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Aiming

The act of aligning the clubface to the target.

Alignment

The position of the body in relation to the initial target.

Angle of Approach

Or Attack, A term that describes the relative angle which the clubhead approaches the ball at impact which, in turn, helps determine the distance and trajectory which the ball travels.

Approach

A shot hit towards the green or towards the hole.

Away

The away ball is that which is furthest from the hole when more than one golfer is playing. It usually is played first.

Axis

Generally refers to a straight line (the spine) that the upper body rotates around in the course of the golf swing.

Backspin

The rotational movement or spin of the ball produced by contact with the clubface. The greater the backspin, the higher the ball will fly and the more it will spin, and therefore stop or even spin backwards on impact with the turf.

Backswing

The motion that involves the club and every element of the body in taking the club away from the ball and setting it in position at the top of the backswing from which the club can be delivered to the ball at impact.

Balance

The proper distribution of weight both at address and throughout the swing.

Balata

A rubber-like substance used as a cover material for golf balls. Pure balata is rarely, if ever, used today. Instead, manufacturers use blends or synthetic material. Many players prefer balata or balata-like covers because it provides a softer feel. And can provide increased spin.

Baseball Grip

A grip in which all ten fingers are placed on the grip of the club.

Birdie

A score of one under par on a hole.

Bladed Shot

Often referred to as a "skulled" shot, it occurs when the top half of the ball is struck with the bottom portion of an iron, resulting a low-running shot.

Blast

The material carried with the ball when it is hit out of a sand bunker.

Block

A swing in which the rotation of the forearms is delayed or prevented throughout the hitting area, generally producing a shot that flies to the right of the target.

Bobbing

The act of raising and lowering (or lowering and raising) the swing center in the course of the swing.

Bogey

A score of one over par on a hole.

Borrow

The amount of break a player allows for when hitting a breaking putt.

Bowed

The position of the wrists at the top of the backswing in which the top wrist is bent slightly inward.

Break

The amount a putt will curve to the side because of the slope, grain and wind that affect the movement of the ball.

Bump and Run

A pitch shot around the green in which the player hits the ball into a slope to deaden its speed before settling on the green and rolling towards the hole.

Bunker

A hollow comprised of sand or grass or both that exists as an obstacle and, in some cases, a hazard.

Caddie

A person hired to carry clubs and provide other assistance.

Calcutta

An auction in which people bid on players or teams in a tournament.

Cambered

Sole A rounding of the sole of the club to reduce drag. A four-way cambered sole is one that is rounded at every edge of a wood.

Carry

The distance a ball will fly in the air, usually to carry a hazard or safely reach a target.

Carryover

When a hole is tied in a match and the bet is carried over to the next hole.

Casting

An uncocking of the wrists prematurely on the downswing, resulting in a loss of power and control. Also known as "hitting from the top."

Cavity-back

A type of iron in which a portion of the back of the clubhead is hollowed out and the weight distributed around the outside edges of the clubhead.

Center of Gravity

That point in the human body, in the pelvic area, where the body's weight and mass are equally balanced.

Center of Rotation

The axis or swing center that the body winds and unwinds around during the swing.

Centrifugal Force

The action in a rotating body that tends to move mass away from the center. It is the force you feel in the downswing that pulls the clubhead outward and downward, extending the arms and encouraging to take a circular path.

Chicken Wing

A swing flaw in which the lead elbow bends at an angle pointed away from the body, usually resulting in a blocked or pushed shot.

Chip and Run

A low-running shot played around the greens where the ball spends more time on the ground than in the air.

Choke

A derogatory term describing poor play that results from nervousness.

Choke Down

The act of gripping down on the shaft, which is generally believed to provide greater control.

Chunk

A poor shot caused by hitting the turf well behind the ball, resulting in a fat shot.

Cleek

A fairway wood with the approximate loft of a 4-wood that produces high shots that land softly.

Closed Clubface

The position formed when the toe of the club is closer to the ball that the heel, either at address or impact, which causes the clubface to point to the left of the target line.

Closed Clubface (swing)

A position during the swing in which the clubface is angled to the left of the target line or swing plane, generally resulting in shots hit to the left of the target.

Coefficient of Restitution

The relationship of the clubhead speed at impact to the velocity of the ball after it has been struck. This measure is affected by the clubhead and ball material.

