Golf Terminology



Address: The starting position a player takes in preparation to make a shot.

Amateur: A player who plays for the love of the game. They have never received money in tournaments or through instruction. (some stipulations, see the USGA Amateur Status Rules for details).

Amateur-side: In putting, commonly referred to as the low-side of the hole.

Approach: most commonly referred to as the angle of approach, see angle of attack.

Angle of Attack: The angle at which the club approaches the ball at impact.



Backdoor:Is used when putting, refers to a putt that fall into the cup from the back side of the hole.

Backswing: the position of the swing where the club starts from address and reaches the top.

Backspin: the type of spin any well hit shot impacts on the ball, putter included. Only topped shots have topspin.

Balata: Was once used as a soft cover for high end golf balls able to produce alot of spin and control.

The downside was the covers were not very durable. The rubber comes from the Balata Rubber tree, hence it’s name.

Ball Flight Trajectory: The angle at which the ball leaves the clubface in relation to flat ground.

Ball Position: The position the ball is in, in relation to the position of your feet at address.

Banana Ball: Another name for a slice.

Baseball Grip: Also known as a ten-finger grip.

Beach: Another name for hitting the ball into the sand.

Bent Grass: Type of grass seen for the most part on Northern courses. Used for its resiliency in poorer and colder weather.

Bermuda Grass:Type of grass seen mostly on Southern courses in North America.

Birdie:One under par on any hole.

Blade:refers to the leading edge of a wood or an iron.

Blade: Another way to describe a shot that is hit thin or skulled.

Blade Irons:Also known as Player’s irons designed for maximum workability and feel, but with a much lower room for error.

Block: a pushed golf shot.

Body Coil: refers to resistance you feel from turning your body in the backswing, when released (uncoiling), this snap leads to more power in your golf swing.

Bogey:One over par on any hole.

Bounce: Refers to how high the leading edge of the club sits off the ground when the club lies square to the target line.

Bowed Wrist: When your wrist is bent inwards towards your underarms. This makes the back of your wrists look bowed.

Break: In reference to the way a ball rolls on a green. “The ball is breaking right”.

Bulge:Describes the slightly rounded face of a wood.

Bulge and Roll: Refers to the technology and physics that forces a toe hit ball to hook and a heel hit ball to slice on a rounded clubface.

Bump & Run: A type of chip shot that is used with a lower lofted club when a player is close to the green. The idea is to bump the ball over the longer grass and let it roll the rest of the way to the hole.



Cast Irons: Irons that are created using a mold and molten metal only.

Casting: is the premature release of the wrist hinge on the downswing.

Chilly-Dip: a term used to describe a fat chip shot.

Choke Down: describes when a player slides his hands down the grip for more control, effectively making the club shorter.

Chunk: a term used to describe a fatly hit shot.

Closed Clubface: The club face is turned to the left, and de-lofted the club.

Closed Shoulders: The trailing shoulder is further from the target line than the leading one.

Closed Stance: When the trailing foot is further away from the target line than the lead foot.

Clubface: The part of the club that makes contact with the ball.

Clubface Angle: The angle at which the club is aiming (ie.

open, square or closed).

Coil: see body boil.

Condor:Describes a score of 4-under on one hole.

Extremely rare.

COR: means co-efficient of restitution; it is basically a ratio to how much energy is transferred between the golf club and ball at impact.

Cross-Handed: When a right-handed player grips the club as a left-hander would or vice-versa.

Cupped Wrists: When your wrist is bent towards your forearms during a swing.

Cut Shot: A term used to describe a sliced golf shot.



Dance Floor:Also known as the green.

Decel: short for ‘deceleration’.

Dogleg:referred to the shape of a hole, usually par 4’s or 5’s, that turns, forcing a player to play more than one shot to reach their target. You usually have a dog-leg left or right.

Dormie:A term in match place used to describe someone who is 5 down with 5 to play or some variation of, where their only chance to salvage the match is through a halve.

Double Cross: A term used to describe when someone who is trying to play a slice comes over the top and pulls the ball way to the left.

Double Dog Leg: see dog-leg, but this refers to hole that turns twice, in any direction.

Downswing: The portion of the swing after the club reaches the top of the swing, and returns to impact.

