I golf the odd time. And because I golf so infrequently I am terrible at the game. Every so often I hit a ball with the intended results, but that is a rare thing. Most often I flub the shot. And the slang terms I use are horrendously obscene. Terms straight out of the drunken sailor swearing handbook. But there are other, more civilized golf terms that explain the ins and outs of the game. The list is below.
Ace When a player hits the ball directly from the tee into the hole with one stroke. Also called a hole in one
Aerosol A player who rarely hits the ball in a consistent line. One who sprays the ball.
Aggregate Refers to a score made over more than one round of play, or by two or more players playing as partners.
Aim Generally, the direction in which your target lies and the direction you intend for your ball to go.
Backspin a reverse spin inevitably placed on any ball that becomes airborne. The spin causes the ball to climb and land softly on the green.
Banana-ball A slice that curves to the right in the shape of a banana. An extreme slice.
Bite heavy backspin applied to a ball that causes it to stop quickly instead of rolling when it lands. Depending on where the ball lands, the ball may roll backwards.
Blade term used to describe one type of iron where the weight is distributed evenly across the back of the clubhead as opposed to mainly around the perimeter (see “cavity back”). Also, describes a shot struck “thinly” with the bottom of an iron striking high up on the golf ball, causing a low trajectory shot with a lack of control.
Blast a bunker shot that sends the ball, and accompanying sand, (hopefully) onto the green. Also known as an “explosion”.
Air shot an attempt to strike the ball where the player fails to make contact. Counted as a stroke. See also whiff.
Clone Budget brand golf clubs that look similar to, and emulate the characteristics of, more expensive clubs without breaching any patents.
Closed face when (in relation to the target-line) the clubface is angled toward the player’s body, ie angled left for right-handed players.
Come-backer a putt required after the previous putt went past the hole.
Compression the measurement for expressing the hardness of a golf ball, normally 90 compression. Harder balls (100 compression) are intended for players with faster swings but may also be useful in windy conditions.
Dead TV-broadcaster slang for a shot in which there is no favorable outcome possible. Variations include “Get the body bags!” A favorite of Gary McCord.
Dimples The round indentations on a golf ball cover which are scientifically designed to enable the ball to make a steady and true flight. Dimples, by reducing drag, allow a golf ball to stay in the air for a longer flight than would be possible with a smooth ball.
Dogballs scoring an ‘eight’ on any single golf hole. The origin of the term is in reference to what the number ‘eight’ looks like on its side.
Duck-hook A severe low hook that barely gets airborne.
Duff also known as Dub. A horrible shot. See Shank.
Explosion A bunker shot that sends the ball, and accompanying sand, (hopefully) onto the green. Also known as a “blast”.
Goldie Bounce when the ball strikes a tree deep in the rough and bounces out onto the fairway.
Hacker an unskilled golfer. I”m a Hacker.
Motorcaddie A battery-powered device, often with remote control, used to transport a walking golfer’s clubs.
Mud ball A golf ball that has soil or other debris stuck to it which can affect its flight. Under normal rules of golf one is only allowed to clean a ball in play when it is on the putting green. During exceptional conditions this rule may be waived by a local rule (see Preferred lies).
Mulligan A do-over, or replay of the shot, without counting the shot as a stroke and without assessing any penalties that might apply. It is not allowed by the rules and not practiced in tournaments, but is common in casual rounds in some countries, especially the United States.
Ostrich The single hole score of -5, or five under par. The only way this can occur is with a hole-in-one on a par 6, or two on a par 7. This score has never been achieved and it is unlikely that it ever will considering the dramatic length and rarity of holes over par 5.
Plugged Lie a bad lie where the ball is at least half-buried. Also known as a “buried lie” or in a bunker a “fried egg”.
Plunk a lie where the ball is on the lip of a lake or other water hazard.
Pull a poor shot played severely to the left; as opposed to hooks, which curve from right to left, a pulled shot goes directly left.
Punch shot a shot played with a very low trajectory, usually to avoid interference from tree branches when a player is hitting from the woods. Similar to the knock-down, it can also be used to avoid high winds.
Scotch foursomes In scotch foursomes teams of 2 players compete against each other. Players alternate hitting the same ball. The first player tees off, the second player hits the second shot, the first player hits the third shot, and so on until the ball is holed. To this point, the definition of ‘scotch foursomes’ is the same as that of ordinary ‘foursomes’; however, players do not alternate hitting tee shots as they would in foursomes. If Player A teed off on the first hole and Player B holed the final putt, Player B would not tee off at the second, meaning that Player A could, in theory, play every tee shot on the round. The team with the lowest score wins the hole.
