Here is listing of golf and equipment terms worth knowing and hopefully remembering. Some concepts include a description of how they actually affect performance.
Ace: A hole in one. Your dream shot on all par 3's.
Amateur: A golfer who is not paid for playing.
Approach: Normally a short or medium shot played to the putting green or pin "approach shot."
Attend the Flag: To hold and then remove the flag while another player putts. A common courtesy performed when playing a round.
Autoclave: A heat-treating chamber which applies pressure and heat to a material during the curing process of graphite shafts.
Away: The player farthest from the hole is the first to play, as in "Who's away?"
Back: The tee position that makes the hole the longest. Also, the last nine holes of an eighteen-hole course.
Balata: A resilient substance derived from a balata tree (or bully tree) used to make ball covers.
Ball: What you hit. That little round thing with dimples primarily comes in white.
Ball Washer: A device to use for washing your golf balls.
Bermuda: A type of coarse durable grass seen mostly on southern courses.
Best Ball (better ball): The best score on a hole by two or more partners in a best-ball match.
Birdie: A score of one under par on a hole.
Bogey: A score of one over par on a hole.
Boron: A premium lightweight man-made fiber that is five times as strong and twice as stiff as steel. Boron has the highest compression strength of any composite material. It also has high modulus.
Bounce: The amount of the trailing edge of the club which is below the leading edge.
Break: In putting, it is the curve due to the slope in a green. In a golf shot, a player may say, "I got a good break." (a favorable or unfavorable sharp bounce/roll to the left or right.)
Bulge: The amount of curvature in the face of a wood club; some metal-wood models also have bulge.
Bunker: A sand trap on a golf course, defined as a hazard.
Caddie/Caddy: A person, who carries clubs for a golfer, gives a golfer advice with club selection and course strategy.
Calamity Jane: Nickname of the hickory-shafted blade putter used by Bobby Jones.
Carry: The distance a golf ball must traverse from impact to the point where it first hits the ground. Carry is especially important when judging the distance to the green over a hazard (water, bunker).
Cart Fee: The rental fee a player pays for using a golf cart during a golf round.
Chip: A short, lofted shot from around the green.
Circumflex Point: The point along the shaft where the degree of bending is greatest. It influences ball trajectory.
Clubhead: This is quickly becoming a non-issue since almost the entire market now consist of investment cast, perimeter-weighted, cavity back designs. Forged irons have virtually disappeared from the market place.
Compression: The amount of resilience in a ball, or how much it compresses at impact. The higher the compression, the greater the required force to fully compress the ball. It is a misconception that a ball with higher compression (100) will travel further than a ball with less compression (80 or 90). The distances are virtually the same. A greater difference is in the area of feel. A higher compression ball will feel harder than a ball with less compression.
Course Rating: The comparison of playing one course as opposed to another in terms of difficulty, used in USGA handicapping.
Divot: A piece of turf removed with a golf shot. It is proper etiquette to always replace the divot, and to step the turf back in place. Many courses provide a container of sand in golf carts to fill your divots.
Dogleg: A left or right bend in the fairway. Most fairways go right. This also makes it much more difficult for the left-handed player, but works toward the right-handed player since most players tend to slice or fade the ball.
Drop: The act performed when a player has an unplayable lie or when the original ball is lost. The golf ball is dropped from a shoulder height on the course.
Drooping: A downward bending of the shaft during the swing which creates shots off the toe of the club.
Eagle: A score of two under par on a hole.
Elastomer: A polymer which has the elastic properties of rubber. Used predominantly in the covers of balls or for inserts in putters.
Executive Course: A shorter-than-regulation golf course predominantly featuring par-4 and par-3 holes. A good starter course for a beginning golfer to play before moving to a regular course.
Filament Winding: Sheets of pre-preg graphite or boron are layered and rolled onto a mandrel, then cured to make a shaft.
Flag Wrapping: A carbon fiber shaft construction method, also known as tube rolling, in which each piece (flag) is uniformly cut and arranged in layers at desired angles around a mandrel, then cured in an oven.
Fore: A warning yelled by a player when their shot threatens another player.
Forged Irons: They are made of softer steel and impart greater feel and feedback for accomplished players. The process consists of hammering and shaping the club head, then cooling, grounding and polishing it into its final shape. Most of the forgings on the market today are cavity back models which feature many of the perimeter-weighting advantages of investment cast. If you're not a top player, nobody will even try to sell you forgings anymore.
Foursome: Four golfers playing together. Also a match in which two players play against another two players with each side playing one ball.
Ghin: Developed by the USGA, to calculate handicaps, this nationwide system is called Golf Handicap Information Network.
Gimme: A short putt very close to the hole that your playing partners award you. You don't have to putt your ball. You'll hear, "That's a gimme!" during a casual and friendly round, but it is not within the rules of golf. Good on the "next" shot not the last.