Draw: A term used to describe a shot that travels slightly from right-to-left. ( right-handers)

Duck Hook: A term used to describe a very abrupt hook shot.

Duffer:another word for a hacker or poor golfer.


Face Balanced Putter: A type of putter that when balanced, it’s face points to the sky.

Fade: describes a shot type that travels slightly from left-to-right. (right-handers)

Fat: a shot where the club makes solid contact with the ground before the ball, leading to a lack of distance.

Flat Swing: The swing is too horizontal.

Flat Wrists: When your wrists are in line with your forearms.

Flying Elbow: When your trailing elbow gets too far away from your body at the top of your backswing.

Flyer: When grass gets trapped between the club and the ball, leading to less spin and a lower ball flight that flies much further than expected.

Follow Through:The portion of the swing directly after impact, and to your finish position.

Forged Irons: are made by heating a piece of metal and hammering it into the ideal shape using hammers or more commonly a hydraulic press.

Forward Press:is the term used to describe when a player purposely moves his hands ahead of the ball (effectively de-lofting the club) before a stroke, to promote a lower ball flight.

Fried-Egg Lie: When a ball flies into a bunker and remains in it’s divot… it looks much like a fried egg with the ball being the yolk.


Gimme: A putt that is certain to be made on the next shot and conceded by an opponent.

Graphite:Lightweight materials used in shafts and clubheads.

Grip: The way your hands are positioned on the club. Also the part of the club when the hands hold onto the club.

Grip Pressure:The amount of pressure a player places upon the grip of a club while making a shot.

Ground the Club: Once you’ve made your stance, and the club makes contact with the ground, you are considered to have addressed the ball, and grounded the club.

Gross Score:Refers to the actual score a player shoots on a particular hole, in relation to net score which takes into account your handicap.

Grain: refers to the way grass grows on a green. Grass rarely grows straight up and down, it is usually angled in some way. Putting into the grain will make your putt slower, and vice versa when putting down-grain.

Groove: refers to the score lines on a golf club.

Grooves are believed to help impart spin.


Hack:Describes someone who has a very steep swing, and his little skill.

Handicap:Is determined by an percentage of average score a player shoots overpar. Usually best 10 rounds out of 20.

Heel of the Club: The part of the clubface closest to the shaft.

Hip slide: When the hips move horizontally rather than turn through impact.

Hood: see forward press Hook: a shot that is hit with a closed clubface, leading to a right –to-left ball flight (right-handers).

Hosel:The part of the club where the shaft meets the club head.


Interlocking Grip: A type of grip where the pinky finger of the upper hand interlocks with the index finger of the lower hand, as shown.

In to In Swing Path: The ideal swing path into the ball is one that starts slightly inside, hits the ball directly on the proper path, then swings through and finishes inside the target line again.

In to Out Swing Path: During the downswing, the club is traveling too close to the golfer’s body and being pushed across the target line moving from inside the target line to outside of it. Thus the golf ball starts to the right of the intended target.


Knockdown: a type of golf shot designed to hit the ball lower than normal.

Kick: refers to the bounce a ball receives once it hits the ground on a shot.


Lag:is the angle created by the left arm and the shaft on the downswing.

The more acute, the more lag.

Lie Angle: The way the club lies on the ground, either upright, ideal or flat.

Upright lie angle occurs when the heel of the club does not make contact with the ground.

Flat lie angle occurs when the toe of the club does not make contact with the ground.

Long backswing: A backswing that extends too far at the top position of the swing.


MOI: refers to moment of inertia.

This concept deals with a clubs resistance to twisting at impact.

Muscle Memory: The theory that muscles can learn how to perform movements.

In actuality it is still the brain learning the movements, they just become more permanent.


Neutral Grip: The V’s created by the webbing in-between your thumb and index fingers are pointing towards your right shoulder.



Offset: is a club designed with the clubface slightly behind the shaft.

This type of club is designed for players who tend to slice the ball.

One-Piece Takeaway: refers to the concept of the arms and shoulders moving in one complete motion in the backswing, looking a lot like a triangle, as shown.

Open clubface: The clubface is turned to the right, and given the club additional loft.

