Golf is a fun game that is not without its challenges. Getting a tiny ball from a tee box into a small hole that’s several hundred yards away requires considerable skill and a lot of patience. But novices know that mastering the game is not the only challenge on the course.
Like most sports, golf has its own unique terminology. Confusion can set in when beginners arrive at a course and feel as though they’re surrounded by people speaking a different language. This glossary of golf terms, courtesy of the PGA of America, can help beginners master the lingo of the links.
Par: The score an accomplished player is expected to make on a hole. Holes are either a par three, par four or par five.
Birdie: A score of one-under-par on a hole.
Eagle: A score of two-under-par on a hole.
Double eagle: A score of three-under-par on a hole.
Bogey: A score of one-over-par on a hole.
Double bogey A score of two-over-par on a hole.
Green: The area at the end of each hole where grass is cut especially short.
Fairway: The area of short grass between the tee and corresponding green.
Rough: The area of longer grass around the fairway and the green.
Hazards: Obstacles, including water, between a tee and a green.
Bunker: Sometimes referred to as a “sand trap,” the bunker is a hollow comprised of sand or grass or both that exists as an obstacle and, in some cases, a hazard.
Divot: The turf displaced when a club strikes the ball on a descending path.
Fore: An exclamation golfers yell to warn others that they have hit a bad shot.
Ranger: A course employee who drives around the course ensuring golfers are following the rules and playing at a reasonable speed.
Range: Sometimes referred to as the “golf range,” this is a facility where players can practice their full swings and, in some cases, their short games.
Pin: The flag on the green that indicates to players where the hole is.
Shank: When the ball is struck on the hosel of the club, usually sending it shooting off to the right.
Slice: A ball that curves from left to right after being struck. Left-swinging players will slice right to left.