King Par Superstore 'Golfers' Terminology Dictionary

Some of the most common questions we get asked here at King Par are about golf terms. If you are finding that some words that you hear out on the course, or in your everyday life, sound like strange lingo, don’t worry –from avid golfers to the weekend warriors, it’s difficult to know it all AND still play your best.  Well, fret not because now you can use our Terminology Guide whenever you need to look up anything from “Albatross” to the “Yips”. Nevertheless, defining some of these terms is and will always be still a matter of opinion.

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Ace

Score of “1” on any hole – “hole in one”

Address

Refers to a golfer being in the position and ready to hit a ball or play a stroke

Albatross

Score of 3 under par for an individual hole

Approach Wedge

A club with a high loft when close to the green. Also known as a gap wedge, attack wedge, A-wedge.

Backspin

Backward rotation of the golf ball in flight. Causes some wedge shots to “back up” on the green or to roll backwards after hitting the green.

Belly Putter

A long putter that golfers use to anchor the end of the putter shaft against the golfers’ stomach. Used to employ a 2 hand stroke using added stability of the wrists.

Birdie

Score of 1 under par for an individual hole

Bogey

Score of 1 over par for an individual hole

Bounce Angle

A measurement in degrees of the angle from the front edge of a club’s sole to the point where the club rests on the ground. Most commonly applied to wedges.

Bunker

A golf course “hazard” that is anything from a hole, depression or gap that is filled with sand.

Caddie

A person who’s job is to carry a golfer’s bag & equipment as well as assist with club selection and strategy for any upcoming shots.

Cart Path Only

A condition for some golf courses that only allow golf carts on the designated cart paths, meaning golfers are not allowed to drive anywhere on the grass.

Cavity Back

A design feature in golf irons that produces increased perimeter weighting that makes the club more forgiving on mis-hits.

CC

An abbreviation for “cubic centimeters” – used to denote the volume of a clubhead. Most common with golf drivers.

Center Cut

Means “in the middle” – applied to well-stuck golf shots that travel down the middle of the fairway or green. Also can be used to describe the position of the hole on the green.

Center of Gravity

Point in a club head at which it’s perfectly balanced. This affects the trajectory of shots. Sometimes abbreviated as COG or C.O.G.

Center Shafted

Refers to the way the shaft enters the putter’s club head near the center. Centered evenly between the putter’s toe and heel.

Closed Face

Refers to the position of the clubface in regard to the target line at impact- when the toe of the club is turned inward. Some clubs are manufactured with a slightly closed clubface to help golfers who commonly slice balls. Opposite of an open face.

Clubface

Striking surface of the club. The part of any golf club that comes in contact and strikes the golf ball at impact.

Clubhead

Part of the golf club that is attached to the end of the shaft. Describes the whole head.

Coefficient of Restitution

Describes the energy transfer between two objects (i.e. the golf club and ball). The more energy that is transferred, the farther the ball will travel.

Course Handicap

A number that tells golfers how many handicap strokes they’ll get during a round of golf.

Crown

The top surface of the clubhead – the part in which you see when looking down at the club at address.

Draw

The flight path of a ball when it slightly curves to the left (for right handed players) and curves to the right (for left handed players). Opposite of a fade.

Demo Days

An event held at a driving range or golf store where golfers have a chance to try out new golf clubs. Usually free to attend.

Dimples

Indentations on golf ball’s cover. Dimples are aero dynamical devices that change the shape & depth of the cover to affect the ball’s flight.

Dimple Pattern

The arrangement if all the dimples on a ball’s cover. Dimple patterns vary from different brands and affect the spin, trajectory, distance and accuracy of the shots.

Divot

When a club digs up grass and dirt on the course after swinging.

Divot Tool

Small, tool with two metal prongs (sometimes made of hard plastic) that is used to repair greens when grass and dirt comes apart on the green. Also known as a ballmark tool.

Double Bogey

A score of 2 over par on an individual hole.

Double Eagle

A score of 3 under par on an individual hole.

Driver

The first club you use at every hole when using a tee. Designed to hit the ball farthest. Has the largest clubhead and the longest shaft. Also known as a 1 wood.

Eagle

A score of 2 under par on any individual hole.

Face Angle

The position of a clubface in relation to the target line. Measured in degrees and can be often found on manufacturers’ websites when listing their clubs.

Face-Balanced Putter

Term applied putters when the clubface faces skyward in addition to being parallel to the ground. Opposite of a toe-balanced putter.

Fade

Describes the flight path of a ball when it slightly curves to the right (for right handed players) and curves to the left (for left handed players). Opposite of a draw.

Fairway

The closely mown area that runs between the tee box & putting green of a golf hole. The fairway is the target for golfers when you’re taking aim at the green.

Flex

A club shaft’s flexibility to bend during a swing. Players with fast swing speeds require a shaft with less flex versus a player with slower swinging speeds needing a greater flex.

Fore

A warning yelled out by a golfer who has hit a bad shot. Yelling “fore” is considered good golf etiquette because it can prevent any injury should your golf ball travel towards other golfers.

Forgiving

Describes a club whose design can help minimize the effects of a bag swing and/or poor content.

Gap Wedge

A club with a high loft that is used to provide more accuracy on short shots onto the green.

Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden

This is an old wives’ tale in which some people say “golf” stands for. Not true.

Hacker

Also known as a bad golfer. Sometimes used when talking about poor golfers in general, and sometimes used when talking about a specific golfer as an insult.

Handicap

A numerical representation of a golfer’s playing ability. A good golfer will have a lower handicap than a bad golfer.

Hole-In-One

Occurs when a golfer gets his ball to fall into the cup on the green with just one stroke. Also known as an ace.

