Golf is becoming more and more accessible to people of all backgrounds and whilst the growth of the sport is important for all involved, it can still be a daunting experience when taking your first steps onto a course!
Adding to this air of trepidation are the many words, phrases and terms used by more experienced golfers, that are only ever used within the sport. Some are very well-known, such as a ‘hole-in-one’, but others are more obscure and confusing. To help make sense of these and ensure you can both talk the talk and walk the walk on the golf course, iGolf has created the ultimate golfing glossary to help.
iGolf makes it as easy as possible for beginners and new golf enthusiasts to pick up a club. The digital subscription from England Golf provides non-club members in England with the opportunity to obtain an official handicap, so it is specifically designed for golfers who are not club members, for whatever reason, or who are new to the game.
A par 3 is a hole, typically no longer in length than 230 yards, where a golfer would aim to hit the ball onto the green with their first shot. To make a par here, a golfer should take no more than three shots to get the ball into the hole.
Often the most common hole found during a round of 18 holes, a par 4 is a hole typically ranging in lengths between 230-450 yards. A golfer would aim to hit the ball onto the green with their second shot and, to make a par, would need to take four shots in total to get the ball into the hole.
A par 5 is one of the longer holes in golf, typically stretching out beyond 450 yards. To make a par, you would need to take five shots in total to get the ball into the hole. Due to the nature of a par 5, they sometimes also offer more risk and reward options when compared to par 3 and par 4 holes.
Another word for a hole-in-one, an ace happens when a player hits their ball into the hole from the tee.
A score of three-under-par on a hole. These are extremely rare as they can only happen either by making a hole-in-one on a par 4 or by hitting your ball into the hole in just two shots on a par 5!
A score of two-under-par on any given hole. This usually occurs either on par 4’s by making a 2 or more commonly on a par 5, when a golfer hits their second shot onto the green and holes the putt.
A score of one-under-par on any given hole. For example, if you get the ball in the hole on a par 3 in two shots you’ve made a birdie!
The expected number of strokes it should take to complete a hole. A par on a par 3 would mean the golfer gets the ball into the hole in three strokes.
A score of one-over-par on a hole. Making a 5 on a par 4 would be an example of a bogey.
A score of two-over-par on a hole. For example, if you were to take 6 shots to get the ball into the hole on a par 4 this would be considered a double bogey.
Avoid these scores at all costs! If you were to make, for example, a 6 on a par 3 this would be a triple bogey.
A handicap is a numerical score that predicts your upcoming golfing abilities based on your past performances. The existence of handicaps allows golfers of all ages and abilities to compete against each other equitably. Up until mid-2021, golfers needed to belong to a club in order to know their handicap (as part of the calculation involved a peer review process). However, non-members of golf clubs can now subscribe to England Golf’s iGolf platform to obtain a handicap index.
This measure assesses the relative playing difficulty of a course for Bogey Golfers (average players), compared to Scratch Golfers (playing off a handicap of zero). The higher the Slope Rating, the more additional strokes a Bogey Golfer will need to be able to play it, and vice versa.
A player with a Course Handicap of approximately 20 for a male and 24 for a female.
A player who can play to a Course Handicap of 0 on all rated golf courses.
The area from which a golfer starts each hole. This exact area is shown by tee markers that golfers must tee off in between or two club lengths behind. Certain holes may have multiple tee boxes at varying distances to accommodate players of various skill levels.
An area of tightly mown grass that runs from the tee to the green. On par 4s and par 5s, you want your tee shot to land somewhere on the fairway, as it is much easier to play accurately from the fairway than to play out of longer grass (the rough).
A small area of tightly mown grass that encircles the green. Fringes, typically, are no wider than 2-3 yards in length.
An area of longer grass set away from fairways, greens and bunkers, that you want to avoid. It’s much more challenging to hit a good shot from the long stuff!
The area of very short grass around the hole itself. The green is specifically made for putting and has no obstacles or hazards between where the ball may land and come to rest and the hole itself.
An area of the course where a sand trap has been strategically placed as a hazard. When playing out of a bunker you are not allowed to ground the club or touch the sand with your club before the point of impact on a downswing. Rather fortunately, not every hole on the course has bunkers!
Either naturally occurring or specifically created for the hole, hitting your ball into a water hazard will cost you strokes in the form of penalty shots (and likely a golf ball!). These are clearly defined on the course by either red or yellow wooden stakes or paint.
When hit by a right-handed golfer, this is a golf shot hit with the ball starting right of target, with right-to-left curvature mid-flight, and results in the ball finishing on target. For a left-handed golfer, the opposite to this applies.
When hit by a right-handed golfer, this is a golf shot hit with the ball starting left of target, with left-to-right curvature mid-flight, and results in the ball finishing on target. For a left-handed golfer, the opposite to this applies.
For a right-handed golfer, this is a golf shot hit with the ball starting left of target, with right-to-left curvature mid-flight, and results in the ball finishing further left of target. For a left-handed golfer, the opposite to this applies.
For a right-handed golfer, this is a golf shot hit with the ball starting right of target, with left-to-right curvature mid-flight, and results in the ball finishing further right of target. For a left-handed golfer, the opposite to this applies.
The word you shout as a warning when you accidentally hit your ball in the direction of another player. “Fore!”
Sometimes when a golf ball lands in a bunker it can partly bury itself, leaving only the top visible with an impact ring of sand around it. The result leaves you needing to attempt a tough recovery shot!
Because the hole is never directly in the middle of the green, sometimes a player’s ball will land on the fairway or rough near the green, but with minimal green between the ball and the hole. In this case, the player is short-sided.
Best known for carrying and cleaning a golfer’s clubs during play, caddies usually also have good course knowledge and provide advice on club selections and shot options.
A golf course located close to the sea on ground that ‘links’ the shore with the land . Because of the proximity to the coast and, generally, a lack of trees, links courses allow for naturally windy conditions.
A golf course located inland. Named such because it feels as if you’re playing golf in a park, these courses often boast spectacular green grass and trees throughout.
The benefits of iGolf:
Whilst there may be many different terminologies associated with golf, you’ll pick it up quicker than you think. Once you get your iGolf subscription and head out onto the course, you’ll not only become more experienced but will also be able to enjoy the benefits of the subscription too:
To find out more about iGolf, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.