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The Language of Golf

As in many pastimes/obsessions, over the years golf has developed its own language. For the uninitiated, words like worm burners, snowmen, and aces go in one ear and out the other. In this article, we'd like to introduce twenty-six words in the golf vocabulary. We hope you find a few new ones that will be useful out on the links.

Amateur Side: Refers to the low side of the hole on a breaking putt. Amateur golfers often hit a putt too lightly, so that it breaks away before it reaches the hole, never having had a chance to fall in.

Bob Barker: A golf shot that is hit too high, so that you ask it to 'come on down!'

Cut Shot: A controlled shot that moves from left to right (right to left if you swing left-handed). Unfortunately, a golfer usually needs to plan a cut shot, instead of asking for one as the ball heads left of the green into the water.

Dance Floor: If you hit a beautiful ball on a part three that lands on the green, smile and say "I'm on the dance floor, baby." Then do a little boogie-woogie.

Take the Elevator: Usually spoken to a shot that needs to rise quickly because it is hit over trees.

Fried egg: A ball that lands in the sand trap, so that only the top half is showing. The rest of the fried egg is made by the ring of sprayed sand created by the impact.

Greenie: A par three bet where the players compete to see who can hit their ball closest to the pin. Some play that the winner must make par or better.

Hook: A shot trajectory caused by a counter-clockwise rotation of the ball (clockwise for lefties) that makes it travel from right to left (left to right for lefties). A slight hook is called a draw, while an exaggerated hook is called a duck hook.

In the leather: Measurement of the putter grip used to determine if a putt is a gimmie. Old school golfers just hit the ball in the hole.

Junk: A.K.A garbage. Golfing side bets that include sandies, greenies, woodies, barkies, and Hogans, to name a few.

Knockdown: A shot that has a shortened follow-through to produce a low, slightly left to right trajectory, travelling a shorter distance but with lots of spin.

Lag putt: Hitting a putt off the toe of the putter to produce a slower roll that is more responsive to the break. Also refers to a putt where you just want to get it close.

Money player: The golfer who always makes the big pressure shots (the one you want on your team).

Nuke: A.K.A utterly destroyed. Hitting a shot so far it must have been launched by a nuclear blast.

Open the door: To mis-hit a shot and create the opportunity for your opponent to win the hole or the match.

Pin high: An approach shot that lands off the green but at the same distance as the flag.

Quadruple bogey: Two words golfers never want to hear themselves say.

Ready golf: Disregarding which golfer has the honor, instead hitting the ball whenever ready, to speed up play.

Scratch: A zero handicap golfer. Without a ball, most people are scratch golfers

Toss the balls: Method to decide partners in a foursome match. Toss all four golf balls in the air. The pairs that come down closest to each other are the partners.

Up and down: The act of chipping and putting. Either in two shots, as in "I need to get up and down!" or more, as in "It looks like I'll get up and down in five from here."

Victory: A word every golfer should taste.

Worm burner: A long, low shot that leaves carpet burns and beheaded worms on the fairway.

X: Marked on the scorecard when you pick up after hitting 9 consecutive balls in the water on an island hole.

Yips: A stress condition affecting a golfer's hands that don't allow them to make any putts under three feet.

The Zone: Every golfer should be in the zone-a place where everything they do is perfect and they don't even have to try. Once you are in the zone, you never want to leave.

Have suggestions for our golf glossary? Send us an email. Although often uttered on the course, no offensive or foul language, please.

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