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Golf Terms Every Golfer Needs to Know: Scoring, Basic, and Funny Golf Terms

Golf is a difficult game to learn. 

There are so many different terms and rules that sometimes it seems like there is no way to understand all of them.

Here, we will teach you the basics of golf lingo in order for you not only look knowledgeable at your next game but also be able to really impress all of your friends with how much more they don’t know than you.

Understanding golf slang may seem like a foreign language to some, but this article will provide you with a list of golf scoring terms, some common golf terms, and even funny golf terms that are used so you know what you’re talking about!

golf scoring terms

Chapter #1- Scoring Terms

Beginners Guide to Scoring Golf Terms

If you’re a beginner and want to be able to play golf, you must understand all the scoring terms involved. 

We will provide you with an introduction to golf scoring terms and an understanding of how scorekeeping works, so that by the end you’ll know about keeping track of your golf scores when you’re on the golf course.

If you’re new to golf, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. 

Why do people get so excited when they talk about their “score?” 

What does that even mean? 

Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

In this post, we’ll explain some of the most scoring golf terms and what they mean. 

By the end, you’ll be scoring like a pro!

Golf Scoring Terms

Every hole on a golf course is rated as either a par-3, a par-4, or a par-5 (par-6 holes also exist, but they are rare).

A player’s score often is expressed in terms of the number of strokes under, even with or over the par score.

Ace (Hole-in-One)| Par 3 (-2) Par 4 (-3) Par 5 (-4)

An Ace, also known as a hole in one, is when the ball goes into the hole after only one stroke. 

It’s most common on par-3 holes, in which the green is typically more reachable. 

A hole in one is very rare and requires that the golfer have good aim, a solid swing, perfect timing, and an incredible amount of luck.

So if you get a hole in one, brag about it!

Albatross (Double Eagle) | -3

An Albatross also called a double eagle, is a scoring term that is three strokes under par on a hole.

 A double eagle happens with a score of 2 on a par 5 and or a hole in one on a par 4. 

Double Eagles are hard to come by, so if you ever get a double eagle, go celebrate! 

A double eagle is not possible on par-3 hole since it’s not possible to shoot 3 under par on such a hole.

All Square

This term is used in match play formats when both golfers in a match have the same score on any given hole.

 It’s also called “Even” or “Tied Up.”

Birdie | -1

A birdie is a score of one under par on any given hole. 

Birdies are achieved by getting 4 strokes on a par 5, 3 strokes on a par 4 hole, and 2 strokes on a par 3.

Bogey | +1

Bogeys are the opposite of birdies. 

A bogey is when a golfer scores one stroke over par on any given hole. 

Bogeys occur when a golfer gets 6 strokes on a par 5, 5 strokes for a par 4, or 4 strokes to play a par 3.

 If you’re making consecutive Bogeys, this is called “bogey golf.”

Condor | -4

A condor is the ultimate golf shot. It’s a score of 4 under par on a single hole

This is an extremely rare event that occurs to a golfer after scoring a hole in one on a par 5 hole.

This incredible shot has only been accomplished twice in history, once by Al Geiberger and again by Jim Colbert

On most holes, hitting the green on a par 5 let alone getting a hole in one is pretty much impossible. 

It takes one hell of a good golf shot.

Dormie

Dormie means that the opponent can no longer win the match. 

This occurs when the leading player has more holes remaining to play than their opponent and those holes are all par-or-better.

Double Bogey |+2

A double bogey is when a golfer scores two strokes over par on any given hole. 

An example would be 7 strokes on a par 5 hole, a 6 on a par 4, and a 5 on a par 3.

Eagle | -2

An Eagle is a hole scored of two fewer strokes than par (two under par, −2).

An example would be 2 strokes to complete a par 4 hole or 3 strokes on a par 5 hole

An Eagle is most commonly achieved by reaching a par 5 green in 2 strokes, then completing the hole with one putt.

Halve

A halve is a term used when both players in a round of golf either score the same number on a hole, or they tie.

Par | Even

A golfer’s score is compared with the par score

A par is obtained when a golfer uses a certain amount of strokes within its standard.

A par score is what golfers aim to get– if not beat – and is referred to as even or even-par. 

