Golfing Glossary

If you are not familiar with golf and the terminology used, it can be quite intimidating. Don’t despair any longer, as we have compiled a glossary of the most commonly used terms! You will soon be able to discuss the game with colleagues with confidence as if you have been playing for years …!


Golf course – A golf course is made of 18 holes, split equally into two halves. These are know as the front 9 (holes 1-9) and the Back 9 (holes 10-18)

Round – term used to describe 18 holes of golf. A round of golf can take anything from 3 to 5 hours, depending on difficulty of course, number of golfers playing and weather conditions. For corporate golf days, we would allow at least 4 hours for a round. It is important to consider itinerary for the day when deciding how many golfers to invite.

Halfway House – some courses have refreshments available between the 9th green and the 10th tee. Some courses also have drinks buggies which offer refreshments to golfers whilst on course.

19th hole – The affectionate name for the clubhouse and Bar!

Teeing Ground, commonly referred to as The Tee – This is the starting place for the hole to be played. 1st tee is usually located close to the clubhouse;

Tee time – the start time from the designated tee. Maximum number of golfers for each tee time is 4. This is referred to as a 4-ball, whereas 3 golfers would be know as a 3-ball, 2 golfers as a 2-ball and a lone golfer as a single. Tee times are often in 8-10 minute intervals.

Fairway – the short cut grass between the tee and green.

Putting Green – this is an area of very finely cut grass where the hole is to be found. 18th green tends to be very close to the clubhouse.

Rough – any area of land which is none of the above! The grass tends to be longer and grows wilder, making it more difficult for golfers to hit the ball.

Flagstick (also known as the Pin) – this indicates to players where the hole is located on that particular green.

Par – the number of shots one should take to play the hole. Holes will either be a Par 3, 4, 5 or vary rarely a par 6. A hole’s par is determined by its length and difficulty and allows for 2 strokes once the ball has come to rest on the green. For example, on a Par3 it is expected that the golfer would hit the ball onto the green in one stroke and then take a further two to get the ball into the hole. The aim of the game is to take as few strokes as possible on each hole to get the ball into the hole. Most golf courses have a total Par of 72, but can vary.

Birdie – when the golfer plays the hole in one shot less than its designated Par;

Eagle – when the golfer plays the hole in two shots less than its designated Par;

Bogey – when the golfer plays the hole in one shot more than its designated Par;

Double bogey – just as it sounds – when the golfer plays the hole in two shots more than its designated Par;

Handicap – the number of strokes awarded to a golfer to equal the course’s Par after reduction from their final gross score;

2 Tee Start – this describes when a golfing group uses 2 separate tees as their starting point. The 1st and 10th tees are generally the two tees used and this format can allow larger groups of golfers to complete their round in less time than if they all played from the 1st tee. Golfers will still play 18 holes, just that some will play holes 10-18 before 1-9. This can prove to be a more expensive format at some venues, as the course will need to be exclusively reserved for a number of hours in advance.

Shotgun Start – this is when golfers start from all 18 tees on the course. A starter will sound the “Shotgun” to indicate the beginning of the round and all golfers will play each hole in succession until they have played the full 18. Again this is very good for large numbers of golfers as it allows all to start and finish at the same time. However, this can sometimes be more expensive as the course will need to be exclusively blocked off for up to 5 hours in advance. This is to make sure that nobody is out on the course when your golfers are teeing off.

Facility Fee – this is a one off charge for exclusive use of the course over a set period of time, typically for a 2 tee or Shotgun Start.

Playing formats. These are just some of different formats to playing the game.

Strokeplay – this is where every shot counts;

Stableford – where points are scored on each hole depending on the number of shots taken against Par;

Matchplay – when golfers compete to win each specific hole by finishing the hole in the least number of shots;

Fourball – a match in which 2 play their better ball against the better ball of 2 other players;

Foursome – a match in which 2 play against 2 and each side plays only one ball, taking alternate shots until the hole is completed;