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Golf Instruction Book

The ABC's of Golf

Part A - All About How to Get Started in Golf
Part B - Basic Fundamentals and Concepts in Golf Swing Technique
Part C - Common Golf Words and Phrases - Glossary

Glossary of Golf Terms and Phrases
 Golf Terminology - Definitions and Usages

Golf words or phrases beginning with the letter

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Choose a tab above to find words that begin with that letter.

Or enter the word in the form below. If the word you're looking for cannot be found it will automatically be suggested to the Glossarymaster (MB) for review and inclusion.

Example: The gallery exploded when she made the putt to win.
game-improvement irons
(also "game improvement clubs/irons") a general term implying characteristics such as perimeter-weighting, low center of gravity, offset face, oversized head, and more recently "high MOI" (don't ya just love marketing language?), etc., commonly associated with low flex point shafts -- all design features to make hitting the ball easier for recreational players
Example: I'm working on a new game-improvement club that doesn't even require you to swing and provides the exact same distance every time... of course, that distance is zero yards so there are still some bugs to be worked out, but give me time.
1. usually indicates a large organized pool of golfers consisting of multiple groups or foursomes, or could just be the title of the group itself  2. could also indicate one group of golfers larger than a fivesome playing together
Example: 1. Our club had a Gangsome every Friday at 11:00, where we played skins and other things.  2. Fivesomes are not really all that rare; but a one-group gangsome is more so.
gap wedge
(can go by many other names, manufacturer-dependent) a lofted wedge that is usually designed to fill in the distance between the pitching wedge and sand wedge
Example: My gap wedge has 52° of loft, whereas my pitching wedge and sand wedge have 48° and 56° respectively.
garden spot
the ideal location for placing a tee shot, usually thought of in terms of an ideal angle and lie from which to approach the green
Example: Beth found the garden spot off the tee on the par 4 12th hole.
Gator grip
(also "Claw grip, Psycho grip") an unusual method of gripping the putter, popularized by PGA Tour player Chris Dimarco, where the fingers of the bottom hand are on top of the grip rather than on the bottom
Example: Mark Calcavecchia and Bernhard Langer also use(d) the Gator grip/Claw grip/Psycho grip.
gear effect
the tendency of a ball hit on the toe or heel of the club (usually thought of in terms of woods) to spin in the opposite direction from the twisting of the club face (visually reminiscent of two adjacent gears turning)
Example: The gear effect is related to horizontal bulge.
get it into the house
to finish the round (i.e., get back to the clubhouse), usually associated with one's score at the moment or finishing well enough to win, maintain a lead or position—particularly in situations when finishing might be difficult (for reasons of pressure, difficult course conditions, etc.)
Example: If Shannon could just get it into the house over the last three holes Saturday, she could regroup for Sunday's round.
get up
a common command/request/plea heard when a player believes a shot will be short (i.e., not go far enough)
Example: Rollie hollered in vain at his ball to get up when he chunked it on No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass.
(Golf Handicap & Information Network) handicap service begun in 1981 maintained by the USGA
Example: Most golf courses have a GHIN computer for posting scores.
(informal: derived from the words "give me," as in "concede the next stroke to me as holed") a putt that is short enough in length to be certain to be holed with the next stroke
Example: There is no such thing as a gimme in stroke play competitions.
Ginty fairway wood
a type of fairway wood, relatively popular in the 1970's, having a notably distended bulge in the center of the sole (like a rail or the keel of a boat) that's purpose was to lower the center of gravity in the head and cut through longer grass
Example: As far as The Oracle knew, Stan Thompson was the original maker of Ginty fairway woods, but the aforementioned Oracle would appreciate being notified if someone knows otherwise.
go to school
(also could be heard sloppily as "get a teach") to learn from another player's shot (most commonly associated with putting - seeing how a putt on a similar line to your own will break)
Example: Since Jack's putt was almost on the same line as Jill's but slightly closer to the hole, he was able to go to school when she putted.
goat track
