Golf Course Terminology

The following is excerpted from On Course, a dictionary of golf course terms used by golf course architects. Click on any letter to access terms beginning with that letter. Contents ©2012 by Forrest Richardson, all rights reserved.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

A player
The best of players, a near scratch golfer; (A, B, C, and D players constitute a classification system)

a’a
Lava that is crumbly and easily worked by shaping (Hawaiian)

a-huggin’ and a-chalkin’
Performing work with seemingly not much accomplishment; taken form a popular 1950s song in which a fellow had to mark in chalk his progress for being able to hug his girlfriend who was much larger around than he

access
Ability to a target so a shot can enter and approach with out obstruction

ace
Holing out in only one stroke on any hole

acme
A summit or highest point on a course; the highest level of design that can be achieved; as slang: term used to describe a golf course architectural firm that employs severe gimmicks with usually poor results, similar to the products of “ACME Co.” on the “Roadrunner-Coyote” cartoon show

acre foot
Unit of water volume commonly used for measuring the quantity of water required to cover one acre (43,560 square feet or 4,047 square meters) to a depth of 1 foot (0.30 meter) and equal to 43,560 cubic feet (1,234 cubic meters), or 325,851 gallons

act I
Slang for front, or “out”, nine holes of a golf course

act II
Slang for back, or “in” nine holes of a golf

ADA compliant
Design and construction meeting the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act

adjacent fairway
A fairway which is immediately next to an area

adjacent green
A green which is immediately next to another green or area

adjacent holes
Golf holes next to each other are said to be “adjacent” regardless of what portion of the holes are in proximity

adjacent tee
A tee which is immediately next to another feature or area

aeration
Any active or passive process by which intimate contact between air and liquid is assured, generally by spraying liquid in the air, bubbling air through water, or mechanical agitation of the liquid to promote surface absorption of air.

aerial
Used to describe an aerial photograph, usually taken true to vertical with the ground level

aerial golf
General style of play on modern golf courses, especially American courses, where golfers tend to approach an intended target with a high lofted shot that lands and sindexs rolling abruptly; promoted by increased artificial irrigation conditions on golf courses

aim line
The alignment a golfer is expected to aim, or will aim, to hit a shot

aiming bunker
Sand bunker placed to aid the golfer in aiming

aiming flag
A flagstick and flag, usually differently colored than those used to mark hole locations on the course, set into the ground to denote a preferred landing or aiming alignment on a par-4 or par-5 hole prior to the green; aiming flags are typical on blind shots or fairways without reference points for aiming

aiming post
A pole set within fairways as an aid in aiming

aiming rock
A painted stone or one of naturally contrasting color that is placed along a mound or ridge by a greenkeeper to indicate the preferred alignment for a shot that is blind or semi-blind; the locations of which may change daily depending on pin or tee position of a hole

aiming stick
See aiming post

aiming tree
A tree left in place or planted with a primary purpose to aid a golfer in aiming a shot or determining the line to a target

air rights
A portion of the space required for a golf hole that may, through an agreement for such use, be off the property of the golf course itself; an example of air rights may be an area between a tee and fairway which a shot may be hit over, but not from, such as a natural marsh, preserve area, bay of a lake, etc.

aircraft carrier
An especially long and flat tee, elevated above the adjacent grades, with one constant and level surface

airspace
The area between lots on a course through residential development; slang for open space that a golf course provides amidst developed areas

airstrip
A particularly flat and long area on a hole; slang for a long and flat tee

alarming
Hole, hazard, feature or or approach that is visually striking in terms of difficulty if not negotiated with care and skill

albatross
A score of three under par on a single hole; identical to a double eagle

alignment
The designed line of play from tee center points to a fairway angle points or green center points, and between fairway angle points on par-5 holes; the route of a path, trail or water course

Alister
Given nickname of Dr. Alexander MacKenzie; for “Alexander”

all carry shot
A shot expected of a golfer which requires the ball to clear a distance all the way to the target with no room for bouncing or rolling along the ground

alpine course
Golf course built in mountainous region or terrain, especially one at 6,000 feet above sea level or above

Alps Hole
Specifically refers to the par-4 17th hole at Prestwick; also generally refers to a hole mimicking the “Alps” hole with an approach shot that must carry a very large mound that blocks the view to the green

alternate green
The concept of constructing two separate greens to be played at the discretion of the green committee or some times by the golfer

alternate hole
The concept of constructing two separate holes to be played at the discretion of the green committee or golfer; both are usually of the same par but possess different attributes, challenges or views

alternate pin
The concept of placing two separate flagsticks on a green to be played at the discretion of the golfer or by means of a set of rules where golfers can handicap themselves by playing to a more difficult or easier pin position

alternate route
Any pathway to a target among which there are two or more fairly obvious choices

alternate tees
Multiple tees arranged to be used by golfers as part of a round; some nine hole courses have “multiple tees” so a second round will provide different lengths and angles to each hole

alternative course
Broad term for any course which is generally shorter and takes less acreage than a regulation-length golf course; examples include: nine-hole courses, Cayman courses, par-3 courses, 3-hole loops, chip and putt courses, etc.

Amen Corner
Portion of the routing of the back nine at Augusta National consisting of holes 11, 12 and 13

amoeba shaped
Refers to a feature that has a blob-like shape or no organized shape at all

amphitheater
Green set amongst mounds or hillsides so that the finished area mimics an “amphitheater”

angle of approach
Angle in which an approach shot is supposed to be played to the target for optimum scoring potential

angle of hole
The angle of a dog-leg hole; the playing strategy of a hole in terms of its requirements, not related to its geometry

angle point
A point on the design plans for a par-4 golf hole at which a shot played from the tee ideally ends and the second shot to the center of the green begins; on a par-5 hole where the second shot ideally ends and the third shot begins; in the case of straight golf holes the lines connecting angle points with tees, greens or other landing points does not always create an angle yet the term is still used

angular
Abrupt and contrasting due to non-curved surfaces, especially compared to the surrounds

apiki
Tricky; a lie that encourages a golfer to hit the ball thin such as from a downhill lie (Hawaiian)

approach
The fairway and adjacent features immediately fronting a green that are within the path of a golf shot; also the shot made by a golfer to a green from fairways, roughs or hazards

approach and putt course
Par-3 course that simulates the approach shots to greens of full-length courses by virtue of the lengths of holes and how they are guarded by hazards

approach course
A type of course made up of par-3’s where there are no formal tees allowing golfers to play shots from positions at their discretion

apron
Grass that extends from the green outward toward the front, sides or back; usually not cut as low as the green itself; aprons are generally not a consistent width and considerably wider in dimension than fringe or collars(see also “collar, fringe, frog hair”)

aquascaping
Use of aquatic vegetation in landscaping ponds, shorelines or to create wetland areas

aqueduct
A pipe, conduit, or channel designed to transport water from a remote source, usually by gravity and supported above low points or other watercourses in a bridge-like manner

arboretum
Sarcastic term for a course so overgrown with trees or one not adequately cleared of trees such that it may as well be used as an arboretum

architectural feature
A building, whether habited or abandoned, or any wall, dam, bridge, or other structure on a golf course, which defines a hole or serves as an obstacle to play; common examples include stone cottages, old rock walls, bell towers, pump houses, castle ruins, etc.

arcology
The methodology invisioned by planner and architect Paolo Soleri that recognizes the necessity of the radical reorganization of the sprawling urban landscape into a dense, integrated, three dimensional city; meets the problems of expanding population, pollution, energy and natural resource depletion, food scarcity and quality of life; a combination of the studies of architecture and ecology; ecological architecture

area of impact
For a golf hole, the area required to accommodate the hole up to the limits at which other, non-golf uses may be carried out; for a course the same general limits

Arizona gorse
Mass plantings of feathery cassia (Cassia wislizeni) creating a field of greyish bushes with yellow blossoms mimicking natural gorse of the British Isles (coined by Arthur Jack Snyder)

arm
A thinnish extension of a bunker, lake or other feature that resembles an “arm”; an inlet of water which is typically long and relatively narrow, much more so than a bay

arm-waving
Sarcastic description of a golf course architect that relies mostly on site “arm-waiving” in lieu of detailed plans with which to design and guide construction

armoring
Protective layer consisting of large stones, broken rocks, boulders, or precast blocks placed on a slope to protect against erosion, waves, ice action, and flowing water (see: rip rap)

armpit
Slang for a scraggly and usually deep bunker

arresting hole
A hole so compelling that it arrests the golfer’s mind and attention

arrival statement
Term to describe a tee station and its impact on the golf experience; may also refer to an entry feature of a club or course

arroyo
Watercourse in an arid region; a gully or channel carved by water (Spanish; see also: barranca, wadi, and wash)

artifice
Am ingenious and clever device; a artful stratagem that is tricky; “The expanse of grass that extends from the green is an artifice which fools even the best of players.”

artificial feature
A feature created by construction means

artificial hazard
Any hazard created by construction means

artificial hole
A golf hole constructed entirely, or nearly so, by shaping or earthmoving efforts as opposed to being configured into a naturally occurring landscape with minimal or almost no grading effort

artificial ridge
A pronounced ridge which extends across, or partially across, a green

artificial three-shot hole
Par-5 hole that would ordinarily be reachable in two shots but because of an obstacle or obstacles forces a player to play to the side or lay-up on one or more shots

artificial turf
Carpet of turf-looking surface used in place of natural turfgrass

as the crow flies
Describes the direct path from one point to another with no curvature or detour around an obstacle; “Although the dog-leg hole is 340 yards, as the crow flies it measures just 290 yards from the tee to the green.”

