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

O.B.
[See Out of Bounds].
observer
Someone who ensures that a golf match or round is played in accordance with the Rule of Golf.
obstruction
Anything that is man-made on the golf course that obstructs play. An obstruction is "movable" if it can be moved without reasonable effort, without unduly delaying play and without causing damage. Otherwise it is an "immovable" obstruction.
off the pace
American expression to describe the number of strokes or the position of a player behind the leader of a tournament; for example: "two strokes off the pace."
Oldest GC in (01) Scotland
1754 - Royal & Ancient Golf Club, St Andrews, Scotland.
Oldest GC in (02) England
1766 - Royal Blackheath, London, England
Oldest GC in (03) India
1829 - Royal Calcutta, India.
Oldest GC in (04) France
1856 - Pau GC, France.
Oldest GC in (05) Pakistan
1857 - Lahore Gymkhana Club, Pakistan.
Oldest GC in (06) Jamaica
1868 - Manchester Club, Jamaica.
Oldest GC in (07) New Zealand
1871 - Otago GC, Dunedin
Oldest GC in (08) Indonesia
1872 - Jakarta GC, Indonesia.
Oldest GC in (09) Canada
1873 - Royal Montreal, Canada
Oldest GC in (10) Sri Lanka
1879 - Royal Colombo, Sri Lanka
Oldest GC in (11) Ireland
1881 - Royal Belfast, N. Ireland
Oldest GC in (12) Italy
1885 - Roma GC, Italy.
Oldest GC in (13) South Africa
1885 - Royal Cape, Cape Town, South Africa.
Oldest GC in (14) Kenya
1885 - Nairobi GC, Kenya.
Oldest GC in (15) Wales
1888 - Tenby GC, South Wales.
Oldest GC in (16) Belgium
1888 - Royal Antwerp, Belgium.
Oldest GC in (17) USA
1888 - St Andrews GC, New York, USA.
Oldest GC in (18) Malaysia
1888 - Perak Taiping, Malaysia.
Oldest GC in (19) China
1889 - Royal Hong Kong, China.
Oldest GC in (20) Argentina
1889 - Lomas GC, Buenes Aires, Argentina.
Oldest GC in (21) Portugal
1890 - Oporto GC, Portugal.
Oldest GC in (22) Thailand
1890 - Royal Bangkok, Thailand
Oldest GC in (23) Australia
1891 - Royal Melbourne, Australia.
Oldest GC in (24) Spain
1891 - Las Palmas GC, Gran Canaria, Spain.
Oldest GC in (25) Switzerland
1891 - Samedan GC, St Moritz, Switzerland.
Oldest GC in (26) Germany
1893 - Wiesbadener GC, Wiesbaden, Germany.
Oldest GC in (27) Netherlands
1893 - Haagsche GC, Den Haag, Netherlands.
Oldest GC in (28) Turkey
1895 - Istanbul GC, Turkey.
Oldest GC in (29) Zimbabwe
1896 - Bulawayo GC, Zimbabwe.
Oldest GC in (30) Mexico
1897 - Puebla GC, Mexico.
Oldest GC in (31) Denmark
1898 - Kopenhamns GK, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Oldest GC in (32) Brazil
1901 - Sao Paolo GC, Brazil.
Oldest GC in (33) Austria
1901 - Vienna GC, Austria.
Oldest GC in (34) Sweden
1902 - Goteborgs GK, Sweden.
Oldest GC in (35) Zambia
1902 - Chiapata GC, Zambia.
Oldest GC in (36) Japan
1903 - Kobe GC, Japan.
Oldest GC in (37) Czech Republic
1904 - Karlovy Vary GC, Czech Republic.
Oldest GC in (38) Norway
1924 - Oslo GC, Norway.
Oldest GC in (39) Finland
1929 - Helsingfors GK, Finland.
Oldest GC in (40) Iceland
1934 - Reykjavik GK, Iceland.
Oldest GC in (41) China, excl Hong Kong
1984 - Chung Shan Hot Spring GC, Guangdong.
Oldest GC in (42) Russia
1988 - Tumba GC, Moscow, Russia.
Old Tom Morris Award (GCSAA)
First presented in 1983, and now presented annually by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). The award goes to an individual who the Association feels has given a lifetime of commitment to the game of golf, and crucially, has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris. The recipient, one per year, is determined by the GCSAA Board of Directors.
open stance
A position taken at address when the golfer's front foot is placed further away from the ball than the back foot. This stance is usually associated with attempts to fade or slice the ball.
Order of Merit
Many of the world's leading golf Tours run a season-long player ranking (Order of Merit) based on the highest to lowest money-winners on the Tour. At the end of the season the player who has won the most prize-money (including money from other qualifying events) is declared the Order of Merit winner. These rankings are also referred to as Leading Money Winner lists (as in the main US tours). Some Orders of Merit were previously determined on a points system, with points given for tournament placings during the season; nowadays most are based on prize-money.
Out of Bounds (OB)
Out of Bounds (often abbreviated to O.B. or OOB) is ground not deemed to be part of the course, normally (but not always) lying outside the course boundaries. OB is usually defined by white stakes or a white line on the ground. A ball is out of bounds when all of it lies out of bounds; the white line itself, and anything beyond the inside line of the stakes, is out of bounds. Play is prohibited from ground that is out of bounds (although a player may stand out of bounds to play a ball that is in bounds). Any objects defining out of bounds, e.g. walls, stakes, fences, railings, etc, are not obstructions and are deemed to be fixed; this means they cannot be moved (unless a local rule states otherwise). The stroke that sent the ball out of bounds is counted on the player's score and a one shot penalty is also added. The next shot must be played from where the original shot, which sent the ball out of bounds, was played from. [See also "Stroke and Distance"].
outside agency
Any object or person who is not a player or caddie in a particular match, or the ball or equipment of those players. An outside agencies include: referees, markers, observers, forecaddies or spectators. Neither wind nor water is an outside agency.
outward nine
The first nine holes of an 18-hole golf course.
overclubbing
Error caused by selecting a club that sends the ball farther than the intended distance.
over par
A player's score in a stroke play event where he/she has taken more shots than the par for that hole or course. "One-over" at a par-4 hole means the player has taken five shots, and therefore recorded a bogie. Two-over at a hole is a double-bogie; three-over is a triple-bogie. A player who finishes a round on an 18-hole par-72 golf course with a score of six-over, will have gone round the course in 78 strokes.

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