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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

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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.

F wedge
(also "Fairway wedge, A wedge, Approach wedge, Gap wedge" and others) typically the same thing as a gap wedge, around 52 degrees of loft (names of clubs and specifications vary between manufacturers - see also wedges and their names)
Example: Wedges come in many different styles and with many different names, F wedge/Fairway wedge being one of them.
1. (also "club face, clubface") the striking surface of the club head  2. the sloped surface of a bunker that is (usually) toward the player
Example: The ball will go the way the club's face if decent contact is made.  2. The shot was right on line, but ended up buried in the face of the bunker.
face angle
face angle
the relative squareness of the striking surface of the club to the target line (not to be confused with loft angle
Example: A square face angle and a straight swing path at impact ought to have produced a straight shot... but NO, the wind came up and blew it into the lake, heh heh heh. Just teasing.
balance point (also "face balanced") a method of weighting a putter so that when the shaft is balanced on a fulcrum the face points generally upward (also see toe-balanced)
Example: Some putters are face-balanced and some are not; which is better is mainly a matter of personal preference and your putting stroke.
face-on view
(or "face on view") the point of view of an observer facing the front of a golfer's body
Example: The two most common angles you see of golfers in photos and broadcasts are face-on and down-the-line.
face progression
the distance from the center of the shaft or hosel to the blade, or leading edge, of the club face
Example: Face progression is different than offset.
a gently curving shot from left to right (right-handed player)
Example: A soft fade is a valuable shot to know when the greens are firm and dry.
the closely mown area between the tee and green
Example: The fairway is generally preferable to the rough, as the shorter grass makes clean contact more likely.
fairway bunker
a sand or deep grass hazard situated in, or adjacent to, the fairway
Example: Jeb tried to "cut the corner" of the dogleg, but was his ball found the fairway bunker on the opposite side.
fairway wood
(also "fairway metal") a wood other than the driver or 1 wood (more commonly made of metal rather than wood nowdays)
Example: Getting good performance out of the fairway woods requires a decent amount of skill.
fall line
the natural and most direct downhill course of a given slope, the path water would take, or that gravity would dictate, down a slope without obstacles
Example: In theory, a putt directly up or down the fall line would be straight.
false front
a slope back towards the fairway on the front section of a putting green, usually where the ball will roll back off the green, effectively making the "true" front of the green beyond the slope, where the ground is more level
Example: The green on the 9th hole at Augusta National is one of the well-known false fronts in golf.
(also "whiff") missing the ball completely
Example: A skilled golfer will sometimes exaggerate when they make poor contact by saying that they fanned/whiffed it.
(also "chunky, fat, thick, heavy, laying the sod over it, hairpiece, 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 hit it fat / chunky / thick.
early type of golf ball made with a leather cover and stuffed with goose feathers
Example: A feathery was about the same weight as modern balls.
(also "touch") the sensation of, or level sensitivity for, playing shots in golf
Example: She had great feel/touch for soft pitches and bunker shots.
a Rules of Golf-specific term meaning other players in a stroke play competition (see the Rules of Golf for details)
Example: A fellow-competitor must acknowledge that your ball is damaged for you to take it out of play and replace it.
(also "St. Andrews Foursome") an alternate shot tournament format with two two-man teams in each foursome, each player hits a tee shot, then the best tee shot of each two-man team is selected and the other ball is picked up, the second shot is played by the team members in pre-determined order (odd/even, etc.) (more on tournament formats)
Example: Fensome is one of many alternate shot tournament formats.
a decorative "cap" where the shaft inserts into the club head to make the transition from the head to the shaft smoother, more tapered or finished (some clubs have ferrules, others are designed without them)
Example: Sometimes the ferrule gets loose and works its way up the shaft a little bit.
type of grass usually used for rough, mainly found in coastal regions
Example: He hit his rescue from the fescue.
filament wound
a method of manufacturing graphite shafts by winding one long strand, rather than a sheet, of the material around a form called a mandrel
Example: Some people say that filament wound shafts are more consistent.
finish position
(also just "finish") the last position, or end, of the swing
Example: The finish position/finish can indicate much of what happened in the swing.
first cut
(also "first cut of rough") the rough of shortest length, just off the fairway (not to be confused with primary rough, which might be a veritable jungle in comparison)
Example: The first cut/first cut of rough usually affords very good lies and is easy to negotiate.
five iron
(also "5 iron") a middle iron with a typical loft of around 26-32 degrees (club specifications can vary between manufacturers)
Example: Many recreational golfers do all right with the shorter irons, but by the time they get up to about a five iron/5 iron performance tends to diminish.
five wood
(also "5 wood") a fairway wood with a typical loft of around 17-22 degrees (club specifications can vary between manufacturers)
Example: A five wood/5 wood is a more popular club now than it used to be.
usually, but not always, a fabric banner atop the pin or flagstick to make the location of the hole visible
Example: At some courses the depth of the hole's location is indicated by color coding the flags (e.g., red means the front third of the green, white means the middle third and blue means the rear third).
flag hunting
usually used in reference to aiming at the flagstick in situations where the hole is cut dangerously close to trouble
Example: Mahmoud decided to go flag hunting on the back nine, because he wanted to see how many full shots he could hole.
