Golf Slang Cheat Sheet: Learn The Lingo
There are regular terms every golfer should know and then there’s golf slang. I’m talking about the lingo that feels like you’re learning a foreign language when you hear it. You can get by with understanding basic golf terminology, but if you want to keep up with your friends, I’ve put together a list for you of slang terms golfers use.
Golf Slang Terms
“A” Game: When a golfer performs to the best of their ability.
Abominable Snowman: Worse than a snowman which is a score of 8 on a hole, an abominable snowman is a score of 9 on a hole. This is not an average golf score, it’s a really bad score, hence the term abominable.
Ace: When it only takes one shot to get the ball in the hole. Also known as a hole-in-one.
Afraid Of The Dark: A ball that won’t go in the hole, like a missed short putt, for example.
Aircraft Carrier: A teeing ground that resembles the shape of an aircraft carrier. Usually, long, flat, and rectangular.
Air Mail: When a golfer hits a shot much farther than planned, usually over the green.
Air Press: A bet between golfers that can only be invoked when another golfer’s ball is still in the air. It has to be wagered by a golfer who has not yet played their tee shot.
Air Shot: A swing and a miss.
Alec Guinness: A shot that goes out of bounds.
All Square: When a score is tied during a match play round of golf.
Amelia Earhart: A shot that looks good but then the ball disappears.
Army Golf: Originating from the army term left-right-left, this is when a player hits the ball out-of-bounds once to the left and then to the right, and so on.
Back-door putt: When the ball rolls in from the back edge of the cup during a putt.
Backhander: During a very short putt when the golfer uses the back side of the putter to sink their ball.
Banana Ball: For a right-handed golfer, a shot that travels left to right. Also known as a slice.
Barkie: When a golfer makes par on a hole even after hitting a tree during one of their shots.
Beach: A sand bunker.
Bite: When a golf ball quickly comes to a stop when hitting the green.
Bo Derek: A score of 10 on a golf hole.
Botox: When a putt lips out instead of going into the hole.
Breakfast Ball: When a player takes a mulligan (a do-over) during a morning tee time.
Buzzard: Golf term that means 2 over par on a hole or a double bogey.
Cabbage: When a ball is hit into deep, thick rough.
Captain Kirk: Your golf shot when where no shot has gone before.
Carpet: Another word for the green on a golf course.
Cat Box: A sand bunker.
Chef: A golfer who keeps slicing the ball.
Chicken Stick: When a golfer uses an easy golf club because they are too chicken to go for the more aggressive shot.
Chili-Dip: When a golf club strikes the ground behind the ball, making little to no contact with the ball while digging up the turf. You’ll probably need to clean your golf club after this.
Chippies: A golf bet that is won by chipping from off of the green into the hole.
Christmas Present: A golf ball sitting behind or under a tree.
Chunk: When a golf club hits the ground behind the ball before making impact.
Cuban: When putting and the ball stops just before going into the cup.
Cup: The hole on the green.
Dance Floor: The putting green.
Danny DeVito: A putt approximately 5 feet in length.
Dawn Patrol: Golfers who start playing on the course at sunrise.
Deepage: A very long drive.
Dew Sweepers: Similar to dawn patrol, these golfers start playing while there is still dew on the ground in the morning. You’ll probably need to layer your golf attire since the temperature will most-likely change.
Die In the Hole: When a putt almost didn’t make it in the cup but somehow went in.
Dog Track: A poorly designed or maintained golf course.
Drained: Sinking a putt.
Draw: When a golf ball curves to the left for a right-handed golfer.
Dribbler: When the ball rolls a short distance in front of you because you barely made contact when swinging your golf club.
Duck Hook: Shortly after impact when the golf ball turns quickly and sharply into the ground.
Duffer: A poor golfer who is among the highest scorers. This person could use some professional golf lessons.
Fade: A shot that travels slightly left to right.
Fizzo: When a golfer is still out after their first putt.
Flatstick: Another word for putter.
Flop Shot: Also known as a lob shot, this is a very steep pitch shot that goes very high up and lands with little or no roll.
Flub: This can refer to a bad chip shot or a shot so poorly it causes a loss in scoring.
Flusher: A putt that circles the cup before going in.
Flyer: A ball that goes farther than expected from the rough.
Fly The Green: A golf shot that goes over the green.
Foot Wedge: Golf rules violation of kicking your ball to a better position before hitting it.
Fore: A term golfers yell to warn other players to watch out when their ball is going to get too close.
Four-Jack: When it takes four putts on the green to get the ball in the hole.
Fried Egg: When the golf ball is partially buried in the top of the sand.
Frog Hair: The fringe around the green.
Gardening: When a golfer fixes a divot.
Gimme: When the ball is so close to the hole, the golfer can count their next putt as if it went in.
Getting Up And Down: Taking two strokes to get the ball in the hole from the green.
Goat Track: A golf course in poor condition.
Good-Good: An agreement between golfers to give each other gimmes on the green.
Grounding: Positioning the club on the ground behind the ball.
Hacker: Someone who hardly plays golf and is not very good at it when they do. This person could use practice and should at least get a book to try and teach themselves golf.
