Over the past two posts, The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay has broken down some of the most common golf slang terms you’re likely to hear out on the golf course and among the golf community. There’s nothing worse than feeling left out, so coming to know these slang terms and how to use them goes a long way to enjoying your time out with friends and new acquaintances because you can bond through a worldwide game!
Because golf is such an old sport, many of these terms came to be over time and have been passed down from generation to generation, continuing to thread the rich fabric of the game’s history. Understanding them is an important part of enjoying the sport and connecting with your fellow golfers.
The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay is one of the finest, most exclusive golf communities on the East Coast, nestled along the gorgeous Indian River and featuring a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. This par-72, 7,200-yard course is one of the finest in the country, awarded the Best Private Club by Golf, Inc. It’s both scenic and challenging and includes a PGA-certified staff.
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If you are wondering, “Wait, I thought a golf course only had 18 holes??”, fear not, you are correct. The “19th hole” on a golf course refers to the clubhouse bar, where players go to get drinks following a round of golf. This can also sometimes be called the watering hole for fairly obvious reasons and tends to be the easiest hole on the course — just saying.
Golf is still a gentleman’s game, after all, so sporting behavior should be on display at all times. When a group in front is keeping a slower pace than the group of players behind them, it is common courtesy to let the trailing group “play through,” sitting aside and letting the group play the following hole before your group. This tends to happen when a single-player or pair is playing behind a group of four, so they will consistently be waiting on the lead group because of simple math: the time it takes four players to hit their shots is more than two. The leading group should at minimum at least offer to let the trailing group play through.
One of the more technical slang terms is golf is when a player gets “quick” with their swing. This refers to a golfer taking their backswing and foreswing too quickly in an effort to generate more power. However, this only leads to mishits and inaccurate shots. A smooth, fluid swing will generate more power, not a “quicker” swing, necessarily.
While tournament-style golf follows the rules of honors, which dictate that the players farthest from the hole hit first before players closer to the hole, this can sometimes create a slow pace of play for a group of amateur players. Therefore, you can also play by “ready golf” rules, which means that a player takes their next shot once they are ready to hit it. You should still wait for other players to hit if you’re both ready and they’re farther out, but this cuts down the time if another player in your group is searching for their ball, for example.
This is the pursuit of every amateur golfer in the world. To be a “scratch” golfer means your handicap is zero, so your average round of golf is at par. This is generally considered to be an average score of 71 or 72, the two most common par scores for full-sized golf courses.
One of the most dreaded scores on any hole is what’s known as a “snowman.” When you score an 8 on a hole, you’ve recorded a snowman because that’s what an 8 looks like. Many golfers play by the general rule of thumb that a snowman is the highest number of strokes you can take on a given hole — if you hit 8 shots and still haven’t put the ball in the hole, you simply pick the ball up and move on to the next hole. Other styles of stroke limits you’ll see are double par (so a 6 on a par 3, for example) or a flat 10 strokes, where you pick up the ball after 10 strokes without completing the hole.
When a player hits the top half of the ball, creating a very low, line-drive trajectory, they are said to have “sculled” it, which is in reference to the rowing oars in competitive racing (the blades of the oars). It’s also known as “blading” the ball or catching it “thin,” so basically the opposite of a chunked shot. Sculling the ball usually happens when the player picks their head up before contact or rises out of their posture in an attempt to create loft on the ball, which only causes the reverse effect.
Every golf course breaks each hole up with different tee boxes designed for players of different skill levels. The closest tees are usually red and are meant for women and juniors. There are then senior tees, white tees (for intermediate players) and then blue, black and gold tees. The farthest tee box is known as “The Tips,” intended for advanced and professional golfers. These are generally indicated by black tees in the ground. The extra length creates more of a challenge for advanced golfers because they hit the ball so much farther than beginners and intermediate players.
Up and Down
In an ideal world, a player would hit a nice, straight drive and then a clean approach shot that lands on the green to give themselves a putt for birdie and a second for par. However, many players don’t land on the green with the second (or third on par 5s) approach shot. But you can still record a par by taking only two shots to hole out — typically a chip and putt. Accomplishing this feat is knowns as getting “up and down.” Doing so from a green-side bunker is an official stat called a sand save.
Finally, one of the worst shots you can take as a golfer is one that sees the ball barely — if at all — leave the ground. When this happens, you’ve hit a “worm burner” as the ball stays along the ground the whole way, which joking could dig up all the worms in the ground along its path. These shots typically don’t go very far and have lots of run out because of the topspin generated on them. A worm burner often happens when a player sculls a shot, but can sometimes happen when they catch it chunky as well.
And there you have it! That completes this glossary of common golf slang terms you should know out on the golf course. 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!