“The shanks“ a condition in which a golfer suddenly cannot stop shanking the ball; novice and experienced golfers can be affected.S
Shrimp a severe hook, named because it resembles the shape of a shrimp.
Skull to skull the ball means to contact the ball with the leading edge of the iron, often resulting in a low shot that goes further than expected with little to no spin. A skulled shot is almost always due to a mishit by the golfer. The terms “blade” and “thin” are also used interchangeably with skull.
Snowman To score an eight on a hole. So-named because an eight (8) looks similar to the body of a snowman.
Spray To hit the ball with a grossly inconsistent direction compared with the intended target in a seemingly random manner.
Stymie To block another player’s putting path to the hole with one’s own ball. Now an anachronism since the rules of golf permit marking the spot of the ball on the green, thus allowing the other player to putt into the hole without obstruction.
Sweet-spot The location on the clubface where the optimal ball-striking results are achieved. The closer the ball is struck to the sweet-spot, the higher the Power transfer ratio will be.
Ten finger grip grip style with all ten fingers on the club. Also known as the Baseball grip.
Thin shot a poor shot where the clubhead strikes too high on the ball. When taken to an extreme but still at or below the centerline of the ball it is known “blading” the ball.
Tree shot A bad shot that has hit the trees’ leaves and/or the branches and has resulted in negative situations, such as going out of bounds or into a hazard, or leaving the ball much shorter than its target.
Turkey Three consecutive birdies during one round of golf.
waggle Indecisive approach and practice swings at the ball.
Whiff An attempt to strike the ball where the player fails to make contact with the ball. A whiff must be counted as a stroke.
Worm Burner A shot that is hit low and hard.
The yips a tendency to twitch during the putting stroke. Some top golfers have had their careers greatly affected or even destroyed by the yips; prominent golfers who battled with the yips for much of their careers include Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, and, more recently, Bernhard Langer.
ZingerA ball hit high and hard.
If you are having a rough day on the course in terms of your game, there is always the excellent scenery to get your spirits back up.
The following terms are not as well known, but they are gaining in popularity. They are not so politically correct.
A ‘James Joyce’ or A ‘Book of Poetry’ : an impossible read (used for putts) “This goddamn putt’s a real Book of Poetry.”
A ‘Rock Hudson’ or A ‘Tom Cruise’ : a putt that looks straight, but it clearly isn’t “Every frickin’ putt I’ve had today has been a Rock Hudson.”
An ‘Osama Bin Laden’ or A ‘Saddam Hussein’ : going from one bunker to another “I bet you 10 bucks that Bob pulls a Bin Laden from that sand trap.”
A ‘Rodney King’ : over-clubbed “I was so determined not to come up short that I Rodney King’d that 5 iron.”
An ‘Al Qaeda Camel’ : in the sand and sure to get f*cked “Way to hit it into the short-sided pot bunker, you Al Qaeda Camel.”
An ‘O.J. Simpson’ : getting away with one “Nice shot, OJ. Right off the trees and back into the fairway.”
A ‘Muhammed Ali’ : when you’re shaking over an important putt “Did you see Joe pull a Muhammed Ali over that birdie putt?”
A ‘Condom’ : it’s safe, but it didn’t feel very good “I caught that condom right on the heel.”
A ‘Paris Hilton’: spoiled; wasted a good opportunity “After bombing my drive I proceeded to Paris Hilton my approach shot.”
An ‘Elephant’s A$$hole’: it’s high and it stinks (usually for popped up drives) “Wow, that’s a real Elephant’s A$$hole if I’ve ever seen one.”
A ‘Gay Midget’s Mouth’: it’s low and it sucks “That bladed 7 iron reminds me of a Gay Midget’s Mouth.”
A ‘Danny DeVito’: an ugly little five footer “I’ve got a Danny DeVito left to save double.”
A ‘Joe Pesci’: a mean little five footer See above
A ‘Sonny Bono’: straight into the trees “I snap hooked my drive on #2, Sonny Bono style.”
An ‘Elton John’: a big bender that lips the rim “Man, I almost dropped that Elton John on #4 for a birdie.”
A ‘Necrophiliac Handjob’: a dead pull “Nice Necrophiliac Handjob, Tom.”