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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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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.

scoreboard abbreviation for Tied at that score or position
Example: If you see T4 on a scoreboard it means everybody at that score is tied for fourth at that point.
the beginning of the backswing, the initial movement of the club away from the ball and target
Example: A one-piece takeaway is favored by many players.
tap in
(also "gimme") a very short put that is certain to be made
Example: I only had a tap in left after a good chip.
target golf
a phrase to describe a style of golf course that has discrete, well-defined landing areas rather than one long stretch of continuous playable ground between the tee and green
Example: Some players prefer target golf style courses to more traditional courses.
target line
the line of play, or the line from the ball to the target
Example: Her stance is open relative to the target line for the lob shot.
1. (also "peg") a small (usually, but not always, wooden) device for setting the ball up above the ground  2. the act of placing the ball on a tee  3. (also "teeing ground, teeing area, tee box") the starting point of each hole, the area designated as the teeing ground
Example: The teeing area was so hard he had difficulty getting his tee/peg in the ground.  2. She liked to tee the ball high when hitting downwind  3. Our group was next on the tee.
tee blocks
(also "blocks, tee markers, markers") two objects that indicate the foreward boundary of the teeing area
Example: The tee blocks/blocks/tee markers/markers had been moved forward since yesterday.
tee markers
(also "markers, tee blocks, blocks") two objects that indicate the foreward boundary of the teeing area
Example: The tee markers/markers/tee blocks/blocks had been moved forward since yesterday.
tee off
to hit a shot from the tee
Example: After Bill teed off he made sure his group had a scorecard.
tee shot
(also "tee ball") a shot from the tee, the first shot on a hole
Example: Her tee shot/tee ball was right down the middle of the fairway.
tee time
the time assigned for a group to begin play on their first hole (in non-competitive situations could also be called a "reservation")
Example: Ralph booked a tee time for his usual foursome.
tee to green
another way of referring to the long game
Example: Todd was good tee to green but his putting needed some help.
teeing ground
(also "teeing area, tee box, tee") used generally, the starting point of each hole, where the tee markers are; in the Rules of Golf-specific sense the teeing ground is only the area in which you can play the tee shot from, defined by the outside edge of the tee markers and extending two club-lengths in depth
Example: The teeing ground/teeing area/tee box/tee on number 4 was in need of repair.
temporary green
a (usually) closely mown area in the fairway or rough of a hole, serving as the green (including the cup and flag) during periods of maintenance or repair of the original putting surface
Example: Sometimes when a course is using a temporary green they will institute an "automatic two-putt" local rule on that hole.
ten iron
(also "10 iron") an uncommon name for a pitching wedge, usually around 45-50 degrees (club specifications vary between manufacturers)
Example: I have a set of YONEX Tour irons that has a 10 iron/ten iron, and the P wedge is more like a gap wedge at 52 degrees.
ten-finger grip
(also "10-finger, full-finger" grip) a method of holding the club using all ten digits on the grip with no overlapping or interlocking fingers (sometimes erroneously referred to as the "baseball" grip, and rarely but more accurately called the "eight-finger" grip)
Example: The relative position of the hands to the club's face is the same in a ten-finger/10-finger/full-finger grip as it is in the other more popular overlapping and interlocking grips.
tend the flag
(also "attend" the flag, flagstick or pin) holding and then removing the flagstick after a player has made a stroke
Example: If another player is away and it is not your turn to putt you might be tending/attending the flag so they have a clearer view of where the hole is.
Texas scramble
(also "shamble") a tournament format that is a variation of a scramble, where each member of a team (usually a foursome) hits a tee shot on each hole, the best tee shot on the hole is selected, each team member then completes the hole with their own ball from that chosen location and is awarded a given number of points (usually based on a Stableford-type system) for their score (e.g., par = 1 point, birdie = 2 points, etc.) -- the benefit of this system over a scramble is that scoring can be done on both a team and an individual basis (more on tournament formats)
Example: My company tournament used a Texas scramble/shamble format.
Texas wedge
using a putter from off the green
Example: It was so windy that Gerald decided to use the Texas wedge.
that'll play
(also "that will play") refers to a shot (usually off the tee) that might be less than ideal, but that is certainly good enough to proceed on the hole without damage (penalty strokes, difficult recovery, etc.); also occasionally used to facetiously downplay a great shot
Example: Al said, "that'll play," when Sheila hit her tee shot, though she didn't seem at all happy with the swing she'd made.
