Golf Instruction

 Golf Tips
 Golf Articles
 Golf Schools
 Golf Lessons
 Golf Clinics
 Golf Books
   ABC's of Golf
 Golf Dictionary
 Golf Handicaps
 Get More Distance

Main Menu

Ask the Pro

Golf Pro Shop


Free Gifts

Tell a Friend




Site Search

Site Map

Golf Instruction Book

The ABC's of Golf

Part A - All About How to Get Started in Golf
Part B - Basic Fundamentals and Concepts in Golf Swing Technique
Part C - Common Golf Words and Phrases - Glossary

Glossary of Golf Terms and Phrases
 Golf Terminology - Definitions and Usages

Golf words or phrases beginning with the letter

image map A words B words C words - You're already here D words E words F words G words H words I words J words K words L words M words N words O words P words Q words R words S words T words U words V words W words X words Y words Z words
Choose a tab above to find words that begin with that letter.

Or enter the word in the form below. If the word you're looking for cannot be found it will automatically be suggested to the Glossarymaster (MB) for review and inclusion.

deep rough or vegetation off the fairway
Example: I decided to take an unplayable lie when I saw the cabbage my ball was in.
(also "caddie, looper") someone who carries a players bag of clubs and/or assists a player with advice and the details of play
Example: She asked her caddy/looper to help her read the putt.
glove size with shorter finger lengths than a "regular"
Example: Biff was a big guy, but he fit best into a cadet glove.
Callaway handicap system
(also "Callaway scoring system") a system of creating "fair" handicaps for a one-time event in which many players do not have verifiable or established handicaps (more on tournament formats)
Example: The Callaway handicap system/scoring system uses a chart to subtract a specified number of holes/strokes from, and make other adjustments to, a players score.
an auction/wagering method for team play matches, where the right to bet on the winning team(s) must be won in an auction (more on tournament formats and games)
Example: A Calcutta formula may vary, but the outcome of a match can be wagered on by those not playing directly in the match.
call up
(also "wave up") common practice at some courses (usually on par 3 holes) where the group ahead (group A) signals for the group behind (group B) to play their shots when group A reaches the green rather than waiting for them to finish the hole (it is done in an attempt to improve pace of play) -- also could be when group A wishes for group B to play-through at any point on the course
Example: Call up/wave up the group on the tee; John has to look for his ball and it may take a while.
camberthe curve of a club's sole, either heel-to-toe or leading edge-to-back of sole, to soften the sole's edges and create a more forgiving club (notice in picture that the sole is not perfectly straight in relation to the line underneath)
Example: Club soles come with camber of different degrees, or shape and amount.
(also "jar") another term for the hole or cup
Example: Knock that thing in the can/jar and let's get out of here.
Captain's choice
1. (also "scramble") a tournament format in which all players in a group (foursome or otherwise) hit a shot from the tee, and each subsequent location, always playing from the position of the best or preferred ball until the ball is holed  2. could also be used in reference to any team competition situation where the team captain makes the decision (more on tournament formats)
Example: 1. The Captain's choice tournament format is more commonly called a scramble.  2. Which tee shot would be used was the team captain's choice.
1. scorecard  2. to record a score on the scorecard
Example: 1. He had an eagle 2 on his card.  2. He carded an eagle 2 on the most difficult hole on the course.
1. the distance a ball travels in the air  2. the distance a ball must travel in the air in order to clear something or reach some destination
Example: 1. She carried the big oak tree with a 7 iron.  2. In order to clear that lake the ball will need to carry over 250 yards.
when a competition is played with a separate contest on each hole (like a skins game) any unresolved holes, or ties, must be added (or carried over) to the subsequent holes cumulatively until won outright (more on tournament formats and games)
Example: With all the carry-overs the ninth hole was worth a scary amount of money.
cart path
area specifically for the purpose of driving motorized golf carts (usually, but not always, having an artificial surface)
Example: My ball hit the cart paths and went 20 yards farther than it might have otherwise.
expression has been used to describe shaping or bending a shot to fit a hole's terrain or curve around something
Example: She could just carve one around that group of trees and onto the front fringe, if she can make clean contact.
1. a common tendency to actively uncock the wrists and throw the club with the hands too early in the downswing in an attempt to accelerate the club or square the face  2. (as in "cast irons") a process of manufacturing clubheads where stainless steel (containing varying amounts of nickel) is poured into a mold in molten state and removed as one piece