Par is also used to reference the combined par of a group of golf holes.

A par score is what a scratch golfer should make on any given hole. 

For example, if it takes a golfer 5 strokes on a par 5, 4 strokes to put it in the hole on a par 4, or 3 strokes on a par 3, that’s par on a hole.

Triple Bogey | +3

A triple bogey is a score of three strokes over par on one hole. 

This comes from any score of eight or more for playing a par 5, seven as the result of a par 4, and 6 on a par 3.

The reported score is +3 and takes three shots more than par to complete the hole.

Chapter #2- Basic Terms

Basic Golf Terms for Beginners-Golf Course Lingo

Ok, so now you know golf scoring terms

Let’s now dive into some other basic golf terms that will help you to better understand how golf works. 

Today we’re going to cover some common golf phrases and terms that every golfer should know!

Bunker

Some people call it the “sand trap.” 

It’s a hazard that contains sand. It comes into play when the ball lands in it. 

There are bunkers on every course and most holes, but they vary in depth and width based on how difficult or easy it is to get out of them.

Caddie

Caddies can be an integral part of your golf game. 

A caddie is a person who carries the bag and clubs for a golfer.

They offer assistance to players that include distance information from a tee shot or fairway, yardage, to layups or hazards, and reading greens to help with the dreaded long putt.

caddie

Chip

The chip is a very important golf shot.

 It’s used when you are close to the green and need the ball to land softly on the putting surface. 

The idea is to get the ball up in the air quickly and have it stop as soon as possible after landing.

Divot

A divot is the term for a piece of turf or grass that has been taken out of the ground with your golf club.

It can happen on any part of the course and hole.

Always fix your divot!

Dogleg

A dogleg is a hole on a golf course that has an unusual bend. 

This can make the hole more difficult to play, as it’s not always easy to see where the fairway goes!

Fairway

The fairway is the short grass area that runs from the tee to the green. 

Fairways are usually cut very short and include minimal hazards. 

A golfer should always strive to hit the fairway on any individual golf hole.

Flop Shot

A shot that is used around the green to loft the golf ball high so it will land softly on the putting surface.

Fore

Fore!!!!!!!!

Golfers are expected to yell this if they feel that someone might get hit by their golf ball.

Fringe

The fringe is the area just off of a putting green.

 It’s usually a shorter cut of grass but longer than the green. 

A player usually makes a “chip shot” from the fringe.

Lay up

When you’re trying to reach the green could be risky shot and it’s safer to just hit a drive or fairway shot short of the green.

Lay the Sod

When you take a huge divot.

Links

A links course is a golf course that’s built on open land, such as a park, and features natural sand bunkers and mounds. 

The term “links” comes from the fact that these courses are often located near coastal areas where there are many sandy dunes that resemble the links of a golf club.

golf club

Mulligan

A mulligan is a do-over. 

If you mishit your ball on the first try, you can take another swing without penalty.

Handicap

A handicap is a number that represents the ability of a golfer. 

If you have one, it means that your skill level has been put into numbers for other golfers to reference as they play against you. 

This can help with making pairings for those who are playing in tournaments and an organized team event.

Hook

A hook (opposite of a slice) is a golf shot that curves. 

It will go to the left for right-handed players and to the right for left-handed players.

Rough

The rough is an area of grass that can be very long. 

It usually has a longer length than the fairway, but shorter than the woods or desert areas on golf courses. 

There are many hazards in this type of grass, so it’s best to avoid it if possible!

Putting Green

Is the short grass that surrounds the hole.

Scratch

A “scratch golfer” is an individual who has a 0 handicap. 

An average golfer hopes to reach this level.

If you reach this feat, you’re a very good golfer!

Slice

A slice is when a golfer hits a shot that curves. 

It will go to the right for an right handed golfer and to the left for left handed golfers.

Slope

The slope of a golf course is an important number that can be referenced to determine how difficult it will be for players. 

It essentially works as the handicap system does, but this one looks at hilly areas and figures out their degree of difficulty based on what you see or feel when playing.

Tee Box

The tee box is an area on a hole where players are allowed to place their ball and hit their tee shots from.

This is where you hit your first golf shot on a hole.

