Glossary – strokes and ball flight

Glossary of golf names and terms relating to strokes and ball flight. Items are listed alphabetically.

To find a sought word:
– use any search function (e.g. Ctrl+F in Windows, Find in Page in Androd, Find on Page in iOS etc.),
– select desired letter range in the Index (below)
– or just scroll down.

 

A-C   .   D-F   .   G-H   .   I-Q   .   R-Z

 

 

Address
The golfer’s stance, when he is ready to play a stroke in position to start his swing – the golfer is standing over the ball and the sole of the club is touching the ground.

 

Air shot
An attempt to strike the ball where the club completely misses (has no contact) the ball. The air shot is counted as a stroke. Other name: whiff.

 

Approach, Approach Shot
A player’s first attempt to hit the ball onto the green. Generally an approach is the relatively short shot a golfer plays into the green from a distance requiring a full swing. If a golfer is close to the green (closer than 50-60 yards) the approach shot is termed rather a chip shot or a pitch shot.

 

Backspin
The backward rotation of a golf ball in flight around a horizontal axis. The more lofted clubs impart more backspin to the ball.
see the picture …

 

Banana ball
A slang term for a severe slice.

 

Break
The curve of a putt due to the undulations of the green surface (slope), grain or/and wind.

 

Carry
The distance the ball travels through the air from the point of contact with the club to the point at which it first touches the ground. Total shot length is the sum of carry and roll².
see the picture …

 

Chip, Chip Shot
A shot played from close to the green, usually within a few yards of the putting surface. The ball makes a shallow flight, then hitting the ground and rolling forward toward the hole¹. Usually played with a wedge, but some golfers hit chip shots using a short iron (7 or 8).

 

Cut shot
A fully controlled fade shot.

 

Draw, Draw shot
A shot intentionally played with a slight, controlled curving motion of a ball from outside-to-in, i.e. from right to left for a right handed player or left to right for a left-handed player. Such flight path of a ball is achieved with anticlockwise sidespin. The draw is the opposite of a fade shot. An overdone or uncontrolled draw becomes a hook.
see the picture …

 

Drive
A long-distance shot played from the tee box (tee shot), intended to move the ball a great distance down the fairway towards the green. Usually it is hit with a driver. If the player decides to play a lay-up shot the drive is hit with a shorter club (wood or iron).

 

Drop
The action of dropping the ball onto the ground by standing player from arm’s length at shoulder height. It is taken under the Rules after:
the ball is lost or
the ball is stricken into penalty area or
the ball is stricken into an unplayable lie or
player takes relief (e.g. from casual water, ground under repair etc.)

 

Fade, Fade shot
A shot intentionally played with a slight, controlled curving motion of a ball from inside-to-out, i.e. from left to right for a right handed player or right to left for a left-handed player. Such flight path of a ball is achieved with clockwise sidespin. The fade is the opposite of a draw shot. An overdone or uncontrolled fade becomes a slice. Other name: cut shot.
see the picture …

 

Hole In One
To hit the ball from the tee into the hole¹ with the first stroke of the ball.

 

Hole Out
To complete a hole² by placing the golf ball into the hole¹. The final stroke on a given hole².

 

Hook
Most commonly it is a misplayed shot when the golf ball curves significantly from outside-to-in, i.e. from right to left for a right handed player or left to right for a left-handed player. It can be also played intentionally by inducing anticlockwise sidespin onto the ball. The hook is the opposite of a slice shot and has similar shaping to draw shot, but it is more severe.
see the picture …

 

Lay up
A stroke played conservatively with a shorter club than is possible in order to position the ball in a certain spot. Lay up shot is done to get a more comfortable next stroke (lay up by choice) or to avoid a penalty areas (forced lay up).

 

Lip Out
A missed putt or approach when the ball hits the edge of the hole², runs around the rim and spins out instead of falling in.

 

Pin High
An approach shot that leaves the ball level with the hole². The ball travels the correct distance, but it stops off to one side or the other: on or near the green. Other name: hole high.
see the picture …

 

Pitch, Pitch Shot
A short shot (50 yards or less) into the green that makes the ball fly high with steep ascent, steep descent and very little roll. The ball stops more or less where it hits the ground. Usually played with a highly lofted club (wedge).

 

Pull, Pull Shot
A shot when the ball starts in an inward direction (left for a right handed player, right for a left handed player) and continues flight in a straight path. The pull is the opposite of a push shot.
see the picture …

 

Push, Push Shot
A shot when the ball starts in an outward direction (right for a right handed player, left for a left handed player) and continues flight in a straight path. The push is the opposite of a pull shot.
see the picture …

 

Putt
A light golf stroke made on the green in an effort to place the ball into the hole¹.

 

Roll²
The distance the ball travels (rolls or bounces) from the point of hitting the ground first time to its final resting spot. Total shot length is the sum of carry and roll.
see the picture …

 

Shank
A misplayed shot when the ball is not hit accurately by the face. Most often, the ball is contacted by the hosel and thus flies at a sharp angle to the right of the intended direction for a right handed player and to the left for a left handed player. Usually the ball travels only a short distance. Other name: hosel rocket.
see the picture …

 

Sidespin
The rotation of a golf ball around a vertical axis that makes a ball curve in flight.
see the picture …

 

Slice
Most commonly it is a misplayed shot when the golf ball curves significantly from inside-to-out, i.e. from left to right for a right handed player or right to left for a left-handed player. It can be also played intentionally by inducing clockwise sidespin onto the ball. The slice is the opposite of a hook shot and has similar shaping to fade shot, but it is more severe.
see the picture …

 

Spin
Rotation of the golf ball around the resulting rotational axis of the golf ball in flight.

 

Tap In
A situation on the green, when the ball is very close to the hole¹ and the player chooses to putt it promptly instead of lifting it. It does not require the permission of the other players.

 

Tee Off
The first stroke (tee shot) of a round of golf.

 

Tee Shot
The first stroke on the hole² played from the teeing area. It may be played with any club.

 

Trajectory
The shape (height and angle) of the path that the ball travels after impact.

 

Up and down
The situation when a player holes out in two strokes starting from off the green. The first stroke (pitch, chip or bunker shot) gets the ball up onto the green and the second stroke gets it down into the cup.

 

Whiff see Air shot

 

 

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update: January 2021