Imagine this scenario of a person who is about to embark on the painful journey of pursuing a casual golf career. In other words starting a hobby that will make them want to quit, but they keep on going back to like a stubborn ex-girlfriend/boyfriend.
So you just went to Dick’s Sporting Goods or maybe a pawn shop to get your first set of golf clubs, a brand-new box of balls, a hat with a TW logo (because duh, you’re the next Tiger Woods), and some golf attire to look the part. Essentially you’re in the stages of faking it until you make it. The journey is long but you’re determined.
So you look the part and have a desire to learn, both positives. Now let’s get you up to speed with the language of the sport you’re about to play. You are embarking on a trip to a foreign land and you will need understand the language in order to communicate with the ‘locals’.
Golf’s langauage contains many different terms that are similar to your native tongue of english. But make no mistake, these words may sound familiar but they are far from what you may think they mean. To help you, the beginner, here is a crash course on golf terms so that you don’t make a fool of yourself.
Being part of a Foursome or Threesome
I figured we’d get this one out of the way first…When you are asked to join a foursome or threesome in golf it is in no way insinuating anything sexual. Not at all. And if it is I am curious as to what golf courses you’re attending (asking for a friend).
This simply means that you are part of three or four people playing the course together. Golf allows for four people to be playing a given hole at anytime. Usually there is never more than that.
Not every bad shot is considered a shank
When you hit a bad shot and it is not truly a “shank”, please, please, please refrain from saying that word. Even if you do happen to shank a ball, you should really not say the word out loud. It has been proven (not scientifically) that by saying the sinful word, it can creep into the mind of a playing partner and influence his/her game.
To demonstrate here is what a shank looks like:
Now here is a pull (when you pull the ball to the left if you’re a righty and visa versa):
And then you have a slice, where the ball starts straight and tails off to the right away from you (assuming you’re a right-hander):
Setting a Tee Time
Yes, it’s spelled T-E-E not T-E-A. When you’re asked to book a tee time, you are not signing up for hot drinks and biscuits on a Sunday afternoon. This is setting up a time for you to ‘Tee off’ and get your golf round underway.
While we are talking about teeing off, this shouldn’t be confused with a ‘tea-off’, which is a race to see who can chug a twisted tea faster. This is a tactic used by the male species in order to hide the shame of drinking what is perceived to be a ‘girly drink’.
What’s your handicap?
If someone asks you what your handicap is, please do not beat them up for assuming that you have something wrong with you. A handicap in golf is used to see what your average score is like, similar to a batting average in baseball. This helps if you are playing with an opponent who is better than you, in order to make the match a fair one.
No, you pyromaniac this is not the part where you set things on fire. Match play is a way to keep score by who has the lowest score on a hole. Instead of counting strokes, you count how many holes a person wins, that way you can still have a competitive round if you end up losing a hole and gained a ton of strokes in the process.
“I got a birdie”
No, this does not mean your playing partner killed a bird, nor does it mean you have found dinner for the evening. A birdie is when you score one shot under the set par for the hole. As a beginner, you won’t need to use this term that often, unless you’re a natural.
At the Beach
Being on a beach is one of life’s pleasures for most people, but playing from ‘the beach’ at a golf course is the thing that brings golfers more anxiety than hearing the word sha*k.
Even the most experienced of pros run into trouble with this sandy death trap as it takes perfect technique to maneuver the ball without grounding your club first.
Hopefully these tips help you beginners blend in nicely with the seasoned veterans out there. Hit em’ straight!