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

dance floor
Used by some golfers to describe the putting green. "On the dance floor but a long way from the band!" is sometimes heard for shots that land on the green, but a long way from the pin.
day ticket
The charge levied by some golf clubs that allows a player to use their facilities and play their course throughout a whole day.
Desert Swing
Three back-to-back golf tournaments that are played in the first two months of the European Tour season. The three events are held in the Middle East, and comprise the Abu Dhabu Golf Championship, Qatar Masters and Dubai Desert Classic.
Devil Ball
Also known as Money Ball, Pink Ball, Pink Lady, Yellow Ball and Lone Ranger. There are many variations of this team competition format, played by 3 or 4 person teams. On each hole, one player must play the "devil ball"; his/her score is combined with the one best score from among the other golfers, giving the team score for that hole. The "devil ball" rotates from hole to hole, so that in a four person team each golfer is in the spotlight every fourth hole. (See also "Yellow Ball").
dimple
The indentations on the surface of a golf ball that affect the way the ball flies.
divot
Piece of turf removed by the club head when a shot is played.
dogleg
Hole that changes direction to the left or right, normally in the landing area for the tee shot
Donald Ross Award (ASGCA)
The Donald Ross Award is presented annually by the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), to an individual who has made significant and lasting contributions to the profession of golf course architecture. First awarded in 1976 to golf architecture pioneer Robert Trent Jones, the honor continues to this day as one of the most prestigious in golf.
Don A. Rossi Award (GCBAA)

The Don A. Rossi Award is presented annually by the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA), in memory of the late Don A. Rossi, former executive director of the National Golf Foundation and executive director of the Golf Course Builders Association of America. The award is given to individuals who have made significant contributions to the game of golf and its growth and who have inspired others by their example.

dormie
The situation in a match play when a player is leading by as many holes as are left to play and therefore cannot be beaten, e.g. The player is "two up with two holes to play," or "five up with five to play." Also spelt dormy.
Dormy House
Overnight accommodation provided by a golf club that is typically within or adjacent to the main Clubhouse.
double bogey
A score of two shots over par for any particular hole.
double eagle
U.S. term for a score of three under the par for a hole, e.g. a two scored on a par-5 hole. In Britain and many other countries this score is known as an albatross.
double green
A single putting surface that is shared by two holes, usually coming from different directions. They are a relic of the early days of golf when courses where played out and back over the same ground.
down
The amount by which a player trails behind his/her opponent in a match play event. If your opponent has won two more holes than you, you will be "two down" in the match at that point.
downhill lie
A situation where the ball comes to rest on a slope facing downhill. When you take your stance your front foot will be below the level of your back foot.
downswing
The part of the golf swing that involves bringing the clubhead back down from the top of the swing to strike the ball. It is preceded by the backswing, which brings the club from the address position to the top of the swing.
draw
Description of the ball's flight path, where it curves gently right-to-left for a right-handed player, or left-to-right for a left-handed player. The opposite of a fade.
drive
The first shot that is hit on a golf hole, which is played from the teeing ground.
driver

The driver is a standard golf club carried by most golfers and is designed to hit the ball the farthest. It is the club with the largest head, the longest shaft (with the exception of long-handle putters) and the least amount of loft (again, excepting putters). It is alo referred to as the No. 1-wood (or 1-metal), and more colloquially as the big timber, big dog or big stick. The driver is the most commonly used club for tee shots on par-4s and par-5s, where the ball is teed up. Generally only low handicap and professional players have the ability to hit the driver from a fairway.

driving iron
A 1 or 2-iron used to give distance from the tee rather than height.
driving range
An area close to the golf course that is set aside for practice. Driving ranges can also be purpose built and multi-tiered to allow golfers to practice away from the golf course.
drop
A drop is the act of bringing a ball back into play after hitting the last shot out of bounds or into a water hazard (penalty drop) or after taking relief in certain circumstances (a free drop). The ball is dropped from an outstretched arm held at shoulder height.
duff
To duff a shot means to hit the ground behind the ball, resulting in a shot that travels much less far than intended. Also known as hitting the ball fat, a chunk or a sclaff.
Dynasty Cup
Presented to the winner of the two-yearly match between two teams of mens professionals, one representing Asia, the other Japan. Each team comprises 12 players. (See Tournaments section in Encyclopedia).

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Solheim Cup: can Europe defend the most prestigious team trophy in women’s professional golf, when the 17th Solheim Cup is played out at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio (Sept 4-6).

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Patrick Cantlay: moved into the world top 5, after winning the final two FedEx Cup playoff events and scooping the $15 million first prize.

Trish Johnson: kept the Senior LPGA Championship trophy in European hands, with her second win in this event in its four-year history.

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A new golf complex in southern Belgium, close to the border with Luxembourg, will start construction in June 2021.

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David McLay Kidd’s 14-hole QuickSands short course has opened for play at Gamble Sands in Brewster, Washington.

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