Honors

Used when determining order of play. If someone has honors, they get to tee up first-basically a matter of etiquette.

Hook

Describes the trajectory of a ball where it starts out to the right (for right handed golfers) before cutting harshly back to the left and missing its target. Opposite directions for left-handed golfers.

Hosel

Part of a clubhead where the shaft is fitted and secured. Usually covered by plastic to hide the connection point.

Interlocking Grip

Term used to describe the way you correctly hold a golf club when swinging. Place your pinky finger & twist it with your index finger on your opposite hand.

Irons

One of the three divisions of a golf set. Irons are most used from the fairway and have thinly grooved faces and varying lofts. Common sets include a range from 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 irons.

Kickpoint

Point in a golf shaft where you can see it bends the most. Not a single point but instead is an area along the shaft’s length.

Launch Angle

The angle of ascent when the golf ball begins flying after impact with the club. If there’s a launch angle of 30 degrees, it means that the ball is climbing at an angle of 30 degrees in relation to the ground.

Lefty

A left handed golfer.

Lie Angle

The angle formed between the center of the shaft and the sole when the club is at address. Lie angles usually range from the mid-50 degrees to the mid-60’s. Long irons have lower lie angles while short irons have higher lie angles. Taller golfers frequently require higher lie angles.

Loft

A measurement in degrees of the angle at which the face of the golf club lies in relation to a perfectly vertical face represented by the shaft. Loft gives an idea of how far the ball with travel as well as the trajectory. Generally drivers have a loft between 9 and 12.5 degrees.

MAP

Stands for “minimum advertised price” and is used when golf manufacturers release new golf equipment – meaning retail stores cannot advertise a lower price for any particular club. Some manufacturers use MSRP when pricing equipment, others use MAP pricing.

Mid Iron

Also known as a #2 iron. The term is among the wooden-shafted historical golf clubs prior to the 20th century.

Moment of Inertia

Commonly abbreviated as “MOI”. A term applied to any object’s resistance to twisting around an axis, usually applied to clubheads but can also refer to balls and shafts. Clubs with a high MOI will be more resistant to twisting versus clubs with a lower MOI. Clubs described as more forgiving tend to have a higher moment of inertia.

Mulligan

Also known as a “do over”. When golfers hit a bag shot, they’ll take a mulligan and replay that shot. Not usually legal under the Rules of Golf but are sometimes acceptable during friendly rounds when golfing with buddies.

Muscleback

Describes the clubhead of certain irons that have a full back of the clubhead, as opposed to a cavity backed iron. These irons are usually forged.

Niblick

Equivalent to a modern #9 iron. The term is among the wooden-shafted historical golf clubs prior to the 20th century.

Offset

A feature on clubs that is found in many irons, woods and hybrids. When the leading edge or a clubface is set back from the hosel relative to the shaft.

Open Face

Refers to the position of the clubface in relation to the target line at impact when the heel of the club reaches the ball before the toe of the club does. Opposite of a closed face.

Over Par

Any score that is higher than the given par for that individual hole or round.

Par

The number of strokes a professional golfer is expected to need in order to complete an individual hole or round.

Progressive Offset

A term applied to iron sets meaning the offset changes from club to club. Decreases as the set goes from the 3 iron to the 4 iron, to the 5 iron, etc.

Pull

Describes the trajectory where the golf ball starts to the left (for a right handed golfer), travels in a straight line, and ends up to the left of the target. Opposite for left handed golfers.

Push

Describes the trajectory where the golf ball starts to the right (for a right handed golfer), travels in a straight line, and ends up to the right of the target. Opposite for left handed golfers.

Quadruple Bogey

A score of 4 over par on an individual hole.

Range Ball

A golf ball specially made for use only at driving ranges. Usually have a harder than average cover & sometimes have a colored stripe around them for easy identification.

Rough

The grass surrounding the fairways that has higher and thicker grass and is usually unmowed.

Round

A completed 18 holes of golf.

Sandbagger

A derogatory term that applies to golfers who cheat by pretending to be worse at golf than they actually are. Golfers sometimes do this to get a higher handicap.

Scramble

A golf tournament where 4 (or 2) people play together and each take turns teeing off on each individual hole. Playing continues as the best of the tee shots is chosen, and then the best of the second shot is played, and so on until the hole is completed.

Shank

A mis-hit that is so bad that the ball doesn’t hit the clubface and as a result either flies sharply right for right handed golfers and left for lefties.

Slice

A shot where the ball curves similar to a banana-- starts flying out towards the left and then bends back to the right of the target. Opposite sides for lefties.

Square Face

The position of the clubface in relation to the target line when the club hits the ball. This type of club will be perpendicular to the target line.

Stance

The position of a golfer’s feet just prior to making a stroke. Doesn’t necessarily mean a golfer is at address, just plainly describes how a golfer should properly be standing.

Stroke

Any swing that has been swung with an intention to strike the golf ball.

Swing Speed

How fast a clubhead is traveling at the moment it makes impact with the golf ball.

Swingweight

A measurement that describes how the weight ofa club feels when a golfer is mid-swing.

Target Line

An imaginary line from your ball to your target upon which you are aiming.

Tee

A little wooden piece of equipment that raises your golf ball when playing the first stroke of a hole.

Tee Time

A reservation at a golf course to begin playing your round.

Toe-Balanced Putter

Term applied putters when the clubface faces downward in addition to being parallel to the ground. Opposite of a face-balanced putter.

Torque

A term used to describe a golf shaft’s resistance to twisting when mid-swing.

Triple Bogey

A score of 3 over par on any individual hole.

Water Hazard

Any grouping of water on a golf course- could be a pond, river, lake, etc.

Yips

A putting problem. Describes a nervous affliction when the golfer is having a hard time making short putts.