Hand Wedge: Picking up the golf ball and putting it in a better spot.
Hangman: A score of 9 on a hole.
Hit It, Alice: You might also hear, “nice shot, Alice”. This is when a player picks on another golfer for not hitting the ball anywhere close to the hole on a putt. Should I be offended since this is my name? Haha, it isn’t actually a reference to a female at all. See where the saying originated from here.
Hook: For a right-handed golfer, this is a shot that curves significantly from right to left during flight.
Hosel Rocket: A shot that goes diagonally instead of straight when hit off the inside shank of the iron shaft.
In The Leather: When your ball is close enough to the hole that your fellow players will give you the next putt.
RELATED POST: Funny Golf Puns, Jokes, And One-Liners
James Joyce: A putt on the green that is hard to read.
Joe Pesci: A difficult putt that is 5 feet long.
Juicy Lie: When the ball is sitting on top of the grass as if it was on a tee offering a clean hit.
Jungle: When a ball lands in the deepest rough area of the golf course.
Kick: How your ball bounces onto the ground.
Kitty Litter: A sand bunker.
Knee-Knocker: When a golfer is nervous from a challenging short putt.
Laurel and Hardy: When you hit a thin shot followed by a fat one.
Lay The Sod: Hitting the ground before the ball first.
Lay Up: When hitting a shorter shot than needed is the smartest option.
Lie: The location of the ball or how the ball sits.
Lip Out: When a putt hits the lip of the cup and spins out.
Loop: A round of golf.
Lumberjack: When a golfer hits the ball several times into a wooded area during a round of golf and keeps hitting trees trying to get the ball out.
Lunch Ball: A do-over also known as a mulligan.
Mickey Mouse Course: A course with poor maintenance and many short holes.
Mouth Wedge: A golfer who talks too much.
Mulligan: A do-over when you take another shot from the same position and the last shot doesn’t count.
Nineteenth Hole (19th Hole): The restaurant or bar on or near the course. When a golfer says “Enjoy The 19th Hole”, it’s a way of wishing another golfer good luck.
Nip It: When you hit the ball cleanly on an iron shot and don’t take a divot.
Nuked: When you achieve your maximum golf club distance by using a certain club on a shot.
Off the Deck: Hitting the ball off of the ground without using a tee.
Overclub: When you use an iron that will make the ball go further than the putting green.
Pin: The flagstick that marks the location of the cup.
Playing Through: When a faster group of golfers passes a slower group of golfers.
Platypus: When a golfer is able to make par even after hitting the ball out-of-bounds.
Plugged Lie: A ball that is half-buried.
Quick: Hitting the ball too hard or rushing.
Rainmaker: A golf shot with a high trajectory.
Reading The Green: Being able to see the path your ball needs to go on to get in the hole on the green.
Reload: Taking a second shot after a first attempt went poorly. Similar to a mulligan but this may or may not result in a stroke penalty.
Sandbagger: Someone who pretends to be worse at golfing than they really are.
Scratch: A player with a zero handicap.
Sharkie: When a golfer is still able to make par after hitting the ball in the water.
Short Grass: The fairway.
Silly Season: The time when the PGA Tour schedule has ended and the unofficial money tournaments are being played.
Sky: When the clubhead hits the bottom of the ball causing it to go straight up.
Snowman: A score of 8 on a hole.
Spinach: The rough.
Sticks: Golf clubs.
Stony: When you’ve hit a great shot.
Stop the Bleeding: To end a stretch of bad golfing.
Sunblock: A golfer who spends a frequent amount of time in bunkers.
Sunday Ball: Another term for a do-over shot.
Swing Oil: Drinking beer or any other type of alcohol to improve your game. A fun benefit of golfing.
Tap In: A short putt
Tester: A putt close enough that the golfer should be able to sink it but too far away for a gimme.
Texas Wedge: Any shot a golfer uses a putter to play.
The Turn: Where the front nine turns into the back nine on a golf course.
Thin: When the clubface makes contact with the ball too high.
Three Jack: Getting the ball in the hole on the green in three shots.
Tiger Tees: The tee box in a professional golf tournament.
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Up and Down: Taking two shots to get your ball into the hole near the green.
U.S.G.A.: Ugly shot, go again.
U-Turn: A putt that goes around the cup but doesn’t go in.
Velcro: A slow green.
Victory Lap: When the ball goes around the cup before going in.
Waggle: When a golfer moves the clubhead back and forth above the ball before their shot.
Wall Street: The bailout area on a hole.
Water Ball: When you don’t want to risk losing a good golf ball in the water so you take your shot using an older ball you don’t care as much about.
Water Hole: A hole on the golf course with water, especially ones with a lot of water.
Watery Grave: A water hazard where your ball is lost.
Whiff: A swing and a miss that counts as a stroke.
Wormburner: A golf shot that barely or doesn’t get off the ground.
Yips: A nervous disorder that is known to interfere with a golfer’s game on the putting green.
Yank: When a putt is pulled sharply to the left.
Zone: Playing in the zone means you are relaxed and completely focuses on your golf game.
You’ll find many of these terms incorporated in our list of funny golf team names.