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

hacker
Colloquial term for a poor quality golfer; someone who tends to hack up the ground when playing.
half
In a Match Play competition, a hole is "halved" if each player scores the same number of strokes (net) at that hole. A match is halved (drawn) when both opponents have won an equal number of holes in the complete match.
handicap
The number of strokes a player is given to adjust his/her score to that of the standard scratch score for the course ebing played. The handicap system allows players of different standards to compete against each other on a theoretically equal standing. The system is usually based on the average scores of a player set against the standard score for their home course. When players play in handicap competitions, they receive extra strokes or have strokes deducted, depending on their handicap, which enables the calculation of their net score for that competition.
handicap player
A golfer who has a recognised handicap awarded and maintained by a golf club.
hanging lie
A hanging lie occurs when the ball comes to rest on a sideslope and is below the level of the golfer's feet when the golfer addresses and hits the ball. Some golfers and commentators also use the term for a ball that is on a sideslope above the level of the player's feet.
Harry Pithouse Trophy
Awarded to the European PGA Tour Caddie of the Year (from 2006).
Harry Vardon Trophy
Awared to the European PGA Tour's leading money winner, who heads the Order of Merit at the end of each season. (See Tournaments section in Encyclopedia).
haskell (ball)
Name of the first one-piece rubber cored ball, invented in 1898 by Coburn Haskell. It replaced the "guttie" ball and was universally adopted by 1901. The Haskell ball comprised a solid rubber core wrapped in rubber thread encased in a gutta percha sphere. Haskell balls were mass-produced and more affordable than the guttie. When William Taylor first applied the dimple pattern 1905, maximising lift while minimising drag, golf balls took on their modern form. Only in 1972, when Spalding introduced the first two piece ball was the basic Haskell design improved upon.
Havemeyer Trophy
Presented annually to the winner of the United States Amateur Championship. The trophy is named after Theodore Havemeyer (1839–97), an American businessman and first president of the U.S. Golf Association (USGA). He was also co-founder of the Newport Country Club, which in 1895 hosted the first U.S. Amateur and first U.S. Open championships.
hazard
A feature on a golf course which makes the playing of a shot from the hazard more difficult. The two principal hazards which occur naturally, or are designed into golf courses, are sand bunkers and water hazards.
heel
Part of the golf club where the club head is attached to the shaft.
hole-in-one
A shot from the tee that goes into the hole; also called an "ace."
hole (on the green)
A defining characteristic of golf is putting the ball into a hole in the ground. The 4.25 inch (108 mm) diameter hole, made mandatory by the R&A in 1893 and used throughout the world today, was based on the hole-cutting machine used at Musselburgh Links (The Old Course) and invented by Musselburgh man Robert Gray.
hole out
To put the ball in the hole, which can be done putting from the green, playing an approach from the fairway or making a hole in one from the tee.
hole (tee-to-green)
A golf hole is the general term used to describe the playing area between the teeing-ground and, at the other end of the hole, the putting green. The vast majority of golf courses comprise 18 holes, but 9 and even 12 hole courses are also commonly found.
holiday course
A golf course usually found in popular holiday locations (e.g. seaside resorts) and designed with the full range of players and golfing abilities in mind (e.g. suitable for family golf). Such courses will not usually contain the more penal elements of tougher championship golf courses.
hollow tining
Also know as core aeration, hollow tining is the process of removing small plugs of turf from the green or fairway. This essential maintenance process eases compaction (the squeezing of air out of the soil) and sub-surface thatch (the accumulation of dead grass and roots). The process allows air, water and fertilizer to penetrate to the root zone of the grass. Hollow tining is generally carried out at the start and end of the growing season, and is often followed by "top dressing." An alternative to hollow tining (where small cores are taken) is slit-tining, which simply puts small slits into the ground to relieve compaction and allow aeration.
honour
The player or team "with the honour" tee off first at a hole, having won or taken the least number of strokes on the previous hole.
hook
A golf shot that curves sharply to the left (for a right handed player), caused by the application of counter-clockwise spin to the ball, either deliberately or unintentionally. The opposite of a slice.
hosel
Socket on an iron-headed club that serves to connect the iron club head to the shaft.
hustler
[See "bandit"].
hybrid (club)
Hybrid clubs are a relatively recent phenomenon, blending the attributes of woods and irons to create golf clubs that are more forgiving to use. Hybrids, also called rescue clubs, are generally used in place of high-numbered woods (e.g. 4 and 5-woods) and low-numbered irons (e.g. 2, 3 or 4 irons). Some club makers produce entire sets of hybrids that replace the full range of normal irons, from 1-iron to pitching wedge.

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Where2Golf Spotlight

Tournaments:
European Tour: 2021 marks the 50th and last season of the world renowned European Tour, launched in April 1972 at the Spanish Open. From 2022 the Tour will be sponsored by Dubai-based global supply chain and ports operator DP World, and will be known as the DP World Tour.

South African Open: December 2021 events in South Africa have again been impacted by the Covid pandemic. The South African Open (Dec 2-5) will no longer be played as a DP World Tour event, and the Alfred Dunhill Championship (Dec 9-12) has been cancelled.

Who's Who:
Bernhard Langer: at age 64, Langer collected a record sixth Charles Schwab Cup, the only player to have won the season-long points chase more than twice. He also topped the PGA Tour Champions money-list for the 11th time out of a possible 13 since 2008.

Carlota Ciganda: the five-time Solheim Cup star was delighted to record a fourth Ladies European Tour win in her home national championship, the Ladies Spanish Open.

Lee Elder: Trailblazer, Ryder Cup player, four-time PGA Tour winner and eight-time Senior PGA Tour winner, Lee Elder died on November 28, aged 87. In 1975 he became the first African American golfer to play in the Masters tournament, and in so doing provided one of the pivotal moments in the history of professional golf.

Latest Golf Course Updates

Golf World Top 100: Best Golf Courses in Europe. From France to Spain to the Netherlands and Norway, the Golf World Top 100 panel reveals the places you have to play (published 20 October 2021).

New 27-hole golf complex to be built in southern Belgium
A new golf complex in southern Belgium, close to the border with Luxembourg, will start construction in June 2021.

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club "makes its tournament debut with the hosting of the Italian Open on the European Tour" by Richard Humphreys

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

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