Coil

The turning of the body during the backswing.

Come Over the Top

A motion beginning the downswing that sends the club outside the ideal plane (swing path) and delivers the clubhead from outside the target line at impact. This is sometimes known as an outside-to-inside swing.

Compression

A measure of the relative hardness of a golf ball ranging from 100 (hardest) to 80 (softest).

Connection

A description of a swing in which all the various body parts work harmoniously to produce a solid, fluid motion.

Cross-Handed

A grip in which the left (or lead) hand is placed below the right hand (in other words, a grip that is the opposite of the traditional grips. (Bruce Lietzke used a cross-handed grip when putting and was very successful).

Cupped Wrist

A position in which the left or top hand is hinged outward at the top of the backswing.

Cuppy Lie

A lie when the ball is sitting down slightly, usually in a small depression.

Cut Shot

A shot played with a slightly open clubface and a swing path that travels out to in. The result is a soft fade that produces additional backspin and causes the ball to stop quickly on the green.

Dead Hands

A shot in which the hands remain relatively passive in the hitting area, resulting in a shot that flies a shorter distance than it normally would.

Decelerate

A decreasing of the clubhead speed in the hitting area.

Deep-Faced Driver

A driver with greater-than-standard height on its face.

Delayed Hit

A golf term used to describe the Conservation of Angular Momentum.

Divot

The turf displaced when the club strikes the ball on a descending path. It also refers to the hole left after play.

Dormie

The point in match play when a player is up in a match by the same number of holes that remain.

Double Bogey

A score of two over par on a hole.

Double Eagle

A score of three under par on a hole.

Doubles

When a caddie carries two sets of clubs.

Downswing

The swing forward from the top of the backswing.

Draw

A shot that flies slightly from right to left for right-handed players.

Driving Range

Another term for a practice area. Also known as a golf range, practice range or learning center.

Duck Hook

A shot that flies sharply from right to left for right-handed players. It is usually hit unintentionally, since it is difficult to control.

Dynamic Balance

Transferring the focus of weight appropriately during the golf swing while maintaining body control.

Eagle

A score of two-under-par on a hole.

Early Hit

When a player prematurely releases the cocking of the wrists on the downswing, resulting in a loss of power at impact. This is also known as "casting from the top."

Effective Loft

The actual loft on a club at impact as opposed to the loft built into the club. Effective loft is determined by, among other things, the lie and the position of the hands relative to the ball at impact.

Explosion

A shot played from a sand bunker, usually when the ball has buried or settled down into the sand.

Extension

The width of the swing as measured by the target arm on the backswing and the trail arm on the follow-through.

Fade

A shot that flies slightly from left to right.

Fanning

An exaggerated opening of the clubface as the backswing begins.

Fat Shot

A description of a shot when the clubhead strikes the turf behind the ball, resulting in poor contact and a shot that comes up well short of the target.

Flange

A portion of the sole of a club such as a sand wedge or putter.

Flat Swing

A swing that is more horizontal and less vertical in plane than is typical.

Flier

A shot from the rough or in wet conditions that reduces the amount of backspin on the ball, causing it to fly lower and farther than it might under normal conditions.

Flip Shot

A shot, usually played with a wedge, that involves a wristy swing designed to hit the ball a short distance but with a lot of height.

Floater

A ball struck from the deep grass that comes out slowly and travels a shorter distance because of the heavy cushioning effect of the grass between the ball and the clubface.

Flop Shot

Similar to a flip shot except that it involves a long, slower swing.

Fluffy Lie

A lie in which the ball rests atop the longish grass. This can be a tricky lie because the tendency is to swing the clubhead under the ball, reducing the distance it carries.

Fly

The distance the ball carries or a shot that carries over the intended target.

Follow-through

That part of the swing that occurs after the ball has been struck.

Footwork

The coordinated action of the lower body during the golf swing.

Forward Press

A slight movement of the hands and arms (and occasionally the legs) that initiate the golf swing.

Forward Swing

The downward motion of the hands, arms and club from the top of the backswing to impact. Another terms for downswing.

Fried Egg

The slang term for a buried lie in the sand.

Golf Range

A facility where people can practice their full swings and, in some cases, their short games.

Grain

The direction which the blades of grass grow, which is of primary importance on the greens (particularly Bermuda grass greens) as this can affect how much and in which direction a putt breaks.

