Golf Terminology For Beginners: The Definitive List of Basic Golf Terms!

Golf Terminology Heading

Golf can be a confusing sport to learn if you’re not familiar with the terminology. 

Even if you’ve played other sports before, golf can be difficult to understand without some basic knowledge of the lingo.

This guide will help you understand the basic golf terminology so that you can hit the links with confidence. You’ll learn about different clubs, shots, and terms used on the course.

We’ll help make sure that your next game isn’t spoiled by a misunderstanding of some key golf phrases. So let’s get started with some basics! 

Golf terminology for beginners:

Tee Box

Golf Tee Box

The tee box, also known as the teeing ground, is an area of a golf course where the player stands to hit their ball off from for the start of play. This area is usually level and well-groomed, with the grass cut short so that it is easy to strike the ball.

On most courses, there will be markers indicating where players should tee off from, and often there will be more than one tee box, for the most part it is color-coded with red, white, blue, and sometimes black or gold markers. Women are allowed to play from the red tees. Beginner male players should start from the white tees and move back as their golf games improve. Teeing off from behind the markers will result in a penalty, so it is important to be aware of their location.

When hitting off from the tee box, players should ensure that their feet are not touching any of the markers. The tee box is an important part of the game of golf, and proper etiquette should be observed at all times.


Golf Fairway

Fairway is the area of the golf course that lies between the tee box and the hole. The fairway is the most important part of the hole, as it provides the best opportunity for the player to hit the ball in a straight line towards the hole.

A good drive will leave the ball in the middle of the fairway, from where it can be played safely onto the green. The fairway is the ideal place to hit the ball because the grass is short and well maintained.

However, if the golf ball lands in the rough or in a hazard, it becomes much more difficult to make a good shot. As a result, players must place a premium on accuracy when hitting their shots from the tee.


Golf Bunkers

A bunker, also known as a sand trap, is an artificial hazard found on links golf courses. It usually consists of a pit filled with sand, which is designed to make it difficult for the golf ball to escape.

Bunkers can be found anywhere from around the green to before a tee box, and they can vary significantly in size and depth. While some players see bunkers as an annoyance, others view them as an essential part of the game.

After all, they force players to think carefully about their shots and strategize accordingly. In other words, bunkers can add an element of challenge and excitement to the game of golf.

Golf Bunker Raking

There are special rule to playing in the bunkers. A club face cannot touch the sand until the golf shots itself. If the club touches the sand before the golf shot, it is known as grounding the club face and comes with a one shot penalty. And as always, rack the sand trap after use.


Golf Rough

The rough is the area of the course that is not mowed as closely as the fairway, and it typically contains longer grasses and other obstacles. This can make it difficult to find your ball, and even if you do, it can be hard to get a clean shot.

As a result, shots that end up in the rough often lead to higher scores. However, there are ways to minimize the damage. First, always take a moment to assess the lie of your ball before taking your shot.

Second, try to use a club that will help you get maximum distance, even if it means sacrificing accuracy. And finally, remember that even the best golfers sometimes end up in the rough – so don’t get too discouraged if it happens to you.


Golf Semi-rough

This area is shorter than the rough, but longer than the fairway, making it a more forgiving place to play from. However, the ball can still be surrounded by long grass, making shots more difficult to execute.

If you find yourself in the semi-rough, take care to select a club that will allow you to clear the surrounding grass and reach the green. With a little careful planning, you can still score well even if you don’t have a perfect lie.


Golf Fringe

Fringe is the grassy border around the putting green. It is shorter than the rough, but longer than the apron. The fringe provides challenging shots for advanced golfers and a place for beginners to practice their chipping.

A well-maintained fringe can also help to improve the speed and consistency of putts. To achieve these benefits, fringes are typically mowed at least once per week and kept free of debris.

In addition, they are often treated with herbicides and pesticides to prevent weeds and pests from taking over. With proper care, a fringe can be an important asset to any golf course.


The green is usually one of the most well-manicured areas of the course, as it is the central focus of the game. The grass is normally cut very short, and the surface is usually very smooth.

There are also a variety of obstacles, such as bunkers and water hazards, that can make hitting the green more challenging. Once a golfer hits the green, their goal is to get the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible.

As such, greens are often designed to be very challenging, with undulating surfaces and strategically placed hazards.

Hitting the green in regulation is considered a good score, and anything else is generally considered to be a miss.

Remember to fix your ball mark to remove dent on the green if it was made from the approach shot.

Out of bounds (OB)

Golf Out-of-bounds

Out of bounds is a phrase used in golf that refers to the area of the course that a player is not allowed to play their ball from.

This usually includes areas such as the car park, clubhouse, or any other areas that are not part of the actual course.

When a player hits their ball out of bounds, they incur a penalty stroke and must take their next shot from the point where the ball went out of bounds.