Grain: This term is important when determining your putting strategy on the green. It is the direction in which the blades of grass point on the green, which contributes to the speed and direction of your putt.
Graphite: A synthetic material that is heat-induced to make soft, black carbon/graphite filaments. Graphite fibers are available in different strengths and modulus values. Graphite is an excellent substitute for steel in shafts for several reasons. It is lighter (but just as strong) so it can be swung faster to create more club head velocity and, in turn, greater distance. It also has dampening qualities which make it a better choice for seniors and others with hand, wrist, arm and shoulder ailments.
Grips: The size of a grip on a club can influence the shape of a shot and its distance. A grip that is too large can restrict hand action during the swing and leave the clubface open at impact. A grip that is too small can result in the opposite action and shots that wind up to the left of the target.
Green: The area of a golf hole on the course designed for putting. The grass is extremely short and well-manicured.
Green Fee: A fee charged a golfer to play on a golf course. Prices do vary; a public course is usually less expensive than a golf resort.
Grip: The top part of the club held by the golfer, usually made from leather or rubber. Also, the manner in which the club is held. The two most common grips are the "Vardon grip," (or overlapping) after golfer Harry Vardon, in which the pinky of the bottom hand overlaps between the index and middle finger of the upper hand, and the "Interlocking grip" in which the index finger of the top hand is interlocked with the pinky of the bottom.
Ground Under Repair: Often mentioned in the Rules of golf. It is an area on the golf course undergoing maintenance or repair. If your ball lands in this area, you are allowed to remove your ball without penalty.
Groove: The (scoring) lines on the face of a club.
Handicap: Designed to allow golfers of all levels (beginners to advanced) to compete together on an equitable basis. This is an allowance in strokes given to a player based on their past and current performance.
Hazard: Any obstructive or difficult feature of a golf course such as lakes, ponds, fences, molehills, or bunkers.
Heel-Toe Weighting: A redistribution of the weight from a central sweet spot to the heel and toe areas of the club to expand the effective hitting area.
Hole: Where you want your golf ball to end up eventually. A small cylinder cut into the ground and measuring 41/4 inches in diameter and at least 4 inches deep, located on the green of a golf course.
Hole In One: A score of one on a hole - an amazing feat!
Honor: The privilege of teeing off first on a hole, usually given to the player who scores the lowest on the previous hole.
Hook: A golf shot that curves strongly from right to left. For the right-handed golfer this shot usually lands left of their target (the direction would be opposite for the left-handed golfer). In the past this term was often likened to draw. A draw is a controlled right to left shot with a moderate curve.
Hosel: The hollow portion of the club head where the shaft is attached also referred to as the neck.
Investment Cast: A manufacturing process which effectively expands the sweep spot by perimeter-weighting the club head. The clubs are cast in a mold. Cast clubs first appeared in large numbers in the late 1960s. The trade-off is diminished feel and ability to maneuver a golf ball, two things that seldom concern the high-handicap golfer.
Kevlar: A synthetic aramid fiber developed and sold by DuPont that has good energy absorption properties. Kevlar has low modulus and poor compression properties.
Kick Point: (Also, Flex Point) The point in the shaft where the degree of bending is greatest. It determines the ball's launch angle. A lower flex point creates more lofts because the "kick" is nearer the club head. Better players need less help from the shaft. They create their own club head speed and kick and generally use shafts with higher flex points. Mid-to-high handicappers, seniors and women need more help getting the ball airborne so a lower flex point is to their advantage. Flex point has a direct bearing on trajectory and as a result determines how easy a club is to hit, or at least the golfer's perception of the ease or difficulty factor. Also, better players with smooth, flowing swings may benefit from softer shafts with lower flex points. Physically strong players, who swing very hard, even if they aren't low handicappers, are probably better off with stronger shafts. As a general rule, most golfers use shafts that are too stiff.
Layout: Refers to the design of the golf course.
Lie: The position of the ball on the course. You'll often hear a player say, "I have a bad/good lie." It is also used when a player has played a certain number of strokes on that hole -"She is laying three, and she still has the chance to par the 17th." With equipment, it is the angle at which the club head is set on the shaft.
Links: A golf course situated on a seaside terrain. Also slang for golf course.
Lip: The rim around the hole.
Loft: The measurement, in degrees, of a club's angle. Short irons have more loft than long irons.
LPGA: The Ladies Professional Golf Association. This organization includes tournament operations and a teaching and club professional division.
LPGA Tour: Ladies Professional Golf Association of America for touring women golf professionals. The Ladies Tour conducts over 40 events a year.
Major/ Major Championship: The Professional tournaments considered the most important within the golf community. For the Women's Tour: Dinah Shore Classic, the LPGA Championship, the du Maurier Classic, and the U.S. Women's Open. For the Men's Tour: The Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship. Note: Golf purists refer to the British Open as "The Open."