Open shoulders: The lead shoulder is further away from the target line than the trailing one.

Open Stance: When the lead foot is further away from the target line than the trailing foot.

Out to In Swing Path: During the downswing, the club is traveling too far from the golfer’s body and being pulled across the target line moving from outside the target line to inside of it.

Thus the golf ball starts to the left of the intended target.

Over-the-top: This refers to the path that club takes on the downswing during an out to in swing path.

Rather than swinging down and through the player comes into impact across the ball.

Overlapping Grip: refers to the type of grip where the pinky finger of the top lands sits between the dip created by the left hand index and middle fingers as shown.


Path: refers to the path that the club travels on into impact.

Plumb-Bob: a pre-shot routine putting technique that has mixed feelings on tour. It involves using your putter as a plumb-bob to determine which was a putt will break.

Pop-up: this is a type of shot that occurs when the ball hits the top leading edge of the club, resulting in a very high shot that lacks distance.

Pro-Side:In putting, commonly referred to as the high-side of the hole.

Pull: is a type of shot caused by an out-to-in swing path, the ball ends up to the left of the intended target (right-handers).

Punch: is a type of knockdown shot usually used with shorter irons.

Pure: hitting a ball directly on the sweet spot of a club.

Push: is a type of shot cause by an in-to-out swing path, the ball ends up to the right of the intended target (right-handers).


Release: usually applied to the wrists when referring to when they uncock on the downswing.

Reverse-overlap grip: a type of grip most commonly seen in putting where the index finger of the bottom hand rests between the pinky and ring finger of the top hand on the grip.

Reverse-Pivot: This occurs when your body weight shifts the opposite way of ideal on the backswing and follow through. Effectively rocking forward on the backswing and backwards on the follow through.


Setup: see address position.

Shank: a type of shot that hits the hosel of the golf club, causing the ball to fly abruptly to the right.

Short Game: refers to any type of shot that occurs from 100 yards and in.

Sky: see pop-up.

Slice: a shot that is hit with a open clubface, leading to a left –to-right ball flight (right-handers).

Snap hook: see duck hook.

Spine angle:The angle at which your spine is at address.

Square Clubface: the club is pointing directly down the target line, and has its original loft.

Strong grip: The V’s created by the webbing in-between your thumb and index fingers are pointing to the right of your right shoulder The V’s created by the webbing in-between my thumb and index fingers are pointing towards my right shoulder.

Sweet Spot: is the clubs center of gravity.

Swing Center: The point around which the body rotates.

Swing Path: The path the club head takes traveling before, through and after impact compared to the target line.

Swing Plane: An imaginary plane which is created at address based on the angle the club makes with the ground when viewed from down the line. This angle is extended upwards through the body as shown.

Swing Tempo: The timing and sequencing of all the individual movements during a golf swing.

Swing Weight is a measure of how much of a clubs overall weight is in the head vs.

how much is in the grip end of the club.



Target Line:An imaginary line that travels through your target through your ball and the center of your clubface when at address.

Tight Lies: A lie where there is little grass under the ball.

Thin:a type of golf shot where the ball makes contact with the equator of the ball giving it a lower ball flight than expected.

Toe of the Club: The part of the clubface furthest from the shaft.

Top: A shot when the bottom edge of the club makes contact with the ball above it’s equator giving it top spin. The result is a low shot that dribbles along the ground.


Upright Swing: The swing is too vertical.


Vertical Swing: see upright swing.

Vardon grip: see overlap grip.


Waggle: Refers to the back and forth movements of the club before a swing to help relax a player.

Weak grip: The V’s created by the webbing in-between your thumb and index fingers are pointing to the left of your right shoulder.

Weight shift: The shifting of your weight onto your back foot in the backswing and your front foot on the follow-through.

Width: Referring to the distance between the shaft of the club and the shoulder at the top of the back swing.

Worm Burner: see top.

Wrists release: The point in which the wrists unhinge on the downswing, and rotate into impact.


X-Factor: this theory created by Jim McLean refers to the ratio of hip turn to shoulder turn in the golf swing. The greater this ratio, the more power producing potential a golf swing has.


Yank: see pull.

Yips: refers to involuntary wrist and arm twitches right before impact.

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