Example: 1. Many beginners are guilty of casting the club to try to hit the ball high and far. (Pssst, it doesn't work)  2. Cast irons have a harder feel than forged irons, as a general rule.
casual water
a temporary accumulation of water (outside of a water hazard) that is visible before or after a player takes their stance
Example: You may take relief from casual water no nearer to the hole according to the rules of golf.
(also "perimeter-weighted") a style of club head where the mass is distributed more toward the perimeter (outside edges) of the club head in order to increase the effective size of the center of mass
Example: A cavity-back/perimeter-weighted club head does not really have a larger center of mass, it simply puts more of the club head's mass behind the ball on mishits.
cayman ball
actually a brand name, but generally thought of as lighter-than-standard-weight practice balls, with convex bumps rather than concave dimples, used in limited-length practice ranges, as they travel approximately half the distance of normal balls
Example: A cayman ball is handy in situations where the practice area is small.
1. (also "cc's, cubic centimeters") typical unit for measuring the volume of wood heads, usually tested by water displacement  2. (also "C.C.") abbreviation of "country club"
Example: 1. That new driver by 'X' manufacturer has a 400cc head.  2. MPCC/C.C. might stand for My Private Country Club.
center cut
in the middle (e.g., of the fairway, green, cup)
Example: Edwardo's putt was in all the way; you could tell the instant he struck it that it was center cut.
center-shafted putter a club (usually a putter) where the shaft connects to the clubhead near the center rather than toward the heel, as is typical with most clubs
Example: Enza really liked her center-shafted putter, and her putting stats proved it.
(also "cone") process of countersinking, or taking the sharp edge off of, the inside of a hosel to protect a shaft, especially graphite (the terms chamfer, cone, countersink and radius might be used interchangeably)
Example: I once had a driver that had a hosel with no chamfer/cone and the shaft broke off right at the top of the hosel... which was too bad, because I really liked that club and it was never the same after being reshafted.
championship course
(also "Championship Golf Course") there is an industry definition of regulation course, but the phrase championship course could just be meaningless marketing language, unless there is actually some noteworthy championship played on that particular course)
Example: Our championship course [what is that?] offers some of the toughest challenges [like what?] in the tri-city area [what area does this cover and what other golf courses are in it?].
championship tees
many times the longest yardage for golf holes at a course, most commonly blue in color—though different courses may call them different things and use different colors
Example: The championship tees at my home course when I was a kid were barely any longer than the regular men's tees, as there was only so much property to work with.
(also "Chapman Scotch, Pinehurst") a variation on a four-ball match between two 2-man teams where each player hits a tee shot, then players on the same team switch and hit their teammate's ball. After the second shots are hit the team plays only one of the balls (of their choice), alternating strokes, until holed (more on tournament formats)
Example: A Chapman/Chapman Scotch/Pinehurst match is one form of an alternate shot format.
1. a pronounced lateral movement of the upper body in the downswing in an attempt to keep the hands and body mass in front of the club head through impact (usually for the purpose of lowering the trajectory of a shot)  2. to run the ball along the ground instead of carry it through the air
Example: 1. If you chase the ball with your body you'd better have good feel for the club face.  2. He couldn't carry the ball onto the firm green out of the rough because it wouldn't hold, but he was able to chase the ball between the two front bunkers and up onto the green.
(also "check up, bite, grab, hit a house, hold, sit, sit down") for the ball to stop moving forward, usually thought of as via backspin
Example: Paul hit a solid wedge so he knew it would check/check up nicely.
chicken wing
when the forward elbow joint (left elbow for right-handed players) collapses (flexes) out away from the body at impact and beyond, giving an awkward wing-like appearance and creating a variety of possible problems in the result
Example: A chicken wing is one possible symptom of moving the arms independently of the torso's rotation in the downswing.
chili dip
when a short chip or pitch shot is hit fat or chunked, causing the ball to go a much shorter distance than intended
Example: Chili dipping a short shot is embarrassing and infuriating in most instances, but could be hysterical from the right point of view (i.e., if it's not you who did it).
(also "chip shot, chip and run, chip and roll, bump and run") a shot that is designed to roll (run) farther than it flies (usually, but not always, from near the green)