Greenkeeper

An older, outdated term for the course superintendent.

Grip

The placing and positioning of the hands on the club.

Grip (Equipment)

That part of the golf club where the hands are placed.

Groove

A description of a swing that consistently follows the same path, time after time.

Groove (equipment)

The horizontal scoring lines on the face of the club that help impart spin on the ball.

Ground

When referred to in the Rules of Golf, it means the point when the club touches the ground (or water) prior to playing the shot.

Half Shot

A shot played with an abbreviated swing and reduced swing speed. This shot is often played when trying to keep the ball out of a strong wind.

Heel

The part of the clubhead nearest the hosel.

Heel and Toe

Weighted, A club design where weight is distributed towards the heel and toe of a club, usually an iron, to reduce the effect of mis-hits.

High Side

The side of the hole that a putt breaks from.

Hitter

A player who favors a forceful, aggressive style of swing.

Hooding

The act of placing the hands ahead of the ball, both at address and impact, which tends to reduce the effective loft of the club.

Hook

A shot that curves sharply from right to left for right-handed players.

Hosel

The part of the club connecting the shaft to the clubhead.

Impact

The moment in the swing when the club strikes the ball.

Inside-to-In

A description of the swing path that, all things being equal, will produce the greatest percentage of solid, straight and on-target shots. It refers to a path in which the clubhead travels from inside the target line, to impact, and then back inside the target line.

Inside-to-Out

A swing path in which the clubhead approaches the ball from inside the target line and, after contact, continues to the outside of the target line before turning back to the inside of the target line.

Intended Line of Flight

The direction a player plans for his ball to begin after impact.

Iron Byron

A testing device modeled after Byron Nelson's swing. It is used to test clubs and balls.

Lag

A shot (usually a pitch, chip or putt) designed to finish short of the target.

Lateral Slide

Or Shift, A movement early in the forward swing in which the hips begin to slide to the target and rotate while, at the same time, weight begins to shift from the trail side to the target side. The timing of this motion is crucial to a proper swing.

Lay Off

When the swing plane flattens out at the top of the back swing, it causes the club to point to the side of the target and the face to close.

Level-Par

A term describing a score of even par.

Lever System

The skeletal system is composed of numerous bones which, in mechanical terms, act as levers. The two primary levers in the golf swing are: 1) the target arm, comprised of the radius and ulna of the lower arm and the humerus in the upper arm, and 2) the club when the target wrist becomes cocked.

Lie

As it relates to the ball, the position of the ball when it has come to rest. As it relates to the club, it is the angle of the sole of the club relative to the shaft.

Lights-Out

A slang term describing an outstanding round or stretch of holes.

Line

The intended path of the ball, usually referred to in the context of putting.

Line of Flight

The actually path of the ball.

Links

The term for a course built on linksland, which is land reclaimed from the ocean. It is not just another term for a golf course.

Lob Shot

A short, high shot, usually played with a wedge, designed to land softly.

Loft

The degree of angle on the clubface, with the least loft on a putter and the most on a sand wedge.

Long Irons

The 1-4 irons.

Looking Up

The act of prematurely lifting your head to follow the flight of the ball, which also raises the swing center and can result in erratic ballstriking.

Loop

The shape of the swing when the backswing and forward swing are in different planes.

Loosened Grip

Any time a player opens his fingers and loses control of the club. When this happens at the top of the backswing, it is often referred to as "playing the flute."

Mechanics

The mechanics of a golf swing or putting stroke.

Medal play

A score play competition where all shots are recorded and the winner is the one who took the least number.

Middle

Or Mid-irons, The 5-7 irons.

Mulligan

The custom of hitting a second ball -- without penalty -- on a hole, usually the 1st tee.

Nassau

A competition in which points are awarded for winning the front nine, back nine and overall 18.

Off-Green Putting

When a player elects to putt from off the green rather than chip.

Offset

A measure of the distance between the leading edge of the hosel and the leading edge of the clubface.

One-Piece Takeaway

Sometimes called the "modern" takeaway, it describes the beginning of the backswing when the hands, arms and wrists move away from the ball, maintaining the same relationship they had at address.

Open Clubface

When, either at address or during the swing, the heel of the clubhead is leading the toe, causing the clubface to point to the side of the target.