(also "dog track" - derogatory) a run-down, poorly maintained or poorly designed golf course
Example: Man, for an exclusive private country club that course is a goat track/dog track.
a game played with a small ball and a set of clubs, the object being to hit the ball into each of a series of holes with the smallest possible number of strokes -- of uncertain origin but may have originated with a game called chole, is supposedly the Celtic word for "ball" and also may come from the Old Dutch or Old German word "kolb" or "kolven" meaning "club" or "clubs"
Example: Let's go play some golf and forget about where the word came from.
golf cart
(also "golf car, cart, buggy, trolley, hand cart, pull cart") a golf car is motorized and driven/ridden in; a pull cart or hand cart is manual; buggy, cart and trolley could be either manual or motorized, depending on what part of the world you are in and who is talking
Example: Let's rent a golf cart/trolley and ride today.
golf club
1. (also "club, stick") a club for striking a golf ball (see the Rules of Golf Appendix II for details and specifications)  2. (also perhaps "association") a group or association of persons around the common activity or subject of golf  3. (in reference to a course or facility) in the context of private courses, usually a facility focused only on golf, differentiated from a "country club" by the fact that it does not have the additional facilities usually associated with country clubs (e.g., swimming pool, tennis courts, etc.); in the public course context calling a course a Golf Club either implies a much higher caliber or quality of golf course, or it is just grandiose language to make the course sound better than it is
Example: 1. She used a golf club to weed her yard.  2. She was also a member of her local Ladies Golf Club.  3. Many a major championship has been held at a private golf club (e.g., Shinnecock Hills Golf Club).
(usually articulated in the form of a question) an invitation to concede each other's putts, as in will you concede my putt if I concede yours? (sometimes a player might ask this just to save time, because it is obvious that both players' putts are so short that it is certain they will be holed; but other times it might be because the player asking is not sure of holing their putt but they are pretty sure that their opponent will)
Example: Geoff asked Mutt, "Good-good?" to which Mutt replied, "No, thanks. Go ahead and putt it."
gooseneck hosel
("gooseneck hosel") a very offset hosel with a prominent angle or bend in it
Example: Gooseneck hosels are most commonly on putters, but they are sometimes seen on other clubs as well.
spiny European shrub with yellow flowers, found off the fairway on some (usually European) courses and sometimes loosely included in the term "rough"
Example: Old Tom found his ball in the gorse on the last hole and could barely make contact.
the direction the grass is growing (usually only of consequence with coarser grasses, e.g., bermuda)
Example: The grain on a putting green mainly effects putts as they slow down, and on many greens with fine-bladed grasses it has no noticeable effect at all.
grand slam
the four major championships in golf are considered the "Grand Slam" events (Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, PGA) win all four major championships in one calendar year is called the Grand Slam (might as well be "Holy Grail")
Example: In the 2000 season Tiger Woods won 3 of the 4 Grand Slam events.
graphite shaft
a golf club shaft made of synthetic fiber material and binding resin rather than steel, also sometimes called a carbon fiber shaft or a composite shaft
Example: I remember the days when a graphite shaft was unheard of.
grass bunker
a depression in the gound, generally shaped like a sand-filled bunker but with grass (usually rough) instead
Example: You can ground your club in a grass bunker, as it is not technically a hazard.
(also "putting green, putting surface, dance floor") the most closely mown and smooth (hopefully) area on the course, which is specifically prepared for putting and on which the hole is placed
Example: Once you're on the green/putting green/putting surface/dance floor you may mark, lift, clean and replace your ball within the rules.
green fee
the fee paid to play a course
Example: Some resort courses charge a humongous green fee. Ouch.
green grass
used to indicate a retail golf shop operation on the premises of a golf course
Example: The Pro Shop at your local golf course would be considered a green grass shop, whereas Arizona Biff's down on 3rd and Main would not.
green in regulation
(also "GIR, G.I.R.") playing one's ball onto the green in the prescribed number of strokes as determined by par (equal to par for the hole minus two strokes for putting)
