80+ Golf Words List Every Sports Writer Should Know

Writing about golf but don’t know the game? This golf words list will help you sound like a professional.

Even if you’re not playing the sport, this golf words list should cover all the terms you might encounter when writing about the subject. Every golf professional and newbie will surely appreciate your knowledge of the game and the extra effort you put into making sure your writing is authentic.

Being one of the most popular sports in the US, you can rest assured people are never tired of reading about their favorite game.

While you’re here, check out our guide on how to become a sports writer.

Let’s dive in.

List of Golf Words Printable

Golf words list printable

Golf Words List

AddressDriving rangeMis-club
Air shotDuffMulligan
AlbatrossEagleNine-hole course
All squareFlierPar
Approach shotForePlus fours
Back nineFoursomesRabbit
BackswingGolfer’s elbowRecovery shot
Ball retrieverGolf widowRough
BanditGreen feeRound
Better-ballGreen keeperRub of the green
BorrowGround the clubSand wedge
Bump and runHandicapScore
Choke downHole in oneSingles
Dead weightLipStroke play
Deep roughLoftSweet spot
DormieMatch playTee

What Are Golf Words?

Some golf words, like ace and score, are commonly applied to most sports. But golf has its terminology that you need to know to understand the game completely. Our list will help you get a grasp of all the key terms used in this sport.

  1. Ace

He knocked the ball into the hole on his first swing of the hole, scoring an ace.

  1. Address

Get into the address position by stepping up to your golf ball and setting the club right next to it.

  1. Air shot

Tom made his backswing with ease and then swung the club to hit through the ball but missed completely, so it ended up being an air shot.

  1. Albatross

Achieving an albatross, which is completing a par-5 hole in just two shots, is exceptionally rare, even for experienced golfers.

  1. All square

Currently, the match is all square – meaning that both players are tied.

  1. Approach shot

You’ll need a full swing of your club to make an approach shot and land the ball on the grass.

  1. Apron

While the apron, the closely mown areas of grass around the putting green, seem ideal for making a perfect shot, it’s typically located next to a bunker, rough terrain, or out-of-bounds area.

  1. Back nine

They’re halfway through the match, and there are nine more holes to go. He needs to apply his precision skills on the back nine to win.

  1. Backswing

Your backswing, the club move before you hit the ball, is terrible, which is why you can’t manage to hit the ball at all.

  1. Ball retriever

I’ll need a ball retriever, that telescopic tool with a jaw-like design, to collect the ball from the water.

  1. Bandit

He consistently pars the first five holes, even though he said he’s a 15 on a good day. He’s definitely a bandit, as he maintains a handicap at a higher level than his actual ability.

  1. Better-ball

I wanted to play better-ball, a game where teams of two play against the whole course, but my partner hated the idea.

  1. Birdie

He made a birdie by using one stroke less than the par of the hole. 

  1. Borrow

Due to the high slope, you’ll have to borrow to compensate for it. In other words, you’ll have to allow the curve when hitting a breaking putt.

  1. Buggy

Why walk across the course carrying clubs when we can ride a buggy?

  1. Bump and run

In this situation, you should do bump and run, which basically means bumping the ball onto the green and letting it roll up to the hole.

  1. Caddie

Like every proper golf player, you need a caddy, someone to assist you and carry your clubs.

  1. Carry

When determining carry, the distance the ball travels through the air, you need to optimize the ball speed, launch angle, and spin rate.

  1. Chip

Just lift the ball in the air – chip it! You don’t want it played along the ground and not in the air.

  1. Choke down

Choke down on a golf club by gripping it lower down on the shaft. 

  1. Course

The ball flew across the golf course.

  1. Cup

Each hole features a cup to help you collect the balls.

  1. Deadweight

Here, you should do the deadweight, the soft shot that allows gravity to do its thing, thus reducing the number of strokes required to finish a hole. 

  1. Deep rough

The ball is hidden in deep rough, that long grass over there, so getting it out will be a challenge.

  1. Divot

She hit so hard, leaving a divot where smooth turf once was.

  1. Dormie

This match is dormie! Anderson is one up with one hole left to play.

  1. Downswing

His downswing seemed alright, but he still ended up missing the ball.

  1. Drive

Mike Austin holds the world record for the longest drive, moving the ball a whooping 515 yards off the tee! 

  1. Driving range

Before hitting the course, you should practice your swing at the driving range, where there is plenty of room to practice your long shots.

  1. Duff

When swinging a golf club for the first time, most people duff the shot. In other words, they hit the ground and not the ball.

  1. Eagle

He attained an eagle by finishing a hole two strokes below its par rating.

