Short List: Golf Terms You Need to Know

For some people, playing your first round of golf can be intimidating. We’ve assembled a list of a few terms to help you know your stuff on the golf course. Assuming you already know the terms driver, putting, golf tee, and swing, here are some other golf terms to familiarize yourself with.

Alignment: The position of the body in relation to the initial target.

Approach: A shot hit towards the green (His approach shot to the 17th hole came up short of the green) or towards the hole.

Backswing: The motion that involves the club and every element of the body in taking the club away from the ball and setting it in position at the top of the backswing from which the club can be delivered to the ball at impact.

Backspin: The rotational movement or spin of the ball produced by contact with the clubface. The greater the backspin, the higher the ball will fly and the more it will spin, and therefore stop or even spin backwards on impact with the turf.

Break: The amount a putt will curve to the side because of the slope, grain and wind that affect the movement of the ball.

Cut Shot: A shot played with a slightly open clubface and a swing path that travels out to in. The result is a soft fade that produces additional backspin and causes the ball to stop quickly on the green.

Double Bogey: A score of two over par on a hole.

Explosion: A shot played from a sand bunker, usually when the ball has buried or settled down into the sand.

Extension: The width of the swing as measured by the target arm on the backswing and the trail arm on the follow-through.

Half Shot: A shot played with an abbreviated swing and reduced swing speed. This shot is often played when trying to keep the ball out of a strong wind.

Hooding: The act of placing the hands ahead of the ball, both at address and impact, which tends to reduce the effective loft of the club.

Lag: A shot (usually a pitch, chip or putt) designed to finish short of the target.

Overclub: To pick the wrong club, usually for an approach shot, causing the ball to go over the green.

Pitch-and-Run: A shot from around the green, usually with a middle or short iron, where the ball carries in the air for a short distance before running towards the hole.

Rap: To hit a putt with a short, firm stroke.

Shank: When the ball is struck on the hosel of the club, usually sending it shooting off to the right.

Slice: A ball that curves from left to right to a greater degree than a fade.

Spot Putting: Using an intermediate target such as a discolored blade of grass or an old ball mark as a means of aiming a putt.

Trajectory: The height and angle the ball travels when struck.

Waggle: A motion or several motions designed to keep a player relaxed at address and help establish a smooth pace in the takeaway and swing.