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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.

improved lie
1. (also "improved lies, improving your lie, preferred lies, winter rules, bumping it") altering the ball's position, or the way it rests (lies) on the ground, so as to make the it easier to contact cleanly -- mainly put into effect when course conditions are not acceptable for playing the ball down, usually due to wet, soggy conditions)
Example: It is against the rules to improve your lie/bump it unless the committee has invoked winter rules/preferred lies.
(also "back, back nine, back side, last nine, second nine") the last nine holes (10-18) of an eighteen hole golf course
Example: He had 40 going out and 40 coming in for a total score of 80.
in play
officially, the ball is in play once the tee shot comes to rest anywhere on the course (not out of bounds) -- informally, more commonly used to also include the fact that the next shot is "playable" (i.e., not in the forest, a water hazard, potentially lost, etc.)
Example: Her tee shot wasn't pretty, but it was in play.
in the hole
term borrowed from baseball (which may have borrowed it from elsewhere) meaning third up on the tee (also see "on deck")
Example: The tee master called out the names of the group on the tee, the group on deck and the group in the hole.
see handicap
a separate piece of material that is joined with the body of a club's head (usually on/in the club's face) for the purpose of providing more durability, more feel, or some other effect
Example: 1. Originally inserts were used in wooden clubs to provide a harder, more durable surface for striking the ball, but nowadays even putters sometimes have them.
1. closer to the hole than  2. closer to the body than (e.g., inside the target line, inside takeaway)
Example: 1. Since my ball is inside yours you will putt first.  2. The natural arc of a textbook backswing travels first on, and then inside, the target line.
a swing path that travels from inside (closer to the body than) the target line to outside (farther away from the body than) the target line
Example: If the clubface is square to the target line at impact an inside-out swing, or path, will produce a draw or hook.
inside the leather
closer to the hole than the length of the putter (from the head to where the grip begins), archaic: putters used to be of uniform length and the shortest club in the bag, and grips used to be made of leather, thus the phrase (inside = closer than) + (the leather = where the grip begins) -- it was common practice among some groups of golfers, before greens were so well manicured, to place the head of the putter in the hole and then lay it down on the green toward the ball to see if the remaining distance was "inside the leather" -- see also "gimme"
Example: 1. After I hit a nice chip shot my playing partner conceded the remaining putt, as it was inside the leather.
intended line
(also perhaps "line of play") the direction a player intends their ball to roll on, or go
Example: Intended line is an expression usually used in reference to putts or short shots (i.e., the line on which you intend your ball to roll on the green) and "line of play" is probably thought of mostly in reference to longer shots.
interior out of bounds
(also "interior out-of-bounds, internal out of bounds") out of bounds within the property of the golf course, most commonly between two holes where a safety issue is present (e.g., on a dogleg where golfers would be tempted to hit across the dogleg into other players), also see "out of bounds" and the definition of out of bounds in The Rules of Golf, and "provisional ball"
Example: Interior out of bounds is not elegant, but in some cases it is better to be safe than elegant.
interlocking grip
(also "interlock grip") a method of placing the hands on the club such that the index finger of the top hand (nearest the butt end of the grip) and the pinky of the bottom hand hook together, intertwine or interlock
Example: Jack Nicklaus uses the interlocking grip/interlock grip.
intermediate target
a real or imaginary reference point, or target, that is on the line between the ball and the ultimate target (usually but not always fairly close to the ball) to make alignment easier
Example: An example of an intermediate target might be a pebble or discolored blade of grass (it could be anything, really) three feet in front of the ball that is used as an aiming point because it's easier to line up with than the actual target 200 yards away.
a club with a head made of steel or iron and a relatively narrow sole (usually somewhere between 16° and 65° and numbered 1 through a variety of "wedges")
Example: I chose a 5 iron to play my approach shot into (hole) number 11.
Iron Byron
a golf swing robot—named after legendary golfer Byron Nelson, who was famous for his consistent swing—used by the USGA and equipment manufacturers to test clubs and balls
Example: Even if your swing was as consistent as that of Iron Byron you would still need a lot more to be a good player.


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