ASGCA
American Society of Golf Course Architects; established in 1946, the first and most regarded professional organization made up of golf course architects; members, by virtue of their knowledge of the game, training, experience, vision and inherent ability, are able to design and prepare specifications for a course of functional and aesthetic excellence

associate golf course architect
Title given an assistant or staff member of a golf course architect

asymmetrical
Design that is without symmetry and therefore more natural looking as a result of its randomness

atypical
Design which is not typical and therefore more interesting than not

avenue
Path to a target; slang for the linear heart of a fairway

back to top>>
 

B

B player
A good golfer, one maintaining a single digit handicap; (A, B, C, and D players constitute a classification system)

ba
Ball (Scottish)

babble
The low, murmuring sound made by flowing water through a stream course

back holes
The last nine holes of an 18-hole course

back nine
The final nine holes of an 18-hole golf course; derived from the holes position on the “back” of a scorecard (see also “in nine”)

back side
see “back nine”

back swamp
Marshy area of a flood plain located away from a river or inlet

back tee
The tee of a golf hole which is furthest away from the green

background
The naturally occurring landscape behind a golf hole

backsindex
A mound, ridge, bunker, depression, slope or other feature which serves to help sindex a golf ball from rolling further; a usually ugly fence or net placed to help prevent errant balls from damaging life or property

backwater
A small, generally shallow body of water attached to a main channel but with little or no current of its own

backwater pool
Pool formed due to an obstruction in a stream or channel

badlands
Land consisting of intricate erosional sculpturing forming extremely interesting land forms

baffy
Classic golf term referring to a wood club with the loft of a 4-wood

bag drop
Convenient and designated area where golfers may leave golf bags upon arriving at a course or club; ideal location for thieves interested in golf club acquisitions

bag stand
Framework of metal, wood or similar rigid material expressly for supporting golf bags in an upright position such as at a bag drop area, practice range, storage area, etc.

bail-out area
An open area, usually to the side, provided by the design of a golf hole that allows a golfer an alternative to a more aggressive line of play while perhaps sacrificing an opportunity for a lower score (see also lay up area)

bajada
A long outwash of sediment forming a slope at the base of a mountain range

balance
General term used to indicate visual aesthetics of an area or landscape; also used to describe series of holes or nines of a course in reference to how they work with one another in terms of challenge, appeal, and being memorable

bald mound
A rounded mound with grass cut exceptionally tight to the ground

ball buster
Very long or difficult golf hole

ball catcher
A trap, grass depression, playable hazard or mound which tends to sindex balls and prevent errant or over-hit shots from continuing; a ball catcher is typically a savior to a golfer and a lie resulting from one not thought of as a bad compared to the alternative beyond and along the direction the ball had been headed

ball collector
Any depression, including a sand bunker, which is intended and designed with inward slopes for the purpose of collecting balls hit to its general area; usually for the purpose of preventing balls from rolling further off line

ball magnet
Any hazard or other area other than a tee or green which tends to attract shots hit by golfers

ball mark
Indentation created on a putting surface from the impact of golf ball

ball sindexper
See ball catcher

ball washer
Machine used to clean and scrub golf balls; typical mechanics are a twisting plunger or a rotary crank which subjects the ball to a liquid bath

ball-to-target-line
The direct line from the position of a player’s ball to the target

BANANA
Acronym to describe people who believe that others should “Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody

banana
Describes the shape of a golf shot with potential liability for others safety, is devoid logical explanation for its existence and may not necessarily conform to the accepted laws of physics

bank
A slope of rather steep angle which divides an area, terminates to a lake or hazard, or forms the edge of a tee or green

bank shot
Shot where a steep slope is used to manipulate the direction or speed of the ball

barber pole
Created term to describe a bold striped pole set within fairways as an aid in aiming

barkie
The act of completing a hole in par after having the ball strike any part of a tree within the duration of that hole (see also “woodie”; source: Golfeurope Dictionary of Golf Terms)
barkin’ and a hoggin’ and a floggin’
Describes the task of pushing dirt and being underway with the shaping process; (coined by Spencer Adams, shaper)

barranca
A otherwise dry channel, usually steep walled, in which water flows during rainfall runoff; barrancas are usually covered in vegetation which distinguishes them from washes (see also: arroyo, wadi, and wash)

barren
Area devoid of trees or vegetation other than turf

base map
A drawing of data file containing base information for the land that a golf course is designed upon; such data usually includes indexo, tree canopies, bodies of water, watercourses, roads, property lines, utilities, etc.

base sheet
(see base map)

baseball glove sand trap
A sand trap which resembles a baseball glove; often used to describe bunkers by George C. Thomas which were often characterized by gnarly “fingers” extending from the main body of the bunker

bathymetric map
A map showing the depth (bottom contours) in bodies of water, including streams, lakes, etc.; in essence, a term to describe a “indexographical” map of underwater surfaces

bay
In reference to bunkers, an area which extends out from the main mass of a bunker and is defined by capes or areas of turf; an area of a surface, especially water, which extends outward from the main portion of the area to form a smaller area mostly secluded

bayou
A creek, secondary watercourse, or minor river which is tributary to another river or body of water; term regularly used in the lower Mississippi River basin and in the Gulf-coast region of the U.S. to denote a large stream or creek, or small river, characterized by a slow or imperceptible current through lowlands or swamps; confusing in that it also is used to denote estuarial creeks or inlets on a coast; small bays, open coves, harbors, lagoons, lakes and bays

beach
Slang for sand trap or bunker

beach bunker
A large sand bunker with a relatively flat bottom and very slight edges surrounding; can also mean an improved sand hazard combined with the shoreline of a lake or pond (see “shoreline trap”)

beached whale
Similar to “buried elephant” but slight different shaped; reference to a mound

beacon
A tree, bunker or other prominent feature used to align a golfer and assist in playing a golf hole

bedew
To wet with or as if with dew.

bee-line
Used to refer to the centerline of a golf hole or the direct line of sight between an area of a hole and the target, especially when such an imaginary line is unobstructed and free of obstacles; derogatory term for an unimaginative golf hole, usually straight and with little or no interest such that a golfer is only required to hit toward the target with lack of thought or challenge

beginning to sing
When shaping effort moves across the threshold of “work” to that of “art” (coined by Arthur Jack Snyder)

bell shaped
Green with the shape of a bell, being wider at the front and narrowing toward the back

bells and whistles
Extra things which can be designed and built into a course and that cost more money; items which are not essential

ben
A mountain (Scottish)

bench mark
A known geographic point established in the field which defines elevation and coordinates

bench terrace
Flat area which interrupts a hillside

bend
Refers to the angle created in a dog-leg hole; any feature with a “bend”

bent
Used in British Isles to refer to clumps and areas of sea lyme grass growing with or without other varieties of links grasses intermixed

berm
A small rise in the terrain which is long and narrow; usually man-made but can be naturally occurring

bet hole
Golf hole specifically built for practice or settling bets, and not for integration to a round of golf, yet typically placed within a routing such as a short par-3 hole following No. 9 and prior to No. 10, or one following No. 18

bi-level
A tee or green having two distinct levels

Biarritz Hole
Name bestowed to an exceedingly penal and long par-3 hole, typically playing over a perilous hazard and seemingly impossible to reach from the tee; the name comes from a hole golf which course architect C.B Macdonald saw at Biarritz, France at the Golf de Biarritz, the first major course built there in 1893 by Willie Dunn. The hole was the No. 3 hole and only lasted for about 3 or 4 years as originally designed because it was regarded by many to be too difficult and perhaps unfair. The hole was called the “Chasm” in reference to play from an 80-foot high cliff over a portion of the Bay of Biscay to a 50-foot cliff beyond. The original length was a fierce 220 yards. The club moved the tee to an easier position and built a hotel on the original cliff. Macdonald remained intrigued by the original hole and finally built a ground level version at Piping Rock’s No. 9. From then on, Macdonald, Seth Raynor and Charles Banks built one such hole on every full course they completed. Each “Biarritz Hole”, as they called them, was between 220 to 245 yards in length and extremely penal. Yale’s No. 9 is a very literal version and plays over water. The great 16th at Cypress Point was perhaps the best “Biarritz” ever routed by Raynor and finally modified by Alister MacKenzie in the eventual design and building

big finish
Ending hole or holes that are inherently more challenging and dramatic than the balance of the course

billabong
Australian for a pond or an artificial water hole created for livestock; sometimes a dead-end channel off a more major stream

bird bath
Small pocket of water that collects on a fairway

bird’s-eye-view
View of a course from above, not necessarily perpendicular to the ground level

birdie
Score of one under par on a single hole

birdie shot
The shot a golfer makes to place the ball into position to potentially score a birdie

bite off as much as you can chew
Referring to a golf shot where the golfer can aim at incremental angles to a diagonally positioned hazard or feature thus allowing the shot to end up either closer to the target or more distant from it depending on the angle of the shot played

bite-off hole
A design of a hole, or portion of a hole, allowing a shot to be played which, by changing the angle of flight, will enable the golfer to hit further toward the target and thus reach the target or be closer for the next shot

black markers
Named for the color often used for tee markers set at the very back of the available teeing ground (possibly derived from the “black diamond” designation at ski resorts indicating the most difficult of ski runs)

blah
Very uninteresting

blin
Blind (Scottish)

blind
A hidden area from which a golfer can see a target, but cannot generally be seen by others

blind approach
Situation caused by a golfer hitting to an area outside of the planned landing area and therefore limiting visibility to the area of the green

blind green
A green positioned such that it cannot be seen from areas of approach that are chiefly within the expected areas that golfers are meant to be playing from to approach the green; (note: although a particular green may not be able to be seen from deep in the rough, for example, this does not mean it is a “blind green”; this is simply a “blind approach” caused by the golfer’s mishap)

blind shot
A condition where a golfer playing a shot from a tee or intended landing area is faced with not being able to see the next intended landing area, be it a fairway landing area or the green itself; a blind shot is typically not a condition where a golfer from a location in the rough or a hazard is faced with the same condition

blue markers
Named for the color of a majority of tee markers used to designate the back tees or those near to the back of available teeing ground

bluff
A point accessed on level terrain but significantly above and looking out beyond the point of access

bog
Wet spongy ground which is poorly drained and accumulated with plant material; common to the periphery of an open body of water

bogey
Score of one over par on a single hole

bogey golfer
Male golfer with a handicap index between 17.5 and 22.4 or a female golfer with a handicap index between 21.5 and 26.4 as specified by the USGA

bogey rating
Evaluation of the difficulty of a particular golf course as it relates to the bogey golfer

bold play
Play by a golfer that intentionally assumes risk in order to better position for pursuit of the target

bomb crater
Large circular bunker

bonnie
A pleasant golf hole to look at (Scottish)

bonus hole
A hole included in the layout of a course but not counted toward the player’s score

boomerang green
A green shaped in a wide arc like that of a boomerang; typically with the concave portion facing the line of play and the two “wings” on each side

boomerang shape
Refers to a feature that has an angled shape resembling that of a boomerang

boreal forest
forest, usually dominated by conifers, located in northern regions

bosque
Area of dense trees in a low lying area (Spanish)

bottle neck
Portion of a hole or fairway which narrows significantly; any elongated and narrow width of a golf course feature; also an area of a course at which play slows considerably due to course layout, difficulty of a hole or other condition of the facility or course policies

boulder
Any rock fragment larger than 60.4 cm (24 inches) in diameter

bounds
Short for “out of bounds”

bowl
An area having a shape of a bowl; an area of a green where there is an undrained low point
box
Construction term to define the cleared area of a hole bordered by uncleared trees or terrain

bracketed bunkering
Description of bunkering flanking both sides of a fairway or green, generally opposite to each side and somewhat congruent in terms of size and quantity of bunkers

