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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

image map A words B words C words 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 - You're already here 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.

R & A
Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, golf's original ruling body
Example: Since 1952 The R & A and the USGA have collaborated to issue and maintain the rules of golf.
1. a touring professional that is not a regular member of the tour and who, therefore, must play in a qualifying round to "win a spot" in order to enter a tour event  2. a game or form of betting competition of the same name (more on tournament formats and games)
Example: 1. The life of a rabbit is probably none too easy, having to follow the tour around trying to qualify every week.  2. They usually play a skins game, but they played Rabbit on Saturday.
(also "skying, skyball, pop up") another term for skying the ball or hitting a pop-up
Example: Marty hit a rainmaker, so all that energy was wasted.
1. (also "trap rake") a tool placed in sand-filled bunkers for the purpose of re-smoothing the surface after walking in, and playing a shot out of, the sand  2. (archaic) a lofted iron (resembling a rake, thus its name) with vertical slots in the face to decrease resistance or channel water, used commonly to play from wet ground
Example: 1. She left the rake/trap rake in the bunker after smoothing her footprints and the spot where her club removed sand.  2. Long ago, when there was no such thing as "casual water," some players carried a specialty club called a rake.
(also "driving range, practice range, practice tee") an area, separate from the golf course, designated for hitting practice balls
Example: Ranges/Driving ranges/Practice ranges/Practice tees vary widely in their size and caliber.
range ball
(also "practice ball") golf balls for use only on the driving range, usually striped or marked in some way to easily distinguish them from regular golf balls
Example: Range balls/Practice balls are not usually allowed on the golf course.
range rat
a person who loves to practice and spends a lot of time on the practice range
Example: Mr. Song was referred to by many as a range rat.
(also "marshal") a person designated to patrol the course, keeping an eye out for problems in general, but usually present to promote a reasonable pace of play or keep things moving
Example: The ranger/marshal told us we were falling too far behind the group in front of us.
see course rating
the process of assessing or surveying the line of a putt to determine its break and behavior
Example: My caddie's read was perfect, and the putt went right in the center of the hole.
ready golf
a very effective informal method of play in which the right to play based on "honor" or "away" is forsaken and whoever is "ready to play" plays next, in the interest of speeding up play
Example: Ready golf is a great way to play, as long as safety and courtesy are not compromised.
(also "recovery shot, trouble shot") a shot that is played to extricate oneself from trouble after an errant shot
Example: Tim hit a spectacular recovery/recovery shot/trouble shot from the trees to within 6 feet of the cup.
to remove the old finish and apply a new finish to the heads of woods or metals
Example: Wooden clubs look beautiful when they are newly refinished, but that does not seem to improve their performance.
1. to move or reposition the hands on the club during the swing  2. to replace the grip of a club
Example: 1. If you regrip during your swing (not recommended) you'd better hope you're lucky enough to return the face squarely.  2. I decided to regrip my sandwedge with something that would give me a different feel.
conforming to regulations, official (e.g., the specified number of holes for a competition, or a club that conforms to the rules of golf)
Example: There was a tie at the end of regulation play, and so a playoff determined the winner.
See also green in regulation
regulation course
(also "regulation golf course") generally thought of as a golf course of par 3's, 4's and 5's with "traditional" length and par: 5,200 yards and par 66 or higher (2,600 yards and par 33 or higher for nine holes)
Example: A regulation golf course is longer and has a higher par than an executive course.
1. (also "let it go") generally thought of as the act of allowing the centrifugal force of the body/arms/hands/clubhead to take its course on the downswing rather than holding on or inhibiting it (can be broken down into specifics)  2. when a ball stops spinning backward and starts to roll forward
Example: He was afraid of hookng the ball, so he wasn't releasing/letting it go.  2. My chip shot released nicely and rolled right up in front of the hole.
a rules term meaning "to pick up the ball and move it away from" some condition, obstacle, etc.
Example: The rules of golf allow relief without penalty in many situations (e.g., from cart paths, ground under repair, etc.).
an expression used when a shot is certainly out of play
