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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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1. (also "chop") chopping violently at the ball  2. (also "duffer, hacker, chop, chopper") a (usually) erratic and unskilled golfer whose technique is characterized by arm and hand oriented hitting at the ball rather than smooth swinging through the ball  3. unskillful and erratic golf shots or play in general
Example: 1. Hacking does not usually yield good results.  2. Bill is a hack/hacker/duffer/chop/chopper, but that is not necessarily the reason for his mean-spiritedness.  3. When I was asked how I played in the tournament I had to admit that I had hacked/chopped.
(also "chop, chopper, duffer, hack") a (usually) erratic and unskilled golfer whose technique is characterized by arm and hand oriented hitting at the ball rather than smooth swinging through the ball
Example: Every golfer has been a hack/hacker/duffer/chop/chopper at some point.
another phrase for hitting the ball fat, or hitting the ground first - if one were able to freeze time at the right instant the divot might be laying over the top of the ball, reminiscent of a hairpiece
Example: Gina yelled, "#!bleep%#in' hairpiece," in frustration and was on the verge of snapping the shaft of her lob wedge after she chunked her short pitch shot into the pond.
half set
(also "starter set, beginner set") a partial set of golf clubs usually consisting of either the odd or the even numbered irons, a putter and a reduced number of woods
Example: A common configuration for a half set/starter set/beginner set might be 4, 6, 8, PW for the irons, a 3 wood and a putter; but sets vary.
half shot
(also "half swing, knockdown, punch shot") a shot played with less than a full swing, mainly to control distance, trajectory and spin
Example: A common variation on the half shot/half swing/knockdown/punch shot is where the hands reach approximately shoulder height on the backswing and also finish about shoulder high in the follow-through (this might not be exactly half of a full swing - some people call that a three-quarter (3/4) swing and think of a half swing as the shaft being parallel to the ground - but it's more the idea of less-than-full than it is some exact percentage).
a tie on a given hole in match play
Example: The hole was halved, which is kind of like sharing half of the (w)hole. smile
ham and egg
when players on a team (usually a two-man team) compliment each other during a match -- usually thought of in terms of "better ball" situations (e.g., when one team member plays poorly on a given hole the other plays well, taking up the slack)
Example: When a team does "ham and egg" they go well together, like ham and eggs.
hammer hands
a player that does not have good sensitivity for controlling the distance of their putts
Example: When Karl got nervous he had hammer hands.
hand wedge
a goofy euphemism for picking the ball up and throwing or moving it to a better location (Note: this is against the rules)
Example: After Ralph used his hand wedge he had an open shot to the green.
(abbr: "hcp, hdcp", related: "handicap differential, handicap index, index") the average difference between a player's scores and a set standard, as calculated by specified procedures and formulas (more detail)
Example: A handicap/index is mainly used in tournaments and wagers so that players of different levels of proficiency can compete against one another, but is also a valid and objective way of measuring one's progress.
usually refers to loose or excessive use of the hands and wrists in a swing or stroke
Example: A player that is very handsy may be more prone to inconsistency, as a rule.
hanging lie
when the ball is on ground substantially above the player's feet
Example: A hanging lie adds variables to the swing, but all else being equal the shot will have a tendency to go more in the downhill direction—so, for a right-handed player, a shot from a hanging lie would have a tendency to go more to the left than a shot from level ground.
hard left
another expression for a pull-hook or a severe pull (for a right-hander); hard right is not as commonly heard, because the behavior of the ball is typically more severe when the face is steeper, as is the case with a pull-hook, and because most golfers are right-handed
Example: Gabriel hit it hard left off the tee on 12 and had to reload, as the jungle over there was impenetrable.
very firm, unyielding ground (many times bare ground)
Example: You can find a lot of hardpan on hot dry plains courses.
any bunker (usually a hollow of some kind with a prepared surface, generally sand or similar) or water hazard (sea, lake, pond, ditch, etc. usually marked with either yellow or red stakes or lines)
Example: There is usually some kind of penalty for being in a hazard, whether it's strokes that are added to your score or just a more difficult shot.
(also "club head, clubhead") the part of the club that is intended to make contact with the ball
Example: The head of the club had mud all over it.
protective sock or sheath of some kind, typically used on wood and putter heads, but also available for irons
Example: He left the putt so short we wondered if he had removed his putter's headcover.
small shrubs with small hard leaves, or a generic term for long grassy, weedy rough on U.K. courses
Example: Jack ripped it out of the heather, only just being able to get it back to the fairway.
open uncultivated land (particularly in the British Isles) having sandy soil and dominated by small shrubs with small hard leaves (e.g., heather)
Example: Many heathland courses are windy.
another word for fat
Example: I hit that one a little heavy, so it probably won't carry the bunker.