Bradshaw’s Bottle
During the british Open in 1949, Harry Bradshaw, an Irish Pro, pushed his drive and found it inside a broken bottle; the rules at the time did not permit relief and he wasted a stroke to break the bottle and ultimately lost the tournament which he had a chance at winning before the event unfolded

brae
A hill or hillside (Scottish)

braeheid
The index of a hillside (Scottish)

branch
A tributary of a river or other body of water

branch manager
A golfer who is prone to hitting into trees

brassie
Classic golf term referring to a wood club with the loft of a 2-wood

break
The direction that a ball will roll on a putting surface

breakneck green
A green with slopes and breaks so confusing that a golfer might break his neck trying to read them

breakwater
A barrier that protects a harbor or shore from the full impact of waves

breather
Golf hole with relatively little strategic, penal or distance intensity

bridge
Thin strip of turf between bunkers suitable for use in accessing the green or other area

broken ground
Rough earth with rises and falls suitable for transformation to golf use, or for leaving as rough areas in between tees and fairways, aside of holes, etc.

broken nose
Nose of a bunker which abruptly forms a steep slope into a bunker

brook
Very small stream of flowing water, often associated with a trickling or babbling sound of water flowing over rocks

broom
Leguminous shrub having long slender branches, small leaves and usually blooms a yellow flower

brush
Scrub vegetation

brutal
A course, hole, or hazard that is particularly tough; length of a course from a particular set of tees that is such

bubble plan
A site plan with roughly drawn “bubbles” depicting areas, uses or districts to be later planned in greater detail; “The routing was shown in bubble form with golf course areas shaded in a color of green that defied description.”

buggy
A golf cart; chiefly British

bugs and bunny study
Slang for an environmental or habitat study

builder
Construction entity of a golf facility

bulb
A protrusion of the shape of a feature, such as a sand trap or green

bulger
A wood club with a convex face

bulkhead
A retaining wall along a waterfront; also used loosely to describe any artificial retaining wall or surface, such as that on a bunker face or steep embankment

bump
A very small and usually gradual mound

bump and run
Shot played into a slope or bank and then allowed to continue to toward the target

bumps and hollows
A scattering of small mounds and depressions amongst them

bungler
Someone who creates a horrible golf course design, or ruins an existing hole or course layout by redesign, a hack

bunker
Historically, a grassy mound or configuration of mounds located to influence and affect a golf shot regardless of whether it is faced with or con tains sand; mostly in modern terminology, a depression filled with sand for the same purpose; in some locales, a bunker is called a “sand trap”, a pit filled with sand; clearly a “bunker” is a hazard when it contains sand unless otherwise noted by local rules; a protective embankment or dugout; a fortified chamber often lying mostly underground (see “sand trap” and “trap”)

bunker complex
A grouping of bunkers and mounds that by nature of their proximity work together to define an area of interest and feature

bunker happy
A design resulting from too many bunkers

bunker island
Any raised area within a bunker on which maintained turf is grown; not technically a part of the hazard unless otherwise noted

bunker well
The main body of a sand bunker at which it is typically lowest in elevation

bunkering
The combination of bunkers at a green, hole or course

buried elephant
Describes a large mound, usually in a green, that appears as though it was formed by covering a large animal carcass with earth; sometimes used sarcastically to describe a mound feature which is out of scale or not shaped well; rarely, but in some locales, literally a “buried elephant”; (see also “hogback)

burn
Scottish term for a “creek” or “stream”

burp
Abrupt mound which seems to come up out of nowhere

butte
Isolated hill or mountain with steep sides; smaller than that of a mesa or plateau

button hook
Hole with a green set across a hazard or feature situated to the side of a fairway requiring play beyond the green and then back in a “looping” alignment if one is to avoid hitting over the hazard or feature; mostly used to describe a par-5 hole where the center line of the third shot as designed is near to a right angle to that of the second shot’s centerline; taking its name from the looping shape of a but ton hook

button tee
Refers to a back tee from which little golf is played due to extreme length but added for scorecard length or marketability

bye hole
Same as “bye hole”

back to top>>
 

C

C player
The average golfer; one with a handicap from 16 to 35 (A, B, C, and D players constitute a classification system)

cabbage
Slang for very thick rough that entangles

caddie
Person who carries the equipment of the golfer and is allowed by the rules of golf to provide information and advice for that golfer; from the French word “cadet” which means younger brother or son

caddie car
British term for a golf cart

caddy
(see caddie)

caddy master
Individual in charge of caddy assignments, training and hiring

caddyshack
House or cottage where caddies gather to receive assignments and await golfers

caddie
A man’s flat indexped cap (Scottish)

caldera
Volcanic crater formed by a collapse of the center or by an extraordinary explosion

caliche
Cement-like soil layer that can be found near the surface, often mistaken for real cement, but formed naturally by secondary carbonates of calcium or magnesium precipitated from the soil solution

California Green
Generally, a green constructed of pure sand with a simple layer of gravel below the sand

cambuca
A derivative of paganica, a Twelfth Century game, but played with a wooden ball

camouflage
The appearance of something so it blends in or takes on the appearance of something else; golf architect, Dr. Alister MacKenzie was an expert at this by way of his studies and work for the military during the Boer War

can cup
A tin can used as a cup, the earliest version of an improved cup inserted into what otherwise would be simply a hole dug into the ground

canal
A constructed open channel for transporting water

canny
A snugly situated green or tee; also a carefully situated feature

canopy
The horizontal limits of a tree during its peak growing season; (see also: drip line)

cape
In reference to bunkers, extensions of turf which interrupt the main mass of a bunker and help to form bays (see: bay); capes often appear as tongues (see: tongues); the point or head of land projecting into a body of water; any rounded projection jutting out into an area of lower lying terrain

cape hole
Stemming from a par-4 or par-5 hole designed on a “cape” of land mostly surrounded by peril (water, deep rough, etc.); with a a tee shot that can be played further along the cape with more risk; the hole will typically end to a green set at the end of the cape above the hazard or rough

Captain of Golf
Prestigious title in the British Isles held by a person selected by former Captains to serve as a symbol and spokesperson for a golf club for a one-year term

Captain, The
Nickname given to golf course architect George C. Thomas, Jr. who was a Captain in the United States Army Air Squadron 96

car park
British for “parking lot”

carbuncle
Description of a usually unsightly feature on a golf course; taken from the medical term for a painful local purulent inflammation of the skin and deeper tissues with multiple openings for the discharge of pus and usually necrosis and sloughing of dead tissue

cardiac hole
Steeply graded hole that is strenuous to walk

cardinal bunker
Refers to the large fairway bunker on the 3rd hole at Prestwick

carom
Rebounding of a golf ball at an angle different from its original path

carpet
Slang for putting green or particularly manicured turf carpet faced bunker A bunker with a steep face, sometimes vertical, which is stabilized and faced with layers of floor carpet which are capable of retaining the earth behind it

carpet padding
Slang for any variety of turfgrass that when seasonally dormant is used as a base for growing overseeded varieties; especially in reference to overseeded hybrid bermudagrass in climates where such turf is in dormancy during the primary playing season and therefore not appreciated (coined by Forrest Richardson, 1988)

carry
The distance which a golf ball travels in the air, or must travel in flight in order to carry a given distance; carry often refers to the distance a golf ball must travel before landing to clear a hazard or feature

carry bunker
A sand-filled bunker positioned such that the preferred line of play requires a direct hit over the bunker

carrying hazard
Same as “carry bunker”, but extended to any hazard positioned so that the preferred line of play requires a carry to clear its limits

carse
Low land near a river (Scottish)

cart barn
A structure for storing golf carts

cart girl
Informal slang for a female employee who operates a refreshment cart with beverages and snacks

cart path
Improved surface on which motorized carts are intended to travel; typically gravel, asphalt or concrete; portion of a golf course where most personal injury lawsuits originate

cart path connection
Length of cart path usually between golf holes

cart trail
Nicer term for “cart path”

carve the pumpkin
Saying to denote that it is now time for the subgrade of a green or bunker to be “carved out” of the finished grade upon which it is to be situated’

cascade
A short, steep drop in the bed of a stream elevation often marked by boulders and agitated white water.

cascading
A series of three or more levels which fall in succession, such as the levels of a green or a complex of bunkers at different levels

casual water
Water that accumulates on a golf course as a result of irrigation or stormwater runoff and is not defined as a hazard

catch
A low spot or grass bunker designed to “catch” balls or drainage; usually situated so as to “catch” a ball

catch basin
See “catch” and “catchment”

catch bunker
Bunker situated so as to “catch” a ball prior to it going into a hazard, out of play or otherwise in a worse position

catcher’s mit
A roundish mound with a pronounced depression set into the face of one side slope; a bunker with the same general definition (see also “Thomas bunker”)

catchment
A low spot usually associated with drainage

cathedral effect
Tall trees lining an area which duplicates to a degree the feeling of being within a “cathedral”

cathole
Localism used by early settlers in southern Michigan for very small (usually less than an acre) shallow depression or hole; presumably originated from the characteristic aquatic plant, the cattail, or perhaps the presence of catfish, which cropped up in such holes; the term came to be applied loosely to any shallow and boggy low area or a pond connected to a stream or swamp

cattle tank
A basin created by damming or excavation that collects water to be consumed by livestock

cattywumpas
Relating to unevenness; “The surface of the green is cattywumpas to the horizon”

cauldron
Exceptionally deep and treacherous hazard, usually a bunker and one not so small

causeway
Raised pathway formed by filling across wet or marshy ground; “The island green at the TPC at Sawgrass is accessed by a causeway.”

