Glossary of golf terms

Our golf dictionary covers the main terms used in golf. The first step in demystifying the game is to understand the language and terminology that golfers commonly use.

Term

Definition

Accumulator
In this team competition format, play is generally in 3 or 4 person teams. Assuming three-person teams: for the first six holes the best score of the three counts towards the team total (each player must contribute at least one score). For the second six holes, the best two scores count. For the last six holes all three scores must be taken. The team with the best points tally or lowest number of strokes wins.
ace
A hole-in-one.
action
Backspin on the ball, also referred to as "bite" or "zip".
addressing the ball
A player is said to have addressed the ball when the he/she has taken his/her stance and adopted the position from which the backswing is started.
advice
The provision of instructions or help on how to play a shot. In competition only a player's partner or caddy can give advice without penalty.
aeration
[See Hollow tining].
air shot
Occurs when a player intends to hit the ball but misses it completely.
albatross
British term for a score of three under the par for a hole, e.g. a two scored on a par-5 hole. In the US it is known as a double eagle.
Alfred S. Bourne Trophy
Presented annually to the winner of the US Senior PGA Championship.
ALPG Tour
Established in 1972, the ALPG (Australian Ladies Professional Golf) is the governing body for womens' professional golf in Australia and coordinates the ALPG Tour. The organisation started out in 1972 as the LPGAA (Ladies Professional Golf Association of Australia) and launched a tour for professional women golfers in 1973. The name change to ALPG came in 1991. [Website: alpgtour.com].
alternate shot
See "foursome".
amateur
A golfer who does not receive money for playing the game, i.e. this applies to the vast majority of people who play the game.
anti-shank
Golf club design that attempts to eliminate the possibility of striking the ball with the hosel of the club.
approach
Shot played to the green from the fairway or rough
apron
The short grass surrounding the green, which separates it from the fairway.
Arnies
A type of side bet in golf, which provides a pre-determined reward to any player who makes a par without having their ball on the fairway during the playing of a hole.
Arnold Palmer Award
Presented each year to the leading money-winner on the US PGA Champions Tour.
Arnold Palmer Cup

This annual competition is played between college/university golfers representing the USA and an International team representing the rest of the world. From its establishment in 1997 as the Palmer Cup, until 2002 it was contested between teams representing the USA and GB&I. From 2003 until 2017, a European team competed against the USA; from 2018 onward an International (RoW) team replaced the European team. Originally played between two eight-man teams, it is now an event played between 12 men and 12 women per team.

Arnold Palmer (drink)

An "Arnold Palmer" is a popular non-alcoholic drink in the United States, which combines iced tea with non-fizzy lemonade. An alcoholic version of the drink, in which vodka is added, is commonly referred to as a "John Daly".

ASGCA
American Society of Golf Course Architects
Asian Tour
In January 2004 the tournament playing professionals of Asia formed a new player representative body named the Asian Tour to ensure control over the development of professional tournament golf in Asia. The Asian Tour's principal role is the sanctioning, management, marketing, technical administration, development and promotion of professional golf tournaments in the region. [Website: asiantour.com].
attend the flag
To hold the flagstick while another player makes a putt towards the hole.
Australasian Tour
See PGA Tour of Australasia.
away
The away ball is that which lies furthest from the hole when more than one golfer is playing; it is usually played first

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Tournaments:
Women’s major championships: the month of June sees two women’s majors: the US Women’s Open (June 3-6), with A Lim Kim defending, and the Women’s PGA Championship (June 24-27), with Sei Young Kim defending.
Senior PGA Championship: the revered Southern Hills in Oklahoma hosts the 81st staging of this event (May 27-30); Ken Tanigawa holds the title from its last playing in 2019.

Who's Who:
Phil Mickelson: in winning the 2021 PGA Championship, the world’s most famous “leftie” became the oldest winner of a golf major championship.

Hideki Matsuyama: became the first Japanese professional to win a men’s major championship, when he triumphed in this year’s Masters Tournament.

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