Golf Jargon: A Comprehensive Guide to Golf Terms

Golf has a language all its own. It’s not just golf jargon, golf terms are specific golf words that you need to know if you’re going to understand what people are talking about on the golf course. In this guide we will take you through important Golf terminology!

Our comprehensive guide will help with your understanding of golf, which in turn can improve your game! You don’t want to be left out of conversations with other golfers because you didn’t understand what they were saying!

What are Golfing Terms

Golf Terms

I am sure you have watched golf and it might seem like a foreign language because we have all this terminology for all these different shots that we hit and how we hit them. This might sound confusing but once you read this golf terminology guide, it will all make sense.

Now golf is not just the act of swinging your golf club at a ball and trying to hit it as far as possible, there is a lot more to golf than just that, and there are terms for every different type of golf shot you can imagine.

It is quite common for golfers to have their own personal golf terminology. But, for the sake of simplicity, I think it is best if we just talk about terms that are common between golfers in general instead of trying to decipher each individual’s jargon.

When You Hit it Fat

When golfers hit the golf ball too high off of the club they have hit a shot that is called hitting it fat or hitting it on top of the golf ball. There will be a bigger divot after you strike down with your golf club.

When you hit the golf ball fat it will fly much lower and you will take too much ground. This is also known as hitting it chunky – some people call it Chunky Monkey. There are many other terms for it but these are the most common you can hear on the golf course.

Hitting it Thin

Hitting it thin means that you hit the club almost halfway at the golf ball. This results in a ball that doesn’t travel as high and there is no distance. There is barely any divot after the club as you would normally see when golfing. Some golfers also use the terms skinny or bladed.

The Most Dreadful Golf Shot – Shank

One of the most dreaded shots in golf is the shank. This is when the golf ball goes very far to the right or left of where you were aiming. It can also go high in the air and land out-of-bounds (OB). This mainly happens when you hit the hosel instead of the clubface. The hosel is found on the golf club where the shaft meets the head.

Golf Shot Shapes

When golfers think about golf shots they often imagine a perfect shot that just flies straight down the fairway. In reality, golf is all about controlling your ball to get it where you want it to go and golf shots come in many different shapes. Let’s look at some of the different golf shot shapes and discuss what they mean.


One of the most famous golf shots is the STINGER. If you have ever witnessed Tiger Woods playing golf, then you have probably seen him hit a stinger. It is when the golf ball hits dead center on its sweet spot and it shoots off low with minimal air underneath which causes the golf ball to fly far through the air.

Flying Golf Ball


A Draw is when a golf ball begins left to right on your target line and then moves back in the direction of your starting point (right). A draw happens because you are applying more spin-off of the golf club face which sends it curving from left to right.


A hook is when a golf ball begins right to left on your target line and then moves back in the direction of your starting point (left). A hook happens because you do not apply enough golf force with your golf club to make the golf ball curve around your target.

A hook can be caused by a number of different swing flaws, but it is most commonly seen in golfers who are trying too hard to hit the golf ball straight and do not rotate their sternum (chest) enough or early on during their golf stroke.


The slice shot moves from right to left on your golf ball target line. A slice happens when you hit the golf club face outwards and do not apply enough golf force which causes the golf ball to move laterally away from your starting point (right).

A golf slice is normally caused by a face that is too open to the swing path or it could be due to an outside-in golf club movement.


A fade is when the ball starts out right to left and then curves back around towards the target line at the end. This happens because the clubface draws closed through impact which sends more spin-off of your golf club face creating a draw effect, or in other words, the golf ball starts right and curves back towards your target.

What is PAR in Golf

According to USGA the “Par” reflects the score a scratch player is expected to score on a given hole and may be allocated depending on the playing difficulty of the hole, including any effective length correction factors, for example, elevation changes, forced lay-ups, and prevalent wind.

Each hole is assigned a Par number, which can be from three through to five. As a standard, the golf courses have Par 3’s, Par 4’s and then longer holes with a par of five. A typical 18-hole golf course will have a total par around 72, and a 9-hole par-3 course (where all holes are rated as par3) will have a total par of 27.

Quite an interesting fact is that the term “Par” actually originated from the stock exchange. It is used to describe the expected value of stocks.

Par 3


A birdie means one UNDER PAR – it’s great to be able to say you scored a BIRDIE!


An eagle means TWO UNDER PAR and an albatross (three under par) usually happens on a hole that is considered to be very difficult.


Basically, a bogey in golf is simply one over par. For example, if you golfed a round of 18 holes and your score was 90 that would be considered a bogey due to it being one-over the number of holes on the golf course. If it is double the amount then it is called a DOUBLE BOGEY.

Course Management

Course management is the key to avoiding any unnecessary shots off the golf club. Hitting into areas where you can advance towards your target will help reduce how many times you need to use your putter on each hole.

If any obstacles are in the way, golfers should try to hit around them if they can. If it’s not possible, consider taking a penalty stroke and moving on with the golf game.

Course management plays a big role in minimizing problems throughout your golf course experience. Golfers need to constantly be aware of their surroundings so that nothing is misjudged or taken for granted when golfing.

Final Thoughts

If golf is a sport that you enjoy playing or want to get into, then it’s important to know the different golf terminology. Learning golf terms will not only help you understand what your friends are talking about when they’re out on the course but can actually make golf more fun and enjoyable for everyone.

In this article, we’ve provided some basic information about golfing jargon so that beginners aren’t too overwhelmed by all of the unfamiliar words or phrases. If there are any other common golf terms you would like us to cover in an upcoming blog post, feel free to let us know!

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The Golf Bandit
The Golf Bandit

Hi, I'm Jan. I love golf and I have been playing for a while now. I really enjoy trying out new golf clubs and equipment, and like to review them on my blog. I consider myself lucky as I have access to the latest clubs and gadgets, so I can get a feel for how they perform on the golf course. I also like to share my tips and tricks on how to improve your game, so if you're looking for help with that then look no further! Thanks for visiting, and I hope you find something useful here.

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