Open Grip

Also referred to as a weak grip, it is when the hands are turned counter-clockwise on the club.

Open Stance

When the left or lead foot is pulled back farther from the target line than the rear or right foot. This stance generally helps promote a left-to-right ball flight.

Open-to-Closed

A description of the movement of the clubface when a player fans it open on the backswing and then closes it at impact.

Outside-to-In

A description of a swing path when the clubhead approaches the ball from outside the target line and then continues to the inside of that line following impact.

Overclub

To pick the wrong club, usually for an approach shot, causing the ball to go over the green.

Pace

The speed of the golf swing or the speed of the greens.

Paddle Grip

A putting grip with a flat surface where the thumbs rest.

Par

The score an accomplished player is expected to make on a hole, either a three, four or five.

Path

The direction the club travels during the swing or the putting stroke. This is best observed from an overhead view.

Pendulum Stroke

In putting, a stroke that moves the clubhead back and forth on a constant line, without deviation.

Pinch Shot

A shot played around the green in which a player strikes the ball with a crisp, clean descending blow.

Pistol Grip

A grip, usually on a putter, that is built up under the left or top hand.

Pitch-and-Run

A shot from around the green, usually with a middle or short iron, where the ball carries in the air for a short distance before running towards the hole.

Pivot

The rotation of the body around a relatively fixed point, usually the spine.

Plugged Lie

The condition when the ball comes to rest in its own pitch mark, usually in a bunker or soft turf.

Plumb-bob

A method many players use to help them determine the amount a putt will break. It involves positioning yourself behind the ball and holding the putter vertically so it covers the ball. In theory, the shaft of the putter will indicate the amount the ball will break. It does not, however, measure the speed of the green, which is an important element is reading a putt.

Pre-Shot Routine

The actions a player takes from the time he selects a club until he begins the swing.

Press

To try and hit the ball harder than usual.

Pulled Hook

A shot that begins to the side of the target line and continues to curve even further away.

Pulled Shot

A relatively straight shot that begins to the side of the target and doesn't curve back.

Pulled Slice

A shot that starts well to the side of the target but curves back to the target.

Punch Shot

A low-flying shot played with an abbreviated backswing and finish. The key to the shot is having the hands slightly ahead of the clubhead at impact, which reduces the effective loft of the club.

Pushed Hook

A shot that begins to the side of the target but curves back to the target.

Pushed Shot

A shot that starts to the side of the target and never curves back.

Pushed Slice

A shot that starts to the side of the target and curves further away.

Radius

The distance between the center of the swing arc (the target or forward shoulder) and the hands on the grip.

Raised Swing Center

Elevating the central area in the body (somewhere between the top of the spine and the center of the neck) around which rotation takes place. What the novice frequently refers to as "looking up" and results in a swing that is too high.

Rap

To hit a putt with a short, firm stroke.

Reading the Green

Or Putt, The entire process involved in judging the break and path of a putt.

Recover

To successfully hit a shot from a poor location.

Release

The act of freely returning the clubhead squarely to the ball at impact, producing a powerful shot.

Reverse

Weight Shift, A swing flaw in which the weight moves forward on the backswing instead of to the back leg.

Rhythm

The coordination of movement during the golf swing or putting stroke.

Road Hole

The par-4 17th hole at the Old Course at St. Andrews, one of the most famous and difficult holes in the world.

Round Robin

A tournament format in which players or team play a variety of other teams, the winner being the player or team that accumulates the highest number of points.

Scoring Clubs

The driver, putter and sand wedge.

Scramble

To recover from trouble or a popular form of team play in which the team members pick the ball in the best position and everyone plays from that spot.

Semiprivate Lesson

An instruction format where a limited number of pupils work with a Professional.

Separation

When any of the various body parts and/or the club move either faster or slower that the other elements of the swing.

Setup

The process of addressing the ball, so that the club and body are properly aimed and aligned.

Shank

When the ball is struck on the hosel of the club, usually sending it shooting off to the right.

Shape

To curve a shot to fit the situation.

Short Game

Those shots played on and around the green, including putting, chipping and pitching, and bunker shots.

Short Irons

The 8 and 9 irons and the pitching wedge. The sand wedge is considered a scoring or specialty club.

Shut

A position in the swing when the clubface is closed relative to the target line.

