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Basic Golf Terms Golfers Should Know

Understanding fundamental Golf Terms is very important, even if you are only playing golf just for the fun of it and as a way to have a fuller life socially.

You will get more enjoyment from the game if you have a good grasp of the Basic Golf Language involved in the game.

If on the other hand, you are a more serious golfer with aspirations of becoming an advanced golfer, it is essential that you have a well-grounded knowledge of the definitions, vocabulary, slang, lingo, Golf Terms and basic Golf Dictionary of the game.

Want To Be An Advanced Golfer? It would be great if You Could "Talk-the-Talk"!

If you associate with other advanced or Pro Golfers, you will want the respect of those players.

If you aspire to become a Golf Instructor, you will need to talk to your students in "Golf Terms". Part and parcel of being an advanced golfer is to thoroughly understand the game of golf along with the Golf Terminology that goes along with it.

In order to "Walk-The-Walk", you will need to "Talk-The-Talk"!

Golf Terms Associated With the Game Of Golf

We have completed a thorough search of the many terms involving Golf, and have found that there is not a great consensus of opinion among many sources on the definitions within Golf Terminology.

We will present within this website the most popular definitions of at least the basic and most important Golfing Terms overall, and we will list them in general as well as in the primary categories relating to Putting, Short Game, Long Game, Fitness, and Mental aspects.

Basic Golf Terminology

Following are just the Basic Golfing Terms; you can find the complete Golf Glossary listed within this website at the bottom of this page. (This glossary is not all-inclusive, and is aimed primarily at the Beginning Golf Level.

Words which are italicized in green are also defined elsewhere in this Golf Glossary).

Golf Terms A:


Above The Hole: Opposite of "below the hole". If the approach shot leaves the ball "above the hole", it means that the subsequent putt is going to be downhill. Distance control is more difficult when your ball is accelerated by gravity on its way to the hole.

Ace: Hitting the ball directly from the Tee into the hole or "cup" with one swing of the club. It is usually executed on a par three (3). It is also, known as a "hole-in-one".

Address: Stepping up to the ball (taking a stance) and setting the club down behind the ball (grounding the clubhead). This is the final position taken prior to the start of the take-a-way.

Adjusted Gross Score: A player's gross score when adjusted (reduced) according to the rules of Equitable Stroke Control and / or any special local conditions when approved by a sanctioning body.

Aiming: Aligning the clubface to the target.

Alignment: The position of the player's body relative to the target-line of the ball.

Approach Shot: A shot hit with intentions upon landing the ball on the green. For the average player, the approach shot is usually from 150 to 180 yards to the green.

Apron: The closely mowed grass between the green and the fairway, usually around three to five feet in width. Also, called the "fringe".

Attend (The Flagstick): When a player holds and removes the flagstick for another player.

Away: Describing the golfer whose ball is farthest from the hole (or cup). The player who is "away" should always play first.

'Still Your Shot' is included in Golf Terms

Golf Terms B:


Back Foot: Refers to the golfer's, foot farthest from the target when addressing the ball.

Back in Stance: At address, placing the ball further back from your front foot. (Right-hander).

Back Nine: The last nine holes of an 18-hole golf course. Playing the "back nine" is referred to as "heading in" (towards the clubhouse).

Backspin: Rotation imparted to the ball, by utilizing a highly lofted club to strike the ball. During ball flight, the underside will be spinning in the direction of ball travel.

The top side of the ball will be spinning back towards the golfer. Backspin is desired when the golfer wishes the ball to "Sit" or stop upon landing.

Backswing: The motion that involves the club and every element of the body in taking the club "back" away from the ball and setting it in position at the top of the backswing from which the club can be delivered to the ball at the point of impact.

Bag (golf): A container which holds the golf clubs and club covers, golf glove, balls, tees, divot tool, club brush, rain gear, selective clothing articles, umbrella, water canteen, and miscellaneous items such as sun screen etc.

The bag has a multitude of pockets with zipper or Velcro fasteners, and usually separators or pockets to slip the clubs into. Sometimes it has a hood that will cover the entire bag.

Most bags are made of leather or nylon with plastic and aluminum re-enforcement connectors. The bag also has a large shoulder strap for ease of transporting on the golf course.

Bag Stand: A stand which is designed to hold a players golf bag while they are practicing on the driving range. Bag stands are there for your convenience.

But don't walk away from your bag because golf clubs are expensive and are very attractive to thieves. Most golf courses will not accept liability for your negligence by leaving a bag unattended.

Ball (golf): A small sphere used in playing golf, which is intended to be struck by a golf club and travel in the direction of the green for a particular hole on a golf course. (Golf Balls are like eggs; they're white, small, sold by the dozen, and you need to buy fresh ones every week!)

Ball Mark: A sharp indentation or cup-like depression caused by the ball landing on the green from a significant distance. "Ball marks" are to be repaired by the player causing the mark, but all players should repair ball marks as they see them.