This can be a frustrating experience for golfers, as it often leads to lost balls and high scores. However, understanding the rule of out of bounds can help golfers to avoid this costly mistake.

This area is usually marked with white stakes.


Golf Hazard

A hazard refers to any feature on a golf course that may pose a challenge or risk to the player. The most common type of hazard is a water hazard, which is typically marked by yellow stakes. Other hazards include sand traps, bunkers, and rough terrain.

In general, anything that can impede the progress of the ball or pose a risk to the player can be considered a hazard. Hazards are an essential part of the game of golf, as they add difficulty and challenge to the course.

Players must be strategic in their shot selection in order to avoid hazards and stay on course. With proper planning and execution, players can navigate their way around hazards and enjoy a successful round of golf.

This area is usually marked with red stakes. Players are not allow to ground their club head in the hazard.

Pitch mark

Golf Pitch Mark

A pitch mark is a small indentation made in the ground by the club during a golf swing. It is also generally referred to as a ball mark.

The indentation is made when the club strikes the ground behind the ball, causing the turf to be displaced. This can often happen when the ground is soft, such as after a rainstorm.

Players should always repair their ball marks. Use the provided sands to repair the pitch mark on the fairway.

Golf scoring terms

Golf Score Card


Par is the standard score for a hole and is typically based on the length of the hole. For example, a par-3 hole is typically shorter than a par-4 or par-5 hole.

The term can also be used to describe the difficulty of a hole, with a higher par indicating a more difficult hole.

Scoring a par on a hole is considered to be good, and many golfers strive to shoot par or better on every hole.

While it’s not always possible to achieve this goal, shooting par can be a great way to measure your progress and keep your game sharp. So next time you step up to the tee, remember that shooting par is the goal!


Golf Birdies

Birdie is a term used in golf to describe getting the ball in the hole in one fewer shot than par. For example, if the par for a hole is four and you shoot a three, you have made a birdie.

While it is certainly possible to make birdies on easy holes, they are often considered to be more impressive on difficult ones.

Making a birdie can give you a boost of confidence that can help you shoot even lower scores in the future. So, next time you’re out on the course, keep your eye out for those birdie opportunities. Who knows, you might just surprise yourself with how low you can go.


Eagles are one of the most exciting shots in golf. They occur when a player hits the ball into the hole in two shots less than par. For example, making a three on a par five.

Eagles are relatively rare, and they can often be the difference between winning and losing a match.

There are many different techniques that can be used to make an eagle, but the most important thing is to have a clear understanding of the course and the conditions.

With this knowledge, you can plan your shots carefully and give yourself the best chance of achieving this great score.


An albatross is a score of three-under-par on a single hole. An albatross is also sometimes referred to as a “double eagle.”

The term “albatross” comes from the bird of the same name, which is known for its long wingspan. In golf, an albatross is often seen as a sign of good luck, and it is considered to be a very auspicious score.

When someone scores an albatross, it is cause for celebration, and the achievement is typically commemorated with a special coin or plaque. Scoring an albatross is an extraordinary feat, and it is something that all golfers strive for.

Ace – Hole in One

Golf Hole-in-one

A hole in one, also known as an “ace,” is when a golfer sinks their ball into the cup with just one shot. While it is considered a very rare occurrence, it does happen from time to time.

Generally, it is more likely to happen on a shorter hole where the golfer has a better chance of making contact with the ball.

An ace is always a cause for celebration, as it is considered a remarkable feat. The average golfer has about a 12,500 to 1 chance of making an ace.

The odds are even better for professional golfers, who have only a 3,000 to 1 chance of sinking a hole in one. So, next time you see a hole in one on TV, remember that it’s not just luck—it’s also a skill.


Every golfer knows the feeling of frustration that comes with a bogey. After all, a bogey is when you take one stroke over par, which can easily ruin your score for the hole. But what exactly is a bogey?

A bogey is simply when you take one more stroke to complete the hole than the par number. For example, if you’re playing a par four and you make a five, that’s a bogey.

Similarly, if you’re playing a par three and you make a four, that’s also a bogey. In other words, a bogey is nothing more than an unfortunate hiccup in your game.

However, it’s important to remember that even the best golfers in the world will occasionally make a bogey. So don’t get too discouraged if it happens to you. Just pick yourself up and try to make the next shot count.

Double bogey

A double-bogey is when you take two strokes over par. While it’s not as bad as a triple-bogey or worse, it’s still an indicator that you didn’t play your best on that hole. There are a few different ways that a double-bogey can happen.

If you hit your drive into the rough and then have to take a penalty stroke to get out, that’s one way. Or, if you hit your drive into the water and then have to take a drop, that’s another way.

A double-bogey can also happen if you 3-putt from close range. No matter how it happens, a double-bogey is always disappointing. But, as they say, “There’s always the next hole.”