1. the part of the clubhead that is nearest the hosel or shaft  2. (sometimes "heeler") the act of contacting the ball on the part of the club nearest the hosel or shaft
Example: Instead of contacting the ball on the sweetspot, she hit it on the heel.  2. I was trying to kill my tee shot but for all my effort I heeled it.
high side
the uphill edge of the cup when it is on any slant
Example: Bill missed his putt on the high side of the hole.
a noticeable rough spot or hiccup in the flow of a golf swing
Example: Ben had a hitch in his backswing that looked like he was receiving a jolt of electricity.
hitting from the top
excessive arm and hand pressure early in the downswing, particularly thought of as happening before any weight transfer has occurred
Example: Hitting from the top is an extremely common problem among higher handicap players.
hitting the big ball before the little ball
another phrase for hitting the ball fat (the "big ball" being the earth)
Example: Hitting the big ball before the little ball is not usually advisable unless for some specialty reason.
(also "check, grab") when the ball stays near where it lands, not rolling much (if any) forward  2. to stay on the green after landing  3. to intentionally spin the ball in the opposite direction of a crosswind to attempt to minimize the sideways effect of the wind or to make the ball land more softly, take off some distance, etc.
Example: I was hoping my 6 iron shot would hold/check/grab since I was playing downwind.  2. When the greens get dry and firm they do not hold as well.  3. Jiminy hit a draw to hold the ball against the crosswind.
1. 4¼ inch diameter hole in the ground into which the ball is to be played  2. the entire length of the playing area and immediate vicinity from the teeing ground to the putting green (all inclusive)  3. (also "hole out, make, drain, sink") to play the ball into the hole
Example: 1. The hole contains the cup which holds the flagstick.  2. The difficult par 3 4th hole was considered impossible to par by many golfers.  3. All that remained for me to shoot 62 was to hole/hole out/make/drain/sink my putt on the 18th ... but I woke up.
hole cutter
see cup cutter
hole high
(also "pin high") when the ball has travelled the correct distance and is even with the hole, but off to one side or the other (whether or not it's on the green)
Example: Terry's approach shot was hole high/pin high to the right.
hole in one
(also "ace, hole-in-one") a score of 1 on a hole, holing the tee shot
Example: A(n) hole in one/ace is usually made on a par 3, but occasionally it happens on a par 4.
hole location
(also "pin position") the place on the putting green where the hole is cut on any given day
Example: Most tournaments change the hole location/pin position on every hole for each day, or round, of the event.
(also "hole(d) out") when the ball goes in the hole (as of 2008 the entire ball must be at rest below the level of the lip)
Example: Jack shocked everybody when he holed out from a buried lie in the bunker.
1. to reach the green with a shot  2. the clubhouse or vicinity of the starting point and ending point of a round of golf
Example: I got home in 2 shots on the par 5 18th hole.  2. The front nine on some golf courses goes out away from the clubhouse and then the back nine returns home.
the privilege of playing first from the tee (Note: "Privilege" was actually the word used until the late 1800's)
Example: The honor generally goes to the person with the lowest score on the previous hole, and if there are ties the hole before that, and so on. (In informal or casual play, especially when there are players following, the importance of the honor is superseded by the need to play without delay, and "hit when ready" is usually a more appropriate M.O.)
horse race
1. (also "shoot out, shootout") a match play format in which one player is eliminated at the conclusion of each hole based on having the highest score or, in cases of a tie for the highest score, a sudden death type playoff (called a "shootout") decides which player is eliminated
Example: Ten players began the 9-hole horse race/shootout and only one was left at the end.
to lean the club face forward (toward the target) reducing its loft
Example: A hooded club face is not necessarily closed.
a shot that travels from right to left (right-handed player) - more severe than a draw
Example: He sliced his tee shot and hooked his approach.
horizontal bulge
(also simply "bulge") the curve of the face of a wood (across, from heel to toe) which helps shots hit toward the heel or toe curve back in the direction of the center
Example: Horizontal bulge helps toed shots draw or hook and heeled shots fade or slice.
(also "neck") the part of the club head into which the shaft is inserted (derived from the word hose)
Example: When the ball ricochets off the hosel before it hits the clubface it is called a shank. (Not recommended)
hosel rocket
(also "lateral, shank") another term for shanking the ball
Example: Ted hit a hosel rocket/lateral/shank on his very first iron shot of the day and got so upset that he decided to walk off the course and go the movies.
(also "hybrid club, hybrid iron, hybrid wood") a club that combines playing characteristics of both woods and irons; one valid method for differentiating between hybrid irons and hybrid woods is whether the face is flat (like irons) or has horizontal bulge and vertical roll (a curved face, like woods)
Example: Tim liked using his hybrid for long approach shots, and had more success with it than he did with long irons.
hybrid shoes
(also "hybrid soles") golf shoes with a combination of molded spikes, or nubs, and replaceable spikes
Example: Charlene's foursome all had matching hybrid shoes.


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