cavern
A grass or sand bunker of exceptional depth and with steep side slopes; in geologic terms, a large underground opening in rock, usually formed by dissolved limestone

cavernous
Especially large and deep or with a large opening; “The trap was cavernous and we almost lost sight of him”

cavity
A hole or depression; usually not used in reference to a desired feature

Cayman ball
Lightweight golf ball developed to travel roughly half the distance of a regulation golf ball; first used on a course designed specifically for the new lightweight ball in the Cayman Islands

Cayman course
Course specifically designed for use with the golf ball due to its shorter length and consumption of less land area; but not necessarily a course exclusive to use by a Cayman ball

Cayman range
Shorter length and scaled practice range restricted to use with theCayman golf ball

cement-like approach
A hard or flat area fronting a green which allows balls to roll without impedance

centerline
Line which connects the tee center point with angle points and green center points; used in the planning process of a golf facility as the skeletal system of a golf hole (see “course geometry”)

centerpiece
A feature placed to attract attention; “The centerpiece of the course was the expansive lake can bee seen from nearly all the holes.”

chain
Series of golf holes of no specific number, but usually having some commonality by way of setting, likeness or theme

chainsaw shaping
Shaping so naturally conducive to golf that it is said to require “only” a chainsaw with which to ready it for planting

challenging but not intimidating
Expression to sum up the objective of a golf course architect in designing for a majority of golfers (coined by Arthur Jack Snyder)

championship course
A course on which a championship is played, especially a major championship; often misused to mean a course of regulation par and length regardless of whether a championship has been held upon it

championship pin placement
Refers to a pin location that is particularly difficult or risky to access; attacking such a pin may require carrying or skirting a hazard or condition which may not be easily accomplished by the average golfer

championship tees
Usually the tees at the back, or near to the back, of a series of tees on a hole or course

change of pace hole
A golf hole that is significantly and noticeably more difficult or less difficult that the hole previous to it

channel
Ditch or watercourse usually constructed for the purpose of conveying water and with very defined edges

character
The overall tone and feel of a golf course made up of its design and landscape elements; the personality of a hole or course that can be communicated

charrette
A term used to describe a creative meeting of intensity at which solutions for a design project are freely offered and contemplated; charrettes usually consist of a consortium of design professionals, owners, managers and stakeholders, including invited guests who have expertise or insight appropriate specific to the project; a charrette is typically a daylong event with results that are tangible in their conclusion to solve a design problem; (French, feminine noun for cart)

chasm
Deep bunker; a ravine or natural area that is deep and steep

check dam
Small dam constructed in a gully or other smallish watercourse for the purpose of decreasing the streamflow velocity, minimizing channel erosion, promoting deposition of sediment, or to divert water from the primary channel or flow

chicane
An obstacle, usually in the form of sharp turns, built into a path or route to a target

chigger
A nasty and almost microscopic insect that burrows under the skin of mammals (including humans) and maneuvers from one place to another while living embedded within their host; chiggers are typically itchy and must be starved of access to the air by applying a coat of nail polish or sealant to the wound entrance which will cause them to eventually die and be absorbed by the body in which they are residing

chinook
A downslope wind in which the air is warmed by gradual heating; such description is used commonly to refer to a warm, dry wind which blows down the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S.

chip and putt course
A course made up exclusively of holes that require chips and putts

chip and run
A chip shot that is executed over a distance not necessarily exclusive to the putting surface, but typically made within 30 yards of the hole

chip shot
Act of striking the ball so that it carries just on to the edge of the green and rolls to the hole

chipper
Golf club used for chipping

chipping area
Area designated for chipping practice, with or without a formal putting surface to accept shots

chipping green
A designated green for accepting chip shots

chipping swale
A swale adjacent to a green which is mowed and slopes at a height conducive to chipping or putting onto the green

ChippoTM
Bladed club with the loft of a 5-iron and shaft length of a 9-iron; used for chipping (trademark of Ping/Karsten Mfg.)

chocolate drop
A mound with a pointed index resembling a drop of chocolate but much larger and not nearly as sweet

chole
Flemish game resembling golf and perhaps involved in golf’s ancestry; two players bid on the number of strokes to reach a distant goal such as a door or gate by hitting a ball with a club; the lowest bidder gets three consecutive shots and then the opponent is allowed to strike the ball once to stymie the opponent or merely hit the ball backwards; goal is to reach the target with the amount of strokes bid

church pews
Large, flat sand trap interrupted several times by low, narrow grassy ridges placed perpendicular to the line of flight, the appearance of which resembles “church pews”; famous feature located between the third and fourth fairways at Oakmont Golf Club outside Pittsburgh

chute
A rather narrow opening flanked by slopes or hillsides that creates a visual “tunnel” from the viewpoint of the golfer

civil civil engineer
A pleasant civil engineer

civil engineer
Professional who deals with planning and engineering site infrastructure; grading and drainage; and road and utilities

classic hole
Used to denote a famous golf hole that has been widely copied in design principal

clear cutting
Act of clearing all trees and vegetation from an area

cleavage
A narrow opening between two mounds

cleek
More classic golf term for an iron club with the loft of a 2-iron; from the Scottish word of the same spelling to mean “a hook shaped device”

cliché
Hole or course seen before and predictable

climax
The green of a hole; a point within a round or course where the most awaited and celebrated hole or holes are grouped

cloaked
A hidden feature, especially a subtle one, so it cannot be easily detected; “The breaks were cloaked amongst the backdrop of the mounds and hollows.”

clockwise
Preferred routing direction along lot lines and roads when site conditions permit

clod
Compact, coherent mass of soil ranging in size from 5 to 10 millimeters (0.20 to 0.39 inch) to as much as 200 to 250 millimeters (7.87 to 9.84 inches) and produced artificially by excavating, plowing, digging, etc.; especially when these operations are performed on soils that are either too wet or too dry; also: a bad shaper

closing hole
The last hole of a course or round

cloverleaf
Shape of a bunker or green with three or four bulbs protruding from a central point

clubhouse
The building or buildings and all facilities that serve the members, customers and guests of a golf course; such amenities can include a proshop, restaurants, bars, grills, car room, meeting rooms, library, locker rooms, daycare, pool area, court games, spa, and support facilities such as kitchens, offices and maintenance rooms

clubhouse area
The area of the clubhouse, entrance, required parking, and all immediately adjacent facilities except the golf course

cobble
Stones set flush to the ground and tightly packed

collaboration
When two or more architects or designers work together to design a course or complete work and they each are deserving of credit for the work

collar
A relatively constant width of grass that surrounds a putting green but is not cut as low as the green itself (see also “apron, fringe, frog hair”)

collection bunker
A bunker situated to collect balls, usually sindexping the ball from entering deeper trouble

Colonel Bogey
Mythical golfer developed in England around 1890 who played perfectly, never finding a bunker, always reaching the green with an acceptable amount of shots and always two-putting; term was coined by a couple of high-ranking military officers one of which stated that the “ground score” was always catching him, like a bogeyman (or boogeyman); the two decided that this bogeyman should also have the rank of a commanding officer, hence the name

comfort station
Accepted term for a restroom with or without a rain shelter

compact all-clubs course
Refers to a 12-hole golf course composed of a majority of regular-length par-3 holes or an approximate equal number of par-3s and par-4s

compartment
Area of a green defined by breaks, ridges or the shape of the outer limits of the green, and which is distinguishable by the golfer from the balance of the green when playing a hole

complex
Golf facility having two or more golf courses, multiple practice areas, or a combination of these

compulsory carry
A forced carry over a hazard or feature

concave slope
Slope with decreasing gradient as contours decrease in elevation

concentric
Shaped perfectly round

condor
Alternative term for a score of three under par on a hole; (unknown origin)

congestion
Condition on courses where play is slowed as a result of poor routing, planning or design for the type of play or other conditions

conservative play
Play by a golfer that intentionally avoids risk while still being in pursuit of the eventual target

conservative shot
See conservative play

conservative tee
A tee of a hole which, in comparison to other tees of the same hole, does not require as much strategy or heroism in order to execute play

containment
Design of shaping that assists in keeping the ball in play through depressions, slopes and mounds that are angled up and away from the golfer

contour
An imaginary line existing on the surface of the earth which represents a series of points at the exact same elevation above a given reference point, such as the level of an ocean; contour lines are used to draw the vertical shape of the land in a two-dimensional representation; also a term used to describe the slopes and surfaces of a golf course, hole, fairway or green

contour interval
The difference between contour lines

contour mowing
Mowing paths which generally follow the contour of the fairways or roughs and work in and out around mounds and features as opposed to going up and over high points and slopes without regard for the natural flow of the course

contrived
Hole or course that looks and feels manufactured and not at all natural or belonging to a landscape or area; obviously constructed and fabricated features or elements; not a complementary description

control boxes
Metal boxes dispersed throughout a golf course that contain controls for irrigation system zones

controllers
see control boxes

controversial hole
Golf hole that attracts significant criticism resulting from severity of design, tightness, high cost or any other extreme condition

convex slope
Slope with increasing gradient as contours decrease in elevation

cookie-cutter greens
Greens that are all similar on a course and usually uninteresting

cookie-cutter traps
Sand bunkers which are relatively roundish and look so similar that they are said to have been “manufactured by the same mold”; also sand traps so cleanly cut so as to have a crisp edge as if cut with a giant cookie-cutter

cop bunker
Sand bunker designed expressly to divert play around or over it; to one side or another, or to divert play away from a particular area; a cop bunker is usually penal in nature, placed so as to penalize even the poorest of shots

cop hazard
Out-of-bounds stakes set along a hole to create a penalty; usually for the purpose of protecting another nearby hole or practice area, but sometimes out of pure spite

copse
Small group of young trees

copy hole
A hole almost entirely copied from another; especially one copied from a famous hole

corner
Area of a green or feature off to one side and somewhat defined as a separate area

corridor
The open and cleared path of the fairway and rough that constitutes the playable area of a golf hole; sometimes refers to the area of a golf hole between lot lines or other holes

corrie
Bowl-shaped hollow depressed into a hillside (Scottish)

corset
A rigid and closely controlled restriction

coulee
A word with regional definition differences; in most parts, a deep gulch or ravine with sloping sides that is usually dry during the summer; in some parts of the Southern U.S., a stream, bayou, or canal; in the Upper Midwest U.S., a valley with hills on either side; technically in geological terms, a stream of molten lava or a sheet of solidified lava

counter intuitive green
Putting surface with actual breaks going against what is expected; (coined by Tom Ingalls, especially of Dr. Alister MacKenzie’s greens)

country club
Private club that only allows members and their guests to use facilities (see also “private”)

course
Reference given to any number of holes linked together to create a formal venue for playing the game of golf or practicing golf; a wide majority of “courses” are comprised of either nine or eighteen holes, but a practice course, for example, may be made up of just three holes; the entirety of golf holes as defined on a scorecard from a particular set of tees, “The ladies course is set up quite long today.”

