People who don’t welcome outsiders into their homes often give golf a bad rap. Despite the stereotype, there is a lighter side of golf.
In this post, I will show you 30 funny golf terms that every golfer should know.
I have compiled an extensive list of classic terms that everyone can relate to. I also included some terms I learned in South Africa as a child. These terms refers to the conditions of courses and shot shapes.
1. Goat Track
Growing up in rural areas, like mine, means you are used to poor-maintained layouts as well as poor livestock references. In my area, a goat track was the preferred term for poor golf courses. The greens are brown and difficult to distinguish between the fairway and the rough.
In my town, a goat track meant the same thing as the phrase “dog track” that you use in the United States.
This term is well-known to me. If your ball lips leave the cup, it is called being robbed. The ball stops at the cup’s edge or rolls along. If you’re lucky, it would drop. But when the Golfing Gods are against your game, you can’t win.
3. James Joyce
James Joyce was an Irish novelist who was highly praised for both his intelligence and wit. Many readers find his work difficult to follow and understand. The golf term refers to lines that are nearly impossible to judge. This is especially true for links courses, where there are undulation attacks at every turn.
4. The Cat Box
A cat box is a sand trap. While you fill your feline’s toilet with absorbable clay, bunkers generally contain Silica sand. Either way, you do not want to drop your cat’s litter or a sand bunker.
5. Dew Sweepers
I prefer to get the first tee time of day whenever possible. The course is quite quiet and you don’t have to be accompanied by anyone, which allows you to control the pace of play. Getting up this early makes me part of the elite global senior’s club called the dew sweepers. A dawn patrol round is a great way to start your day, jokes aside.
6. The 19th Hole
Your scorecard is only for 18-holes. However, the 19th is my favorite. This is the bar. This is a social space to share memories and make lifelong friendships. The 19th hole is a place where you can reminisce about your life, no matter how poorly you played.
7. Fresh Air Shot
Although we don’t want to admit it, all of us have experienced a fresh start at some point during our golfing careers. A fresh shot is when you swing and miss completely. Although you don’t touch the ball, your intention of striking it counts as a stroke. This is a terrible thing for the victim, but it’s hilarious for their playing partners.
8. Banana Ball
Consider the shape of a banana. It curves slightly in the same way your golf ball does when it is caught with an open or close clubface. A banana ball refers to a sliced shot. If you are right-handed, your ball will curve from left to right. Another term that you should not hear.
Your ball will explode if you generate too much backspin from the clubface. Then it will fall quickly to the ground. Rainmaker is a term that describes a ball that flew high enough that it falls rapidly from the sky in a rainstorm-like fashion.
10. Texas Wedge
My putter is my favourite club in my golf bag. It is so beloved that I use it off-the-green whenever possible. This philosophy is not unique to me. There is even a slang term that describes it. It is called a Texas wedge.
Ben Hogan is believed by having coined the phrase from his experiences in the lone-star state. It was safer to putt than to pitch your ball because of the small greens, high winds and tight lies.
Cam Smith from the 2023 Open Championship was a recent example of Texas Wedge play. He putted the ball around a bunker and off the green to set himself up for a challenging par attempt.
Four-Jack, similar to Three-jack refers the number of putts that you have made on a particular hole. Four-Jack refers to a 4-putt which can be both painful and humiliating. Particularly if you hit a green on the par 5 in 2 and a 4-putt to make a bogey.
A snowman is a score that you will never want on your scorecard. Based on the shape of the number, an 8 is a snowman. An 8 on a Par 3 is a quintuple Bogey. A similar score on a Par 4 is a quadruple Bogey. An 8 on a Par 5 is a Triple Bogey.
13. Fried Egg
Although landing in the bunker can be demoralizing, there are always worse things. A fried egg can ruin your parade.
This means that most your golf ball is in the sand. Only the top is visible. It looks like a fried egg with the yolk rising above the whites. It is difficult to control a fried egg for professionals and amateurs, leading to unpredictable results.
14. The Dance Floor
The dance floor is a funny name for the green. This is where all the action takes place and you have to bring your best. If your putting stroke is off you will miss opportunities, lose strokes, and feel sorry for yourself. It’s a night out with your buddies.