Example: Hitting the green in regulation would mean the ball is on the green in one shot on a par 3, two shots on a par 4 and three shots on a par 5.
Green Jacket
(or "The Green Jacket") the signature champion's prize for winning The Masters
Example: If you win The Masters you get a trophy and some other cool stuff -- like lots of money -- but best-known and most importantly smile you get The Green Jacket.
generally thought of as being on the green in regulation, but also used in betting games to indicate the person on the green in the lowest number of strokes
Example: Ted got the greenie on number one but it was his only one all day.
older term for an individual involved in maintaining and caring for a golf course and grounds
Example: Actor Bill Murray played one of his most memorable roles as a greenkeeper in the movie Caddyshack.
greenside bunker
a bunker surrounding, or in close proximity, to the putting surface
Example: The short game includes greenside bunker play.
an alternate shot tournament format with two two-man teams in each foursome, each player hits a tee shot, then the best tee shot of each two-man team is selected and the other ball is picked up, the player whose tee shot was not selected hits the second shot and all subsequent even numbered shots, the player whose tee shot was selected plays all remaining odd numbered shots until the ball is holed (more on tournament formats)
Example: Greensome is one of many fun tournament formats.
1. maintaining or intensifying one's mental focus, similar to the expressions "bear down" or "stay focused" -- generally meaning to concentrate on every shot and not get distracted  2. (also "Custom Grind") generic label referring to some proprietary iron head or sole shape, usually on forged irons -- could also refer to the fact that some players alter their own clubs (swing weight, flange shape, etc.) using a grinding wheel
Example: 1. He only had three holes to go and was feeling nervous, so he started to grind on the 16th tee.  2. Mort just bought a set of Custom Grind irons.
1. the handle of a golf club (usually covered with rubber, leather, etc.)  2. the holding, or method of holding, a golf club
Example: Don't let your grips get so worn that they become slippery.  2.The most widely used grip is called the overlapping or Vardon (named after Harry Vardon) grip.
grip collar
not seen much any more, a plastic collar to hold the bottom of a wrapped or leather grip in place
Example: Sometimes on older clubs with leather grips you'll see the grip collar broken loose and sliding freely up and down the shaft.
grip core
inside diameter of grips, usually measured in thousandths of an inch (e.g., .600) and combined with shaft butt sizes as one way of varying grip sizes
Example: Grip cores come in different sizes.
grip it and rip it
a brash style that inevitably gets one into trouble, though it may work for some savants in some situations (also see swing hard in case you hit it); though another way to interpret this expression is don't think too much (which may be good advice for some)
Example: To just grip it and rip it seems to take an awful lot for granted... unless your intuition and subconscious mind are working flawlessly.
1. (also "score line, scoring") markings (usually horizontal and linear) etched into the face of a golf club to enhance spin direction and decrease hydroplaning (grooves come in different types based on their shape or appearance, e.g., V grooves, square or box grooves, U grooves, etc. and are regulated by the Rules of Golf - see Appendix II for club design details)  2. to ingrain, make automatic or repeat as habit one's swing or stroke
Example: Keep the grooves/score lines/scoring on your clubs clean.  2. It feels great to have your swing grooved.
(also "unadjusted") the raw, actual or unadjusted score (strokes) before a handicap has been applied
Example: His score was 84 gross and 72 net once his handicap had been applied.
("ground the club, grounding the club") the act of touching the club to the ground (earth)
Example: A few players never ground their club at any time, but grounding the club in a hazard will cost you a two stroke penalty.
ground under repair
any area of the course undergoing repair (usually marked with white lines)
Example: Free relief without penalty is allowed from ground under repair within one club length of the nearest point of complete relief that is no nearer the hole.
a very small number of golfers use this word as another name for a triple bogey
Example: To call a triple bogy a grouse is really stretching the whole bird thing to a level of absurdity.
gutta percha
(also "gutty") type of golf ball made from sap of a tree, introduced in the middle 1800's
Example: Gutta percha golf balls were much cheaper than the earlier feathery.


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