course furnishings
The equipment used on a golf course for the purpose of playing the game of golf; examples are tee markers, flagsticks, flags, ball washers, hazard markers, etc.

course geometry
The final combination and relationship of tee points, angle points and green center points, and the lines connecting each, for a golf course

course handicap
A golfer’s handicap after being adjusted for a particular golf course based on a rating of its difficulty

course length
The sum of all hole yardages from a constant set of tees on a given course

course oddity
Having to do with extreme unusualness in terms of par distribution, layout, length, etc.; “Bishop Auckland in Northern England is s good example of course oddity with three par-5s coming at Nos. 2, 3 and 4.”

course par
The score standard for a golf course comprised of the total of all of the pars assigned to each hole; the number of strokes that a scratch player may be expected to take in order to complete a round; a standard reference number used to keep a running tally of score throughout a round of golf; course par may be different for men and women based on the combined pars assigned to all of the holes; (see “hole par” and “par”)

course rating
Evaluation of a golf course performed by an authorized golf association indicating the difficulty of that particular golf course; based primarily on the course’s total yardage; other factors include: indexography, fairway width, green target area relative to approach shot, rough and recovery, bunkering, out of bounds, extreme rough, water hazards, trees, the putting surface and psychological factors; a course rating indicates the difficulty of that particular golf course

course signage
Signs used on a golf course, especially those for identifying a hole, yardage or other golf-oriented purpose

courtesy bell
A durable bell placed beyond a blind shot that can be rung by golfers after completing their shots to signify to golfers in the group behind that it is clear to hit

cove
Small sheltered inlet or bay; in a bunker, a bulb off of the main portion that forms a cove

cow pasture
Slang for a poor conditioned course or one that is unduly flat and without interest

cow path
Slang for hardpan soil conditions caused by repeated traffic of golfers or golf carts

crag
See “craig”

craig
A rugged rock or outcropping (Scottish, from the Gaelic word for “rock”); also spelled “crag”

creek
Small flowing rivulet or stream of water which is smaller than a river and larger than a brook

creek realignment
The change of a creek channel to a new flow line

crest
The index of a mountain, hill mound or bunker; an emblem adopted by a club or course to signify membership or origin

crete
Type of concrete block set flush into the ground with openings enabling turf to grow through; such block prevents rutting or erosion while allowing access by vehicle traffic

crevasse
A deep crack or fissure; any hazard which is exceptionally deep and steep-sided

crook
The inside of a dog-leg

croquet area
An entirely flat area of a putting green

cross hazard
Sand bunker or formal hazard that lies at a ninety-degree angle to the line of play, usually requiring a shot to carry it; can also mean a pronounced feature or rough area having the same characteristics, but not necessarily a “hazard” per the “Rules of Golf”

cross-bunker
Sand bunker that lies at a ninety-degree angle to the line of play, usually requiring a shot to carry it

cross-over
Where the intended play of two holes intersects; common in early courses of the British Isles, now less common due to liability; also used informally to describe where parallel holes going in opposite directions meet a similar set of holes and play “crosses over” from one side to the other; in routing: where any series of holes “crosses over” another series between greens and tees

cross-section
A diagrammatic view as if from the immediate side of a golf hole looking at its elevational change from tee area to green area

crosswind
Winds blowing in multiple directions due usually to changes in the terrain such as hills, valleys, or coastlines which can change wind direction at different levels above the land

crowned
Tee or green that slopes away from the center or middle

cuesta
Hill or ridge having a steep face on one side and a gentle slope on the other

cultivar
Plant of a certain species that varies slightly from others of the same species, usually for resistance to certain diseases, insect damage and leaf and flower color

culvert
A drain or conduit for passage of drainage water under a road, railroad, canal, structure or other obstruction, usually via gravity

cunnette
A longitudinal channel constructed along the center and lowest part of a channel or through a detention or retention facility and used to carry low flows; also referred to as a trickle

cunning layout
A tricky design

cup
Sleeve that slides down into the hole to preserve its’ shape; sometimes used to refer to the “hole” itself

cup space
The areas on a green where it is practical to cut a hole

cuppy
Describes a lie in a small depression

cut
Material removed from existing grades; the specific height a fairway is mowed

back to top>>
 

D

D player
A duffer; golfer with a handicap above 36; (A, B, C, and D players constitute a classification system)

daily fee course
Refers to a golf course at which it is not necessary to be a member in order to play; play is open to the public for a fee (see also “municipal, semi-private, private”)

daily pin position
Position of the pin when changed daily

dam
Impedance, either natural or created, to flowing water; a form of earth that appears like a “dam”

damn
Exclamation occasionally heard when working on a golf course construction site

dance floor
Slang for the green of a hole

dandy
An exceptional and demanding golf hole (used extensively by by Arthur A. Snyder)

dangerous carry
Flight of a golf ball of which the odds are against clearing a hazard or obstacle

daring design
Golf course architecture which breaks new ground in terms of look, design, strategy, landscape, construction, or type of surrounds; a particular feature or aspect of a course that goes where no other previous design has gone before

darts and swoops
Description of shaping in which high points, ridges and rolls combine to form interest and intrigue that visually connects areas with one another

daylight point
The point on a contour at which an earthmoving effort will meet a contour that exists

death-defying
A shot played or to be played that is well beyond normal in terms of expectations, or may have to overcome a perilous hazard or feature from which recovery is out of the question

deception bunker
A bunker so placed that it makes a target appear closer in relation to its actual position to a golfer; usually one well short of a green and elevated that conceals the distance between the bunker and the intended target

deep ditch hazard
An old term used to describe an irrigation ditch or manufactured watercourse running in a ditch that is defined as a hazard

deep hollow
A depression or area formed by adjacent mounds that is especially deep in relation to nearby grades and is usually large in area

deep hollow
Significant low area or nook created by and mostly surrounded by mounding

deep stuff
Common reference for deep rough that is well out of normal play areas

dell
Secluded low lying area or valley, usually having an intimate atmosphere

Dell Hole
Specifically refers to the par-3 6th hole at Lahinch; also generally refers to a hole with a green almost completely surrounded by large mounds ( like the aforementioned) with only a small portion visible from the tee

delta
An alluvial deposit made of rock particles (sediment and debris) dropped by a watercourse as it enters a larger body of water; originally named because such debris fields are are roughly triangular in plan view with the apex pointing upstream, like the Greek letter “delta”

demanding
Hole or course which is very challenging

den
Secluded area; narrow, wooded valley (Scottish)

den green
Secluded green set amongst mounds and slopes creating a protected environ

dent
Depression in an area

depth perception bunker
Bunker located approximately ten to twenty yards short of the green in order to the make the carrying distance to the green appear shorter than it really is

desert course
Golf course built in a desert terrain usually with a limited amount of turf

desert lateral rule
Local rule common to Arizona and other desert regions where a player may choose to treat the native desert rough surrounding a target golf hole as a hazard and play from the last point the ball crossed the fairway incurring a one-stoke penalty (coined: Forrest Richardson, Phantom Horse Golf Club 1985)

design flaw
A boo-boo in the design of a hole or course which causes play or safety problems that are viewed as being uncharacteristic of the intent of the strategy and spirit of the game of golf

design patent
Patent issued for the appearance of an object or sculptural work; a golf hole can be issued a design patent to protect its unique look

design-build
Method of approaching a golf course project where the same entity that constructs also controls the design

design-build-develop
Method of approaching development where one single entity performs all components of the work

detection wire
Wire or metalicized ribbon buried for the purpose of locating future alignments of green edges, pipelines, etc.

detention pond
A depressed or dammed area used to capture runoff and release it at a controlled rate to downstream surfaces (see also “retention pond”)

developer
Instigator of a golf project; one who “develops” golf courses

Devil’s Asshole
Name of the menacing small, deep bunker that fronts the par-3 10th green at Pine Valley

Devlin’s Billabong
Name of the small pond water hazard located just in front of the 18th Hole of the South Course at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California; the hazard, added in 1968 caused major grief to Bruce Devlin in the 1975 San Diego Open where the pro attempted six strokes from the hazard and ultimately lost all chance of a win (see “billabong”)

diagonal bunker
A bunker set diagonally to the line of play and usually within the line of play to the hole

diagonal hazard
Hazard set diagonally to the line of play or approach

dimple
A small indentation in a surface that adds character and is an intended feature

dinosaur tail
Continuation of a mound into a green which gets smaller and narrower until it feathers out to nothing (source: Hal Phillips)

dip
A depression in a green, but also in fairways; usually across the path of play rather than along it

dipsy-doodle
Slang term to denote a roll in the landscape, usually between two noticeably higher points; also used liberally to describe several bumps and hollows that would be too cumbersome to describe individually and with no valid purpose; “Bob, can you and your dozer give me another dipsy-doodle over here between the green and the tree line?”