Triple bogey

A triple bogey is when you take three strokes over par on a hole. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including hitting your ball into the water or out of bounds, or simply taking too many golf shots to reach the green.

Regardless of how it happens, a triple bogey is always a disappointing way to finish a hole. If you find yourself in this situation, try to stay calm and focus on your next shot. With a little bit of luck, you can salvage a decent score and avoid further disaster.


The phrase “a snowman” is used by golfers to describe when one gets an eight on a hole. It is called this because of the graphical similarity between the number ‘8’ and a snowman. This is generally considered to be a very poor score, as it is two strokes over par for the hole.

Golf shot terminology

Golf Swing


For a right-handed golfer, a fade shot will typically start out to the left of the target before curving back towards the right. This can be a useful shot to play when there is trouble on the left side of the hole, such as a water hazard, or when you need to keep the ball below the wind. Fade shots can also be helpful for correcting a sliced ball flight.

However, it is important to note that fade shots often don’t travel as far as straight shots, so they should only be used when precision is more important than distance. If you’re looking to add some extra yards, you’re better off trying to hit a draw.


A slice is when the ball curves from left to right and usually ends up to the right of your target line. Slices often result in your ball going into the rough or even out-of-bounds.

If you’re slicing the ball, it’s likely that you’re not doing one of the following: using a strong enough grip, keeping your clubface square at impact, or swinging on the correct path.

A good tip to avoid slicing is to focus on keeping your clubface square at impact. Make sure that you’re also using a strong enough grip and swinging on the correct path. With a little practice, you’ll be hitting the ball straight in no time!


In golf, a push slice is a type of shot where the ball veers off to the right of the fairway, then curves back toward the left at the last minute. This can be a difficult shot to master, but it can be a useful tool for players who want to avoid hazards on the right side of the course.

One way to execute a push slice is to grip the club in your left hand and position your right hand lower on the shaft. This will help to close the clubface, which will encourage the ball to slice.

Another way to produce a push slice is to aim your body slightly to the right of the target, then swing your arms across your body. This will cause the ball to spin clockwise, creating a slicing effect. With a little practice, you can learn how to control your push slice and use it to your advantage on the golf course.


A pulled golf shot is one that starts left of the target and quietly moves in a direct line. Anytime you hit a golf ball to the left of the target, it’s considered a pulled shot. The clubface is closed at impact, meaning the clubface is pointing more to the left than your target. This often happens when the shoulders are open at impact or when the grip is too weak.


A hook in golf is when your ball starts to the right of your target, curves right-to-left through the air, and finishes left of where you were aiming. It can be a hard shot to control, as it’s easy to overcompensate and send the ball veering too far off course.


A draw is a golf shot hit to the left of the target (for a right-handed golfer) and then curves back towards the target. It is considered a good shot as it finishes where you intended, unlike a hook. A draw can also be used to avoid trouble off the tee, such as water hazards or trees. For many golfers, it is their go-to shot when they need to keep the ball in play.


A pull-hook is when the golf ball is hit too far to the inside and hooks (veers off to the left for a right-handed golfer). The pull-hook typically happens when the club face is open relative to the swing path. When this occurs, the golf ball will spin off the club face in a counter clockwise direction creating curvature or sidespin.

Sidespin causes the ball to veer of to the left while also curving in flight. If you are suffering from a bad case of the hooks, your tee shots may be going square into the trees on the left side of the fairway!

But don’t worry, even some of the best golfers in history have battled a bout or two of hooks throughout their careers. Check your grip and make sure that you aren’t holding the club too tightly.

A good way to remember this is: “Grip it like you’re holding a baby bird.” You want to be gentle enough so that you don’t crush it, but firm enough so that it wont fly away! Also, take some time to relax and focus on your breathing before taking your swing. This will help ensure that you have a smooth and fluid motion.

Golf equipment terminology


Golf Driver

A driver is a golf club that is used for teeing off. It is the most powerful club in your bag and is designed to hit the ball a long distance. The driver is also the longest club, with a shaft that measures anywhere from 42 to 46 inches.

The head of the club is larger than other clubs, which allows it to make contact with the ball over a larger area. This gives you more forgiveness if you hit the ball off-center, as it will still travel a good distance.

When using a driver, it is important to keep your tee shot in the fairway as this will give you the best chance of hitting a good second shot. Hitting a driver can be one of the most exhilarating shots in golf, so make sure you practice with it before taking it out on the course.

Fairway wood

Golf Fairway Woods

Fairway woods are golf clubs used when the ball is lying on the ground in the fairway, and the player wants to hit it up into the air and onto the green. The head of the club is slightly larger than that of an iron, and it has a shorter shaft. It is also designed with a shallower face angle, which helps to promote a higher launch angle.

