Say What?! 10 Terms to Expand your Golf Vocabulary and Knowledge

One of the great things about our golf game and the English language is that both are constantly evolving. New shots, new tricks, new highs, and new lows are just some of the ways we see our golf game change over the years. Luckily enough, new slang words are always being invented in order to better describe our game. Below are some of the old favorites on the green, and some new ones you might not have heard of before.

Avoid The Sclaff
1.)  That moment when you strike the ground before making contact with the ball? It’s called a “sclaff
”. Coincidentally, it’s also the strangled noise I make when I hit a water hazard.

club_ball                                                    It’s usually followed by an awful lot of yelling.
                                                                  (original image found here)

We Like Birdies
 2.) The term “birdie
” was coined in 1899 by an American named Ab Smith, who, when thrilled with his performance on the green, called it a “bird of a shot” when he scored -1 in a game against his brother and friend. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean narrowly avoiding hitting birds with the ball.
                                                  Something to aim for.                   Something to avoid aiming for.
                                        (original image found here)                   (original image found here)

 Back Into The Catbox
3.) There are things we want to avoid in life, and the drama associated with the word “catbox” is one of them. On the course, the catbox refers to a sand bunker – a dirty situation you want to stay out of. Outside the course, hell hath no fury like a woman whose husband forgot the change the litter box again – a dirty situation you definitely want to stay out of.

sandtrapCat scoop not pictured.
(original image found here)

The Fried Egg Lie
4.)  Another golfing term associated with the unpleasant effects of a sand bunker is the “fried egg lie”. This delicious-sounding phrase refers to a golf ball that has become half-buried in the sand, creating a circular pattern around the ball which gives it the appearance of a yolk in the middle of a fried egg. Even breakfast enthusiasts can’t find the sunny side in that situation.

fried_egg_ballDid you want sausage or bacon with that?
(original image found here)

The Rarest of Them All
5.) The rarest of all bird-themed golf phrases is the elusive “
mighty condor” – a highly unlikely hole-in-one on a par-five. This bird is so endangered it has only been verified four times in the history of golf.

condor_imageUnfortunately, condors are severely endangered off the green as well. Learn more about them,
and what you can do to help, here.
(original image found here)

Barkies Are The Worst
6.) .A cat meows, a bird goes tweet, and a golfer “barkies”. This particular bit of slang refers to making par on a hole after hitting a tree on the same hole. But what’s the phrase when your ball is stuck up a tree? Game over?

barkiesBut what does the fox say?
(original image found here)

The Good Ole' Wormburner
 7.) When I started out, one of the only shot I could do was the “wormburner” This term is applied to shots in which the golf ball barely gets off the ground and rips along the grass. Luckily, if your a course where there ball rolls a lot you might luck out and get more distance than you normally do with a good drive.(Wouldn't suggest trying the wormburner shot though)

But seriously, I am so, so sorry.
(original image found here)

Cabbage Gone Bad
8.) I make a mean coleslaw in the kitchen, but on the green, I find myself knee-deep in “cabbage” more than I’d like. This particular term refers to rough that is deep and thick. Not surprisingly, that particular type of shredding is one I’d rather avoid


cabbageStep one: find the ball. Step two: Mow the grass around the ball using your slice.
Step Three: Throw your club in a fit of rage.
(original image found here)

Make It Stop 
9.) We’re all clumsy sometimes. Sometimes this leads to bumps and bruises, and other times it leads to us frantically yelling at our partner “I’m bleeding everywhere!”’’ Clumsiness on the course can also lead to us frantically yelling to “stop the bleeding”, albeit in a much less traumatic way. This phrase refers to the need to end a bad stretch of play, where a person is hitting bad shots and is “bleeding” strokes. Luckily, bleeding on the course usually doesn’t end in a hospital visit and stitches.

so_many_strokesI’m not just bleeding, I’m hemorrhaging.
(original image found here)

Not a Hairy Amphibian
10.) When a person first hears the wordsfrog hair” on the green, it might incite a little confusion. Luckily, this term just refers to the fringe, the closely mowed grass that surrounds a putting green, and not a hairy amphibian.

frog_hairThe stuff of nightmares.
(original image found here)

What about you? Do you have any golf themed slang or lingo that you use regularly? Let our LostGolfBalls team know in comments below!


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