(also "skinny") when the ball is contacted with the leading edge instead of the face of the club, producing a low trajectory shot with less than the usual amount of spin
Example: He hit a good drive, but then hit his sandwedge shot thin/skinny and over the green.
thin to win
an expression most commonly heard after a golfer has hit a shot thin and the result has turned out decently or even well
Example: "Thin to win," Bob quipped as Jim's shot rolled up onto the green.
third wedge
(sometimes also called a "utility wedge") manufacturer-dependent and varied, a lofted wedge that differs from a pitching wedge or a sandwedge in loft and/or sole charactersitics
Example: 1. The third wedge/utility wedge in Martha's set is 58°, very heavy in weight and has a small amount of bounce.
three iron
(also "3 iron") a long iron with a typical loft of around 20-23 degrees (club specifications can vary between manufacturers)
Example: Geraldine replaced her three iron/3 iron with a hybrid for a while, to see if she liked it better.
three wood
(also "3 wood") a fairway wood with a typical loft of around 14-16 degrees (club specifications can vary between manufacturers)
Example: Johann's favorite club was his three wood/3 wood.
a Match Play format where three players play against each other, so each player is playing two matches at the same time
In a Three-ball each player plays his own ball and has a match going with each of the other two players in the group.
(also "three-putt") another phrase for taking three putts to hole the ball on a green
If Carmine doesn't three-jack he will win the hole for our team.
three-piece ball
originally a ball composed of a rubber core, rubber windings and a cover; more recently a ball constructed in three layers
Example: Three-piece balls are usually softer and spin more than one or two-piece balls.
three-quarter swing
(also "three-quarter shot, 3/4 swing or shot") a shot played with less than a full swing, mainly to control distance, trajectory and spin (also see half swing)
Example: A three-quarter swing or shot is basically the same thing as a half-swing, really (or a little more... as if anybody gets really precise about the exact percentage of the whole swing) -- it's just generally less than the normal full range of motion, usually in both directions.
(or "Threesome" in the Match Play sense) 1. a group of three players playing together  2. a match where one player plays against two players and each side plays one ball
1. Sometimes when golf courses are busy threesomes will be paired with a single to make a foursome.  2. Threesome matches are less common than most other types of matches.
through the green
the whole course, excluding the teeing ground and putting green of the hole being played, and all hazards
Example: Conditions were so wet and muddy, that players were allowed to lift, clean and place their ball through the green.
(or "tip end") the end of the shaft farthest from the grip that inserts into the club head
Example: The flex of a shaft can be stiffened by cutting the tip.
(also "The tips" or "playing from the tips") playing each hole from its longest possible yardage (from the farthest back place you can stand on the farthest back teeing ground) so that you play the entire course at its longest possible yardage
Example: His ego was so disproportionately huge that he would only deign to play a round of golf if it was from the tips.
1. a very narrow hole or course  2. a compact and efficient swing  3. hole location that is very close to the edge of the green  4. a ball resting on the ground or in grass with very little air underneath it, making clean and solid contact difficult
Example: 1. The course we played on Monday was very short and tight.  2. Byron's swing was tight whereas Dan's was loose.  3. The hole was cut so tight that the pin appeared to be off the green.  4. The grass was very thin and my lie was very tight.
the ordered occurrence of the sequence of movements comprising a golf swing
Example: Bill's swing sequence was so out of whack that it was a moot point to discuss timing.
the far end of the clubhead (farthest from the hosel/neck/shaft)
Example: I hit my 2 iron shot on the toe, so I didn't quite get the height or distance I was looking for.
toe hook
a shot that is contacted on the toe of the club and hooks (curves from right to left for a right-handed player)
Example: I hit a toe hook off the tee, but still found the fairway without a problem.
(also "toe balanced, toe-weighted, toe weighted") a putter where the toe is lower than the heel when the shaft is balanced on a fulcrum (also see face-balanced)
Example: Some putters are toe-balanced and some are not; which is better is mainly a matter of personal preference and your putting stroke.
1. (also "dub") when the bottom of the club contacts the ball above its center of gravity and the ball immediately hits the ground  2. the end of the backswing (where the hands are at their highest)
Example: Nobody likes to top the ball.  2. John's club was laid off at the top of his swing.
top line
the uppermost edge of an iron head as the golfer looks down on the club at address
Example: Irons come with different thicknesses of top line due to different weight distribution.
1. the mixture of soils and fertilizers that help fill in the holes and heal the turf after aerification  2. the process of applying the mixture
Example: 1. There must have been something magic in the topdressing, as the greens were back to perfect in less than one week.  2. After topdressing the greens Carleton felt like he needed some chocolate.
the tendency of a club's shaft to twist or rotate around its long axis -- also the amount of that rotation measured in degrees (very generally, stronger and/or more highly skilled players with faster swings are better suited to lower torque, and vice versa)
Example: Shafts with high torque twist or rotate more than shafts with low torque.
total weight
(also "dead weight, overall weight, static weight") the complete weight of a golf club (see also "swingweight")
Example: The total weight/overall weight of clubs is different than the swingweight.
