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.


fadeDescription of the ball's flight path, where it curves gently left-to-right for a right-handed player, or right-to-left for a left-handed player. The opposite of a draw.
fairwayThe area of closely mown turf between tee and green, which golfers aim for from the tee on par-4 and par-5 holes. The fairway presents the best surface to play from when not on the teeing ground or green. Fairways are generally bounded by a margin of slightly longer grass known as the "first cut of rough" and beyond that by "rough" (also called primary rough), bunkers and/or water hazards (lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, ditches, etc). Fairways vary enormously in width. A narrow fairway might be just 25 yards (or less) across, while a generously wide fairway may measure 65 yards or more. 35 to 45 yards wide is considered an average width fairway.
fairway bunkerA sand bunker usually found to the side of or occasionally in the middle of the fairway.
fairway woodA type of golf club known as a wood (or metal) designed to allow the ball to be hit from the fairway, rather than being teed-up, as is usually the case with the driver.
fat shot[See "duff"].
featherie (ball)One of the earliest types of golf ball, introduced in 1618. The ball was made by filling a pouch of horse or cow hide with boiled goose feathers. It was highly susceptible to damage and expensive to make, often costing more than a golf club. The featherie began to go out of use in the second half of the 1800s with the introduction of the much cheaper "guttie" ball.
FedExCupIntroduced to the PGA TOUR in 2007, the FedExCup is a season-long competition spanning 37 weeks. Points are accumulated in the opening 33 weeks of the season. The 144 top points scorers then qualify for a 4-tournament playoff series, and the chance to win the FedExCup. At the conclusion of the regular (33-week) season, each player's points total determines his position, or "seed," going into the playoffs. This 4-tournament playoff series culminates with The Tour Championship, where 30 players contest the opportunity to win the FedExCup and collect the single largest individual prize in world sport, $10 million.
fescueA fine-leafed, deep-rooting species of grass common on seaside links and heath land courses in the British Isles, tolerant to drought conditions and providing an ideal surface for putting greens
five-ballAlso known as a fivesome. The practice of allowing five players to play together in a single flight. This practice is becoming more common in Asia and the USA, but is loathed by most golfers who object to anything that causes unnecessarily slow play.
flag-stickA stick with a flag to mark the location of the hole on the greens. Also called "Pin"
flangeThe bottom part of the golf club which rests on the ground as the golfer addresses the ball.
flat swingBackswing in which the plane is more horizontal than vertical. This is often regarded as a fault, but many fine players have had flat swings, including Ben Hogan
flexThe degree to which a golf club shaft bends during the golf swing. Flex is typically designated by a letter shown on the shaft: L (ladies), A (senior), R (regular), F (firm), S (stiff) and X (extra stiff).
flightA group of 2, 3 or 4 golfers who share the same tee-off time. Can also be used to describe the trajectory of the ball through the air, as in "low ball flight" or "high ball flight."
follow throughThe final part of the golf swing, which occurs after the ball has been struck to a point (known as the finish) where the golfer and golf club have come to rest.
Fore !The word that should be shouted by all golfers who suspect their ball might be in danger of hitting other players or spectators on the golf course.
forecaddieA forecaddie is a person assigned to an individual golfer or group of golfers to working on their behalf in terms of providing advice about the play of a hole, ball spotting, ball finding, bunker rating, line reading on greens, etc. Unlike a regular caddie however, a forecaddie does not carry anyone's clubs.
fourballA match involving four players in teams of two, in which each player plays his own ball. The scoring format can be either Match Play, Strokeplay or Stableford. Usually, the best score (better ball) of the two players in one team is counted against the better ball of the two players in the other team, hence the term Fourball Better Ball. A variation from Better Ball is to count the Aggregate score of the team versus the aggregate of the other team, i.e. Fourball Agggregate.
foursomeA match involving four players in teams of two, in which each team plays only one ball by alternate strokes. The scoring format can be either Match Play, Strokeplay or Stableford. At the start of play each team decides which player will play the first tee-shot, after which they alternate the tee shot on each hole.
foursome (american)A variation on foursome. Each player plays his own ball from the tee, then plays his partner's ball for the second shot. The team then choose the best placed ball and play that one to complete the hole.
foursome (canadian)A variation on foursome. Each player plays his/her own ball from the tee and also plays his/her second shot. The team then choose the best placed ball to complete the hole.
foursome (greensome)A variation on foursome. Each player plays his/her own ball from the tee. The team then choose the best placed ball to complete the hole.
Francis Ouimet TrophyThe Francis D. Ouimet Memorial trophy is presented annually to the winner of the U.S. Senior Open championship.
free dropBall dropped without penalty away from an immovable obstruction, or in other circumstances in accordance with the Rules of Golf
fringeThe short grass around the putting green that separates it from the fairway.
front nineFirst nine holes on an 18 hole golf course. The second nine holes are known as the back nine
front teeThe teeing ground that creates the shortest length from which a hole is played. Can refer to the mens' front tees (often coloured yellow) or womens' back tees (often coloured red).
full back (irons)[See "blade"].

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