The language of golf, made up of many Anglicisms, is sometimes difficult to understand for a neophyte or a beginner. If you’re about to join the hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts hitting the greens in their spare time, you’ll need these basics.

So, you may even choose to go beyond the borders, towards Portugal, to learn golf because, do not doubt, doing it with very favorable weather will only add to your pleasure already extreme.

Terms of the course:

Your first introduction to learning golf will introduce you to the different terms related to the courses.

  • Bunker: generally placed near the green, it is an obstacle, sand style, forcing you to play difficult shots if you fall there.
  • Fairway: this is the part before the green, which is already well mowed.
  • Grain: the direction in which the grass grows and can speed up or slow down your ball.
  • Green: the surrounding part of the hole where the grass is the shortest to be able to putt. 
  • Link: the most famous golf courses for their environment, especially by the sea.
  • Pitch and putt: the training area near the green to learn how to get out of a bunker, to learn to putt, etc.
  • Driving range: a particular training area, from boxes, where you learn the correct positions and how to hit the ball.
  • Return: this is the second part of an 18-hole course, i.e., holes 10 to 18.
  • Rough: a higher part of the grass, along the fairways and near the holes.

Blow Terms:

You want to learn golf, and it’s sometimes extraordinary, or sometimes missed shots, learn the language.

  • Air shot: a shot missed but counted when you want to hit the ball, but you miss it.
  • Albatross: when you hit a hole in 3 shots below par.
  • Birdie: when you land a hole in 1 shot below par.
  • Bogey: when you hit a hole in 1 over par.
  • Condor: when you land a hole 4 strokes below par.
  • Eagle: when you land a hole in 2 shots below par.
  • Par: each hole is defined in an average number of strokes, between 3 and 5, depending on its length. A “par” is a successful hole in the number of strokes predefined by the course.
  • Put: or “rolled,” it is the final blow on the green or very close to trying to put the ball in the hole.
  • Splash: this is a missed shot that sends you into the pond, the bunker, the pond, or any other place that is difficult to get out of to make a good approach.
  • Tee shot: The tee shot is the first from a hole.
  • Top: another of golf’s typical duds. You hit the top of the ball with your club’s bottom and mash your shot. The trajectory will be very poorly controlled.
  • Hole in one: You enter the hole from the tee shot. The perfect shot. The one you may be able to achieve once in your life, or not. It is also called “ace” or “hole in one” in its English version.

Effect terms:

If you want to learn golf, you will also have to learn to master all the effects possible to give to the ball. Here are some of them.

  • Backspin: a retro effect that you will give to your ball.
  • Draw: it is a voluntary effect given to the ball that allows it to go to the right or left, depending on whether you are left-handed or right-handed.
  • Drive: this is the shot generally at the start of a hole, played with Wood n° 1, the one intended for long shots, to get you as close as possible to the spot.
  • Fade: opposite effect of the draw, a right-handed person will print an impact to go from left to right and, a left-handed person, to go from right to left.
  • Hook: the ball leaves well in the axis to oblique, at the end of the flight, on the left if you are right-handed and on the right if you are left-handed. An often unintended effect.
  • Lob: like in other sports, it’s a very high blow that lands without much rolling afterward.
  • Pull: designates the trajectory of a ball that takes the left direction of the axis for a right-handed person and the right direction for a left-handed person.
  • Push: this is the opposite of the previous one. The ball takes the right axis direction for a right-hander and the left path for a left-hander.
  • Recovery: You are doing very well in a challenging shot, depending on the ball’s position.
  • Side-spin: an effect is given to the ball to consider the green, back, and side slope.
  • Slice: the opposite of the hook and therefore often also involuntary, namely that the ball, well off in the axis, turns to the right for a right-hander and to the left for a left-hander at the end of the flight. 
  • Spin: effect given to a ball when hitting to make it a whirl. See backspin, side-spin, top-skin.
  • Swing: general movement to hit the ball.
  • Top-skin: effect given forward to the ball.

Hardware terms:

Learning golf also means learning all about the equipment and, among other things, which club to use in which condition, etc.

  • Wood: it is the club used to play long shots, particularly at the start of a hole.
  • Caddy: a person who accompanies the player, carries his bag, hands him his club, puts it away, etc.
  • Club: this is what the golfer uses to hit the ball. At the start of a course, the player is entitled to 14 clubs which he must know how to distribute according to his needs.
  • Iron: a type of club whose head is metallic.
  • Putter: the club that makes the final putt for accuracy.
  • Tee: the remote support for the ball, at the start, in wood or plastic, to hit a long shot.
  • Wedge is a particular iron with an angle greater than 44 degrees. Different ones depend on what is desired: getting out of a bunker, approaching the green, etc.

Terms related to the competition:

Finally, for some, learning golf means embarking on a sport where they can later sharpen their competitive spirit.

  • All square: equality between two players during a match-play encounter.
  • Bogey player: refers to a player with a handicap between 18 and 22.
  • Gross: the score of a player who does not take his handicap into account.
  • Cut: players qualified after stroke-play, according to the expected number or their number of strokes below the leader.
  • Dormie: when a player leads by a sufficient number of holes so that they can no longer be beaten during a match-play.
  • Dropper: bringing the ball back into play by dropping it at arm’s length, at shoulder height, after a penalty (ball dropped into the water) or a grandstand-type obstacle.
  • Eclectic: when a game lasts over a long period, such as a whole season, the player retains only his best shots on each hole.
  • Extra day score: the score achieved in Stableford (see below) outside of competition and the handicap conditions.
  • Foursome: a confrontation between 2 teams of 2 players where each team plays, in turn, the same ball.
  • Greensome: a confrontation between 2 teams of 2 players. Each team starts from the ball best placed after the drive, and each player plays, in turn, a shot in each group.
  • Disability: it is now replaced by the index; see below.
  • Index: according to the level of amateur players, which starts at 54, i.e., players playing 54 shots above par, the index offers a certain number of shots allowing it to oppose a better-ranked player while having chances of winning.
  • Match-play: during an opposition between 2 players and 2 teams, the hole is won by the best score, and the final winner will be the one who has won the most spots.
  • Sudden death: in the event of several winners, overtime is played until one of the players wins over the others.
  • Mulligan: the possibility of replaying, during a friendly match, the tee shot at the 1st hole.
  • Floating mulligan: it is possible to replay a move of your choice during the course.
  • Penalties: they are added to the golfer’s score for mistakes made.
  • Playoff: If there is a tie at the end of a tournament, a head-to-head match is played on the same course or another until one of the players leads by a certain number of strokes as set by the tournament regulations.
  • Score: this is the number of shots a golfer plays to complete the course.
  • Stableford: in this context, each hole represents points according to the handicap of the player and the difficulty.
  • Stroke play: type of game where the winner is the one who completes the course with the lowest score.