer is expected to require five (5) strokes to finish or complete.

On most golf courses, a par 5 is the longest hole, discounting the rare Par 6 Hole.

A hole's par designation includes two putts, so a par 5 is a hole where the advanced golfer is expected to hit the Fairway with his tee shot, then to advance the ball farther up the Fairway with the second stroke, hit the green with his third stroke, and subsequently utilize two putts to drop ball into the "Cup".

Golfers who drive the ball long distances might be able to reach the green of a par-5 hole in two strokes, rather than three, therefore securing an opportunity for and "Eagle".

Path: The direction the club or ball travels during the swing or the putting stroke.

Penalty Stroke: A one-stroke addition to a player's score. See the official "Rules of Golf" for all conditions under which strokes may be assessed.

Pendulum Swing: During putting, a swing that moves the clubhead back and forth on a line without deviation. Like the pendulum movement of a grandfather clock.

Pin: A slang term for "flagstick".

Pin-High: Golf Terminology referring to a landed ball, adjacent to or on the green that is positioned along an imaginary horizontal line through and across the width of the green.

Pitch: A short shot, usually from within fifty (50) to seventy five (75) yards, normally played with a higher lofted club utilizing a shortened swing.

Pitch-and-Run: A shot from adjacent to the green, usually with a higher lofted club, where the ball carries in the air for a short distance then runs towards the cup.

Pitch Mark: A minor depression on the green caused by a ball "pitched" onto the green. Players are required to repair their pitch marks with a tee or divot tool.

Pop-up: A poor tee shot where the top of the clubhead strikes under the ball, causing it to go almost straight up in the air. Also, known as a "sky shot".

Practice Green: A specially prepared green with a multitude of holes or "cups" installed for warm-up and practice putting. Usually there are small or modified "flagsticks" inserted in the cups.

Pre-shot Routine: A series of predetermined actions a player takes, from the time a club is selected until the beginning of the golf swing. Usually including but not limited to, taking practice swings and visualizing the intended shot.

Pro Side: During a putting stroke, if there is a slope or break in the green, the traverse of the ball will curve either from the high-side of the hole towards the hole, or fall to the low-side or away from the hole.

Balls coming from the high-side are said to be the "Pro Side ", and the balls following the low-side are said to be the "Amateur" side.

Provisional Ball: A second tee shot taken when the first ball looks as if it may be lost or out of bounds. The provisional ball may be used if the first ball has been lost, with a one-stroke-penalty. This type of ball is not allowed in tournament play.

Pull: A poor shot played severely and directly to the left (for a right-hand player).

Push: A poor shot played severely and directly to the right (for a right-hand player).

Punch Shot: A shot played with a very low trajectory, commonly to avoid low-hanging tree branches or played during high winds.

Putt: A shot typically played on the green with a putter.

Putter: A club primarily used on the greens to stroke the ball into the hole or cup".

Putting Green: The putting green or most commonly described as the "Green", is comprised of a golf hole or "Cup", in which the flagstick and plastic retainer "Cup" are placed.

Putting or rolling the golf ball into the hole on the "Putting Green" is the object of the game of golf.

Greens vary widely in size and configuration, but are usually oblong or oval in shape. The Green will sit level with the fairway or can be elevated higher than the fairway. The Greens can be flat, contoured around the perimeter, or sloped from one side to the other.

The Rules of Golf define the "putting green" as any ground on a hole "that is specially prepared for putting." The putting green has the shortest turf grass found on the golf course, and offers the smoothest surface found on the golf course.

Putting Stroke: A swing with the Putter on the "Putting Green" which is completed with the intent to strike the ball, "Putting" it into play.

Q (Sorry no "Q" Golf Glossary terms available)

Golf Glossary R:


Reading the Green: The entire process involved in judging the line and break of a potential putt.

Recover: To successfully hit a shot from a poor location, usually with a bad "lie" involved.

Rhythm: The smooth coordination and timing of movement throughout the golf swing or putting stroke. Rhythm describes the relative duration of the parts of a complete swing.

Rough: The turf or grass that is outside and adjacent to the fairway, usually taller and coarser than the fairway.

Rules Of Golf: The Official Rules of Golf take up around 100 pages of a booklet published by the USGA (United States Golf Association). Basically, the "Rules" govern every aspect of the game, for both tournament and >non-tournament play.

A Golf Glossary must include putting information

We hope you have found this basic Golf Glossary listing helpful and informative!

Please see the links below for the remainder of basic terms as well as Golf Terms regarding specific areas within Golf (Such as Putting, Short Game, etc.).

Please remember Golf Glossary terms are a vital link to understanding and appreciating the Game of Golf!

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Go To Top Of Page Golf Glossary ....I thru R

Go To Golf Terms.......A thru B

Go To Golf Terminology.....C thru E

Go To Golfing Terms....F thru H

Go To Golf Dictionary.....S thru Z

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