Have you ever found yourself in a pickle on the greens, not knowing the difference between an Albatross and a Snowman? Or maybe you’re wondering why everyone else is suddenly hollering “fore” when your shot went awry?
No need to fret, because today we’re going to take you on a whirlwind tour of the sometimes bewildering, often hilarious world of golf jargon. So grab a cuppa, don your visor, and join us for an enlightening, laughter-filled journey through the language of our most-frustrating but still favourite sport.
All the Golf Slang you will ever need to know
- Ace: Not just a card in your deck, in the golfing world, an ace means you’ve had a hole-in-one. Simply smashing, isn’t it?
- Albatross: Also known as a “double eagle,” an albatross is a rare, majestic bird indeed. This is when a golfer scores three under par on a hole. That’s like getting a hole-in-one on a par-four – absolute genius!
- Bogey: Not a green monster hiding under your bed, a bogey means one over par on a hole. It’s not quite a disaster, but let’s aim to avoid these, shall we?
- Birdie: In golf, it’s good to be a birdie! This charming term means scoring one under par. Fly high, friends!
- Breakfast Ball: you have been waiting to play this round all week. You are excited. You stride up to the first tee and graciously shank the ball into the trees. Declare it a Breakfast Ball and go again. Not to be mistaken for a “Mulligan”.
- Chunk: This isn’t about your uncle’s famous roast dinner. A chunk is when you hit the ground before the ball. We’ve all done it, so no shame in a bit of chunking.
- Divot: This is the piece of turf displaced when you strike the ball. Some divots are neat, some are wild, but all need to be replaced, that’s golfing etiquette!
- Does your husband play? If you don’t hit your putt hard enough and it doesn’t make it anywhere near the hole, you can expect to hear this from one of your so called mates.
- Dogleg: No canines were harmed in the making of this term. A dogleg is a hole that bends at some point along its length, like a dog’s leg.
- Dormie: Sounds like a nap, doesn’t it? In match play, when a player is as many holes up as there are left to play, that player is said to be ‘dormie.’ It’s a pretty comfortable place to be.
- Eagle: Soaring above a birdie, an eagle is when you’re two under par on a hole. Majestic!
- Fore: It’s not a mispronunciation of the number ‘four’. “Fore!” is a shout of warning when a ball is heading towards another person. It’s always better safe than sorry!
- Fried Egg: This isn’t a breakfast order, in the bunker, a fried egg refers to when the ball is half-buried in the sand. Time to get out the sand wedge and get that egg frying!
- Gimme: A putt so close to the hole it’s considered unmissable. In informal play, your mates might say “that’s a gimme” and let you pick it up without putting. In competitive play, however, there’s no such luck!
- Hook: No pirates in sight, a hook in golf refers to a shot that curves sharply from right to left for right-handed players (and vice versa for left-handers). Keep an eye out for Captain Hook!
- Mulligan: This term, steeped in golfing folklore, is a do-over shot allowed amongst friends after a particularly poor shot. However, don’t expect any mulligans in tournament play!
- NITBY: – you hit a great drive but you are three yards away from a bunker than you chip over. Everyone shouts “NITBY”, you are Not In The Bunker Yet”!
- One off the tee: You have placed your ball on your tee. You do a practice swing. You line up your driver behind the ball. The ball falls off the tee. One of your oh-so-funny mates shouts “that’s one off the tee”. Clip him in the special place with the end of your club when you next walk past him.
- Pin High: you have hit a shot towards the green, probably with an iron. The ball skews left or right, away from the green, but roughly in line with the flag hole. One of your playing partners looks at you pityingly and says, “still, at least it was pin high”. It means you got the strength right, just not the direction.
- Sally Gunnell: A bit of a cruel one this. All we will say is that it is where you hit a bad shot but it ends up further than you thought it would.
- Sister in Law: Similar to a badly hit golf ball doing better than it deserves too. Like sleeping with your sister in law you would say “it’s up there, but you know it shouldn’t be”. We don’t make the rules by the way!
- Shanked it: when your ball fires off sharp left, or sharp right, from the tee-shot or from a normal shot.
- Snowman: When you score an eight on a hole, that’s called a snowman. It’s not the frosty friend you want to build in golf!
- Stymie: Once a specific term when an opponent’s ball blocked the path to the hole, now it’s more generally used for any shot that’s obstructed in some way. Like when a tree suddenly leaps into the line of your perfect drive!
- Topped it: when you hit the top of the ball upon impact rather than right in the middle. This usually results in the ball going about 2 metres in the air and about 5 metres away from you and is followed with a swear word.
- U-Boat, Dead Ahead: Everyone has that golfing mate who has all of the tech. When your buddy gets his one eyed binocular out of his golf bag (range finder), be sure to shout “U-Boat Dead Ahead” as though he is looking for ships in the war.
- WhackF*ck: Simply because it is the most heard noise in golf courses around the world. Someone whacking a shot, it going wrong and they then shout “f*ck”.
- Yips: Sounds like a tiny dog bark, doesn’t it? In golf, it’s a condition that causes golfers to flub their putts due to nerve issues. It’s quite a pesky thing to have on the green!
Well, there you have it! The next time you’re off to the course, you’ll not only be armed with your clubs, but also a dazzling array of golfing lingo that would impress even Rory McIlroy! As we part ways today, remember: it doesn’t matter whether you’re swinging a ‘big dog’ or stuck with the ‘yips,’ it’s all about the spirit of the game. Happy golfing, chums!