(also "feel") sensitivity for playing golf shots
Example: She displayed great touch/feel around the greens all summer.
(also "tourney") an organized golf competition
Example: She played in her first tournament/tourney last Saturday.
tournament format
the style, or rules and procedures, under which a competition is conducted (e.g., medal play, match play, scramble, four-ball, and many more -- see tournament formats for help with tournament format details)
Example: The committee debated on the most intriguing tournament format, given the players in the field.
(abbreviation of "Tournament Players Club") golf courses designed specifically for holding Tour events
Example: The TPC at Sawgrass is the site of The Players Championship.
1. (also "course") another word for a golf course  2. ("tracking") when a putt seems to have the right line, as in the sense of a dog tracking game with its sense of smell, or like a heat-seeking missle, etc.
Example: She really liked the track until she got to the signature hole.  2. Rico's putt was absolutely tracking until the earthquake began.
tracking iron
(archaic) lofted iron designed specifically to play shots from tracks in the mud
Example: A tracking iron would not be found in today's iron sets.
trailing edge
the back edge of a club's sole (compare leading edge)
Example: The trailing edge of a sand wedge—also sometimes referred to as its flange—can produce some widely varied effects.
trampoline effect
(also "spring-like effect") the "bouncing back" of a club's face contributing force to the shot, limited by the rules of golf (see also COR)
Example: Drivers with the trampoline effect/spring-like effect tend to hit the ball slightly farther than those without.
(also "transition point") where the backswing turns into the downswing
Example: In the case of a pendulum the transition/transition point actually consists of a miniscule period of no movement, but in a human golf swing the motion never really stops.
1. (also "bunker, sand trap") another commonly used term (although misused - "bunker" is actually the correct term) for a sand-filled bunker - a depression in the ground filled with a prepared surface of sand or similar  2. a descending strike at impact that squeezes, or traps, the ball between the club face and the ground to varying degrees
Example: His approach shot caught the trap/bunker/sand bunker/sand trap in front of the flag.  2. The best iron players in the history of golf have all trapped the ball to some degree.
triple bogey
a score of three over par on a hole
Example: If one over par is a bogey, and two over par is a double bogey, what do you figure the odds are that three over par is a triple bogey?
(also "golf cart, golf car" or "hand cart, pull cart") term mainly used in Europe for wheeled golf carts, either for pulling by hand, motorized, or driven/ridden in
Example: After Deirdre hit her second ball from the tee she sat down hard in the trolley with a noticeable degree of displeasure.
obstacles or difficult places to negotiate on a golf course
Example: Since golf courses are obstacle courses, any worthy of the name have plenty of trouble.
trouble shot
(also "recovery, recovery shot") a shot from a troublesome situation
Example: She hit a great trouble shot/recovery/recovery shot and saved a par.
when a hole location (or green location) is difficult to reach
Example: The pin on the first hole was tucked right behind a deep bunker, so I played more conservatively to the center of the green rather than taking a chance by shooting right at it.
a tiny number of golfers use this word as another name for a quadruple bogey
Example: Martha made a turkey on Thanksgiving... on the 18th hole... in a portable oven.
1. the rotation of the body in the swing (e.g., shoulder turn, hip turn)  2. going from the ninth green to the tenth tee ("making the turn" from the front nine to the back nine)  3. curving a golf shot  4. break or curve in a putt
Example: 1. John Daly has a huge turn away from the ball in his backswing.  2. We grabbed a quick snack at the turn.  3. I wanted to turn the ball over from right to left to get farther around the dogleg and closer to the green.  4. He tried with all the body english he could muster to make the putt turn, but it stayed straight.
turn it over
(also "draw, slinger") a shot that curves gently from right to left (right-handed player)
Example: Some holes favor a slinger, or a shot that turns over/draws by design.
twilight rate
a discounted green fee based on the fact that a limited number of holes may be completed due to darkness
Example: Some public golf courses have a twilight rate, which may change depending on the time of year.
two iron
(also "2 iron") a long iron with a typical loft of around 17-20 degrees (club specifications can vary between manufacturers)
Example: A two iron/2 iron was her choice off the tee to provide the desired distance and accuracy.
two wood
(also "2 wood") a fairway wood with a typical loft of around 13 degrees (club specifications can vary between manufacturers), 2 woods are very unusual nowadays
Example: I used to have a two wood/2 wood that could work magic.
two-piece ball
golf ball composed of a solid core and a cover
Example: Two-piece balls are usually (but not always) pretty hard and don't spin much.
taking two putts to hole the ball on a green
Example: If I can just two-putt this last green I will have my lowest score ever.


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