The Her Campus Golf Encyclopedia (Basics)

HC is prepared to give you a head start in your golf vocabulary with this article exclusively for the words you’ll need to know (and some that you don’t) on the course! Let’s get started:

1. Albatross - This is the British term used for a three under par, which is very rare. Americans use the term Double Eagle. It is usually a term used in professional play, but it's a cool bit of information to know!

2. Birdie - You do not have to hit a bird. I repeat, no animals are harmed (usually) in the making of this score! A birdie is one stroke under par.

3. Break- On the green, it is a hill on the line that you try to read. One minute, your putt is zooming nicely, straight at its target. Then, bam! It is off-course by that one break that takes it left or right of the hole.

3. Bunker- “If I wanted to stand in sand, I would have gone to the beach!” A bunker is a hazard (see hazard) that is placed specifically so you have to try hard to avoid it. It is just sand, but getting the ball out is anything but easy!

4. Bogey - one over par.

5. Bogey, Double - two over par.

6. Bogey, Triple - three over par. 

7. Chap Stick - “Chap stick” isn’t a term used by everyone, so friends and family may or may not know of it. It may be a famous quote from Napoleon Dynamite, but in golf, it is definitely not a curly headed man in moon boots dancing on the green. Really, a chap stick is an unfortunate event in golf. When putting, the ball makes it to the hole...then slides around it on half the edge. That’s some chap stick you DO NOT want.

6. Divots - dents or small holes in the green and/or fairway.

7. Driver - A number one can be used to make long shots off the tee box (and can be used as a putter if you get creative). It has a 90 degree angle that is perfect for the green. 

8. Eagle - You may be thinking, “Oh, ‘Merica!”, but let me tell you, my friend, this is more than a symbol of patriotism! It’s an amazing golf play, basically two under par.

9. Fairway - The fairway is the place you always want to make it to. It's lush green with short grass, and it makes the ball super easy to hit! It’s, well, it’s a fair way to play, if you know what I mean.

11. Fringe - The fringe is in between the fairway and the green. It is usually easy to putt from.

12. Green - The green is putting territory. It is where the flag, or pin, lies, and it is the best place to be, especially in one to two strokes.

13.  Hazard- A hazard is the place you do not want to be, because falling into it may even score you a penalty. These include water, bunker, tall grass or anywhere with red markers or circles spray painted around them.

14. Hole-in-One - Only the luckiest golfers can score one of these rarities. One good drive from the tee box and maybe a tap of the pin, and boom! Of course, if you’re the unluckiest-luckiest person alive, you’ll make one of these with no one around.  

15. Loft - Loft can be defined as the height of the ball in the air. There is distance and there is loft, and it really depends on the situation to determine which one needed.

16. Lie - Where the ball hits, and stays. “It lies.”

17. Mulligan- Any golfer likes to have one of these. It is an extra hit off the tee box—a redo!

18. Par - The amount of strokes you should get on a hole.

19. Pin - Just another name for the flag, but shoutout to bowling for all the pins I’ve knocked down in the las few years! 

20. Putter - Just think of the sound effect "tink" This tool makes that beautiful sound when you putt your golf ball just right.

21. Putt - see putter

22. “Putting Out”- Most golfers are dirty minded, but really, it’s not what you think. It is finishing the game by putting your ball; basically, a final stroke.

23. “Reading the Green”- It’s not like reading a book, trust me. It is the way to scope out what line your ball should take to the hole. It is a skill that can be hard to develop, but worth developing.

24. Stroke - Each hit. It is what you should count in a golf game.

25. Tee Box - see driver

26. Tee - These little cuties are amazing for increasing loft. They hold your ball up to make it a better target. Not everyone uses tees, but they are definitely useful, especially when you’re making golf puns.

Golf terms are pretty much endless. These are just general ones, which are sure to be useful at some point. These do not include derogatory terms that are thrown around by more experienced and older golfers. You probably already know those!

Happy Golfing!