Chapter #3- Funny Terms

FUNNY GOLF TERMS

Funny golf terms can be quite useful when playing with your golf buddies to get in their heads to mess up their golf game!

Here are some funny golf terms to make sure you have fun on and off the course.

19th Hole

It Is the clubhouse bar. 

It’s where you brag and take your victory lap once you get a hole in one (hopefully).

Afraid of the Dark

Afraid of the dark is a term meaning the ball just does not want to go in the cup.

Army Golf

Army Golf is golf term when you hit the ball left, then right, then left again on a hole. (left, right, left, right…make sense?)

Barkie

A golf shot hits a tree but somehow still make par.

Beach

The beach is the bunker or sandtrap on a hole. 

When your ball is “in the beach,” it means that it’s in the sandtrap.

Breakfast Ball

Just another term for another free shot on the tee. (See mulligan)

Cat Box

Is the Sand Bunker.

Can

Just another term for the hole or cup.

Chicken Stick

Of all the 14 golf clubs you are allowed to have in your golf bag when playing a regulated golf game, there is certainly 1 particular club that you can always rely on – the one that helps you feel safe. 

That is a “chicken stick”.

Chunk

If you “chunk” your ball, it means that your club head hit the ground first. 

This results in a shot where the ball has no speed or power to get into the air and will usually fall short of its intended target. 

You may hear the term “I chunked it” from most golfers.

Coast to Coast Flight

When you hit the golf ball from one green side bunker to the other bunker opposite of it.

Dance Floor

The dance floor is the area of the putting green.

For example, if you hit the ball on the putting green, you’re on the dance floor!

Dawn Patrol

The term “dawn patrol” refers to golfers who like to play as early as possible.

Dew Sweepers

This term refers to players in a tournament who in the third or fourth round have early tee times when “dew” is still present on the course.

Dog Track

A course that is in bad shape.

Dribbler

A golf shot that goes nowhere. 

Probably only a few feet.

Foot Wedge

A foot wedge is when you kick your ball for a better lie. 

This would consider to be a form of cheating.

Frog Hair

Closely mown grass surrounding the dance floor (putting green)

Four-Jack

When it takes a golfer four putts to put in the hole.

(If you are like me, hell breaks loose after that)

Fried Egg

A golf ball buried in the bunker. 

This means that their ball is covered in sand and it looks just like a fried egg.

golf ball covered in sand

Gardening

When you have to fix a divot or repair a ball mark.

Gimmie

A gimmie is a very short putt that would be considered automatic.

For example, if you’re within two feet of the hole, your opponent or playing partners may concede the putt and mark it as “gimmie.”

Hazard

A hazard is anything on a course that can make the game more difficult. This includes water, sand, trees, and rocks.

A ball hit into any of these examples would a hazard.

Jungle

A ball that is hit in the deepest and rough area of a golf course.

Lip Out

A golf phrase used when the ball hits the lip of the cup, spins, and comes out.

Nuked

When you hit your shot that has a greater distance than your average or typical distance.

Rainmaker

A shot that has a very high trajectory

Ready Golf

A golf slang meaning to speed up or maintain the place of play.

Sandbagger

Refers to a golfer who is better than his or her handicap would suggest.

Shank

shank is described as a golf shot that goes way off to one side. 

It’s also referred to as “hitting the hosel.”

Snake

Is a term for a three-putt.

Snowman

A snowman is a score of 8 on any individual golf hole. 

The number 8 looks like a snowman, hence the term.

 Amateur golfers may get this score from time to time.

Sticks

Another term for your golf clubs.

Water Ball

A ball that you hit in the water hazard.

Whiff

A poor golf swing to which you miss the ball completely.

Wormburner

A wormburner is a golf shot that flies low or doesn’t leave the air at all and has little to no power. 

It’s also referred to as a “worm killer.” It’s just an ugly shot.

Yank

A putt that a golfer pulls left

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

This post has introduced you to some of the most basic scoring, common, and funny golf terms. 

We hope this article was helpful in understanding how to play or watch a round with friends and family, but if it left you feeling more confused than when you started reading, please feel free reach out

Our team is always happy to answer any questions that might come up during your next game or match

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