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Fan's Guide to Golf Rules and Basics Page 5 of 5 (Glossary)

golf player1- History & Object
2- The Essentials (Scoring, Competion, etc.)
3- Equipment
4- Course Diagram
5- Glossary of Golf Terms


Approach shot: A shot intended to reach the putting green.

Away: Describes the ball furthest from the hole, which should be played first.

Backswing: Taking the club from the ground to behind the head.

Backspin: Allows an approach shot to stop quickly and possibly roll backward on green.

Birdie: One stroke under par.

Bogey: One stroke over par. Two strokes over par is “double bogey,” etc.

Bunker: Hazards, usually filled with sand, placed around the course to increase the difficulty of a hole. Also called a sand trap.

Chip shot: Low trajectory shot, usually hit when the ball is just off the green.

Divot: A piece of turf removed by the club when swinging.

Dogleg: A left or right bend in the fairway.

Downswing: Swinging a club from the top of the swing to the point of impact.

Draw: A controlled hook traveling from left to right (right-handed player).

Drive: To hit the ball with maximum force from the tee box.

Drop: To drop the ball on the course to put it back in play after it has been declared unplayable or lost.

Eagle: Two strokes under par.

Fade: The slight turning of the ball from left to right (right-handed player).

Follow-through: The continuation of the swing after the ball has been hit.

Fore: Expression used to warn those in danger of being hit by the ball.

Handicap: Number of strokes a player deducts from his average score to reach par. A 10 handicap shoots 10 over par, on average. Playing with a handicap allows golfers of different abilities to compete on the same level.

Hole-in-one: A hole made with one stroke. Also called an ace.

Hook: A shot that curves strongly from right to left (right-handed player).

Lie: The position in which the ball rests on the ground. The lie can be good or bad in terms of the nature of ground where is rests, the slope (uphill or downhill lie), and the level of difficulty. An unplayable lie is one in which the ball is impossible to play, such as in a thicket of trees.

Long game: Shots hit with the woods and low numbered irons. Players who hit the ball far are said to have a good “long game.”

Par: Number of strokes it should take an experienced golfer to finish a hole. Used as a scoring benchmark.

Penalty stroke: An additional stroke added to a player's score for a rules violation.

Pitch: A short shot, lofting the ball into the air in a high arc and landing with backspin.

Punch: Low, controlled shot, often into the wind.

Putt: A shot made on the putting green. Players try to pick the correct line and speed when putting.

Scratch: The best handicap, called “scratch,” would be for a golfer who typically shoots at or below par.

Short game: The part of the game that is made up of chip shots, pitching, and putting. Players who are good close to the hole are said to have a good “short game.”

Slice: A shot that curves strongly from left to right (right-handed player).

Stroke: Every swing attempt counts as one stroke to a golfer’s score.

Tap in: A very short putt.

Tee off: Shot on first hole with the ball elevated on a tee.


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