The game of golf has a long and storied history. Dating back hundreds of years to its creation in Scotland, golf has developed and changed over the years, with each era introducing a new layer to the sport. This rich and ever-growing makeup is one of the things that makes the game so special and unique compared to many other popular sports and why the golf community is always expanding.
Over the years — as the game, equipment and players have developed and changed — so too has the lexicon. As surprising as it may sound to some, even the most common terms in the game have a relatively recent place in the language of golf. In previous posts, we outlined some of the most common golf terms you should know out on the golf course such as par, birdie and bogey and many others broken down by such categories as the golf course and gameplay themselves. As a quick recap, birdie, for example, has only been used in the sport for a little more than 100 years. Maybe that seems like a long time, but in the game of golf, it’s just a blip!
But there is an entirely separate group of terms you’ll want to know out on the course because golf is filled with slang that you’ll routinely hear when playing a round. So, when you’re out there playing this beautiful, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course on The Peninsula on the Indians River Bay, you’ll want to understand and join in the more unofficial terms of the game!
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Bookmark this post and feel free to reference it as needed. This glossary of common golf slang terms you should know on the golf course is organized alphabetically. Be sure to look for more terms to come in the next post!
To “airmail” a shot means a player has overhit the ball and flighted it well past the intended target, which is often the flagstick. This can happen for many reasons, oftentimes because a player chose the wrong club or they simply underestimated how far they could hit the ball or the conditions, such as wind. This is a common mistake for beginners and amateur golfers.
There are many different forms of play in golf beyond the traditional stroke play that you see the professionals play each weekend on television or with your buddies at the local course. Match play is a style of golf pitting players against each other to win a hole individually based on the best score to par on the hole. When players are “all square”, this means both have won an equal number of holes during match play and are tied.
One of the more clever and comedic golf slang terms is “Army Golf.” The term refers to the marching rhythm in the Army, which goes “left-right-left-right”, so a player is hitting the ball from one side of the hole to the other side of the hole and then back across again. This is due to mishit or inaccurate shots, generally committed by amateur golfers who have yet to develop consistency in their ball striking.
As you may recall from previous posts, or from your own past experiences, the golf course is littered with pits of sand officially knowns as bunkers or sand traps. These hazards are meant to punish players for inaccurate shots and to protect the golf course from elite players. Sand traps are also referred to as “the beach” or “beaches”, and players who spend lots of time in them during a round are said to have “spent a day at the beach.”
It’s not uncommon to hear elite players and professionals barking commands at their balls. While the balls don’t actually listen to instruction, golfers still do it nonetheless. You’ll often hear pros tell their ball to “bite”, which means the ball has lots of backspin. When the ball lands, it checks up abruptly or even spins back toward the player or hole. Placing this kind of spin on the ball is a challenging shot and only executed by advanced players who intend it to happen.
If you’re new to the game of golf or are still a beginner, this is a slang term you’re likely to hear quite often, unfortunately. “Chunking” a shot means the player has hit the ground behind the ball before striking the ball itself, causing the ball to go significantly shorter than intended. Usually, a lack of weight transfer is responsible for a chunked shot or the player dips their back shoulder in a misguided attempt to create loft to their shot, only to cause the exact opposite to happen.
Every hole on the golf course quite literally has a hole at the end of it. This is the target each player is trying to get their ball into in order to complete the hole. This hole is called a “cup” and is 4.5 inches across and 4 inches deep, painted white. A flagstick is stuck into the center of the hole so the players can see where it’s located at a distance from anywhere on the hole.
The official term for the putting surface of a hole is green, but you’ll frequently hear the golf community refer to the green as the “dance floor.” While the exact course behind this term has been lost over time, some theorize it’s because this is where a golfer can really shine and score a good round, sort of like being on display — or on the dance floor.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of making an important putt, especially when a player rolls it in from a considerable distance or with a large amount of break on the putt. When a golfer makes a putt, they “drained” it, much like a basketball player would with a jump shot.
This is more of an all-encompassing golf slang term. “Duffing” a shot really just means a player hit a really poor shot. It can be a chunked shot, topped shot, errant drive or disappointing chip. A mediocre to a poorly-skilled player is often known as a “duffer” because of the frequency with which they hit duffed shots.
Look for more golf slang terms and definitions to come! To take advantage of the gorgeous golf course here at The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay, contact Insight Homes today to purchase or build your own beautiful home and play the Jack Nicklaus-designed course any time you want!