The Beginner’s Guide To Golf Terminology And Phrases

If you have just begun to play golf you may have heard a ton of terms and have no idea what they mean. We get it, joining the world of golf introduces you to a ton of new lingo, banter, and the like. 

So, we wanted to put this awesome resource together to help you learn some of the most commonly used terms in golf so that you can start using them out on the course!

Approach Shot– This is the shot you make before you look to hit the ball on the green where you make the shot strategically to place the ball in a good position to make it on the green and place it well. 

Amateur– A golfer who plays at a competitive level, however not for a cash prize is called an amateur. This is a golfer who is exceptionally skilled but doesn’t play for financial gain. 

Address– This is the position a golfer takes both in posture and club position before hitting the ball. 

Abnormal ground condition– If the ground is under repair, has collected water or is otherwise in a condition that is unusual, then it is termed as an abnormal ground condition. 

Backswing– The opening part of the golf swing, which halts after the club stops moving from above your head to get set for the downswing position. 

Backspin– This is the reverse spin of the golf ball towards the target. Essentially as the golf ball moves toward the target it spins up and backward away front the target as a result of how the ball is struck. 

Blade- Generally, this is the description of the head of the iron and more specifically it references a specific, very thin iron that is used most commonly by professionals. 

Caddie- These are people, who are employed to carry your golf clubs around the course and are also capable to offer advice of what clubs to use and types of shots to hit. You see them most commonly alongside professional golfers on tour.  

Cart- This is either a small vehicle or a dolly, which players use to drive around the course to travel from one spot to another.

Cavity Back Iron- This is a specific type of iron that has the majority of club heads’ weight distributed around its perimeter due to the back of the iron having hallow elements. There is a large cavity at the back of the head that is helpful to reduce the mass in both the back of the head and center. 

This club is made for mid or high handicap golfers to help them play better and hit the ball easier.

Club Face- The clubface is the part of the golf club head that actually makes contact with the ball.

Driver- the longest club in the golf bag is known as the driver. These clubs are designed to give you the most distance of any club in your bag and are typically used for the first shot on each hole.

Draw- a shot that bends to the left side is called a draw.

Duff- This is a common term used by golfers when you miss or spoil a shot.

Fat- When the clubface taps the ground before hitting the ball it is called “fat”. 

Iron- This is a club with a metallic blade for the clubhead. Golfers have at least 8 to 10 irons that range from number 2- iron or sand wedge. Each iron offers a different shot type from distances to trajectory so that you can always have the right club to hit the perfect shot. 

Line of Play- This is a position, where the player wants his ball to stop after the stroke. The line of play can extend vertically upward from the ground, but may not get to go beyond the hole.

Penalty Stroke- This stroke is added to the score of the player when they commit a penalty such as when they hit their ball into the water and are unable to hit it again, causing them to have to “drop” the ball back on the course. 

Stroke- This is the forward movement of the club that is made to strike the ball and each stroke is equivalent to one point that is added to your score.

Tee- A device used to place the ball off the ground. This device is not more than 4 inches tall and is typically made of wood or plastic. The tee is used for your first shot on each hole. 

Hopefully, these terms and definitions will help you to get a basic idea about the game of golf and start being able to understand more of what you hear out on the golf course!

If you have any questions about these or other terms or would like to add to this list, leave a comment below!

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