Learning Golf Lingo For Beginners - Supreme Golf Blog
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Learning Golf Lingo For Beginners

As the old adage goes, you have to learn to walk before you can run. The same can be said about golf terminology. Before taking your first step onto the course, you’ll want to learn the common terms in golf that every player – regardless of ability – knows.  

At Supreme Golf, we’ve gathered a list of beginner golf terms so you can hit the links sounding like one of the pros.

Scoring Golf Terms

Par: The number of strokes set as a standard for a specific hole or course.

Birdie: When you finish the hole in one stroke less than par.

Eagle: When you finish the hole in two strokes less than par. 

Bogey: When you finish the hole in one stroke more than par.

Double Bogey: When you finish the hole in two strokes more than par

Hole-in-One: The Holy Grail of golf … hitting the ball in the hole on your first shot.

Handicap: Simply a numerical representation of a player’s potential, designed to allow golfers of differing abilities to compete against each one another. Calculating a courses’ handicap

Lie: This is the way the ball lands, or rests, on the ground. A bad lie might be in the rough (deep grass), marsh, or even on dirt, a good lie might be on the fairway in the short grass, it could even be a sidehill lie where the ball is higher or lower than your feet. 

Parts of a Golf Course

Bunker: A small pit filled with sand designed to test a golfer’s ability. Fun fact: bunkers evolved from early golf, which was developed on links land where sand blew across the course, and small rivers ran across the land to the sea. 

Dogleg: A golf hole that starts off straight but turns left or right toward the green – it’s reminiscent of the shape of a dog’s leg. 

Sand trap: See Beach or Bunker.

Tee Box: Where the tees are at the beginning of each hole. 

Back-nine: On an 18-hole course, these are holes 10-18.  

Beach: Another word for bunker or sand trap. 

Can: This is also called the “cup” on the green that holds the pin with the number of the hole. 

Cup: The ever-elusive hole is exactly 4-1/2 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep. 

Fairway: The stretch of grass (between the tees and the green) that is mowed a little shorter to guide you to the hole. 

Green: The area of finely trimmed grass around the cup with the pin. (Yes, this is where you want to be.)  

Rough: The longer grass beyond the fairway. 

Hazards: What you find on the course that are in your way — water, bunkers or sand traps, tall grass, etc.

Pin: This holds the flag with the number of the hole. 

Golf Course Employees

Caddy/Caddie: Someone who is paid to carry a bag of golf clubs and offer advice on distances, club choices, best options, and more. 

Starter: The golf course employee whose job it is to ensure you tee off on time.

Types of Golf Shots and Equipment

Chip: A short shot usually made from off the green.

Drive: The first shot taken at the tees at each hole.

Putt: A golf stroke that is used to roll the ball on the green toward the cup.

Hook: A shot that flies off to the left for right-handed hitters, and to the right for left-handed hitters. 

Slice: A golf shot that veers left to right for right-handed hitters, and right to left for left-handed hitters. 

Driver: Designed to hit the ball the farthest, this is the longest club in your bag and has the least loft on the clubface  

Club: Drivers, woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, putters … every piece of equipment used to hit a golf ball.

Stroke: The act of swinging a golf club to advance it around a golf course. Each stroke is counted as part of keeping score.  

Approach shot: A shot intended to be hit toward the green. 

Miscellaneous and Other Important Terms

Attend pin: To hold the pin while another golfer putts and then remove it as the ball leaves the putter heading toward the cup. 

Duff: A shot that’s flubbed, aka dub, flub, or shank. 

Lie: This is the way the ball lands, or rests, on the ground. A bad lie might be in the rough (deep grass), marsh, or even on dirt, a good lie might be on the fairway in the short grass, it could even be a sidehill lie where the ball is higher or lower than your feet. 

Gimme: A putt that’s so close you don’t need to play it. (Of course, the other golfers should agree.)

Divot: The grass chunk that’s created when a golfer swings and their club hits the ground.

Fore: What you hear when a golfer hits a bad ball that has the potential to hit another golfer. 

Green fees: The amount of money you pay for a round of golf. Download the Supreme Golf app to get the best tee time at the right price.

Ready golf: Players hit when ready to keep (or quicken) the pace of play. Note to beginners: this means you

Supreme Golf Quiz

Now that you know basic golf terminology, quiz yourself. Give yourself one point for every correct answer and put your knowledge to the test.

Regardless of how you scored, download the Supreme Golf app (for exclusive access to the largest selection of tee times in the world) to get out and enjoy the game of golf and use these terms first-hand.

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