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12 Golf Terms Every Golfer Should Know

12 Golf Terms Every Golfer Should Know

If you find yourself getting into the game of golf, there will be a steep learning curve when it comes to the mechanics of a golf swing. Any time you dive into a new hobby or sport, there will also be certain terms that you won’t understand until you have someone explain them to you. That is certainly the case when it comes to golf. 

The fact of the matter is that most golfers won’t shame you for being terrible at golf, however, they will notice if you don’t know some of the proper terms used in the sport. Usually, anyone who has spent even a short amount of time playing or watching golf can learn basic terms such as par, birdie, eagle, hole-in-one, fairway, rough, etc. But it will make you sound competent if you know these 12 golf terms.


This term refers to where someone’s golf ball has landed relative to another player’s. If your golf ball is away, then that means your ball is further away from the hole than everyone else’s. If you don’t know, the person who is away always shoots first. Most of the times you will hear this term will be when someone is telling the other golfers whose turn it is to play their ball.


You will generally only hear this term on the green or extremely close to the green. Break refers to the direction a green slopes due to its terrain. It can go left, right, or a combination of the two. The break of the green will be in play anytime you are putting, but also when you have a close chip that you plan on rolling some distance.

Green in Regulation

A green in regulation occurs when you hit the putting green and the number of strokes you used to do so is par minus two. On a par 4, you must have hit the green before your third shot in order to have a green in regulation. On a par 5, it has to happen before your fourth shot. 


A hole-out is anytime a player ends a hole by putting the ball in the cup. While technically it is correct that a hole out can happen after a putt, you will rarely hear a golfer say that on a course. Usually the context of a hole out is when a player chips in from off the green or hits a short approach shot in the hole. 


Sometimes you will hear the word honor or honors in the tee box. This refers to which player will be teeing off first on the hole. Honors are determined randomly on the first tee box, but after that, the player with the lowest score on the previous hole gains honors for the next hole.


Pin-high refers to the elevation of a golf ball compared to the bottom of the pin. In order to be pin-high, your shot must be even in elevation to the location of the hole. This isn’t an exact elevation measurement so much as it compares to leaving your golf shot significantly above or below the hole.


Sandbagging is when a golfer tells everyone that they aren’t a good player, but in reality they actually are. In competitive matches, this specifically refers to the overreporting of your handicap so that you get matched up with players below your skill level. This practice is not only frowned upon but is treasonous to the game of golf.

Texas Wedge

A Texas Wedge is just a different way to describe a putter. Usually, you refer to the putter as a Texas Wedge when someone is putting from off the green a significant distance. The reason for this term comes from the fact that some Texas courses are so flat that you can easily putt from some fairways or the rough.

The Turn

The turn on a golf course refers to being halfway finished with your round for the day. Essentially you hit the turn after the 9th hole. Hitting the turn means that you are turning back towards the clubhouse to finish your round. The reason it is called the turn is due to the way in which most golf courses are set up. Often, you begin a round by going away from the clubhouse on hole 1 and turning back to the clubhouse by hole 18.

Up and Down

When you hear the term up and down, it usually refers to two consecutive shots in succession after missing a green in regulation. Most of the time the first shot is a chip from off the green that lands close enough to the hole to make the following putt. Once the putt is made, usually for par, then it is called an up and down due to the uncertainty of ending with a par in that situation. 


The waggle is most noticeable during the address of a tee shot but also occurs during iron shots or chips. A waggle is when you see a player standing over the ball ready to play and they begin to wiggle or shake their club back and forth behind the ball. It serves as a way to relax and loosen up the wrists in order to maintain fluidity.


First of all, you should never tell someone they have the yips or even think to yourself that you have the yips, especially on the golf course. Yips refers to the consistent missing of easy shots, particularly putts. Sometimes, you will notice a significant hitch in someone’s stroke or even a jerking motion. Even though the yips present themselves through the physical abilities of a golfer, lots of times it can be a mental block, fear, or anxiousness causing the hiccup.


Take note of these terms and implement them in your game. You will not only sound like a real golfer, but you will have fun using these terms. They will give you confidence in your knowledge of the game, which can help you when you are standing over your ball ready to shoot. Impress your friends by knowing the terms that every golfer should know. Who knows, you might teach someone a term they haven’t heard before.

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