Golf has its own intricate language full of words, terms, phrases and slang that are commonplace around the country and the world. Understanding what golfers are referring to goes a long way to enjoying the game and making the most of your time out on the golf course with friends.
However, not everybody speaks the language of golf fluently, which can be a deterrent in playing in the first place or as much as you might like to, especially if you’re fortunate enough to live on a private golf course. The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay wants you to make the most of your beautiful home on the award-winning Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course that is an amazing component to this gorgeous Delaware community.
In the previous post, The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay highlighted some of the common terms of golf you should know as it relates to the scoring aspects of the sport. In today’s post, the terms will focus on the golf course itself so you can understand what you’re golf enthusiast friends and family are talking about and join in for a more inclusive experience when you’re out there on the golf course!
As you might imagine, the most challenging aspect of any round of golf is the course you’re playing on. This sets the stage for everything to follow — the difficulty, scenery and par score you’re looking to meet or better. While every course is completely unique and offers a variety of different styles and difficulties, the same components make up every golf course in the world, so understanding these terms means you can enjoy a round anywhere on the planet and confidently know what you’re looking at and talking about!
This is the staging area for the first shot on each and every hole on the golf course. The tee box is the only spot on any golf course in which a player is allowed to “tee up” the ball, meaning you can place the ball off the ground to your desired height on a piece of plastic or wood peg, which makes the ball easier to hit and increases its flight and distance as a result. Every tee box has multiple colors to indicate the starting point for golfers of different skill levels and gender. Red tees are generally for women and are closer to the hole, while the farthest tees are black or gold and are meant for professionals and extremely good players. Amateur players typically play from the white or blue tees (blue being slightly longer than white tee boxes).
The fairway refers to the strip of short grass extending from the tee box and down to the hole itself. A fairway can be of many different lengths and widths but is where a player wants their first shot to land because the short grass makes the following shot easier to execute and more predictable. A golfer’s accuracy from the first shot off the tee box is usually measured by the number of fairways they land on during the course of 18 holes.
Each hole on the golf course finishes on the green, the shortest grass on the hole and where the hole itself is located. The grass is cut extremely short to make the shots onto it more difficult and to allow the players to roll the ball toward the hole with a flat-ended club known as a putter. Landing the ball on the green in the main objective of the player’s previous shots, so this is measured by “greens in regulation,” meaning a player hit the green in the allotted number of previous shots, which is usually one, two or three strokes depending on the par of the hole. Each green is surrounded by a slightly longer area of grass called the fringe, which is technically not the green, but players may still use their putter from it.
The rough on a golf course is the longer grass on a hole that surrounds the fairway or green. Hitting a shot into the rough usually creates a more difficult following shot because the grass is longer and thicker, making contact with the ball harder and less predictable, leaving less room for error. The length of the rough varies and there are often multiple lengths as rough, known as the first cut and second cut. The length of the rough and type of grass give each course the ability to make the course more challenging depending on the type of player they set up the golf course for on a given day or weekend.
Bunker or Sand Trap
A bunker, also called a sand trap, is an area of the hole that has a pit of sand of varying sizes and depth. These are planned and strategically placed on the course to create more precise shots for the players, adding a layer of challenge. Bunkers are often found around the green to protect it and penalize players for poor shots. There are also fairway bunkers, which are usually shallower but larger in surface area, that force players to hit more accurate tee shots. A player may not rest their clubhead on the sand prior to the shot or they incur a stroke penalty because bunkers are a “hazard” on the golf course.
Hazard or Out of Bounds
A hazard is any predetermined area of a given hole that penalizes a player for hitting a shot into. The most common hazards on a golf course are water hazards and bunkers. If a player lands their ball into a body of water on the course, they receive a one-stroke penalty automatically as the ball can’t be recovered. Landing in a bunker does not incur a stroke penalty unless the players touches the sand (grounds the club) before executing the shot. Out of bounds is also a hazard and refers to the areas of a hole that are outside the limits of play, usually marked by stakes and painted red lines along the boundary. Landing the ball out of bounds is a one-stroke penalty for the player.
Flagstick or Pin
A flagstick indicates to the players where the hole is located on the green for the hole. Because golfers can’t see the hole from the tee box, the flagstick — also called the pin — is tall enough and carries a flag at the top so the hole’s location can be seen from farther away, as well as help indicated the amount of wind blowing for the player before they take a shot.
Front Nine and Back Nine
Every full-length golf course is 18 holes and is broken up into two sections of nine holes. The first nine of a golf course is called its front nine and the total score of those nine holes is totaled on the scorecard and noted under the “out” portion of the card, meaning the player is headed out from the clubhouse. The second nine holes are then called the back nine and oftentimes feature holes of varying kinds from the front and potentially with a different total par score than the front nine. The total par score on the back nine is totaled and noted on the “in” part of the scorecard as a player is headed back in toward the clubhouse. Adding up the total par from each nine gives a player their total score for the round, with par often being 71 or 72 strokes on any given golf course.
Because every full-length golf course is 18 holes total and broken up into two separate sections of nine holes known as the front and back nine, “the turn” refers to the transition between the front and back of the course. This generally occurs near the clubhouse and allows for players to take a quick break should they need it, so long as it doesn’t affect the pace of play for the groups behind them.
When a player takes a shot, they strike the ground with the clubhead either before or after striking the ball itself. This digs up a piece of the grass and soil underneath, as a result, leaving a mark on the ground, which is called a divot. A player is responsible for picking up the piece of ground dug out from their shot and replacing it. This is both good golf etiquette and healthy for the golf course and players who play the hole after you finish. Divots also occur on the green from the ball landing on them and leaving dents, which should also be repaired to keep the green flat and smooth for the players who come later.
Understanding the main components of every golf course across the globe goes a long way to enjoying your time playing golf a whole lot more and discussing the round both on and off the course with your friends, family or golf community. 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!