Example: My chip/chip and run/chip and roll shot hit the pin and dropped in.
chip in
(or perhaps "chip-in") holing a chip shot
Example: It's always fun to chip in, or to have a chip-in.
(like "play-off") -- a method of breaking a tie by seeing who gets a selected chip shot closer to the hole
Example: We were tied at the end of the round so we had a chip-off to decide the winner.
chip out
(also "punch out") hitting a relatively small chip shot (many times sideways or even backward) to extricate oneself from trouble (e.g., trees) when a longer shot is needed but obstructed
Example: I hit my tee shot into such thick trees that I just had to chip out/punch out for my second shot.
a derogatory term (certainly not exclusive to golf) for poor performance under pressure or in a crucial situation (usually associated with nervousness)
Example: I hope I don't choke and miss this one foot putt for eagle to win the Inter-Galactic Championship of Golf.
choke down
(also "choke up") gripping farther down the grip or handle of the club
Example: Many situations call for choking down on the club.
(also "duffer, hacker, hack, chop") a (usually) erratic and unskilled golfer whose technique is characterized by arm and hand oriented hitting at the ball rather than smooth swinging through the ball
Example: I could have been a contender, if only I wasn't a chopper/duffer/hacker/chop/hack.
(also "chunky, fat, thick, heavy, laying the sod over it, hitting the big ball [the Earth] before the little ball" and many more) hitting the ground before the ball, usually resulting in the ball not going as far as intended
Example: That ball would have cleared the water if you hadn't chunked it/hit it chunky/laid the sod over it.
Claret Jug
(or "The Claret Jug") the champion's trophy in The Open Championship (also called The British Open)
Example: He kissed The Claret Jug as a thousand flash bulbs went off... and then he woke up.
Claw grip
(also "Gator grip, Psycho grip") an unusual method of gripping the putter, popularized by PGA Tour player Chris DiMarco, where the fingers of the bottom hand curl over the top of the club's grip (palm oriented thumb-up and pinky-down) rather than under the grip, as in more common methods
Example: Mark Calcavecchia and Bernhard Langer also use(d) the Claw grip/Gator grip/Psycho grip.
1. archaic term for a driving iron or 1 iron   2. fairway metal woods with shallow rake-like channels on the sole manufactured by the Taylor Made company in the 1980's
Example: 1 & 2. He frequently used his cleek off the tee on short par 4 holes.
(also "copy") a very close duplicate of a brand name club
Example: I've seen clones/copies before that I thought were better than the top brand name version that they were copying.
("closed or 'shut' clubface, closed stance") can apply to the alignment of the body/stance or clubface - for a right-handed player the stance would be closed if the body were aligned to the right of the target and a closed clubface would be aimed to the left of the target
Example: I made sure my stance and clubface were both a little bit closed, as I was trying to hook the ball.
club down
(also "use less club") to use a shorter, more lofted club
Example: Tony figured he'd club down a bit to allow for the strong trailing wind.
club face
(also "clubface") the striking surface, or the lofted part of the clubhead that (ideally) makes contact with the ball (see the Rules of Golf for details)
Example: When my clubface is square at impact I hit it long.
club head
(also "clubhead") the most massive part of the club at the bottom end (opposite the grip or handle) of the shaft, ideally the part of the club that makes contact with the ball (see the Rules of Golf for details)
Example: Melissa's driver had a large and oddly shaped club head.
club head speed
(also "clubhead speed, swing speed") the speed that the club head is traveling (usually thought of as through or at impact, usually measured in miles per hour)
Example: One of the factors in how far the ball travels is clubhead speed. FYI: Long Driving Champion, Jason Zuback - 152 mph, John Daly - 143 mph, Tiger Woods - 137 mph, average tour player - 115 mph, average amateur - 80 mph (Note: these are approximations and averages, and readings can vary significantly between measuring devices)
Club professional
a golf professional associated with the operation of a golf facility, specifically as opposed to a Touring professional golfer
Example: A Club professional may have many different job responsibilities (e.g., teaching, tournament administration, golf shop operations, running the tee, etc..
club up
(also "use more club") to use a longer, less lofted club
Example: Tony figured he'd club up a bit to allow for the headwind.
(very broadly) the main building or structure of a golf facility which can, but does not necessarily, include the pro shop, food service, locker rooms, lounge, offices, and more
Example: I'll meet you in front of the clubhouse at 9:00 tomorrow morning.
coefficient of restitution
(also "COR, C.O.R.") a measurement, expressed as a percentage, of how efficiently a ball bounces off the club face -- phrase became popular with the advent of "trampoline effect" or "spring-like effect" drivers and equpiment/rules controversy (formula: COR = ball speed after contact - club speed after contact ÷ club speed before contact)
