Common Golf Terms
Golf, like every other sport, has its own language. Many spectators, as well as beginning golfers, do not understand this language because the terms and slang used by golfers are foreign to them. One word may mean something totally different than a word used to describe an everyday item.
“Going to a tee box to start a hole and making a perfect swing to land the ball in the fairway”, is common terminology to golfers, but someone unfamiliar with the game may not have a clue what a golfer is talking about. Here are some of the more common terms and slang a beginning golfer or spectator must know to help them understand golf a little better.
#1 Tee Box (Teeing Up)
Tee box is the starting point on each hole where a golfer begins play from.
Teeing up the ball is when a golfer places the golf ball on a wooden or plastic peg so it sits up off the ground. Teeing up the ball can only be done on the Tee box.
The fairway is a part of a hole that has the shortest grass. It typically runs from the Tee box to the green. The goal of each golfer is the keep the ball in the fairway, because it is the easiest place to hit the ball from.
#3 The Green
The green is a circular shaped area where the golfer is trying to reach with his golf ball shots. It is the location that has a flag stick and a cup. The green has the grass cut the shortest from any other place on the golf course. This allows a golfer to easily roll the ball across the green to reach the cup, or hole. Once the golfer gets the golf ball inside the cup, that hole is completed.
The rough is an area of the golf course that runs along the sides of the fairway and has longer grass.
Par is the number of strokes, or hits, a golfer is allowed for one particular hole. All of strokes are added up to give the course a total par, such as 70 or 72 for 18 holes. A golfer is said to shoot par if they use the exact number of shots to hit the ball from the tee box and into the cup on the green.
#5 Ace (Hole-In-One)
An ace is a term used to describe a hole-in-one. This means the golfer only took one shot from the tee box to get the ball inside the cup on a given hole.
Eagle is a term used to describe the number of shots a golfer took to hit the golf ball into the cup. It means that the golfer used two fewer strokes than par granted him or her. It is commonly seen on par 5 holes.
#7 Double-Eagle (Albatross)
Using three strokes less than the par granted on a hole is commonly called a double-eagle, but in Britain (and some parts of the US) it is referred to as an albatross.
A birdie is when a golfer uses one less hit, or stroke, than the par granted to him on any hole. For example, a golfer only took three hits or strokes to put the golf ball into the cup on a par 4 hole.
A bogey is used when a golfer takes one more stroke than the par on that hole. For example, a golfer needed five hits of the ball, or strokes, to put the golf ball inside the cup on a par 4 hole. This word also describes additional strokes required, such as double-bogey, triple-bogey, etc.
Handicap is the number of strokes a player can take off his total score at the end of a round of golf. Each golfer is granted a number of additional strokes, or hits, based on their skill level. A handicap allows golfers of different skill levels to play evenly against each other.
A hazard refers to obstacles or obstructions strategically placed on the golf course by the designer of the course to make the game more challenging to play. The different hazards include ponds, lakes, streams, bushes, sand traps, grass bunkers or any other obstacle setting along the sides of each hole and surrounding the green.
For a beginning golfer or spectator, these are the most common terms or slang that they need to know to better understand what golfers are talking about. However, the terms and slang listed above only cover a minute number of words and slang used in golf.