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.


O.B.[See Out of Bounds].
observerSomeone who ensures that a golf match or round is played in accordance with the Rule of Golf.
obstructionAnything 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 paceAmerican 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."
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.
Oldest GC in (01) Scotland1754 - Royal & Ancient Golf Club, St Andrews, Scotland.
Oldest GC in (02) England1766 - Royal Blackheath, London, England
Oldest GC in (03) India1829 - Royal Calcutta, India.
Oldest GC in (04) France1856 - Pau GC, France.
Oldest GC in (05) Pakistan1857 - Lahore Gymkhana Club, Pakistan.
Oldest GC in (06) Jamaica1868 - Manchester Club, Jamaica.
Oldest GC in (07) New Zealand1871 - Otago GC, Dunedin
Oldest GC in (08) Indonesia1872 - Jakarta GC, Indonesia.
Oldest GC in (09) Canada1873 - Royal Montreal, Canada
Oldest GC in (10) Sri Lanka1879 - Royal Colombo, Sri Lanka
Oldest GC in (11) Ireland1881 - Royal Belfast, N. Ireland
Oldest GC in (12) Italy1885 - Roma GC, Italy.
Oldest GC in (13) S. Africa1885 - Royal Cape, Cape Town, South Africa.
Oldest GC in (14) Kenya1885 - Nairobi GC, Kenya.
Oldest GC in (15) Wales1888 - Tenby GC, South Wales.
Oldest GC in (16) Belgium1888 - Royal Antwerp, Belgium.
Oldest GC in (17) USA1888 - St Andrews GC, New York, USA.
Oldest GC in (18) Malaysia1888 - Perak Taiping, Malaysia.
Oldest GC in (19) China1889 - Royal Hong Kong, China.
Oldest GC in (20) Argentina1889 - Lomas GC, Buenes Aires, Argentina.
Oldest GC in (21) Portugal1890 - Oporto GC, Portugal.
Oldest GC in (22) Thailand1890 - Royal Bangkok, Thailand
Oldest GC in (23) Australia1891 - Royal Melbourne, Australia.
Oldest GC in (24) Spain1891 - Las Palmas GC, Gran Canaria, Spain.
Oldest GC in (25) Switzerland1891 - Samedan GC, St Moritz, Switzerland.
Oldest GC in (26) Germany1893 - Wiesbadener GC, Wiesbaden, Germany.
Oldest GC in (27) Netherland1893 - Haagsche GC, Den Haag, Netherlands.
Oldest GC in (28) Turkey1895 - Istanbul GC, Turkey.
Oldest GC in (29) Zimbabwe1896 - Bulawayo GC, Zimbabwe.
Oldest GC in (30) Mexico1897 - Puebla GC, Mexico.
Oldest GC in (31) Denmark1898 - Kopenhamns GK, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Oldest GC in (32) Brazil1901 - Sao Paolo GC, Brazil.
Oldest GC in (33) Austria1901 - Vienna GC, Austria.
Oldest GC in (34) Sweden1902 - Goteborgs GK, Sweden.
Oldest GC in (35) Zambia1902 - Chiapata GC, Zambia.
Oldest GC in (36) Japan1903 - Kobe GC, Japan.
Oldest GC in (37) Czech Republic1904 - Karlovy Vary GC, Czech Republic.
Oldest GC in (38) Norway1924 - Oslo GC, Norway.
Oldest GC in (39) Finland1929 - Helsingfors GK, Finland.
Oldest GC in (40) Iceland1934 - Reykjavik GK, Iceland.
Oldest GC in (41) China, excl Hong Kong1984 - Chung Shan Hot Spring GC, Guangdong.
Oldest GC in (42) Russia1988 - Tumba GC, Moscow, Russia.
open stanceA 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 MeritMany 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 agencyAny 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 nineThe first nine holes of an 18-hole golf course.
over parA 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.
overclubbingError caused by selecting a club that sends the ball farther than the intended distance.

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