Example: The coefficient of restitution/COR/C.O.R. of drivers without the trampoline effect is usually around .78 whereas drivers with the trampoline effect have a higher COR and tend to hit the ball slightly farther.
the turning of the body away from the target in the backswing (generally thought of as the turning of the shoulders against the lower body, like the coil of a spring)
Example: The more coil or rotational stretch you can create in your backswing the more clubhead speed you can theoretically produce on the downswing. (Be careful, though: the more coil or tension the higher the risk of back injury too.) Grin
(also called "apron, fringe, frog hair") the short grass that separates the putting green from rough or fairway
Example: Though I missed the green with my approach shot the ball was just on the collar/apron/fringe/frog hair.
collection area
a swale or depression in the ground, usually near the putting green on a hole, where the slopes make lots of approach shots collect
Example: I call collection areas jacuzzis or bath tubs, myself... not that I'm suggesting that you do as well.
come out of it
raising of the posture too early in the downswing
Example: George had the ball below his feet and so was careful to hold his posture rather than to come out of it when he swung.
a putt (usually thought of as longer than expected) remaining after the preceding putt goes past the hole
Example: Gagandeep was sporting a sizeable comebacker after misjudging the speed on his approach putt.
the person or group in charge of the competition, or if not in competition, the person or group in charge of the course
Example: For today's tournament the Committee has determined that the pace of play will be 15 minutes per hole on average.
a Rules of Golf-specific term meaning a player in a stroke play competition (see the Rules of Golf for details)
Example: A competitor in a stroke play competition is also commonly a marker for (keeps the score of) another player in their group.
a combination of synthetic fiber materials and binding resin used in manufacturing golf club (usually) shafts
Example: Graphite is the most common composite material.
1. the resilience of a golf ball  2. the flattening of the golf ball when contacted by the club
Example: 1. Golf balls come in 80, 90, or 100 compression, and which one a player should use is a matter of clubhead speed and personal preference.  2. Good compression of the ball is necessary for tremendous backspin.
to grant success to an opponent in match play (or in casual play) without them actually finishing the process (e.g. conceding a putt would be to allow an opponent to pick up their ball without actually putting it into the hole, and to record the score as if the putt was holed; common expressions for conceding putts are "Pick it up" or "That's good," or just the act of knocking the player's ball back to them, or picking it up and throwing it to them, is pretty common), holes can also be conceded (granting that the opponent has won the hole without actually completing it), as well as matches
Example: Conceding putts or holes saves time in casual play or in matches, but in match play there may also be strategic reasons to do it.
(also "triple eagle") a score 4 under par on a hole (e.g., a hole-in-one on a par 5)
Example: Has a condor ever actually occurred in this universe? (I'd like to witness one.)
see chamfer
(also "connection") used to describe a united relationship between the arms and torso during the swing
Example: Ideally, the arms stay connected with the torso during the swing, as opposed to moving separately from it.
continuous putting
a common practice where a player, having putted the ball close to the hole, chooses to finish putting rather than to mark their ball and wait to finish until their turn is decided by distance from the hole
Example: There is no rule about continuous putting; it is the player's choice whether to continue or mark. In match play, however, if you play out of turn your opponent can recall the stroke.
see clone
1. (also "grip core") inside diameter of grips, usually measured in thousandths of an inch (e.g., .600) and combined with shaft butt sizes to create grip sizes  2. (also "plug") a generally cylindrical chunk of ground removed in the aerification process
Example: 1. Grip cores come in different sizes.  2. The cores/plugs made putting impossible just after aerifying the greens; so the course implemented a temporary "automatic two-putt" rule.
country club
(abbreviated "C.C." when used in a proper noun, not to be confused with cc/cubic centimeters above) most commonly a private membership establishment with a golf course and other facilities, like swimming pool(s), tennis courts, a restaurant, etc.
Example: Bushwood Country Club, from the classic movie "Caddyshack," is forever etched in some minds.
Course Handicap
a whole number adjustment of a player's Handicap Index for a specific course (most golf courses have a chart to make this conversion)
Example: On The Lamb course Stella's Course Handicap was 14, but on The Fire-Breathing Dragon course it was 19.
