Golf Dictionary



Glossary of golf terms


Online Golf Dictionary A - Z  

Our Golf Dictionary covers the main terms used in the game of golf. The first step in demystifying what golf is about, is to understand the language and terminology that golfers commonly use.


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z ALL

back doorRefers to a ball which runs around the lip of the hole before dropping in from the back side of the hole.
back nineSecond set of nine holes on an 18 hole golf course
back spinReverse spin applied to a ball, which stops it bouncing forward after it has landed on the green. Also referred to as "bite" or "action".
back teeThe teeing ground that creates the greatest length from which a hole is played. Can refer to the mens' back tees (often coloured black, sometimes gold) or womens' back tees (often coloured blue). Also called the "tips."
backswingThe part of the golf swing that involves taking the golf club away from the address position and reaching the top of the swing. The backswing is followed by the downswing, when the clubhead is brought back down to strike the ball.
baffy (club)A small headed, steeply lofted wooden golf club, which is generally no longer in use. Also known as the Baffing Spoon or approach wood. The modern equivalent is a 4-wood.
balata (ball)Natural or synthetic compound used to make the cover for top standard golf balls. Its soft, elastic qualities produce a high spin rate and it is favoured by tournament players.
ball in playThe ball is "in play" on any hole when the player starts his or her downswing until such time as the ball is either holed out, lost or hit out of bounds.
ball markerA small object used to mark the position of the ball on the green before the ball is picked-up.
ball washerA device in which golf balls can be cleaned, often located alongside each teeing ground.
banana shotA shot where the ball is hit with significant sidespin, such that it curves through the air in a banana-like manner.
banditA player who is thought to maintain an artificially high handicap in order to win competitions and bets. Also known as a hustler.
baseball gripA method of gripping the golf club, in which one hand is placed below the other, without any fingers overlapping or interlocking.
beachTerm sometimes used to describe a sand bunker.
bent grass A type of fine-leafed grass that produces an ideal surface for putting greens, but one that is not well suited to hot, sub-tropical climates where it needs careful management.
bermuda grassA type of relatively coarse grass well suited to hot, sub-tropical and tropical climates. Widely used on golf courses in Australia, Africa, India, South America and the southern region of the U.S. Also known as kweek grass (S. Africa), couch grass (Australia, Africa), devil's grass (India) and gramillia (Argentina). Often becomes dormant and turns brown in winters. Grows "horizontally" rather than "vertically" and regarded by many golfers as difficult to play out of.
better ballAlso known as best ball. Usually a match involving four players in teams of two, in which each player plays his/her own ball. The best net score (better ball) of the team is counted against the better ball of the players in the other team. The scoring format can be either Match Play, Strokeplay or Stableford.
birdieA score of one under par for the hole.
blade (club)A type of golf club (iron) favoured by some professional and low-handicap golfers. The back of the club is relatively full and smooth, rather than cavity-backed (hollowed out). Blades are usually forged, although they can be cast, and require more accurate contact with the ball to produce the distance and lower flight trajectory preferred by more skilled players. Also known as full backs or muscle backs.
blind shotA shot in which the player cannot see the intended target for that shot (e.g. over a hill, behind a line of trees or out of a deep bunker).
bogeyA score of one over par for a hole
bogey golferA player whose handicap (typically 16-20) is about the same as the number of holes on a course.
boronA strong metal powder often added during the construction of graphite shafts to provide added strength at the hosel end
borrowA slope or other irregularity found on a golf course. Usually used in connection with the putting green, when describing the amount a putt will deviate from a straight line due to the slope of the green.
Brabazon TrophyPresented annually to the winner of the English Men's Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship, one of the top national amateur events in the country, although not as old as the English Amateur Championship (which is played on a match play basis and dates back to 1925). "The Brabazon" is organised by the English Golfing Union (EGU) and played annually since 1947, the Brabazon Trophy is open to overseas player. Past winners include: Charl Schwartzel, Peter Hanson, Ignacio Garrido, Peter McEvoy, Ronan Rafferty, Sandy Lyle, Michael Bonallack, Guy Wolstenholme, Ronnie Shade and Ronnie White.
brassie (club)A type of wooden-headed golf club that was fitted with a brass sole plate, and which is generally no longer in use. The term also applied to various lofted wooden clubs in the 1880s and 1890s. The modern equivalent would be a 2-wood.
breakA widely used term to describe the amount a putt will deviate from a straight line due to the slope of the green. In Britain and Ireland "borrow" is also used.
buggyA battery or petrol powered golf cart used to transport golfers and their equipment around a golf course.
bulger driverDesigned to reduce the chances of striking the ball on the heel or toe of the club, the bulger had a convex face. Popular in the late nineteenth century, now obsolete
bunkerA hollow in the ground, which occurs naturally or is designed into the course, and is usually filled with sand (or other similar material). Also possible to have grass bunkers, which usually contain grass of longer length than the cut of fairway grass.
Byron Nelson AwardEstablished in 1988, the Byron Nelson Award is presented annually by the PGA TOUR . The winner is the PGA TOUR player who has the lowest average score per round, over a minimum of 50 rounds. (See Tournaments section - by Tournament - US PGA Tour Byron Nelson Award). See also Vardon Trophy, a similar low average award, but made by the PGA of America for a minimum of 60 rounds.
 

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