Chris Hsu Golfing

Golf Terms

A Glossary of Golf Terms by Stephen Lau

All Over the Pin

All over the pin is a shot made by hitting the correct distance, and directly in line with the flagstick (whether it gets into the hole is something else).

Back Nine

A ball marker is used to identify the location of a ball on the green such that the golfer can later on place the ball in the same spot.

Balloon Shot

A balloon shot goes up but with little distance.


A birdie is a score of one under par on any hole – something you desire.


A bogey is a score of one over par on any hole – something you don’t want

Borrow is the amount a putt will deviate due to the slope of the green.


A bunker is a sand-filled hazard.

Bust It

You bust it when your shot goes very far and very straight.


A caddie is a person who carries a player’s bag without playing the game.

Can It!

Make a putt! Go for it!


Carry is the distance from which a ball is struck to when it first lands.

Casual Water

Casual water is an accumulation of water, but not a water hazard.

Catch a Break

You catch a break when you score a good position as a result of a bad shot.


Chip is a low-running shot played from around the green to the putting surface.


Draw is a specialist shot in which the ball curves from left to right in the air.

Dying Putt

A putt that slows down to a stop as it approaches the hole.


Eagle is a score of two under par on a par.

Fast Green

A fast green is a green in which lightly striking the ball will send it rolling over quickly.

Generally, the shorter the turf is mowed, the faster the ball may roll. Longer grass and less slope make a slow green.

Finishing Hole

Finishing hole is the last hole you play, regardless of its number of hole.


A flagstick is the pole with a banner on top that extends up from the hole of each green. Its function is to help golfers see where to aim.


Fore means “Look out!” You shout “Fore!” when you think your ball may hit someone.


A Fringe is an area of fairly short grass between the green and the fairway.

Front Nine

The front nine are the first nine holes in an 18-hole round.

Grip It and Rip It

You grip it and rip it when you hit ball with a tight hold on the club resulting in a powerful swing.

Good Weight

Putting in the ball the correct distance, but not quite the right direction.

Hammer It

You hammer it when your shot has gone a great distance.


Handicap is a means to enable golfers of varying competency to compete against each other in the same game.
Handicaps are subtracted from gross scores to obtain a net score.

Handicap Card

A handicap card indicates home course handicap of a golfer. A golfer’s handicaps are updated monthly.


A hazard is an obstacle on a golf course designed to challenge your ability to reach the green.

Hit It Flush

You hit it flush when you ace the ball (hit it well)

Hole of Play

A hole of play is the area on a golf course from the tee to a hole on the green.

Home Course

Home course is where you play golf most often.


Hook is a mistimed shot that deviates severely to the left for a right-handed player.


H-T-H (Hit Till Happy) permits a golfer to hit as many shots and take the ball with the best shot to continue to play.


Impact, also called “moment of truth,” is the collision of the clubface and the ball.

In the Hole

A golfer is in the hole when he or she is the third person in line to play.

Lace a Shot

You lace a shot when you ace it (hit it well).


Lie is the spot where the golf ball comes to rest on.

Line of Play

Line of play is the intended direction of the travel of the ball when a golfer hits the ball.

Match Play

Match play is a game in which two or more players compete against each other on a hole-by-hole basis. The player with the lowest score on each hole wins, regardless of the score.

On the Deck

A golfer on the deck is in line to proceed to the first tee to be ready to begin play (i.e. the second person waiting to begin play).

On the Tee

A golfer on the tee is the first one to begin to play.

Opening Hole

Opening hole is the first hole you pay, irrespective of its number of hole.


Par is the standard score each hole, and the entire course. Par is excellence. To par a hole of play is to get the ball into the hole within the predetermined number of strokes.

Pinch the Ball

To pinch the ball is to hit the ball and grass at the same time, thereby creating spin.

Play It Where It Lies

Hit the ball from wherever it may lie without touching it or improving its position.


Pitch is a lofted shot played from an area around the green.

Plus Handicap

A player carries a plus handicap when the gross score is often lower than par.

A plus handicap is added to a player’s gross score in order to obtain the net score.Practice Greens

Practice greens are designated areas for practice putting.

Preshot Routine

A preshot routine consists of preparatory actions prior to hitting a ball (e.g. gripping the club, standing behind the ball, aiming the target, assuming a stance, and taking a practice swing)

Putting Green

At the end of the fairway, putting green is a closely mown area that contains the hole, the putting surface, and the flagstick.


A putt is a stroke on the green aimed at sending the ball to roll and go into or near the hole.

Range Markers

Range markers are signs with numbers to show golfers how far they have hit a ball on a driving range.

Round of Golf

A round of golf is 9 or 18 holes of play.


Shank is a totally mistimes shot, often made with a short iron, in which the ball comes off the junction between the hosel and clubface and travels at right angles to the target intended.

Short Game

The short game is making shots within 100 yards of the hole.

Signature Hole

Signature hole is the most memorable hole in a golf course (usually the most difficult to play).

Sink It!

Make a putt!


Slice is a mistimed shot in which the ball deviates sharply to the right for a right-handed player.


A stroke is a swing of the club to hit the golf ball.

Stroke Play

Stroke play is a game in which the strokes taken by each player are counted and totaled at the end of each round. The player with the fewest number of strokes is the winner.

Summer Rules

You must play the ball as it lies (i.e. without improving its position in any way).

Teeing Ground

Teeing ground is the starting point of each hole of golf


The United States Golf Association was established in 1894 as a governing body for golf in the United States.

Water Hazard

Water hazard is an open water on a golf course.

Winter Rules

You may move the ball (except in hazards or on greens) to any spot to improve its position for better play.