golf vocabulary terms

Golf Vocabulary (Terms Golfers Should Learn)

In this guide we cover a list of golf terms to learn as you’ll eventually be speaking the language of golf with your playing partners at the course. Here’s our ultimate list of golf vocabulary words:


  • Definition – scoring three strokes under par on a golf hole
  • Example – John hit his second shot into the par 5 hole for an albatross

Ball Striking:

  • Definition – how well you make contact with the golf ball on the club face
  • Example – Your ball striking has improved tremendously


  • Definition – scoring one stroke under par on a golf hole
  • Example – I’ve got this putt for birdie


  • Definition – scoring one stroke over par on a golf hole
  • Example – I missed the par putt but I made the next putt for bogey


  • Definition – the direction a putt will roll due to slope on the green
  • Example – I think this putt will break to the right so I’m aiming my putt left

Bump and Run:

  • Definition – a low chip shot that doesn’t travel far in the air, but does most of the distance rolling on the green.
  • Example – With the flag on the opposite side of the green I need to hit a bump and run to get there.


  • Definition – a sand pit dug into the grounds of a golf hole, usually near the green
  • Example – I’ve hit my ball into the bunker and now have a tough sand shot to get onto the green


  • Definition – an assistant who carries your golf bag and gives advice on the golf course during your round
  • Example – John’s caddie told him to hit 7 iron from 155 yards to the green

Cart Path:

  • Definition – the roadway that runs on the side of a golf hole for your golf cart to drive on
  • Example – I think my ball came to a stop on the cart path


  • Definition – hitting a short golf shot from the grass around a green (usually with a wedge)
  • Example – I need to chip this shot onto the green, close to the hole to save par

Club House:

  • Definition – the building on a golf course that you pay for your golf round, buy food, and use the restroom
  • Example – Let’s go into the club house and set up our tee time to play the course


  • Definition – the land developed for golfers to play on, referred to as a golf course
  • Example – That course is a tough one to play


  • Definition – an indentation on the green putting surface caused by a golf ball landing hard
  • Example – I need to fix my divot first, so the putt can roll smoothly without hopping over the divot

Dog Leg:

  • Definition – a hole that is designed to curve sideways so you can’t see the green from the tee box
  • Example – This hole dog legs right so I’ll try to cut the corner to get closer to the green

Double Bogey:

  • Definition – a score of two strokes above par for a golf hole
  • Example – I’m now two over par on the day after making double bogey on that last hole


  • Definition – The first shot to begin a hole, normally using a number 1 wood or driver
  • Example – I hit my drive into the rough


  • Definition – a club used for hitting the first shot on long yardage holes (par 4 and par 5)
  • Example – My driver just hit the ball 300 yards leaving me a short iron shot to the green


  • Definition – a shot where the ball flight trajectory curves left to right (for right handed players)
  • Example – I need to hit a fade to get the ball around these trees and back on line with the hole


  • Definition – the short grass the runs between the tee box and the putting green on a golf hole
  • Example – I need my drive to land in the fairway to give me an easier chance at making par

Flag Stick:

  • Definition – the pole (stick) that marks the hole position on the green so you can see from far away
  • Example –  I’m aiming straight at the flag stick on this golf shot


  • Definition: The round circle shaped part of a golf hole that contains the cup you’re trying to get the ball into.
  • Example: Let’s hit the ball onto the green and make the putt for birdie


  • Definition: The part of the golf club that you hold onto. Also the position of your hands on the grip to ensure you have grasp of the club
  • Example: Adjust your grip and you’ll stop slicing the golf ball


  • Definition: An area on the golf course that you do not want to be in like water and ground under repair
  • Example: If you hit it into the hazard, you may not find your golf ball again


  • Definition: The part of the golf green you’re trying to get the ball into
  • Example: Hit this putt into the hole


  • Definition: A golf swing that sends the ball curving severely instead of going straight
  • Example: I just hooked my drive into the rough again


  • Definition: A set of golf clubs used to hit higher, softer landing golf shots to get the ball onto the green
  • Example: Which irons are you playing with?


  • Definition: The position the ball is sitting in the grass which can be on top of grass or buried down in the grass
  • Example: I have a terrible lie in the rough which makes my shot challenging now


  • Definition: A style of golf course with few trees but lots of wind in the open plains
  • Example: The links style golf course is popular over seas in Europe


  • Definition: the score assigned to a hole or golf score indicating how many shots you should take to get in the hole
  • Example: The par of today’s golf course is 72 for 18 holes

Pitch and Run:

  • Definition: A type of golf shot where the ball carries in the air several yards before landing on the green and rolling
  • Example: After coming up short of the green, Tiger needs to hit a pitch and run to get the ball to the hole


  • Definition: A golf shot where you swing the putter and hit the golf ball on the putting green
  • Example: Hit this putt into the hole


  • Definition: The club used on the putting green to hit the golf ball
  • Example: What type of putter are you playing with?


  • Definition: The tall grass that is on both sides of the fairway and tougher to hit out of compared to shorter grass
  • Example: If your ball misses the fairway it will end up in the rough

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