Must Know Common Golf Terms


Golfers are expected to play “without undue delays.” The question of exactly what constitute undue delay has been under intensive study since 1971.


Tiny circular hollows impressed onto the outer covering of golf balls to regulate their lift. The surface is also usually punctuated with at least one large cut, or “smile,” cause by a shanked iron shot. Curiously, golfers who complete these “faces” by adding eyes, ears, hair and a nose to roughly resemble whoever taught them golf find that they can hit their works of art twice the distance of an undecorated ball.


Colorful Scottish word for the piece of turf scooped from the ground in front of the ball in the course of an iron shot. In Scotland, depending on its size, a divot is referred to as a “wee tuftie” (2” x 4”), “peg o’ sward” (4” x 6”), “snatch of haugh” (6’ x 8”), “fine tussock” (8” x 10”), “glen” (1’ X 2’), “flirth” (1 1/2’ x 3’), “loch” (2’ x 4’) and “damned English divot” (anything larger than 8 square feet).


A hole with a 90 angle between the tee and the green. One with a pockmarked tee area, unkempt fairways or a patchy green is a “dogear”. One on which large amounts of casual water regularly accumulate is a “dog paddle.” One with an elevated tee and green and a sunken, treacherous approach is a “dog dish.” And a course on which holes like these predominate is, simply, a “dog.”


Formal term for a term in match play that leads by as many holes as remain to be played. “Hustlers” will often deliberately shoot poorly during the early part of a round to get gullible opponents into this apparently favorable position, then propose a greatly increased, all or nothing bet on the remaining holes, with a sudden death playoff if necessary. How can you spot these tricksters? It’s not easy but, generally speaking, don’t play golf for money with players who use two-piece clubs that unscrew in the center of the shaft, who put baby powder on their hands before grasping the driver or use billiard chalk on their clubfaces or who have a habit of saying things like “Dunlop 4 in the center pocket” before making a putt.

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