Understanding Basic Golfing Terminology
By Kristen May
, last updated November 12, 2011
If you have never played or watched golf before, understanding some of the basic terminology can help you follow a round or talk with people who enjoy golf. Some of the most confusing terms focus around scoring, types of golf clubs and basic game play. Continue reading to get it all cleared up!
Each hole on a golf course has a par, which is the number of strokes, or hits, it should take you to get the ball from the starting point into the hole. If you use one stroke less than par, this is called birdie. Using two strokes less is eagle and three strokes less is called a double eagle or albatross. If you use one stroke more than par, this is called a bogey, two strokes more is a double bogey, and so on. If the ball goes into the hole on your first stroke, this is called a hole-in-one or an ace.
Each golf club has a grip that the golfer holds, a head at the end of the club that the golfer uses to strike the ball and a shaft between the grip and the hold. Woods are clubs used for hitting the ball long distances and without much of a focus on pinpoint accuracy. Irons are used for middle distances the putter is the club a golfer uses for precision accuracy.
Golfers play 18 holes of golf in a typical round. At each hole, the player puts the ball on a tee before preparing to hit it. The backswing is when the club goes away from the ball and the downswing is when it comes back to hit the ball. The goal is for the ball to land on the fairway, which is the mowed grass on the way to the hole. If a ball is lost, the player takes a penalty of one stroke and hits the ball again from the original position. When the ball lands on the green, the golfer putts it into the hole, which is marked by a flag.