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What in The World Does The Term “Stick” Mean in Golf?

What in The World Does The Term “Stick” Mean in Golf?

I’ll never forget the first time I heard “stick” on the golf course.

It was my first live round, and one of my playing partners said, “make sure you are lined up with the stick.” I nodded but had no idea what he was talking about.

If you’ve had a similar experience, don’t feel bad. There are many slang words in golf that no one is familiar with, and not even the ones they know when they start playing.

In this post, we’ll break down what “stick ” and some other popular slang terms in golf.


Table of Contents

  • What is a stick in golf?
  • Other useful terms and golf slang to know

What is a stick in golf?

“Stick” actually has quite a few meanings on the golf course. Let’s list each of the meanings and briefly describe each. It may shock you to know that a stick can be used as a person or object.


This is probably how the term “stick” is most commonly used. In the above example, I was referring to my playing partner’s flagstick on the green. I wasn’t lined up properly for my approach shot, and he was trying to correct my stance.

For those that don’t know, a flag on a stick is placed into the hole on each putting green to give golfers a reference point to look at before hitting their shots. Other folks may refer to the flagstick as “the pin.”

Scratch Golfer

Another meaning of the term stick is scratch golfer. A scratch player is someone with a handicap of zero. This means they can shoot par on most occasions, regardless of how difficult the course might be.

Someone may ask, “Is John a good golfer?” A standard reply would be, “John’s a stick.” This would mean you wouldn’t want to play against John for money.

Golf Club

Stick is also a shorthand for a golf course. These terms are often interchangeable. Instead of asking someone what club they’re hitting, you can say, “What stick you got?”

Here’s a fun fact for you… Golf clubs were initially called golf sticks because the Church of Scotland frowned upon golfing on Sundays. To get around this, some golfers disguised their clubs as walking sticks.

Type of round

You may hear the phrase “off the stick” thrown around on the golf course. This means that none of the golfers’ handicaps will be considered when keeping score.

The round is decided by the player with the lowest score. In a tournament or competition play, “off the stick” is how the scoring is done most of the time.


Other useful terms and golf slang to know

These are just a few of the many meanings of a golf stick.

  • Ace:Another way to say hole in one!
  • Beach:A nickname for a sand bunker.
  • Buzzard:Double bogey (two above par) is another name.
  • Fairway: Most golfers refer to the fairway as the “short stuff” or the “short grass”.
  • Fly the green:Hit a ball completely above the green.
  • Fried EggWhen the golf ball is so buried in the sand trap, you can only see half of it.
  • Gimme: A putt that is so short that all competitors in the group won’t even make you hit it.
  • Green: Lovingly called the “dance floor” by some folks.
  • Hacker:A nickname for a high-handicapper or a player with little experience.
  • Lay it upIf you feel the shot is too risky, you can choose to hit the ball just short of the green.
  • Mulligan:This is where you can rehit after a bad shot. Official tournaments do not allow Mulligans.
  • OB:This is the time when you hit a ball beyond your bounds. To serve as out-of-bounds markers, the golf course will often have white stakes.
  • Over the TopA wrong swing path can often result in a wicked cut.
  • Putter:Also known by the flat stick.
  • Tap InIf the ball touches the hole, it is considered a “gimme”. Most of the time your buddies will consider this a “gimme”.
  • The Tips:This is the nickname for a tee box located farthest from the hole. The tips are used most often by professionals and scratch golfers.
  • Victory lap:When the golfball goes all the round the cup’s rim, before falling into the hole.
  • Watery GraveA nickname for any type or water hazard that may occur on the golf course.
  • Worm BurnerA shot that just barely (or never!) reaches the ground is called a worm burner. That’s called a worm burner!
  • Whiff:If a golfer makes a perfect swing but misses the ball.
  • Yips: When a golfer can’t seem to make short putts. It’s often caused by thinking too much, having shaky hands, or both.