Golfers probably have a word for that


Reprinted with permission: Thomas Reinhart

Golfers use many words you probably haven’t ever heard of

Even when the weather does not cooperate, golf jargon is a constant on any golf course. Some of it may be in response to an errant swing, support for another player, or even just in the spirit of playful banter. In any case, jargon is part of what makes the golfing experience one of a kind. 

Jargon is moderately prevalent in golf. I will fully admit that it usually confuses those who don’t play, but after playing it for so long I don’t really notice it as much,” junior Lily Nestor said. “I haven’t personally made up any new jargon but there are differences in what people use based on who they’ve played with in the past.”

9th grader Thomas Reinhart acknowledges its relevance on the course as well.

“Jargon is pretty prevalent when playing golf. I use the golf jargon, but I do not create my own jargon,” he said.

Nestor and Reinhart generally think that most jargon is helpful for players.

“I think it’s supportive. Though it takes a while to pick up, it’s a lot easier to be able to drop a single word as a descriptor rather than going on a tangent about what happened. For example, I could say that I shanked it versus that I hit it really badly and I’m not entirely sure what happened but there it is in the opposite direction that I wanted it to go,” Nestor said.

“It most certainly helps while playing golf. If us golfers started using random words for things such as a tee, it would be really hard to understand what they meant. These terms are just universal to golfers, so it would be hard to change them,” Reinhart said.

The use of jargon runs in the family for both Nestor and Reinhart.

“I mainly learned the jargon that I use from my dad and my coaches. When you first start playing golf it’s definitely a conscious choice to use jargon but then it starts to become instinctual,” Nestor said.

Reinhard said that “Most of the golf jargon I learned was from my father, who introduced the game of golf to me. I was extremely young when first introduced, so I do not remember exactly how I picked up on it.”

Nestor and Reinhart hear a laundry list of new jargon terms on the course.

“The most common words I hear are; birdie, par, bogey, albatross, tee, bunker, caddie, eagle, fore, links, and fairway,” Reinhart said.

Nestor added a few more to the list: “Shank, left some pizza in the box, worm burner, whiff, hit the big ball before the little ball, power alley, drive for show putt for dough, you’re dancing, drained it, gimme, mulligan, [and] breakfast ball.”

Nestor and Reinhart hope jargon remains a part of the golfing experience.

“It helps make it unique,” Nestor said.

“It would be really hard to change all of these words to something else,” Reinhart said. “It would be like changing the word ‘book’ to something completely different.