Just because you’re not a professional golfer doesn't mean you can’t act like one. Understanding the fashion, the culture, and the walk is a crucial part of blending in. The most standout thing you can do to make yourself seem professional is to learn the language. Apart from the proper terminology, there are informal terms, also known as slang, that dedicated golfers use around the course.
Here are some tips on how to sound like a golf pro without playing like one so that you can impress fellow golfers—or people outside the course—with your extensive knowledge.
Familiarize Yourself With the Terminology
The first step to sounding like a seasoned golf professional is memorizing the proper terminology. Even golfing veterans can find themselves stumped by the sport’s language—some don’t even know it at all. Learning these terms will put you a step ahead of the crowd and, potentially, a step above the experts.
If the list seems intimidating, don’t worry. You don’t have to learn them all. Some terms are far more common than others. The more time you spend on the course, the more you’ll be able to distinguish between frequently and rarely used terminology.
Par refers to the number of strokes a golfer is likely to take on one hole.
A birdie is when a golfer scores a hole one under par.
An eagle is when a golfer scores a hole two under par.
Double Eagle (or Albatross)
A double eagle, or albatross, is when a golfer scores a hole three under par.
A bogey is when a golfer scores a hole one over par.
A double bogey is when a golfer scores a hole two over par.
A triple bogey is when a golfer scores a hole three over par.
An ace is when a golfer scores a hole-in-one.
Fore is a warning shout, yelled when the ball is heading in someone else’s direction.
A putt is any shot taken by a putter while on the course.
The drive refers to a golfer’s first stroke from the tee on every hole.
An approach is a shot taken from the fairway to the green.
Over clubbing is when a golfer uses a club that’s too powerful for the type of shot they’re taking.
The turn is the halfway point in a game of golf.
Bank shots refer to when a golfer uses steep slopes to manipulate the ball’s speed.
A duff is a bad or faulty shot.
A mulligan allows the golfer to redo a shot without penalty.
A shank is a shot that fails to connect with the club’s head.
A hook is a shot that travels from right to left.
A slice is a shot that travels from left to right.
A plug is a ball buried within either sand or mud.
Fairways are long sections of short-cut grass that span from the green to the tee box.
The rough is a taller section of grass bordering the fairway.
Greens are the flat, grassy area located at the end of a fairway.
Hazards are anything that could derail or stop the ball’s movement and ultimately affect a golfer’s score. Golf courses will typically include water hazards and handmade hazards.
Bunkers are a manmade hazard that includes concave areas containing sand or any other material.
A driver is a long, big-headed club used primarily for tee shots.
A wedge is a golf club that’s lofted and used for shorter shots.
A hybrid is a golf club that traditionally features a wooden head and iron shaft.
Learn the Slang
Another way to sound like a golf pro without playing like one is to memorize the slang. Learning to apply golf-related slang properly will give off the illusion that you’re up to date on the ins-and-outs of not just the course but the culture.
Keep in mind that casual golf players are the ones who primarily use these informal terms. They’ll work well at your local golf course but are unlikely to hold up at a professional golfing tournament.
Afraid of the Dark
A ball that’s “afraid of the dark” refuses to fall into the hole.
“Bag rat” is a derogatory way to refer to the caddy.
“Buried elephants” are large mounds or humps on the surface of the putting green.
“Spinach” is when a ball rolls into a patch of thick, inescapable grass.
“Beach” refers to a bunker filled with sand.
“Cat box” is yet another term for a sand-filled bunker.
A “chili dip” is when a golfer strikes the ground with their club before hitting the ball.
“Dance floor” refers to the putting green.
The “dawn patrol” consists of golfers who prefer to play at sunrise.
A “hacker” is an inexperienced or downright awful golfer.
A “fried egg” is a ball stuck in the center of a sand trap.
A “lumberjack” is when a golfer continuously hits their ball into the trees.
A “goat track” is a course that’s in notoriously poor condition.
“Lunch ball” is another way to refer to a mulligan.
A “dribbler” is when a shot only advances a few feet forward.
A shot that’s “hot” goes faster and further than intended.
These terms should give you a good head start. If you memorize this entire list and are feeling ambitious, there are less common terminology and slang you can brush up on in your free time.
Basic, formal terminology is easy to find online. When it comes to non-universal terms, like slang, it’s better to listen and learn from the other golfers on your local course. You might discover they use terms entirely unique from those on the web.
Now that you’re speaking the part, it’s time to start looking like it. At Greater Half, we carry a wide variety of patriotic golf shirts, hoodies, and more. Look through our inventory today!