Mandrel: A tapered steel rod around which composite materials are wrapped to make a shaft.
Marker: An item used to mark the position of your golf ball. Used on the green to indicate the position of the ball. This may be a coin or a small object. Many clubs provide markers. Also, a term referring to a person who keeps score during stroke competition.
Match Play: A competition by holes between two parties/players. One player defeats the other one by winning more holes than there are holes left to play.
Medal Play: A competition where the player wins with the lowest number of strokes. Also known as stroke play.
Modulus: A measure of stiffness. It refers to a material's ability to resist bending or stretching. The higher the modulus, the stiffer the fiber.
Mulligan: The chance to replay your last shot.
Nassau: A golf betting game consisting of three parts during a round. Players establish a wager on the front nine, back nine and the entire 18.
Nib Lick: An old term for a nine iron, Scottish in origin.
OB: Short for Out of Bounds. The area lying outside of the defined golf course.
Offset: The relationship between the club head and the shaft in which the club head is set off the line - or slightly behind the shaft. Offset clubs promote getting the hands through the impact zone ahead of the club. A game-improvement feature in club design.
Par: The standard score in strokes assigned to each hole on the golf course. The par for each hole is given on the scorecard. You'll have a great round if you score "the par" on any course.
Penalty Stroke: An additional stroke added to a player's score for a rules violation.
PGA of America: The Professional Golfers' Association of America, the governing body of some American professional golf.
PGA Tour: Based in Ponte Verdra Beach, FL. This group governs the PGA TOUR, Senior PGA TOUR and the Nike Tour. The Tour conducts almost 150 tournaments a year.
Pin: Slang for flagstick.
Pin High: Reference to a ball on the green that is even with the pin but off to one side.
Pitch: An approach shot to the green. The player does not use a full swing during a pitch shot. This shot is shorter than a normal swing, but longer than a chip shot.
Play Through: When a group or player will pass a group of slower golfers playing on the hole ahead. In terms of proper etiquette, it is recommended you ask permission before moving ahead.
Pre-Preg Or, pre-impregnated: Graphite or boron filaments are impregnated with epoxy resin to form rolls of tape which are used by shaft manufacturers to create.
Professional: A player usually called a Pro, who receives payment for teaching or playing in tournaments.
Putter: The club specifically designed for putting. It has very little loft and is usually shorter than other clubs.
Quarter Shot: Golf shot with a greatly reduced swing.
Range: A common slang word used to describe the course practice area.
Recovery: Referring to a player's shot. A shot played back into a good position from a hazard, rough, or a generally unfavorable position.
Relief: Referring to the Rules of Golf. Permission to lift and drop the ball without penalty.
Rough: The area on the golf course where the grass is longer and thicker than the fairway.
Royal & Ancient: One of the two governing bodies in golf along with the United States Golf Association.
Scramble: A tournament and/or format of golf play. All golfers hit the ball, starting at the tee. The best ball is picked after each shot and the process starts all over again until the ball is putted out. This format is good for beginners, as it alleviates the pressure of playing with better players.
Scratch: Used when referring to a player's handicap. A scratch golfer is a player who has a 0 handicap. A person who plays "par golf". A good place to be.
Semi-Private Course: A course that has members but is still open to the public.
Shank: A shot struck by the club's hosel that travels dead right (for a right-handed player). Considered the worst golf shot to perform, other than a "whiff."
Slice: A shot that curves violently to the right. This is the most common ball flight for a beginner.
Slope: Adjusts your handicap to the difficulty of the course you play. The more difficult the slope rating on the course, the more strokes the player will need.
Surlyn: A synthetic material which has replaced balata as the ball covers of choice for most golfers because of its durability; first introduced by Spalding in its Top-Flite model balls.
Tee: A peg on which the ball is placed for driving (wooden or plastic). The tee is also the point from which the play of a hole begins, usually referred to as "the tee" or the "teeing ground."
Tensile Strength: Resistance to breaking to stretching or pulling forces.
Threesome: Three players playing a round together. Also, matches in which two players play the same ball and alternate strokes and play against a single player.
Titanium: A titanium alloy with high strength-to-weight ratio, plus ability to withstand fatigue which provides great consistency.
Top: To hit the ball above its center. A shot that will dive downward and roll or hop on the ground rather than rise.
Tourqe: A force that produces, or tends to produce, torsion or rotation. A relative measure of how much twist there is in a club.
Turn: The halfway point on an 18 hole course. After playing nine holes, a player is at the "turn."
Twosome: Two golfers playing together.
USGA: United States Golf Association. With the Royal and Ancient Society of St. Andrews, one of the ruling bodies of golf.
Whiff: To swing and miss the golf ball completely, counted as a stroke.
Yips: A chronic condition of missing short putts due to nerves.