All of these features combine to make fairway woods ideal for hitting long, high shots from the fairway. While they can be difficult to master, fairway woods can be a valuable asset for any golfer who wants to improve their game. With a little practice, they can help you hit the ball longer and straighter, and lower your score.


Golf Irons

The iron is one of the key clubs in a golfer’s bag as it can be used for a variety of different shots. The most common irons are numbered 2 up to 9-iron, with each club providing different yardage and trajectory options. For example, a 9-iron is typically used for shorter shots around the green, while a 2-iron is designed for hitting longer, higher shots.

Ultimately, the choice of iron will depend on the situation and the golfer’s personal preference. However, all irons share one common goal: to provide accurate and consistent shots that can help lower your score.


Hybrid golf clubs are designed to offer the best of both worlds, combining the forgiveness of a fairway wood with the accuracy of an iron. The result is a club that is highly versatile and easy to hit. Hybrid clubs are especially popular with amateur golfers, as they can be used in a variety of situations.

For example, hybrids can be used off the tee, on the fairway, or even in the rough. In addition, hybrids are often easier to hit than traditional irons, making them a great choice for beginners or those with slower swing speeds. Whether you’re looking for increased distance or more accuracy, hybrid golf clubs can help you take your game to the next level.


Golf Wedge

Iron wedges can be used for a variety of different shots, from high and soft approach shots to low-running chips and pitches.

Each iron wedge is designed with a specific purpose in mind, and each club has its own unique loft angle and bounce characteristics.

The sand wedge, for example, is typically used for playing around the green, while the lob wedge is designed for hitting high, soft shots. No matter what type of shot you need to hit, there’s an iron wedge that can help you get the job done.


Golf Putter

A putter is a club used for shots on and around the green. It is designed to be used in close proximity and typically has a straight shaft and is flat-faced. The loft of a putter is 2 – 4º. The purpose of a putter is to help roll the golf ball.

A putter is different from other clubs because it has a straight shaft and is flat-faced. Other clubs are designed for longer shots and have more loft. When using a putter, it is important to keep your arms straight and to use a smooth stroke.

Putters come in different sizes, weights, and materials. Some common materials used for putters are steel, aluminum, and brass. Putters can also be made of wood or composite materials. The weight of the putter can affect the speed and distance of the ball.

A heavier putter will hit the ball harder, while a lighter putter will hit the ball softer. The size of the putter can affect accuracy.

A smaller putter will be easier to control, while a larger putter will be more forgiving on miss-hits. Putters can also be fitted with different grips to suit the player’s preference.


Chippers are designed for short shots around the green, where you need more loft than a putter but don’t need the precision of a full swing. They usually have more bounce than a putter as well, which helps them glide over the turf rather than digging in. Chippers can be used for a variety of shots around the green, from chips to bunker shots to putts.

Many golfers find them especially useful for tricky downhill putts, as the loft can help the ball stay on the green even if it hits off-center. While chippers aren’t allowed in tournament play, they can be a great addition to your bag if you’re looking to improve your game around the greens.

Golf Games

Stroke play/Medal

In stroke play/medal golf, the goal is simply to shoot the lowest score over the course of 18 holes. Each hole is assigned a par, which is the number of strokes that a skilled or scratch golfer should be able to complete the hole in. For example, a par-3 hole should be able to be completed in 3 strokes, while a par-5 hole would require 5 strokes.

Golfers then add up their total number of strokes for the entire rounds, and the player with the lowest score is declared the winner.

While there can certainly be some strategy involved in choosing which shot to play on each hole, at its heart stroke play golf is simply a test of a golfer’s ability to hit the ball consistently and minimize mistakes.

Match play

Match play is a type of golf play where two players compete against one another with the goal to win the individual hole. The game is usually played one-on-one, but can also be played with teams. If you win a hole you would go one hole up, or “one up” in the match.

The match continues until one player either wins by more holes than there are remaining, or loses by more holes than there are remaining.

For example, if you are five holes up with four holes to play, you have won the match 5 & 4. If the other player wins three of the remaining four holes, the match is now “all square” or tied. play then continues until one player prevails and wins the match.

Better ball

Better ball is a team game played with four players – two teams of two. The object of the game is to play your own golf ball, and then take the best score of the two team members on each hole. The team with the lowest score for the round wins.

It can be played as a standalone game or as part of a larger tournament. There are no set rules for how to play better ball, but there are some general guidelines that can help you get started. Talk to your group about what format you want to play in – stroke play or match play.

Decide on a teeing order and make sure everyone knows which ball is theirs. On each hole, play your own golf ball and try to get the best score possible.

Once everyone has finished, compare scores and take the best one from each team. The team with the lowest score for the round wins!

Final Thoughts

Golf Players

By now, you should have a good understanding of the basic terms used in golf. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to follow along when people are talking about the game, and you might even be able to impress your friends with your new golfing jargon. So get out there and hit the links – just be sure to keep your eye on the ball!