(also "pin, stick") a slender pole, usually about 7 feet in height, with a flag on it placed inside the cup to mark the location of the hole
Example: Some golf courses provide a "pin sheet" that is a drawing of where the hole is located on each green. At some courses small flags or balls positioned below the flag on the flagstick indicate the position of the pin/hole on the green (front, middle, back). At some courses the depth of the hole's location is indicated by color coding the flags (e.g., red means the front third of the green, white means the middle third and blue means the rear third). And some courses do nothing at all, leaving one to guess or simply look and judge as well as possible.
1. the back edge of the sole (bottom) of an iron club (usually associated with the Sand Wedge)  2. a style of putter head with a slightly projecting rear-bottom edge
Example: 1. The sand wedge's flange allows the depth of the clubhead's penetration into the sand to be more controlled.  2. A famous major manufacturer had a popular putter for a while called a "flange."
(also "block, push") a shot that is typically high and a push (to the right for a right-handed player)
Example: Todd hit a flare off the tee on the first hole and subsequently missed the green, but still recovered nicely with a par.
a relatively shallow or more horizontal swing plane or lie angle
Example: Shorter players usually have a flatter swing plane than taller players.
(or "flat stick") another name for the putter
Example: She is very handy with the flatstick.
(also "frequency") the relative strength (stiffness or softness) of a club shaft
Example: Golf club shafts come in different flexes: L (Ladies), A (Senior), R (Regular), S (Stiff) and X (Extra-Stiff) are the most common, but they are also measured by numerical frequency, in cycles per minute or CPM.
flex point
(also "bend point, kick point") the point of maximum bending of a club's shaft, measured with the club in a horizontal position by securing the grip end of the club and hanging a standardized weight just above the club head
Example: All else being equal, a lower flex point/bend point/kick point will produce a higher trajectory and vice versa.
(also perhaps "flier lie, flyer, shooter, jumper") a shot that flies further than desired as a result of decreased backspin, usually resulting from long grass (but also could be water) between the ball and clubface at impact  2. a lie that causes the ball to fly farther than intended
Example: 1. She learned firsthand about the effect of a flier/shooter/jumper when her 7 iron shot airmailed the green.  2. He thought he might have a flier/shooter/jumper lie, so he took less club.
a division, or group, in a tournament of golfers of similar skill level (the origin of this usage of the word seems obscure; though two of the definitions of flight as a noun at Webster's Online Dictionary could be interpreted to fit: 4. a group of similar beings or objects flying through the air together [my note: in the Air Force a Flight is a subdivision of a Squadron], or 6.a. "a continuous series of stairs from one landing or floor to another" [my note: since each flight usually has a champion and then descending places/finishers this can make sense also])
Example: Patton was very glad to be in the championship flight (where you had to have a 4 handicap or less) for the first time, as it indicated that all his practice had been paying off.
1. the active pushing or throwing of the club with the hands and wrists (usually used in reference to the club head getting past the hands)  2. implies a very short or insignificant distance remaining for an approach shot (usually used together with the word "wedge")
Example: 1. Billy Joe flipped it on his short approach shot, causing a pull and another missed green.  2. She hit such a monster tee shot on the last hole that all she had left to the green was a flip wedge.
float load
(also "downcock") when the wrist cock increases after the start of the downswing
Example: Players with a relatively one-piece takeaway and relaxed hands tend also to down cock/float load.
flop shot
a soft-landing, relatively vertical shot from close to the green (usually played with a sandwedge or lob wedge)
Example: Her only chance of getting the ball to stop anywhere near the hole was to hit a flop shot.
Florida scramble
a modified scramble tournament format in which the same player's shot may not be selected on two consecutive shots (more on tournament formats and games)
Example: A Florida scramble demands somewhat more strategy than a regular scramble.
("fluffy lie") when the ball is sitting up in longish grass with a lot of air underneath it and a lot of grass surrounding it
Example: She would have difficulty judging the soft pitch because of the fluffy lie.
("flushing it" also "pure, puring it") perfect feeling contact, right on the sweetspot - solid, square and right on target
Example: Ernesto absolutely flushed/pured his long iron approach shot into the 18th green, leaving himself a 10-footer for eagle.
flying elbow
when the trailing arm's elbow (right elbow for right-handers) gets widely separated from it's original orientation and moves into an outward-pointing position (more like baseball than golf) at the top of the backswing
Example: Though it is generally considered an undesirable thing, Jack Nicklaus was known for a bit of a flying elbow early in his career.
