Invading The Green

Learning Golf Terms: The Language of Golf

June 3, 2017

One of the major keys to success in any endeavor is to learn the language of the thing that you are trying to accomplish. Learning key golf terms and being able to demonstrate their use in casual conversation tells fellow golfers that you belong. It reassures them that you understand the rules and customs of the game, and that they can count on you to follow them. After reading this article, you should be able to use the language of golf with confidence.

Appearance is everything, and even though you don’t necessarily have it all down pat, you can fake it until you learn. Besides knowing some basic terminology, people will respect that you are learning, so don’t be afraid to tell them and ask questions. I’m going to share with you a few basic terms that have helped me along so far. Most of these definitions can be found on the PGA website.

Scoring golf terms:

Par: score an accomplished player is expected to make on a hole
Birdie: a score of one less than par
Eagle: a score of two less than par
Albatross (aka ‘double eagle’): a score of three less than par
Bogey: a score of one over par
Double Bogey: a score of two over par
Mulligan: the custom of hitting a second ball- without penalty- on a hole, usually the first tee.
(Mulligans are not allowed according the Rules of Golf)
Chip and Run: a low running shot played on the greens where the ball spends more time on the ground than in the air. (Also known as a “worm burner”)
Handicap: the number of strokes above or below Par that a player can play a course. Maximum handicap for men is 36, and the maximum handicap for women is 40. (The good new is that handicap’s often change over time as players get better.)

Golf Course terms:

Pace: the pace of play the group in front of you is playing.
(It’s important etiquette that you keep up with the group.)
Driving Range: a practice area. Also known as a golf range.
Tee box: The area where players “tee” to start a hole.
Fairway: a closely mowed area between the tee-box and the putting green.
Putting green: a smooth area of short grass where every hole ends
Bunker: A hallow comprised of sand or grass (or both) that exists as an obstacle (aka hazard)
Caddie: A person hired to carry clubs and provide other assistance.

Imbedding these few basic golf terms into your working vocabulary will not only help you learn the game it will also give you the confidence you need to build new friendships on the golf course.  You’ll be surprised by how knowing just a few terms can open doors to new possibilities! Let me know how it goes!

Practice now by commenting below with a short list of golf terms that are new to you!

First outing as a new golfer. First time in a bunker!


“Golf Glossary and Golf Terms.” N.p., n.d. Web. 30 May 2017.