Example: Reload; that ball is OB.
reminder grip
see ribbed grip
when the club is swung on a dramatically different path or plane on the downswing than it was on the backswing
Example: She noticeably rerouted the club in her swing.
rescue club
(also "hybrid club") a generic name applied to clubs that combine features of a wood and an iron, "Rescue" is a trademarked name for this type of club manufactured by the TaylorMade company
Example: She liked using her rescue club in longer grass.
to remove an existing shaft—or part of a broken one—and replace it with another shaft
Example: Variables like club length, swingweight, grip weight, etc., have to be considered when you reshaft a club.
resort course
a golf course affiliated with a resort, hotel or vacation spot
Example: A resort course sees many different golfers rather than having lots of "regulars" that play weekly.
(abbreviated "RTD, RETD") used to indicate that a player has begun a round and pulled out before finishing (also see scoreboard abbreviations)
Example: The scoreboard showed RTD for the player that had quit after 9 holes on Sunday.
returning nine
when the 9-hole loop returns to the clubhouse, or its origination point
Example: Some courses, like Pebble Beach and St. Andrews, have a front nine that goes "out," or away from the clubhouse, and some courses have returning nines.
reverse C
a finish position to the full swing where the hips are dramatically thrust out toward the target and the head is leaning back with the spine also arched backward (when a right-handed golfer gets into this position it resembles a mirror, or reversed, image of the letter C -- thus the name)
Example: A reverse C finish was popular in earlier eras and is generally not recommended these days, as it's hard on the spine.
reverse overlap
("reverse overlap grip") probably the most common grip used for putting - a method of placing the hands on the club such that the index finger of the top hand rests on top of the fingers of the bottom hand
Example: Many players use the reverse overlap/reverse overlap grip for putting.
reverse pivot
(also "reverse weight transfer, reverse weight shift") when the weight is on the front foot (closest to the target) on the backswing and the rear foot (farthest from the target) on the downswing and follow-through (this is the direct opposite of the proper sequence)
Example: A reverse pivot/reverse weight transfer followed by a wild slice; a classic combination for the ages.
ribbed grip
a style of club grip that has a raised ridge or rib on the bottom surface, or underside, of the grip for conforming generally with the inner side of the knuckles
Example: Some people prefer ribbed grips and some people prefer round grips.
1. (also "vertical roll") the curve of the face of a wood or metal wood (from top to bottom, also see bulge or horizontal bulge)  2. descriptive of the quality or appearance of a struck putt
Example: 1. Vertical roll helps to compensate for slightly descending or ascending angles of approach to keep the launch angle of the shot more consistent.  2. She put a nice roll on that putt even though it missed.
longer grass adjacent to the fairways, greens and perhaps tees
Example: Playing from the rough is usually, but not always, more difficult than playing from the fairway, as the longer grass makes clean contact with the ball less likely.
a complete circuit of (usually) 18 holes
Example: How did your round go today?
round grip
a style of club grip that is uniformly round rather than having a raised, elongated or ribbed underside
Example: Some people prefer ribbed grips and some people prefer round grips.
score board abbreviation that stands for retired, meaning that a player pulled out after beginning a round
Example: It appears that RTD is only used on scoreboards outside the U.S., from what I have seen to date.
rub of the green
an accident, not caused by the player or caddie, for which there is no relief under the rules (generally associated with a bad break)
Example: Though it was unfortunate, the fact that the ball hit a flying pig and careened out of bounds was a rub of the green.
rules of golf
regulations and procedures of the game as set forth by a collaborative effort of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in Scotland and the United States Golf Association (for specific rules see this page)
Example: Knowing the rules of golf can help your score in many instances.
rutting iron
(archaic) a lofted iron with a very rounded and concave face (like an eating spoon), used commonly to play from between tree roots, ruts
Example: Clubs with concave faces, like an old rutting iron, no longer conform to the rules.
Ryder Cup
professional team matches between Europe and the U.S. that are played every second year, the venues alternating between Europe and the U.S., begun in the 1920's and named after the trophy/cup's donator, amateur Samuel Ryder.
Example: Many PGA Tour professionals aspire to play in the Ryder Cup matches.


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