(also "finish") the continuation of a golf stoke after the bottom of the swing and impact area
Example: Nancy had a nice follow-through to her swing.
foot wedge
kicking the ball (which, of course, is against the rules)
Example: He used his foot wedge to get out of the rough, and was disqualified for his trouble.
forced carry
a situation where a water hazard, chasm, etc., must be traversed in the air, with no alternate routes by ground
Example: The famous island green on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass has a forced carry.
used (usually yelled loudly) to warn golfers in range of the incoming flight of a ball
Example: I once heard a caddy yell "fore!" for so long a duration that I marvelled at her lung capacity.
(also "spotter") persons situated in the general landing area of holes to help quickly identify a ball's position
Example: Forecaddies are most commonly seen in major golf tournaments.
(as in "forged irons") a process of manufacturing clubheads where 100% stainless steel is stamped or hammered and ground into shape, with or without heat
Example: Forged irons have a softer feel than cast irons, as a general rule.
a loose term implying a club's capacity to reduce the consequences of off-center contact (also see game-improvement clubs)
Example: Brutus had so much trouble hitting the ball the same way twice that he wondered if a more forgiving club was the solution... which it was not.
forward press
a (usually slight) movement of the hands and arms forward (in the direction of the target) to initiate or trigger the backswing
Example: Armand had a more noticeable foward press on his short iron shots.
four iron
(also "4 iron") a long iron with a typical loft of around 23-28 degrees (club specifications can vary between manufacturers)
Example: Geraldo's longest iron club was a four iron/4 iron.
four wood
(also "4 wood") a fairway wood with a typical loft of around 16-19 degrees (club specifications can vary between manufacturers)
Example: Johanna's favorite club was her four wood/4 wood.
a Match Play or Stroke Play format in which two 2-person teams compete against each other using the one best score from each side (the main difference being Matches are scored by holes and Stroke Play competitions are scored by total strokes) -- this format is commonly and mistakenly referred to as "Best-Ball," which is actually one player competing against the better ball of two or three other players (more on tournament formats and games)
Example: Our Four-Ball tournament was more fun than the other tournaments this year.
(or "Foursome" in the Match Play and Stroke Play sense) 1. four players playing together in a group  2. a match in which two 2-person teams compete against each other with each side only playing one ball  3. a Stroke Play format where two players are partners only playing one ball (more on tournament formats and games)
Example: My weekly foursome plays at noon on Monday.  2. Foursome matches can be fun, but also pressure packed, because you don't want to let your partner down.  3. Foursome competitions can be fun, but also pressure packed, because since you're only playing one ball you don't want to put your partner in a tough situation.
free drop
(also "free relief") dropping the ball without penalty in any number of situations allowed by the rules of golf (more on rules of golf)
Example: Ground under repair and casual water are two situations in which the rules of golf allow (a) free drop/free relief.
(also "flex") a measurement of the relative flexibility, firmness, tension or strength of a club shaft
Example: Golf club shafts can be measured by numerical frequency, but are commonly organized into L (Ladies), A (Senior), R (Regular), S (Stiff) and X (Extra-Stiff) flexes.
Frequency analyzer
frequency analyzer
a device that measures the flex, or frequency, of a golf club's shaft by holding the grip end of the club fast while the club head end is bounced, or vibrated, and the cycles per minute (CPM) counted
Example: To truly know the flex of your shafts you'd need to have them tested on a frequency analyzer.
frequency matched
different club shafts that are of consistent flex as measured by a frequency analyzer
Example: Excellent quality precision golf clubs are often frequency matched to a very small tolerance
fried egg
a lie (usually in a sand filled bunker) in which the ball is half buried and thus resembles a fried egg
Example: A shot from a fried egg lie might play similarly to a buried lie or a relatively clean lie, depending on its severity.
(also called "apron, collar, 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 fringe/frog hair/apron/collar.
frog hair
(also called "apron, collar, fringe") 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 frog hair/apron/fringe/collar.
from the tips
(also "playing from the tips") playing each hole from its longest possible yardage (from the farthest back place you can stand on the farthest back teeing ground) so that you play the entire course at its longest possible yardage
Example: His ego was so disproportionately huge that he would only deign to play a round of golf if it was from the tips.
front nine
(also "front, front side") the first 9 holes (1-9) of an 18 hole golf course
Example: She played much better on the front nine/front/front side than on the back.
full-finger grip
(also "10-finger, ten-finger" grip) a method of holding the club using all ten digits on the grip with no overlapping or interlocking fingers (sometimes erroneously referred to as the "baseball" grip, and rarely but more correctly called the "eight-finger" grip)
Example: The relative position of the hands to the club's face is the same in a full-finger/10-finger/ten-finger grip as it is in the other more popular overlapping and interlocking grips.


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