15. Mickey Mouse Course
A Mickey Mouse course takes a goat race to a new level. These layouts are shorter than other courses and require less maintenance. You needn’t be a long hitter to knock your ball onto the green. You might have trouble reading the putts from the cabbage patch greens.
16. Victory lap
It is nerve-racking for all golfers to see your ball do a victory lap. Your ball makes it to cup and decides that it wants to check out the land layout. It navigates around the hole, before dropping in. To earn a lower score roll around the cup before the ball goes into the hole.
17. The Drink
This term is not intelligent, it is logic. The drink refers the nearest water hazard to play. You can play safe and lay up, or you can go for glory if the drink is in play. However, there is a high chance of getting hurt.
18. Oscar Bravo
Oscar Bravo is a name I like. It has a nice ring to it. This slang term combines the code words O (out of) and B (bounds) from the phonetic alphabet. When your playing partner is unable to play, you will say Oscar Bravo.
19. An Ostrich
As an African, I had the responsibility of referring to one term that was being used in my club. An ostrich, the most majestic living bird, cannot fly. It sprints up to 43 miles per hour, which is quite impressive.
We called an ostrich shot on the links. It struggled to get off of the ground, but managed to run a remarkable distance.
Yips are a psychoneuromuscular impediment which affects muscle memory and your ability to swing the club and strike a ball. Sergio Garcia was at the Nedbank Million Dollar and I can still remember seeing him get the yips. He literally couldn’t strike a golf ball. The same thing happened to me a few years later. I couldn’t stroke anything within 5ft.
Scrambled eggs are made with a mixture of ingredients that create a creamy texture that can be eaten on toast or left as-is. Scrambling refers to a mix of shots, but you still manage a par.
For example, you might hit your drive into the woods, and your second into the bunker. The third shot is 15 feet beyond the hole. Next, drain the putt. You were all over and still managed to make par.
22. Breakfast Ball
This is a common rule among friends. Casual golfers allow you to have a breakfast ball when you tee off early in the morning. If your first shot ends in an unfavorable lie, you get a mulligan.
Ace is derived from the Latin term ‘asa.’ Asa was the smallest coin denomination in Ancient Rome. It is the most prominent of all the denominations. The English later adopted the term to mean the ‘first one’ or the ‘best one at something.’
When you card a hole -in-one, the term Ace is fitting because it refers to you being the best at that hole. Hole-in-ones are most common on par 3’s, where the achievement is also called an eagle. I’ve also played with two other players who were able to card aces on par 4. This is also known as a double albatross or a double eagle.
24. Foot Wedge
I don’t condone this behavior, but rather tell it as it is. A foot wedge does not refer to a golf club. The term refers to a golfer who kicks a ball into a favorable spot. This is cheating and should never be done on a course.
25. Chicken Stick
A chicken stick is the best golf club you have. This club will get you out of trouble no matter what the lie.
26. Hosel Rocket
Another term you never want to hear coming your way is ‘hosel rocket.’ This is a classic shank where your hosel connects the ball and sends it rocketing directly right if you are right-handed. This is the worst result for a golfer after a freshy.
27. Duck Hook
If you are the one who hit the ball, a duck hook can be a very unpleasant sight. It is a funny sight, however, for your playing partners. Your ball leaves the clubface, and your right-handers are hit with a violent hook.
Golf Monthly claims the animal reference in its name has less to be related to the fuzzy creature and more with the action. Your second shot is limited if your ball hooks hard.
This duck definition refers to taking cover, evading responsibility or duty. Therefore, your ball ducks behind trees and evades the fairway.
A platypus is the opposite of a duckhook. A platypus is rare and it can be seen only once in a while. This makes it a good comparison for hitting your ball out-of-bounds and still making par. It is rare and deserves a unique nickname.
We would use the appropriate names for the area, like a white rhino, in my neck of woods.
29. Swing Oil
This saying makes me think of Bender from Futurama whenever I hear it. To keep him in good shape, he needs hard liquor. Swing oil is usually a beer on the golf course. If wine or hard tac is what you need to improve your performance, then keep doing what you do best.
30. Toothed it
If someone claims they have toothed their shot they are hitting the ball off the bottom. This means that the ball has less spin, flies lower and doesn’t sit down quickly. The shaft vibrates and shocks your hands.
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