direct line
The straight line of play between a ball and the target

direction line
The line of flight, either intended or actual

direction post
see “aiming post”

directional sign
Sign solely to indicate direction

dirt
Soil which is misplaced

disabled access
Appropriate access to an area or facility by a disabled person

dish-shaped fairway
Fairway that is concave, especially to either side and tends to divert balls toward the middle

ditch
A long and narrow trench or furrow dug in the ground as a hazard which may be filled with water, or left dry; ditches are historically for irrigation, drainage, or to designate boundary lines

divot
Intact turf removed through the action of the club meeting the turf

dog squeeze
Particularly awful appearing shaping work; “Listen, Bub, that mounding is dog squeeze, pure and simple.”

dog’s leg
British variation of dog-leg

dog-leg
Descriptive of the shape of a dog’s leg used to communicate the angled alignment of a golf hole

dog-legged
Being a “dog-leg” in design

dog-paw bunker
Bunker with multiple “bulbs” protruding off a larger area, resembling a

dog’s paw
dotted hole or fairway with numerous bunkers

double bogey
Score of two over par on a single hole

double D
Describes play of a hole on which a golfer uses the driver from the fairway after hitting the driver off of the tee (source: Golfeurope Dictionary of Golf Terms)

double diagonal
A two or three-shot hole on which there is a diagonal hazard in the fairway and one again at the approach to the green (coined by Robert Hunter)

double dogleg
Golf hole that has two doglegs in its centerline; see zig-zag hole”

double eagle
Score of three under par on a single hole (see also: albatross)

double fairway
Hole with two pronounced fairways that allow a golfer an option in playing

double green
A green that serves as the target for two holes, each hole having its own flag

double jeopardy
Situation caused when a hazard or feature penalizes a golfer and then escape route presents an equal or greater penalty causing the golfer indexotentially loose two shots

double penalty
Same, basically, as “double jeopardy”; literally, however, two penalties incurred at one time or as a result of two infractions in succession

dovetail
Method of articulating golf holes in relation to one another where the triangular shaped safety corridor of holes are situated so they fit together tightly; typically achieved by aligning holes in opposite directions

down the pike
From “turnpike,” what lies ahead, such as a fairway that is about to be negotiated

downslope
Decline of gradient, especially on a green where the surface falls off in a particular direction

downstream
In the direction of the current of a stream

downwind
With the wind at your back (see also tailwind)

dowse
To use a divining Rod to search for underground water (also: douse)

dowser
Person who uses a divining rod to search for underground water

Dr. Love
Nickname for Golf Course Architect Bill Love, ASGCA, an expert in environmental aspects of golf course planning, deign and construction

dragon tail
Same as “dinosaur tail”

drain
To draw a liquid through a relatively gradual process through a buried pipe or other conduit at or below specified depths.

drain grate
Cover on a drain boxes used to keep large articles from entering and clogging the drainage system

drainage
Removal of excess surface water or groundwater from land by means of surface or subsurface drains

drainage area
An area, measured in a horizontal plane, which is defined by ridge lines and high points that surround a solitary low point to which direct surface runoff drains by gravity into streams, swales or other features above the specified low point

draw
To influence the flight, bounce or roll of a golf ball towards a particular area via the design of a golf hole; “The roll of the fairway will draw a shot to the bunker complex.”; a shot by a golfer that curves slightly towards the direction of the golfer’s leading hand

drawdown
The act, process, or result of depleting water from a body of water or reservoir by extraction

drink
Slang for a body of water; a lake or pond

drip irrigation
An irrigation system in which water is applied at low pressure directly to the root zone of plants by means of emitters or perforated tubing

drive
A shot played from the tee to start a golf hole to any fairway other than that of par-3 hole

drive and pitch hole
A short par-4 where a drive and a pitch is sufficient in terms of distance to reach the green

driveable
Hole other than a par-3 which can be reached by a particular player; term especially for short par-4s under 320 yards

driver
More common name for a 1-wood

driving iron
Usually a 1-iron

driving range
Mostly the same as “practice range”, but is also used to indicate a wide range of practice amenities such as putting greens, practice bunkers, etc.

driving zone
Area in which drives from the tee struck by a wide range of golfer types are anticipated to come to rest

drop area
Area designated by local rules where a ball played into a hazard may be dropped under penalty; drop areas are defined by painted markings, stakes or markers

drop spillway
An overfall structure in which water falls over a horizontal wall onto a protected apron at a lower elevation

dropped nose
Nose feature that drops into a bunker (see “nose”)

drum
Narrow ridge or hill (Scottish)

dry lake
A depressed area that occasionally holds water or has held water previously

dry wash
A normally dry ravine, gully or low flow

dub player
An average golfer (mostly archaic term)

duff
Refers to the organic layer on index of mineral soil, consisting of fallen vegetative matter which is in a state of decomposition

duffer
A hacker, same as dub

dumb blonde
Beautiful course lacking substance (coined by Tom Doak)

dune
Hill or ridge of sand that has been created and shaped by the wind; a duplication by construction methods of a natural dune

back to top>>
 

E

eagle
Score of two under par on a single hole

early-day architect
Golf course architect practicing in the 1930s or earlier

earthwork
All operations that include the act of moving or shaping earth

eccentric lie
An unusual lie caused by interesting design or, perhaps, design too interesting

eco developer
Developer that subscribes to environmentally sound practices

eddy
A swale shaped against the natural flow of a fairway or green surface; a current of water or air which moves contrary to the direction of the main current, especially in a circular motion.

Eden hole
Refers to the par-3 11th on the Old Course at St. Andrews; receives its name from the River Eden that flows behind the green

effective playing length
Length at which a hole actually plays taking into account the factors of ball roll potential, changes in elevation, doglegs, prevailing winds and altitude above sea level.

effluent
Usually denoting discharged wastewater from municipal sewage plants, brine wastewater from desalting operations, and coolant water from nuclear power plants

egg factory
A small and usually hidden area of rough away from a fairway in which golf balls cannot easily be found and will therefore collect in quantity until discovered

eighteen-hole combinations
Variety of 18-hole “courses” created by combining individual 9-hole loops; the most common configuration is a 27-hole complex which yields three distinct 18-hole combinations (A+B, B+C and C+A)

EIR
Abbreviation for “Environmental Impact Report”

elbow
Referring to a dog-leg hole; specifically the point that the hole bends

elephant’s nose
Uniquely shaped mound; somewhat like a “nose”, often confused with “buried elephant”

elevated fairway
A fairway elevated above a tee or green

elevated green
Putting surface that is noticeably raised above its immediate surroundings

elevated tee
Tee significantly elevated above the fairway or approach

elevation
The measurement above sea level or some other constant point of a defined coordinate or series of coordinates; a contour line represents a constant “elevation” along a string of imaginary points on a landscape; also, a drawing showing what an object will look like from a side (see: profile)

elusive pill
Slang for golf ball

Elysian Fields
Named portion of the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland that defines playing options at the 14th, or “Long” Hole; a relatively open area but flanked by bunkers on all sides toward the line of play

embankment
Soil which is raised and compacted sufficiently

emblem
A logo, logotype or trademark of a golf course, usually containing design elements and suitable for embroidery or as a patch

emerald green
Reference to a well kept green, area of a course or an entire course

emphasis
A detail added to an area or feature to make it stronger or more evident

endorsement
Act by a professional golfer to endorse a course in cooperation with the golf course architect and for a sum of money

English parks
Coined term to describe areas that look similar to English park areas; mowing of wooded areas to be treated as roughs

ensnarling
Hazards or features that are tight

entrance
A way to a green or approach; usually between bunkers, mounds, water or trees

entry feature
Sign, structure and landscape elements at the entry point of a golf facility

envelope
An area allowed for a golf hole or series of holes; refers usually to the land allotted for golf use up to property lines

environmentally sensitive area
Area in which access is denied by government or other appropriate agency from which relief with a penalty specified by the local rules must be taken by a golfer as defined by “The Rules of Golf.”

eroded bunker
A look, whether planned or accidental, in which the edges of a bunker are random and appear to have been cut away by the forces of nature

estuary
Area where fresh water meets salt water; examples: bays, mouths of rivers, salt marshes, and lagoons; according to the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972: “that part of a river or stream or other body of water having unimpaired connection with the open sea, where the sea water is measurably diluted with freshwater derived from land drainage.”

event staging area
An area set aside for large events, tents, pre- and post-tournament activities, etc.

everglade Marshland
usually under water and covered in places with tall grass
evergreen A plant which remains verdant throughout the year

Evian
Slang for a very expensive water feature on a golf course, most likely overbuilt and too costly in relation to its function and taste

excavation
Cutting earth, soil or rock away from an existing area or filled area

executive-length course
Courses with an 18-hole par between 55 and 68; derived from the expectation that “executives” would be able to enjoy a round of golf within the business day and still meet their commitments

exhibition tee
A teeing ground built primarily for play during tournaments and by professional golfers, usually at the distant length of a given hole; a common practice among early courses was to hold events at which popular golfers would visit courses to promote the facility and call attention to it

experience
In reference to golf, the whole of all events and interactions taking place from the moment a golfer arrives at the course to the time he or she departs; the memory of a round of golf or golf event

Extreme GolfTM
A proprietary and alternative small acreage golf course on which tee shots are played from hazards or especially rugged or difficult lies to greens; the object being to play shots from “extreme” lies and conditions to see which golfer is more creative in their recovery (inventor: Ted Claassen)

eye level
The level at which an average person sees an object or has visibility

eyebrow
The back lip of a bunker when arced and left to rough height grass that, when viewed from the front, appears like an “eyebrow”; any grading feature which appears when complete like an “eyebrow

eyebrow swale
A swale which drains in two directions to low points at tapered ends of a wide arc; its overall shape being that of an “eyebrow” is characterized by a wider mid point

eyewash
Extra detailing or landscape effort added to a golf hole or course that has no real strategic or value other than cursory aesthetics; typically a belittling term

back to top>>
 

F

F
Abbreviation for “fairway” on early hole diagrams

face
Refers to the upslope of the far side of a bunker when looking toward the target; the side of a slope or bank when facing it

facelift
Slang for remodeling work in which only the visible components of a hole or course will be re-shaped or influenced

fair bunker
As defined by Alister Mackenzie: “If a bunker is visible and there is an alternate route around it, then it is fair.”; term often used historically with reference to Mackenzie

fair green
Archaic term for the combination of a fairway and approach to the green; area of a course which is relatively open area devoid of hazards or conditions preventing a relatively good lie

fair cup
Location of a hole cut into a green such that a putt may be struck and sindexped at the location of the hole

fairway
Expanse of grass which serves as the connection between a tee and a green; the primary target for any shot that is not an approach shot to a green

fairway bunker
Sand bunker that has a direct impact on the play of a golf shot other than an approach to the green

fairway flag
A flagstick and flag placed within a fairway to aid in alignment, typical on holes where a blind shot may exist or confusion may arise as to the correct direction of play

fairway mounding
Mounding located within a fairway; any mounding between the tee and the green which helps define the fairway

fairway trap
See “fairway bunker”

fairway wood
All woods other than the driver

fall
Downhill gradient away from a specific location and typically defined in elevational difference and the rate of decline; “The fairway has a fall of more than twenty feet to a lower shelf along the bog.”

