Golf Terms

  • Address Position–  This is the physical position of one’s body when, with a club in your hand and in the correct posture, you are ready to hit the golf ball.
  • Away–  You are said to be “away” when your ball is farthest from the hole.  If you are away it is your turn to play.
  • Backswing– The part of the golf swing that goes away from the ball and away from the target and goes back until you stop the club.
  • Ballmark-This is the depression left in the grass and soil on the green by a ball.  It is is good etiquette to repair all ball your ball marks
  • Birdie–  A score on one hole of 1 under par.
  • Bladed Shot– A shot struck exactly on the equator by an iron.  The resulting ball flight is very low to the ground.
  • Chicken Wing-Premature bending of the left elbow at impact.
  • Chip Shot–  This is a low trajectory shot that hops over ground that would produce an unpredictable roll.  It is a knee high shot or lower and spends more time on the ground rolling than in the air.
  • Closed Face– A term which describes the clubface at address turned to hit the ball to the left side of the target line for a right handed golfer.
  • Divot– The depression in the soil left behind when a club takes away the soil by striking the ground at the bottom of the arc of the golf swing.  The club strikes the ball just before it makes the divot.
  • Downswing– The part of the swing that begins the clubs downward path to strike the golf ball.
  • Draw– A shot that  moves slightly from right to left for a right handed golfer.
  • Driver– The name of the club that hits the  ball the longest distance.  It has the lowest loft and is the longest in the bag!
  • Eagle-A score of two under par on a given hole.
  • Explosion Shot–  This term refers to a shot from a bunker or sand trap that takes a large quantity of sand with the ball and gives the appearance of an ‘explosion’ of sand.
  • Fade– A term that describes a ball flight that bends slightly to the right for a right handed golfer.
  • Fairway Wood-A wood used to hit the ball longer distances from the fairway and not on the tee.
  • Finish-This is the part of the swing after striking the golf ball.  It is also called the ‘follow-through’.
  • Follow Through– This is the part of the swing after striking the golf ball.  It is also called the finish.
  • Grain– Used to describe the way grass grows on the ground.  Grass tends to grow towards the setting sun.   Grain can very much affect the roll of the ball on a green.
  • Green– The most highly prepared area of the golf course which is mown very closely to allow the golf ball to roll very predictably.
  • Grip– The manner in which you hold the golf club.
  • Grooves– The grooves in the face of the golf club which help the club grip the ball when struck.
  • Grounding the Club– Placing the clubhead behind the ball and touching the ground with the bottom of the clubhead.  Grounding the club is not permitted in a hazard (sand traps are considered hazards although they don’t have stakes around them).
  • Handle-the part of the club the hands hold.  Also called the ‘grip’.
  • Heel– The part of the clubhead nearest to the shaft.
  • Hook– A term that describes a ball’s flight that curves strongly to the left for right handed golfers.
  • Hosel-The rounded part of the heel of an ‘iron’ golf club in which the shaft is attached to the head.  It is also called the ‘shank’.
  • Hybrid– Modern golf clubs that have features of both irons and woods.  Usually more forgiving that the old style irons.
  • Impact– The moment at which the club strikes the ball in the golf swing.
  • Lob Wedge– A 60 degree wedge.
  • Loft–  Is the measurement of the angle of the clubface which determines how high or low a club hits the ball into the air.
  • One Piece Takeaway– is the term used to describe the first 10 inches or so of the backswing when everything moves as one piece.  The shoulders and torso move the ‘triangle’ and the wrists are quiet.
  • Open Stance– The position of the body at address  in which the body is “open” towards the target.  For a righthanded person the left shoulder is moved to the left which turns the body so that the golfer is slighty facing the target.  Usually this means pulling the left foot back a little from the target line.
  • Out-of-Bounds–  This is usually the border of the property of the course marked usually by white stakes but sometimes by a wall, fence or road.
  • Par-A regulation score on a hole.  The score that an expert would score on each hole.
  • Pin– A term used for the flagstick.
  • Pitch Shot– A high trajectory shot that spends more time in the air than on the ground.  It usually stops fairly quickly.
  • Pitching Wedge– The next club in a set or series of clubs with more loft than the 9 iron.  There is usually 4 degrees loft between irons. 
  • Posture– The term that describes how a golfer stands to prepare to strike the golf ball.
  • Pre Shot Routine-This is a set routine that better golfers have developed to insure they don’t forget something important as they get ready for a particular shot.  They will have different routines for different shots and different clubs.
  • Pull Shot-An off target shot hit straight but to the left of the target line!
  • Regulation– A term used to describe the number of shots an expert golfer would take to play a given hole.
  • Sand Wedge-The club most used for a pitch shot.  It is usually 56 degrees.  It was invented by Gene Sarazen in 1932.
  • Shaft– The part of the club that connects the head to the handle.
  • Shank-A shot that is struck with an iron in which part of the ball strikes the rounded part of the heel of the iron which forces the ball to glance off the face at a sharp angle to the intended line of flight. 
  • Skull Shot– A ball that is struck exactly on the equator by the leading edge of an iron.  The resulting ball flight travels just above the ground.
  • Target Line– An imaginary line that runs through the golf ball directly towards the target. 
  • Toe– The part of the clubhead farthest from where the shaft joins the clubhead.
  • Top– A term that describes a ball that rolls on the ground after being struck slightly above the equator.
  • Transition–  The point at the end of the backswing where the club stops going backward and begins the downswing.
  • Triangle– Used to describe the shape of the arms and shoulders at the address position.  Holding the ‘triangle’ in the first part of the backswing is essential in a ‘one piece takeaway’.
  • Up and Down– A term refering to the ability to get the ball up on the green and down into the hole in only two shots from relatively close range.
  • Waggle-A very important tension relieving movement of the clubhead by the hands just prior to taking the backswing.

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