The Funniest Golf Terms and Lingo

by Andrew Pritchard

How many times have you heard one of your golf buddies utter a golf term that brought a smile to your face or busted everyone up right there on the tee?

Like a 300-yard drive, having a deep golf vocabulary can truly elevate your game (you gotta talk the talk if you wanna spoil the walk). That’s why our crack staff at 18Birdies has assembled the “Sub-Urban Dictionary of Golf,” a collection of amusing golf terms, phrases, and definitions to enhance your golf lingo. After all, nothing soothes the pain of a snap hook like a perfectly timed duck call and the sound of your golf buddies quacking up.

Funny Golf Terms & Lingo for the Advanced Golfer

  • Ace: It’s in the hole. A 1 on your card. A euphoric feeling that no drug can top. And Ace is what all those newfound friends in the bar will be calling you as you buy them drinks. Cheers.
  • Albatross: The rarest of all birds, an albatross is playing the hole three under par (like making a 2 on a par-5, or acing a par-4). For most, it’s an endangered species.
  • Army Golf: Going from the left side of the hole to the right, then back to the left again (left, right, left… get it?).
  • Barkie: Hitting a tree and still making a par.
  • Breakfast ball: An unofficial rule of golf that gives you a free mulligan on the first tee. For many golfers, it’s the most important meal of the day.
  • Coast-to-Coast Flight: A ball that is hit from one green-side bunker to a bunker on the opposite side of the putting green.
  • Chili-Dip: When you chunk a chip.
  • Chicken Stick: The one club in your bag that you can always rely on, your go-to safety club.
  • Chippie: Chipping in from around the green.
  • Chunk: Hitting the ground very hard thus taking a big honking divot out of the turf. Sometimes the divot, or the player’s club, goes further than the ball. Another way to say you hit a golf shot fat.
  • DNF / DFL: The first is an acronym for not finishing a hole or tournament (Did Not Finish) while the second is a way to say you finished last (as in Dead F@&$ing Last).
  • Dammit: Nothing clever here, but undoubtedly the most common and beloved golf term.
  • Dance Floor: Also known as the green, it’s that place you want your golf ball doing a tango with the pin. If your ball is on the very edge of green, you are on the dance floor, but cannot hear the band.
  • Double Cross: When you try to hit a fade but end up hitting a hook and then all hell breaks loose.
  • Duck hook: A really, really, really bad snap hook often accompanied by your golf buddies’ quacking sounds. As Lee Trevino once said, “You can talk to a fade, but a hook won’t listen.” The duck hook even talks back.
  • Flop shot: A short game shot used around the green to loft a golf ball high in the air so that it will land softly on the putting surface. By opening up the clubface and taking a full swing, you’ll either make a lovely flop shot or skull the ball toward one of your partners on the other side of the green. FORE!
  • Flusher: A putt that circles the entire cup, then goes in. You might need to wipe after that one.
  • Flyer: A golf shot that literally flies too far. Usually the result of catching a “flyer lie,” when grass gets trapped between the clubface and ball at impact, impeding the grooves on your club to spin the ball. You can spot a “flyer lie” when you see thick rough growing in the same direction as the intended flight of your ball.
  • Foot Wedge: Also known as the golfer’s 15th club, employing the foot wedge is the not-so-legal action of kicking your golf ball into a more favorable spot before hitting it.
  • Fried Egg: A golf ball buried in the bunker. Upon entering the bunker to hit this shot, we suggest asking your foursome “where’s my side of bacon?”
  • Gardening: When you have to fix a divot or repair a ball mark.
  • Grain: The direction in which the grass is growing on the greens; putts can be down grain, side grain and/or against the grain all of which affect the roll of your golf ball. Not to be confused with that stuff in your buddy’s flask.
  • Greenies: Hitting a green in regulation: One shot on a par 3, two shots on par 4, three shots on a Par 5. Or the amount of Benjamins you win when you’re playing lights out.
  • Halve: In the match play format, when opponents tie a hole or a bet (front nine, back nine or overall), the opponents split the point resulting in each side earning ½ point. Sharing sucks.
  • Hosel Rocket: The most violent of shanks where a player hits the golf ball off the hosel (the rounded base of the shaft) instead of the clubface, and it flies off in an unpredictable, and often disastrous, direction.
  • Inside the Leather: Refers to the imaginary distance that makes a putt a gimmie or not (it can vary depending on how nice your golf buddies are). The more money you have on the line, the smaller the circle of friendship.
  • James Joyce: A putt that’s nearly impossible to read.
  • Knockdown: A golf shot with a lower ball flight, usually played to keep it out of the wind.
  • Lay the Sod: When you take a huge divot.
  • Lorena Bobbitt: A really bad slice (makes the fellas cringe just thinking about it).
  • Mud Ball: A devilish situation where mud has caked itself onto your golf ball making it nearly impossible to tell which direction it will go.
  • Platypus: Hitting a ball out of bounds and still making par. Platypuses aren’t normal and neither is making par after hitting one O.B.
  • Pinseeker: When your golf shot never leaves the pin.
  • Press: When a golfer chooses to open a new bet if they are down two or more holes on a current bet. If the golfer starts playing better after they press, the bets will cancel out and he or she will lose less money. Only used in match play formats, like Nassau.
  • Auto-Press: Same thing as a press, but the bet is automatically started when the golfer is down two holes to his or her opponent. Things can get messy if you start playing poorly and multiple presses open!
  • Rush Limbaugh: A golf shot that’s hit way to the right.
  • Sandbagger: Refers to a golfer who is better than his or her handicap would suggest. Beware of thieves.
  • Sandies: Getting up-and-down from the bunker (sand trap).
  • Sharkie: Hitting the ball in the water, and still managing to make a par. The great white ain’t scaring you.
  • Stiff: When you hit your approach shot very close to the pin, you’ve stiffed it. Stiffing an iron is applauded, stiffing the cart girl is not.
  • Swing Oil: Beer.
  • Ted Kennedy: A golf shot that’s hit way to the left.
  • That Dog Will Hunt: A complement given to a well-struck tee shot.
  • Three Jack: The dreaded 3-putt. Hey, it beats a four jack.
  • Tips: The back tees, where the PGA pros play from and where your alter ego thinks it plays from.
  • U.S.G.A.: Not to be confused with the United States Golf Association, this stands for “ugly shot, go again.”
  • Wormburner: A golf shot that never leaves the ground. Also known as a Snakeraker or Bughugger.
  • Yanked It: Another way to say you pulled a golf shot.
  • Yips: A word that should be avoided at all costs; however, if you must talk about it, the yips refer to a sudden loss of fine motor skills that prevents golfers from stroking a putt, hitting a chip shot or even getting off the tee. The believed medical cause of the yips even sounds scary, “focal dystonia.” There should be a cream for that!
Did this answer your question? Thanks for the feedback! There was a problem submitting your feedback. Please try again later.