fall equinox
Refers to the first day of autumn as the sun passes directly above the Earth’s equator

fall-away green
Green which slopes away from the fairway in whole or part

fall-off
(see spill-off)

falls
Short for waterfalls

false front
An approach to a green, or area prior to a green, which is improved to resemble a putting surface or guarded by bunkers or features to suggest that the green is closer to the golfer than it is in reality

family tees
A set of tees positioned for use mainly by younger, senior or beginning golfers, but which may also be played and enjoyed in terms of interest and challenge by parents and older relatives who may be accompanying the lesser players of a group or outing

fan wall
Timbers or railroad ties laid back against the face of a bunker or slope in a “fan”-like shape

fat part of the green
The largest portion of a green and where there are abundant cup positions; area of the green where a safe shot is typically played to avoid surrounding hazards

fata morgana
See: mirage

fathom
Unit of length equal to 6 feet (1.83 meters), principally used to denote depths of navigable waters

feasibility study
A thorough assessment of alternative courses of action to solve one or more problems, to meet needs, and to recommend the most practical course of action

feather
To blend a mound or slope to a flatter area with no obvious point of transition

feature
Any hazard, mound, depression, natural condition, area or portion of a golf hole or course which may be individually referenced; also a consistent design trend evident throughout a golf course; “Among the features of the course are its large, expansive greens.”

feature hole
A golf hole so renown that it is often featured to represent the entirety of the course

featureless
Course without features other than rudimentary tees, fairways and greens

feel good bunker
A bunker so placed that it may be overcome, usually along the normal line of play, by most ordinary golfers with little or no difficulty

fell
Mountain or hill (Scottish)

fetch
Distance traveled by waves in open water, from their point

field
A broad, level and open expanse of land; the Elysian Fields of The Old Course at St. Andrews is an example of a field within a golf links

figure eight
Routing of an 18-hole golf course in which each nine forms a loop from a central point, resembling the numeral “8”; most usually where the clubhouse is located at the intersection of the lines at the midpoint of the “8”

fill
Material set over existing grades

filler hole
A golf hole located on a relatively uninteresting piece of the property and in between holes that utilize more interesting site features or are created to be more interesting; a hole that can be defined to serve little purpose other than to complete the routing of a golf course

final grading
The stage of grading just prior to finish shaping

finger
Of bunkers, a “finger” is a thin band of turf which extends into the bunker; otherwise especially thin extensions of a bunker, mound or lake

finicky
Tight layout or hole requiring very accurate shots and not much room for error; tight bunkering with small sized features

finish
Ending hole or holes

finish grade
The final grade of a golf course on which turf and hazard surfaces are established

finisher
Another term for the 18th or last hole of a course; a person who finishes

finishing
Job of putting the final on an area of work on the golf course before its planted

fiord
See: fjord

Firestone par-4
A par-4 hole of long length, over 450 yards, so named for the many par-4s of this length (six) at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio; note: in total, Firestone has eleven par-4s measuring in excess of 400 yards each and only one under 400 yards

first tee
the point at which a round of golf officially begins

firth
Large, but relatively narrow, inlet of the sea (Scottish)

fives
All of the par-5 holes of a course or discussion

fixed signs
Signs permanently affixed to the course and not moveable

fjord
A long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea between steep slopes

flag
Short for flagstick; often used to mean the location of the hole cut into a green; technically, just the bunting or other material attached to the flagstick

flagpole
Variation of flagstick; chiefly British

flagstick
Movable straight indicator, circular in cross-section, with or without bunting or other material attached, centered in the hole to show its position

flank
The side of a hole, fairway or green

flash
Sloped portion of a sand bunker which usually faces the line of play and offers color contrasting to that of the surrounding turf (see: flash trap)

flash flood
A sudden flow of water consisting of great volume that is the result of a heavy rain and characterized by high velocity flows through a drainage area

flash trap
A sand bunker with a tilted bottom surface, or significant tilted area, that can be seen easily by the golfer

flat bellies
Slang for young male golfers who are able to hit the ball very long distances, significantly beyond most defined landing areas

flatlands
See “flats”

flats
Ground or country that is flat; golf course areas built on flat ground or graded without indexographical interest; also, level landforms along a shore that may resemble a sandbar or deposit of mud

flip-flop
Change in a course’s routing by switching the front nine numbers with those of the back nine; favorite pastime among golf professionals without consulting the golf course architect and often contraindicated; inappropriate footwear for any golfing function

floating
The act of smoothing a surface for its final surface treatment, curing or seeding

floating green
a green held afloat on a body of water by means of a barge or other apparatus and capable of being relocated (architect Scott Miller credited with developing this concept at Coer d’ Lane, Idaho, 1991);

flood
An overflow of water onto lands that are used or usable and not normally covered by water; the two essential characteristics of floods are: (1) the inundation of land by water is temporary; and (2) the land inundated is adjacent to a river, stream, ravine lake, or ocean from where the flow originates

floodplain
An area prone to flooding or designated as such; generally land bordering a stream, body of water or watercourse consisting of sediment carried by flows of previous floods; “Gee, this 100-year floodplain seems to be inundated with floods every two to three years”

floodway
The channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land area that must be reserved in order to discharge the floodwaters below a designated height

floor
The putting surface; “Only from the landing area are you able to see the entire floor.”

floor plan
Slang for a routing plan

flow
The efficiency and progression of golfers around a course; how a round of golf unfolds from the golfer’s perspective; in regards to water engineering, having to do with the direction of water moving through a watercourse or conduit; “water flow” is the rate of water discharged from a source given in volume with respect to time

fluff it up and leave it alone
Simple approach and saying of the late golf course builder Henry Shelton

flume
A narrow gorge, usually with a stream flowing through it; often a reinforced and lined channel constructed to carry water usually across steep grades

fly
To mean the flight of the ball completely over an area of hazard before it touches the ground

fog
Growth of long grass (Scottish slang)

folds
Undulations, especially in the surface of a green

foot wedge
Golfing tool used to remove a golf ball from underneath a shrub, tree, or other obstruction while playing companions or rules officials are not paying attention

footpath
Path that accesses areas on the golf course such as greens or tees that has a width just wide enough for walking

forced carry
A condition which requires a golfer to execute a shot capable of clearing a hazard or feature with no alternative path to the target

forced dog-leg
Dog-leg hole or portion of a hole which bends around an obstacle that cannot be hit over due to its size or height

forces of nature
Wind, rain, volcanic flows, climate, etc.

ford
An improved or unimproved level and shallow part of a watercourse or body of water that is passable by wading or maneuvering a wheeled vehicle through without hindrance

fore
Occurring before another, or coming before; warning yelled by golfers when a struck ball may endanger another golfer or spectator on a golf course

forecaddie
Person assigned to locate the position of the player’s ball but is not a partner to the golfer under “The Rules of Golf”

forest
A natural or created group of trees densely growing; common misspelling of the author’s given name

forest land
Land which is at least 10 percent occupied by forest trees

forgetful
Golf course with all holes so similar or bland that they cannot be individually recalled by a golfer following a round

formal hazard
Term describing a sand, water or other area demarked or otherwise subject to the rules of golf, or local rules, relating to play from hazards

formal tee
Tee with a rectangle shape, not free-formed

Forrest
Author of this book

fort
Slang for a well guarded green or landing area

forward tee
The tee of a golf hole which is closest to the green (used now to replace “ladies tee”, a mostly archaic term)

found hole
A golf hole discovered in the natural terrain and landscape which is so naturally suited for golf that it is able to be finished with almost no clearing, grading or shaping effort on the part of the golf course builder

fours
All of the par-4 holes of a course or discussion

foursome
In American golf, a group of four golfers regardless of playing format; in Britian, and historically, play between two teams of two golfers in a group in which the members of each team plays alternate shots

frame
The aesthetic created when trees, mounds or other features are calculated into a view so that the eye of the golfer is guided towards a particular target, green or vista

framing
Act of restricting the view of a golfer through plantings, clearing and grading that will border the “picture” seen from a tee or area

freak green
A green so severe in contour or shape that it may be unfair

free-formed tee
Tee with a free-slowing shape, not rectangular or with straight sides

freeboard
The vertical distance between the designed maximum water level of a lake or pond and and the elevation at which water will overflow the body of water if allowed to overfill the designed maximum water level

french drain
An underground passageway for water through the voids among stones or other porous material placed loosely in a trench which is designed for such purpose and ultimately to convey the water to a suitable location

fringe
A ring of grass that surrounds a putting green but is not cut as low as the green itself; fringe may be the same width as a collar, or mowed at a separate height, usually less than the collar (see also “collar, fringe, frog hair”)

fringe swale
(see chipping swale)

frog hair
The grass that immediately surrounds the green (see also “apron, collar, fringe”)

front nine
The first nine holes of an 18-hole golf course; derived from the holes position on the “front” of a scorecard (see also “out nine”)

front side
Same as “front nine”

frontage
Land adjacent to an area and oriented towards it; “The frontage lots along the lake on Hole No. 5 were among the most valuable in the entire development.”