course management
(also "game management") the use of strategy, or a thoughtful plan, emphasizing strengths and accommodating weaknesses to make one's way around a golf course (as opposed to haphazardly hitting the ball and chasing it)
Example: Good course management/game management is another one of the big differences between a highly skilled player and an intermediate player.
course rating
an evaluation of the difficulty of a course for a scratch player (expressed in relation to the par of the course) -- course ratings are determined by teams of players/evaluators that represent a state or local golf association
Example: From the back tees the par at my home course is 72 and the course rating is 73.8.
cover the ball
(also "trap the ball") to contact the ball with the hands forward (more toward the target than the club head), causing to some degree a descending angle of approach and a hooded club face, thereby compressing or flattening the ball well
Example: It's a good idea to cover the ball through impact with iron shots.
cover the flag
(also "cover the pin") an approach shot that is precisely on line, heading directly toward the flagstick
Example: She saw her 5 iron shot on the 14th hole cover the flag/pin the whole way until it landed just short in the bunker.
("cycles per minute") most common unit used in measuring shaft flexes or frequencies (more precise than L, R, S, X, etc.)
Example: His clubs are frequency matched within a tolerance of only 2 CPM's.
cross bunker
a long or wide bunker that crosses the fairway rather than running adjacent or parallel to the fairway
Example: I didn't know if I could carry the cross bunker, so I laid up short of it with an iron shot.
cross-country golf
playing from the tee of one hole to the green of another hole, rather than playing the holes as they are laid out
Example: If you're going to play cross-country golf you'd be well-advised to have the approval of the golf course operators.
a grip where (for right-handers) the left hand would be the lowest hand instead of the right (usually associated with putting)
Example: Steve was putting so badly that he decided to switch to a cross-handed grip to see if that would improve things.
crossed over
(also "crossing the line, across the line") when the arms/hands have moved the club over, or above, the plane on the bacskwing (especially at the top of the swing)
Example: John's club was crossed over/across the line/crossing the line at the top of his swing.
the top of a club's head on a driver, fairway wood/metal, or hybrid
Example: I once had a driver with such a shiny crown that on sunny days I couldn't even see if the face was square at address.
(usually refers to greens, but can apply to fairways or other areas) convex or somewhat domed, where the center is higher than the sides so that the ball would tend to run away from the center
Example: The green was so crowned, dry and firm that the commentator had a conniption fit every time a player's approach shot ran off the green.
generically refers to the hole but also includes the base and liner, or sleeve, inside the hole that holds the flagstick in place (diameter of hole and outer diameter of cup lining not to exceed 4¼ inches)
Example: You can hear the ball rattle around in the cup when you make a putt, and it's a sweet sound.
cup cutter
cup cutter
(or "hole cutter") a device of various types and styles (somewhat like a post hole digger or a cookie cutter) used for cutting the hole on greens
Example: The greens crew cuts new holes with a cup cutter/hole cutter and puts the core that is taken out back in the last hole to plug it up.
cup lining
cup liner (or "cup liner") rigid (usually plastic or metal) sleeve inside the hole
Example: The cup lining/cup liner is supposed to be at least one inch below the surface of the green, unless the soil is too hard for that to be practical.
cupped wrist
("cupping") when the back of the left hand (right-handed player) is bent back toward the forearm at the wrist (technically called "dorsal flexion" or "hyperextension") -- see also bowed
Example: If a right-handed player's left hand is cupped at the top the backswing the club face is probably in an open position.
1. (also "cut shot, fade") a shot which (for a right-handed player) curves gently from left to right  2. (also "cut line") the required score to qualify for further play in a tournament  3. refers to the act or location of "cutting" the hole into the putting green surface  4. a height at which the grass is mowed (e.g., fairway, rough, etc.), referred to as the first cut, second cut, etc.
Example: 1. Many times a cut shot will land more softly than a draw.  2. Unless she birdies 2 of the last 3 holes she will miss the cut.  3. The hole was cut so tight that the pin appeared to be off the green.  4. Sometimes in the U.S. Open the longest cut of rough is so deep that you can't see your ankles.


If you have a suggestion as to how this book could be an even better resource for brand new golfers or feedback of any kind please

No copying, reprinting or reproduction
of any material on this website without
written consent from the site's author