Unrepaired ball marks can and most probably will deflect or inhibit a putt from reaching the cup as intended. If a ball rests in a ball mark, or there is a ball mark on the target-line of the putt, a player is encouraged to repair the ball mark prior to putting.

Ball Marker: A token or small coin used to spot the ball's position on the green prior to being lifted. Generally used when two or more players are involved in putting on the same green, and primarily to move balls out of the way prior to subsequent putts to the cup.

Ball Washer: A device found at most tee boxes for cleaning golfballs.

Bare Lie: When the ball lies directly on hard ground without any grass to buoy-up the ball, i.e.; where there is no grass creating a gap between the ball and the ground.

Behind: Golf etiquette demands that other golfers playing on the same hole, are not to stand behind the player who is hitting (caddies included). It applies everywhere on the golf course.

Below The Hole: Opposite of "above the hole". If the approach shot leaves the ball "below the hole", it means that the subsequent putt is going to be uphill. Distance control is less difficult when your ball is not accelerated by gravity on its way to the hole.

Birdie: A hole played in one stroke par (below)

'Golf Birdie' is definitely included in Golf Terms

Blading: "Blading" means to strike the ball with the leading edge of the sole of your club rather than on the clubface. The ball will be propelled with very little loft and likely no backspin, and even sometimes over-spin. Also known as "Hitting it thin".

Blast (Explosion Shot): Depending upon the circumstances, a golfer may opt to hit the ball out of a sand trap using a technique called an "explosion shot".

The explosion shot is a strong swing of the club, deliberately intended to hit the ball out of the sandtrap by striking the sand just behind the ball and following through with the clubhead, plowing through the sand under the ball.

This propels both the sand and the ball at a high loft angle, perfect for landing the ball softly on the green. The explosion shot can only be used when sand is fine and dry. Wet or granular sand does not work very well on an explosion attempt.

The explosion shot is used mainly for greenside bunkers where the ball does not need to travel very far. You hit an explosion shot because you don't want your ball to travel very far. You just want it out of the sandtrap and onto the green with very little roll. Also known as a "blast".

Block Shot: A shot hit directly to the right (right-handed player). Similar to a severe "push" shot.

Bogey: A hole played one (1) stroke over par.

Bogey Golf: "Bogey Golf" Refers to the level of proficiency for a player. Playing "Bogey Golf" means that this person generally shoots around 90 on a par 72 course.

In other words, the golfer averages a bogey on every hole. For the new golfer, improvement should be done with reachable objectives and in steps. So the first task for the new golfer is to "break 100" which means to shoot a score of 99 or lower on a regulation course.

Once the golfer has become good enough to break 100 frequently, the next objective is to play "bogey golf".

Boundaries: There are "boundary markers" along the fairways indicating the field of play. Generally white posts are used to mark the "out of bounds" areas. Hitting the ball "out of bounds" will result in penalty strokes if your ball comes to rest there.

The "boundary markers" themselves are considered to be "out of bounds". In order for your ball to be considered in bounds, any portion of it must occupy space inbound of the stake.

Brush (Club): A "club brush" or device with special bristles for cleaning dirt and debris from the grooves on the club face of all clubs but the putter. Generally, golfers have the club brush in their golf bag.

Break: The amount of curve or "break" a putted ball will traverse due to the slope of the green, grain and dryness of the grass, speed of the putt, and extreme wind.

Bump and Run: A low trajectory approach shot that is intended to get the ball rolling along a fairway and up onto the green. Similar to a chip shot "bump & run" but hit from a greater distance.

Bunker: In basic Golf Terms, a "Bunker" is a rather large depression or hollow in the ground along a fairway or around the green, which is sodden or filled with sand. If filled with sand it is called a "sand trap". In the Rules of Golf, it is considered a hazard!

Bunker (Grass): A rather large depression or hollow in the ground along a fairway or around the green, which is sodden.

Bunker (Greenside): Generally a sand trap located adjacent to the green.

Bunker (Fairway): Generally a sand trap located on the fairway. (If there is a ball on the green, and a ball in the sand trap, Murphy's Law says that your ball is the one buried in the trap!)

Bunker (Waste): In basic Golf Terms, a "Waste Bunker" is a rather large depression or hollow in the ground along a fairway which is left in a "natural" state.

Included in general Golf Terms: Greenside Bunke

Greenside Bunker

We hope you have found this basic Golf Terms listing helpful and informative! Please see the links below for the remainder of basic terms as well as Golf Terms regarding specific areas (Such as Putting, Short Game etc.) within Golf.

Please remember Golf Terms are a vital link to understanding and appreciating the GAME!

Thanks for again for Visiting Us!


Return To The Top Of Golf Terms

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

Go To Golfing Terms......F thru H

Go To Golf Glossary......I thru R

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

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