Pencil drawing of a man using a golf club as a snooker cueGetting involved in golf for the first time may seem daunting especially as everyone involved seems to be sometimes speaking a different language.

I’m joking of course, but golf terminology for beginners is something that needs to be learned to avoid confusion and enjoy the game.

So I thought this article would help with the basics. Once you understand the terminology your confidence will grow and you can move on to perfecting your golf swing.

In This Article

Golf Terminology Explained For Beginners

Starting On The Tee

A game of golf starts on the first tee so unless it is a par three short hole you need to know how to use the driver.

On the tee, you will find various starting points, usually small wooden logs or blocks each with a gap of 12 to 15 ft in between from which you tee off, and are usually colored Red, Yellow, and White.

The red blocks or the lady’s tee area at the front, the yellow or tee of the day in the middle, and the white medal tees are to the back.

Avoid being accused of being a slow player with these tips.

On checking your scorecard you will see the yardage listed from all these markers to the green.

Note: that you can tee off up to two club lengths behind the blocks but not in front.

Club Competition

Golfer watched by playing partnersUnless playing in a club competition it is normal for the men to play off the yellow tee of the day, while the ladies always play their matches from the red markers.

You will see that each hole is allocated a par which when added together makes ‘the par for the course. Any handicap allowance is adjusted overall.

A ‘bogie’ is referred to as a stroke more than the par and a ‘birdie’ is one stroke less ‘or one under par.

To complete this scoring terminology ‘an eagle’ is two strokes under par and an ‘albatross’ is three under par which is also referred to by American players as ‘ a double eagle’.

See also: Learn about golf scoring:

Always mark your Ball

Although there are many named varieties of a golf ball it is advisable to initial your ball with a marker pen so that you can identify it from your playing companions.

Note: that there is a penalty if you play the wrong ball by mistake.

Each person takes their turn at teeing off and it is important to remember to shout ‘fore’ if there is any possibility that a ball that is driven offline may endanger another player.

Following are tips from PGA on golf etiquette.

Once you have driven off from the tee, you are playing toward the green hopefully keeping your ball on the fairway.

Like all other golfers, you may sometimes find yourself in the rough’ at which time if you need to identify your ball you may lift and replace it without penalty.

On reaching the green you will see a flag indicating the position of the hole. This flag is referred to as the ‘pin’

Take a look at How to develop the perfect golf swing, I think you may be surprised how easy it is with a proper training course.

Formats to Add Fun to the Game

Bunkers on the course are also referred to as ‘sand traps’ and depending on the game you are playing ‘a happy ferret’ is when a player chips onto the green from the bunker and holes with one putt. ‘also called an up and down.

Another format that can help to improve your putting and concentration is ‘Hissing Sid’ or the snake. Whichever player three putts on a green is then holding the snake’s tail at one.

Each green is then played with the last player three-putting holding the snake’ through to the eighteenth.

A beginner may find this a bit nerve-wracking so it may be prudent to only play this game on the practice putting green until you feel more proficient.

Consistently good putting can save you many strokes in a full round of golf.

Click here for putting tips for beginners.