  1. Flier

Getting dirt trapped between the clubface and the golf ball at impact usually results in a shot that flies farther than normal, also known as a flier.

  1. Fore

If you hear the word “fore” loudly shouted, it’s a warning of a golf ball in flight that could strike you.

  1. Four-ball

Let’s divide into teams of two and play four-ball a game of two pairs with each player having their own ball.

  1. Foursomes

Since we only have one ball, we can only play foursomes and take alternate shots until the hole is completed.

  1. Golfer’s elbow

He has a golfer’s elbow, meaning he damaged the tendons that bend the wrist toward the palm, which leaves him in pain.

  1. Golf widow

She’s a golf widow, as her husband never seems to leave the course.

  1. Green fee

Anyone can play as long as they pay the green fee.

  1. Greenkeeper

He used to work on the course as a greenkeeper.

  1. Grip

The reason for your bad shots lies in your bad grip.

  1. Ground the club

Always ground the club when setting up a swing.

  1. Half

On Hole 1 of their match, the players halved the hole, scoring 4-4.

  1. Handicap

Your handicap determines how many shots you’re expected to have to finish up the round.

  1. Hardpan

The ball hit the hardpan, which is the flat, hard area without turf.

  1. Hazard

The course is full of hazards, be they water or bunkers.

  1. Hole

He managed to hit the hole in just two strokes.

  1. Hole-in-one

After scoring a hole-in-one, he honored the tradition of buying a drink for everyone in the clubhouse. 

  1. Honor

He had the honor, meaning he was the first one to tee off on the hole.

  1. Lie

John drives towards his ball to figure out the lie, which indicates how well the ball is sitting for the next shot he faces.

  1. Lip

The ball stopped at the lip, failing to get into the hole.

  1. Loft

The more loft your golf club has, which is the angle between the clubface and the ground, the higher you’ll launch the ball with it.

  1. Marker

It’s the marker’s job to keep up with the score so that players and the audience don’t have to.

  1. Match play

In a match play, you win the game only when you are winning by more holes than remain to be played.

  1. Midiron

The midiron club is the best for longer approach shots.

  1. Misread

He misread the necessary speed of a putt, which caused him to lose.

  1. Mis-club

Given I’m new, I expected my experienced friends to tell me I mis-clubbed for that particular distance.

  1. Mulligan

The first shot went terribly; it’s time for a mulligan, a second chance!

  1. Nine-hole course

A nine-hole course typically features par-4 holes and a combination of par-3 and par-5 holes.

  1. Par

Each hole has its par rating, or rather, the number of strokes needed to complete it. 

  1. Plus fours

Back in the day, they used to wear plus fours. Pants that, as the name suggests, extended four inches below the knee.

  1. Putt

Her putt, a stroke on the putting green, was merely inches short of the hole.

  1. Rabbit

He’s still a rabbit, as he never played a tournament before.

  1. Recovery shot

This is not what I intended. I’ll have to attempt a recovery shot if I want to get back on track.

  1. Rough

The grass in the rough is deliberately kept longer to make it harder for the players.

  1. Round

Shall we play a 9- or an 18-hole round?

  1. Rub of the green

If your ball in motion is accidentally stopped by any outside obstacle, it is a rub of the green, and it must be played as it lies.

  1. Run

That run was amazing. You have excellent control over the club.

  1. Sand wedge

You’ll need a sand wedge to get the ball out of the bunker.

  1. Sclaff

Keep an eye on the ball at all times to avoid scraping the ground – or, as they say, sclaffing – when hitting.

  1. Score

He scored three over par in today’s match.

  1. Scratch

She plays off scratch, as her handicap is always 0.0 or better.

  1. Shaft

Hold the club shaft firmly in your hand to avoid missing the ball.

  1. Shank

He made a shank by hitting the ball with the club’s hosel instead of the face of the club.

  1. Singles

Let’s play singles to see who can win the most holes outright over the course of 18.

  1. Slice

His ball curved dramatically in flight from left to right, creating a slice.

  1. Stance

A proper stance is the key to a precise shot.

  1. Stroke play

They’re playing a stroke play, meaning the winner is the one who has taken the fewest strokes throughout rounds.

  1. Sweet spot

Certain clubs feature a circle on the face to show you the sweet spot, or rather, the best spot for stroking for optimal results.

  1. Swing

Keep your hands extended during the swing to achieve a long shot.

  1. Tee

Don’t forget to place the ball on the tee, the ball stand, at the beginning of the match.

  1. Yips

He got yips, involuntary wrist spasms, which made putting impossible.

Check out our article on essays about sports for examples and prompts.


  • Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.