Golf terminologies explained: The As and Bs

Golf terminologies explained: The As and Bs

In order to demystify golf, it is important to become familiar with the terminologies around the game. Over the next few weeks, we will take you through the various terms, in an alphabetical manner.

In order to demystify golf, it is important to become familiar with the terminologies around the game. Over the next few weeks, we will take you through the various terms, in an alphabetical manner.


Ace: Hit the ball into the hole in one shot from the tee. Alternative: Hole-in-one

Address: To stand ready to hit a shot with the clubhead behind the ball.

Aim: The direction you are trying to hit the ball.

Albatross: When you hit the ball into the hole in 3 shots under par. This would be a hole in one on a par 4 or a 2 on a par 5.  Alternative: Double eagle

Alignment: The relationship of the feet, shoulders and club face to the target.

All square: A tie in matchplay. Both golfers won the same number of holes.

Approach shot: A shot you hit (not off the tee) that lands on the green. Usually fro the fairway, fairway bunkers or rough after your drive.

Apron: The usually less than a yard wide grass around the edge of the green, separating the fairway and the green surface. Alternative: Fringe

Attend to pin: Hold the flag/pin/flag-stick while the other player putts and remove it as the ball leaves the putter face.

Away: The golfer who is next to play. “You’re away” is a way to use this term usually when no one is hitting but should be.



Back nine: Holes 10-18 on an 18 hole course. The opposite and complement to the front nine.

Backspin: When you hit a ball, the grooves create a spin on the ball that rotates backward and is responsible for stopping the ball on the green or fairway and often can roll backwards. Alternatives: zip, rip, bite

Back-swing: Initiation of the swing by take the club from behind the ball to behind your head. Opposite and complement to the follow-through or down-swing.

Ball-marker: Usually a coin or small plastic disk with a tiny spike to mark the position of the ball on the green so your ball doesn’t interfere with another players putt.

Birdie: When you make a score one under the par of the hole.

2 on a par 3

3 on a par 4

4 on a par 5


Bite: Same as backspin. Can be used as an instruction to the ball. “Bite!” “get down” “sit down” “Stooooop”

Blade: A kind of golf iron that has the weight in the back of the club behind the sweet spot evenly weighted from heel to toe. Opposite of a cavity back. Best to avoid these as a beginner because they’re very hard to hit.

To blade: To hit a golf ball off the leading edge producing a low ball flight without any control or spin. “I bladed it right over the green!” Alternative: thinned it, skulled it, hit it in the teeth

Blind shot: A type of shot where you can’t see the landing area from the tee or you can’t see the green from where you’re approaching from.


Block: A golf shot that goes very far right without much shape, just goes directly right off the club face. “He blocked it way right”

Bogey: A score one more than par on a hole.

4 on a par 3

5 on a par 4

6 on a par 5

Bounce: The angle measured from the front edge of a club’s sole to the point that rests on the ground when addressing the ball. This stops a sand wedge digging into sand or getting tangled in the long grass

Break or borrow: The movement of a golf ball on the green away from a straight line. Main reasons for the ball deviating on the greens are slopes on the green and grain of the grass. It takes a lot of practice to master reading greens.

Bump and run: A pitch or chip shot that is played lower with the aim to bump the ball into the air and let it run or roll for most of the journey to the hole. It can be performed from the fairway or green-side.

Bunker: An hollow filled with sand. They can be green-side bunkers, fairway bunkers or waste bunkers. You’re not allowed to ground your club in green-side and fairway bunkers but in waste bunkers, grounding your club is allowed. One of the least favorite places to be for some people but with modern clubs, it’s easy to beginners to escape! Alternative: sand, the beach. Avoid: sand trap – no one calls it that.

Want to follow some exciting golf action, remember the Safaricom Golf Tour is ongoing as it seeks to  tap, nurture and grow talent, especially among young golfers.


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