If you’re new to golf or trying to improve your game, then you know that the breadth of terminology can be confusing. As you understand more and more of the associated terms, the rest of the game will start to make more sense as well. The guide below shares five common golf terms and what they mean.
5 Pieces of Golf Lingo You Should Know
To give golfers a metric to compare their skills against, par was invented—it refers to the number of shots a hole should take to clear. A par four means a competent golfer should be able to finish the hole with four strokes. When you total all the holes, you get a par for the course to compare your golfing against.
A descendant from the phrase “Bogey man,” a bogey occurs when you complete a hole one above par. Interestingly, the phrase initially referred to the ideal number of shots that a good golfer could take on a given hole—in essence, the same meaning as par. However, in the mid-20th century, the meaning shifted to take on a more negative connotation.
This term refers to the area of short grass between where you tee off and the hole. Not only is this area a helpful visual aid that enables you to determine an approach to the hole, but it also gives you more control over the ball when you’re hitting subsequent shots.
Although all putts are hit with a putter, not every hit with a putter is a putt. Confused? Rest easy; the difference is pretty simple. To meet the technical definition of a putt, a golfer must be on the green. In some cases, it may be advantageous to use your putter to get the ball from the fairway onto the green.
The terms birdie, eagle, and albatross are all used in reference to par. A birdie is the opposite of a bogey—scoring one under par. An eagle refers to completing a hole two shots under par, and an albatross means three under, a rare and difficult accomplishment. While birdie originates from slang use of the word bird to mean outstanding or excellent, eagle and albatross are continuations of that theme.
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