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New Golfer’s Guide to Golf Lingo

Golf TerminologyGolf Lingo Can Be Difficult for a New Golfer

It’s important for a new or young golfer to learn many of these terms and to learn golf etiquette.

I decided to write this post after being asked what “Up and Down” and “Double Cross” meant, in the same day, good questions both.

The golf glossary is literally thousands of terms long but, the terms listed here are specifically designed to help a new golfer understand the lingo used by golf announcers on TV.

It is important to note that the post is called “New Golfer’s Guide to Golf Lingo” not “The Official New Golfer’s Guide to Golf Lingo”. Many of these terms are essentially slang and golfers from different regions will use different variations of the terms.

If there is a term that you feel should be added or altered, fell free to leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

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Up and Down

The golf term “up and down” refers to a situation where an approach shot has missed the green and you get in the hole in two shots. For example, your second shot on a par 4 has landed to the left of the green in the rough or on the fringe. Your third shot is then chipped to within a couple of feet from the cup, you then sink the putt. This would be an Up and Down for Par.

An up and down could be for Birdie, Bogie or double bogie, up and down does not necessarily have to be for par. Unlike a “save”.


Sand Save

The golf term “save” refers to a situation very similar to up and down however, a save must be for Par. This term is most commonly reserved for situations where the approach on a par 4 has come to rest in the sand. You then hit the third shot from a bunker up onto the green and then sink the putt on your fourth shot for Par.


Golf Term: Short Side

Short side is a situation where for instance, your approach has come to rest off the green to the left with the pin on the left. In this instance you would have “short-sided” yourself because you left yourself with very little green to work with. Leaving yourself “short-sided” increases the level of difficulty in your pitch or chip shot because you have a very limited area to land the golf ball.

The opposite would be “leaving yourself with green to work with” this is where you miss the green on the right with the pin on the left.


Pitch, Chip and Flop

A pitch shot is a shot generally taken near the green where your shot carries for a greater distance in the air then the ball runs after it lands.

A chip shot is the opposite, the shot will carry for a very short distance and then run along the green for a longer distance than it carried.

A Flop shot is generally referred to as a shot that is intentionally hit much higher than a typical golf shot. Technically a flop shot should go as high or higher vertically than it carries horizontally.



A slider is a downhill putt that moves from left to right for a right handed golfer. It’s called a slider because you will have very little control over how it moves due to the downhill and left to right path.

As a general rule good, right handed putters will hit more putts that move from right to left than putts that move left to right, all other things being equal. Therefore, the downhill left to right putt was given a name to describe it.


Cut, Fade and Draw

A “cut or fade”is a controlled shot where a right handed golfer would hit a shot designed to move slightly from left to right. A fade can be desirable because it will typically fly a little higher and land a little softer than a draw.

It is important to note that there is a big difference between a slice and a cut. A slice is generally uncontrolled and a cut is very much controlled.

A “draw” is a shot where a right handed golfer would hit a controlled shot that moves slightly from right to left. A draw can be desirable because it carries slightly longer and will tend to run after it lands a little longer as well.

I have to assume someone will send me a nasty email telling me that a cut and a fade aren’t the same thing. Technically, I see very little difference. Smile

Double Cross

A double cross is a term that refers to an unfavorable golf shot where for instance; a right handed golfer has set up and aimed to the left with the intention of hitting a cut or fade shot that will carry and leek back towards the right at the pin. However, the shot mistakenly draws to the left. This is a “double-cross” because it was aimed left and went left.


Flyer lie or Jumpy lie

A flyer lie is a situation where a golf ball has come to rest in the light to moderate rough. It is customarily thought that a golf ball being hit out of the rough will fly shorter than a ball hit from the fairway. While this is true for an inexperienced golfer, a golfer who makes very good contact with their iron shots, actually will experience something completely different.

When solid contact is made out of the light rough the ball will actually fly at a slightly lower trajectory and for a longer distance. This is a result of much less spin on the ball due to the presence of a little bit of grass between the ball and the grooves on the club head.

As a result the ball will carry an uncontrollable distance and it will land harder and run longer due to the lack of spin. You will commonly here a professional golfer say “it came out a little hot” this refers to this type of lie.


Fat or Chunky

This is a term that refers to a shot where the ground was hit before the golf ball. Typically a fat shot will make contact with the club face higher than ideal and lose distance.

You will hear a golfer say “I laid the sod over it” this is a euphemism for a situation where the ground was hit and the grass actually peeled up and covered the ball, leaving it right there where it started.


Thin Shot

A thin shot would be the opposite of a fat shot. Typically it would be a shot where the ball is truck too low on the club face.

his can also be referred to as “blading”, however, blading can also be intentional. You will see experienced players use their sand wedge to make a shot that resembles a putt out of the fringe. When intentionally bladed, the player will make contact with the bottom edge of the wedge, in the center of the ball, as opposed to the face.



A stinger is a shot intentionally hit with a low trajectory. Stingers can be hit with slight draw, slight cut or straight. This type of sot can be effective in wind where a low trajectory will disallow the wind from having as much effect on the ball flight.


Sawed Off

Much like a stinger, the “sawed off” shot is designed to fly lower and be less affected by wind. The term sawed off comes from both the grip being choked up on a little bit, shortening the shaft, and the follow through being shortened.

The shaft is angled towards the hole as to take some loft off the club, the club is choked up on to compensate for the extra distance gained form de-lofting the club.


On the clock

You will hear the announcers mention that a group is “on the clock” this is a result of slow play. While Tour Players are typically not timed on a hole by hole basis, they do have a certain amount of time to reach certain milestones such as the 4th hole or the 6th hole.

When a group is playing slow, they get a warning for slow play and they are then put “on the clock”. When they are on the clock they are being followed by a marshal and each hole is being timed. In the event they do not catch up they can be penalized.


Run-off or Collection Area

A run-off, collection or chipping area as it is commonly referred to, would be a low area adjacent to the green. A golf course architect will intentionally create this low spot where errant approach shots will have a tendency to come to rest.

A collection area will be “tightly mown” the same height, or shorter than the fairway and will typically add a level of difficulty because the player will be left with an uphill chip to the green form a tight lie.


Bail Out

When a player “bails out” he sub-consciously hits a shot away from a hazard. For instance, a player will take aim at the flag and there is water left. A bailout is when the player unintentionally hits the ball right and away from the water. This is typically a sub-conscious act that occurs at the last second.


Tight Lie

A tight lie is when the ball is left in a spot that has been tightly mown. A tight lie ads a degree of difficulty because it requires more accurate swing as to not blade or chunk the shot. There is very little room for error.


Pitch Mark

A pitch mark is the mark a golf ball leaves on the putting green when it lands. It is a round or oval shaped depression and it is important that YOU FIX THEM!

Of all the potential nightmares that face a greens keeper in keeping a putting green in good shape, the pitch mark or ball mark is something that you can fix and prevent from becoming a problem.

The proper way to fix a pitch mark is to take your ball mark tool and push it into the putting surface at the edge of the mark and then gently using leverage to close up the hole.

The improper way is to dig the tool underneath the mark and pull up from underneath the mark. This breaks the roots.

Regardless of which way you do it, doing it somehow is a huge benefit to the health of the green. Tests show that an untouched pitch mark will take 6 to 8 weeks to heal, if it ever heals. A ball mark that has been fixed will heal in as little as 2 days.


Blind Shot

A blind shot is any shot where the player can not see the surface where he or she intends to land the ball.


Stimp, stimping, stimped and stimpmeter

See: What is a stimpmeter

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