Sky

A high, short shot caused by the clubhead striking the underside of the ball. Also known as a "pop-up."

Slice

A ball that curves from left to right to a greater degree than a fade.

Smothered

Hook, A low right to left shot that dives quickly to the ground. The cause is an extremely closed clubface.

Sole

When referring to equipment, it is the bottom of a club. When referring to the swing, it is the point when the sole of the club touches the ground at address.

Sole-Weighted

A design, usually for fairway woods, that incorporates additional weight along the sole of the club. This makes it easier to get the ball into the air and is also effective from the rough.

Splash Shot

A shot played from a good lie in the bunker. The club "splashes" through the sand, throwing the ball into the air.

Spoon

A term for a 3-wood that is seldom used today.

Spot

Another term for marking the ball on the green so it might be lifted.

Spot Putting

Using an intermediate target such as a discolored blade of grass or an old ball mark as a means of aiming a putt.

Square

A term frequently used in golf. It can be used to describe a stance or the clubface or to describe contact with the ball. It can also refer to the status of a match.

Stance

The position of the feet at address. (He played most shots from an open stance).

Steer

An attempt to guide the flight of the ball that usually results in a loss of distance.

Straight-Faced

The description of a club with very little loft, such as a driving iron, or a driver that lacks the standard bulge and roll.

Stroke Play

Also known as medal play, it is a form of competition based on the cumulative number of strokes taken, either over one round or several.

Strong Grip

A terms used to describe a grip in which the hands are turned counter-clockwise on the grip. It does not connote a stronger-than-normal grip pressure.

Supination

An outward rotation of the hands (thumbs turning out) away from the body's centerline when standing in a palms-facing-the-body position. In the golf swing it is the right-hand rotation motion on the backswing and the left's on the forward swing.

Swaying

An exaggerated lateral movement of the body on either the backswing, forward swing, or both, which results in inconsistent shotmaking.

Sweet Spot

The point on the clubface where, if it is struck with an object, the clubface will not torque or twist to either side.

Swing Arc

The entire path the clubhead makes in the course of a swing. It is a combination of the swing's width and length.

Swing Center

A point, usually near the base of the neck and the top of the spine, around which the arms and upper body rotate during the swing.

Swing Plane

An imaginary surface that describes the path and angle of the club during the swing. An imaginary surface that describes the path and angle of the club during the swing.

Swinger

A player whose swing is based on timing and rhythm, as opposed to a "hitter," whose swing is based on sheer power.

Swingweight

A measure of the effective weight of a club.

Swingweight Scale

A device for measuring swingweight.

Takeaway

The movement of the club at the start of the backswing.

Target Line

An imaginary (often visualized) line drawn behind and through the ball to the point a player is aiming.

Tee Box

The area where players tee to start a hole.

Tempo

The speed of the swing

Texas Wedge

A term describing a shot played with a putter from well off the green. It is a good shot for players who lack confidence in their chipping and pitching, or in extremely windy conditions.

Three-Quarter Shot

A shot played with a shortened backswing and lessened arm speed.

Tier

A rise or level in a green or tee.

Timing

The sequence of motions within the golf swing.

Toed Shot

Any shot hit off the toe of the club.

Topped Shot

A low, bouncing shot caused by the bottom of the club striking the top half of the ball.

Touch

A player's sense of feel, generally around the greens.

Trajectory

The height and angle the ball travels when struck.

Transition

The change of direction in the swing, from the backswing to the forward swing.

Uncock

The release of straightening of the wrists during the downswing.

Upright

A steeper-than-normal swing plane. Upright also refers to a club's lie in which the shaft is placed at a steeper-than-standard angle.

Vector

A quantity or measure related to force that has both magnitude and direction. An important factor in determining the distance and direction a ball travels.

Visualization

A mental image of a swing or shot or even an entire round.

Waggle

A motion or several motions designed to keep a player relaxed at address and help establish a smooth pace in the takeaway and swing.

Weak Grip

A term describing a grip where the hands are turned to the left for a right-handed player.

Whiff

A complete miss. Also known as an "air ball."

Yips

A condition, generally believed to be psychological, which causes a player to lose control of his hands and club. In Great Britain, the condition is referred to as the "Twitchies." This generally occurs when putting or in the short game, but it can also afflict people when hitting a tee shot.

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