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

mallett
A term used to refer to a putter with a mallett shaped head.
Mark McCormack Trophy
Presented to the winner of the World Match Play Championship, played annually at the Wentworth Club, England. (See Tournaments section in Encyclopedia).
marshall
A person who conducts crowd control duties at large tournaments.
mashie (club)
Long and mid-irons were originally called mashies and like today's irons they were metal headed clubs with differing amounts of loft. A traditional set of mashies would comprise: mid-mashie (equivalent to today's 3-iron); mashie iron (4-iron); spade mashie (6-iron); mashie niblick (7-iron).
Masters Trophy
The Masters Trophy, presented to the winner of The Masters major championship, was introduced in 1961 and depicts the Augusta National clubhouse. The trophy was made in England and consists of over 900 separate pieces of silver. The trophy rests on a pedestal, on which a band of silver is engraved with the name of the winners and runners-up. In 1993, a sterling silver replica of the trophy was first awarded to the champion (Bernhard Langer), together with the Gold Medal.
match play
One of the two fundamental forms of competition in golf (the other is stroke play). In match play the number of holes won or lost rather than the number of strokes taken determines the winner. The result of a match is usually expressed as the difference in the number of holes won between the opponents, when this has exceeded the number of holes remaining. A winning score of 3 and 2 means the winner had won three more holes than his/her opponent with only 2 holes left to play. To win "by 2" means the winner was one hole up after 17 holes and then won the 18th. The highest possible score in an 18-hole match is 10 and 8.
medal play
Medal play is nowadays used as another term for stroke play, where the score is kept by counting a players' strokes and totalling them. Many golf clubs organise a "medal competition" for their members on a regular (e.g. monthly) basis; the golfer with the lowest number of net strokes (after handicap has been deducted) receiving the prize of a small medal.
Mens American Tour
[See PGA TOUR].
Mens Asian Tour
[See Asian Tour].
Mens Australasian Tour
[See PGA Tour of Australasia].
Mens European Tour
[See European Tour].
Mens Japan Tour
[See Japan Golf Tour].
Mens Southern Africa Tour
[See Sunshine Tour].
metal-wood (club)
The term metal wood reflects the fact that the longest and most powerful clubs, which were previously made of wood (usually persimmon), are now in fact made from a variety of compound metals (e.g. steel, titanium, carbon fiber or scandium). Like the original woods, they generally have a large head and a long shaft to generate maximum club speed. The term "woods" is still applied to these metal clubs to differentiate them from irons, to indicate their intended use on the golf course and to carry forward their historical name.
mid iron
An iron club for hitting mid-range shots, usually applied to the 5, 6 and 7-irons. Other types of irons include: long-irons (numbered 1 to 4) and short irons (8, 9 and pitching wedge).
mid mashie
[See "mashie"].
mixed foursome
Foursome in which each team is made up of one male and one female player.
modified stableford
Modified stableford competitions use variations on the basic stableford scoring system (where par is worth 2 pts, birdie 3 pts, bogie 1 pt and double-bogie 0 pts). Such modified systems often give 0 pts for par, minus points for scores over par and plus points for scores under par. "Denver" and "Murphy" are two examples of competition formats that use modified stableford systems.
mulligan
Although not recognised in the rules of golf, a mulligan is sometimes agreed in social golf games, whereby an unsatisfactory first tee-shot can be replayed. In some circles, if the second shot (the "Mulligan") is worse than the first shot a player can shout "Finnegan" and have a third shot. If the third is still no better the player can claim a fourth (a "Branagan") and finally, if necessary, a fifth (a "Flanergan"). In some social or charity competitions, a mulligan can be claimed on one tee-shot on the front nine and another on the back-nine, while in some charity events mulligans are sold to raise money for the charity. Also known as a mullie, lunch ball or Sunday ball.
Muni
A golf course owned and run by the local authority (municipality), which is open to the public on a pay&play basis.
muscle back (irons)
[See "blade"].

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