fronting
A feature or area that is in front of another feature or area

frost holes
Holes set into the ground off of the primary putting greens for use during frost conditions, or throughout the winter season; the term temporary green is used when there is a mowed or improved alternative green to which play is diverted during such times

fun
Objective of the game of golf

funky
Odd feature or overall golf experience due to details that look out of place, are widely untraditional or weird

funnel
An opening or swale through an area that tends to bounce balls toward the center

funnel bunker
A bunker that is graded such that balls are drawn to it as if “funneled”

furrow
A marked narrow impression that is “V” shaped (see “furrowed trap”); typically for planting and associated irrigation

furrow dams
Small earth ridges or rows used to impound water

furrow rake
Specialized rake for raking sand traps, made famous through its use at the Oakmont Country Club, consisting of a two-by-four approximately two feet long and with “V” shaped notches cut into one side; later made from cut lengths of sickle-bar mower blades used on farm tractors; the furrow rake was not common only to Oakmont, but was in use at nearly all Pittsburgh area courses prior to the 1960s

furrowed trap
A sand trap, or sand-filled bunker, raked with furrows; see both “furrow rake” and “furrow”

furze
see “gorse”

fykie
The task involved in finishing an intricate area, such as a green or complex feature; (Scottish)

back to top>>
 

G

G
Abbreviation for “green” on early hole diagrams

gabion basket
A rectangular wire cage filled with cobbles and used as a component for water control or for channel and bank protection; often set into place as if building blocks as retaining walls to embankment

gallery area
Slope or area specifically created or improved for use by spectators at a tournament

gallery hole
Hole with excellent vantage points for spectators and ample room for viewing

gallon
A unit of capacity, containing four quarts, used in the U.S. primarily for liquid measure; one U.S. gallon contains 231 cubic inches, 0.133 cubic feet, or 3.7853 liters; approximately 325,851 gallons is required to equal 1 acre-foot (AF); (note: the U.S. gallon is the same as the old English wine gallon which was originally intended in England to be equivalent to a cylinder of seven inches in diameter and six inches in height)

gambit
The first hole or opening shot of a hole or round; a calculated move or strategy of play to gain a favorable position

gamble
Decision by a golfer to take a risk in executing a shot

gamble hole
Golf hole in which the golfer may elect to “gamble” by executing a shot which will yield a better position and raise the chance of a better score; sometimes used to describe an extra hole built into a course at the end of a round for the express purpose of settling bets

GartsTM
Proprietary trademark for a game hybrid of “golf” and “darts” where single putt, chip or pitch shots are played with traditional golf clubs and balls to turf areas painted, planted or edged to nominally resemble the layout of a dart board; points in “Garts” are awarded similar to that of darts and determined by how close the ball comes to rest to the center of the defined target area (Inventor: Forrest Richardson 1995)

gatehouse
A usually stately guardhouse or entry point manned by a guard or person to control access to a golf club

gateway
The path to a green or target area that will allow a shot to enter relatively unobstructed

gather
Area which attracts balls by way of mounding or contouring

gently rolling land
The quintessential type of land most desirable for golf course development

geometric
Term used to describe the look of many American golf course designs with their angular and hard-edged slopes and feature shaping; typically prior to 1915

geometric design
Early and novel approach to course construction in America where features were angular and evenly spaced; can now occur when computer aided-design is allowed to exclusively dictate form

getaway holes
The first few holes of a golf course, usually one through four, that are considered essential to moving play along at a reasonable pace and will ultimately determine pace for the rounds of succeeding groups

giggle bunker
Bunker so situated that it is well out of play and makes one “giggle” at the thought of who placed it and why

GIR
Abbreviation for “greens in regulation”

glen
Valley with a stream or brook running through it, usually somewhat narrow and secluded (Scottish)

glove
Depressed area to catch a ball, especially a depressed area into the face of a mound

gnarly
Having intensive bumps, roughness and abruptness; particularly naturalistic as though nature created it with no soft or finished qualities

goal posts
A pair of features situated opposite one another through which a shot is played towards a target

goat farm
Sarcastic for a poor course, both in layout and condition; stems from what a “goat farmer” might design if left with nothing better to do; also “goat ranch”

goat-track
Slang for a terrible conditioned course

gobbet
Small amount of liquid; nothing more than a drop

goff
Archaic spelling of golf

going to the house
Mumbling of shapers immediately prior to leaving the site after a disagreement with the construction superintendent

golden age of golf course architecture
Began with the opening of The National Golf Links in 1911 by C.B. Macdonald and lasted until stock market crash of 1929

golf
A hybrid of game, sport, pastime and culture which involves the rituals, strategy, skill, psychology, practice and memorialization of preparing to hit, hitting and following a small white ball from a beginning point to an ending point over an outdoor course full of obstacles; and against a set standard, one’s self, an opponent, or a series of opponents; either as an individual or as part of a team, where the fundamental object is to hole the ball in the fewest number of strokes possible

golf architect
Shorter title for “golf course architect”; more widely used prior to 1940

golf ball mine
A water hazard into which significant quantities of golf balls become lost but from which the club or others may “harvest” them for resale

golf cottage
Small dwelling located adjacent to or within a close proximity to a golf course and usually associated with the course as a rental or amenity

golf course
An area of awarded luck and encouraged misfortune which is made up of conditioned nature and configured in order that the game of golf may be played upon it

golf course architect
The individual responsible for the design of a golf course or facility, or for designs to remodel a golf course facility; a golf course architect should possess, according to the ASGCA, “a knowledge of the game, training, experience, vision and inherent ability, and be in all ways qualified to design and prepare specifications for a course of functional and aesthetic excellence.”

golf course architecture
The broad profession that encompasses golf course planning, design, specifications and the observation of construction of golf courses and golf facilities

golf course architorture
Defined as golf architecture carried to an extreme, usually an absurd one (coined by Ron Whitten)

golf course design
The design process of a golf course or facility

golf course designer
Informal title given to a golf course architect; often used to distinguish between a bona fide “golf course architect” and one who simply has had “design” input in a course

golf course superintendent
(see greenkeeper)

golf hole
The composition of tees, fairways, greens, roughs and hazards which make up one segment of a golf course and allows for the game of golf to be played upon it

golf mecca
Region where there are a concentration of golf courses

golf school
An operation, often with its own campus area, for teaching the game of golf in an area designed to meet its objectives in teaching

golfer’s-eye-view
View of a hole from the golfer’s perspective

golfing country
Region suitable for golf with naturally occurring indexo and soils ideal for golf

golfing grounds
Archaic term used to mean “golf course”

golfing hours
The daylight hours that are available on a given day for golf rounds to be undertaken

Good Doctor, The
Reference to Golf Course Architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie (1870-1934)

good player bunker
Bunker positioned to catch the good player, or make him think twice

gorse
Refers specifically to Viex europaeus, a native plant on the linksland of the British Isles (see whins)

gotcha bunker
Hidden bunker that “comes out of nowhere” (coined: Neal Meagher)

gouff
Variation of an archaic spelling for golf

gowf
Scottish for “golf”

gowff
Another variation of an archaic spelling for golf

GPS yardage systems
Any of a range of global positioning satellite-based systems which relay pinpointed yardage data to golfers in carts or via hand-held receiving devices; such systems are calibrated to the course and daily hole locations

grade
The finished or existing surface of an area; the slope of an area is also referred to as its “grade”

grade stake
Usually a wooden lath set into the ground and marked to indicate grading instructions or reference points

gradient
The rate of regular or graded ascent or descent

grading
The process of relocating dirt from one place to another with mechanized or hand tools; the result of such activity

grain
Direction in which the blades of grass on the putting surface lean; believed to have a measurable impact on the speed and break of a putt, especially among TV commentators referring to bermudagrass

grass bunker
Depressed area that typically is formed by one or more mounds; grass bunkers generally have low points

grass faced bunker
A bunker with a steep slope planted with grass (also: “grass walled bunker)

grassland
Area, such as a prairie or meadow, of grass or grasslike vegetation; in geography grasslands constitute a geographical region dominated by shrubs and grasses, receiving 10 to 30 inches of rain annually

grassy hazard
Almost always not a “hazard” in the true meaning as it relates to the “Rules of Golf”, but rather an area which punishes a shot hit to it by way of its depth, the cut height of grass or intricacies of slope; grassy hazards are generally surrounded by closer cut grass and are isolated pockets or hillocks

grassy hollow
Depressed or low point of a turfed surface; usually subtle and fitting harmoniously into surrounding slopes or mounds; see “hollow”

gravel
A mixture composed primarily of rock fragments 2 mm (0.08 inch) to 7.6 cm (3 inches) in diameter usually containing considerable sand content

green
Smooth grassy area at the end of a fairway especially prepared for putting and positioning the hole; all ground of a hole which is specifically prepared for putting; also an archaic term (through 1900) used to describe the entirety of the golf course and source of such terms as “greenkeeper”, “green fee”, etc.; a “green” is also a grassy lawn next to a house or cottage (Scottish)

green backdrop
The total of elements located behind a green as seen from the fairway

green chairman
Head of the “green committee”

green committee
A committee charged with determining policy, standards and improvements for a golf course

green complex
Coined term to describe the collective features and their interrelationship at the site of a green and the immediate surroundings

green fee
The fee charged to play a round of golf

green site
A natural area suitable for a green to be situated or constructed prior to a golf course being built; the site of a green once constructed

green speed
Describes the pace at which a ball will roll on the putting surface, usually measured with a Stimpmeter (see “Stimpmeter)

green swale
A linear low area of the putting surface extending through a green

green-side bunker
Sand bunker that has a direct strategic or penal impact on the play of a shot to a green

green-side trap
See “greenside bunker”

green-to-tee
Refers to the route from the green area of a hole to the tee area of the next hole; cart paths are often installed in these area only

green-to-tee paths
Partial cart path infrastructure which is limited to connecting the area just before a green with the next tees and requiring use of fairways and roughs until the next green area

greenkeeper
The individual charged with “keeping the green” by maintaining and caring for a golf course property; often misspelled as “greenskeeper”, even in dictionaries

greenside
Refers to a golf course feature, usually a bunker and its spatial relationship to the green

greensward
See “sward”

greywater
Waste water from a household or commercial establishment which specifically excludes water from a toilet, kitchen sink, dishwasher, or water used for washing diapers

ground cover
Any low growing plant, other than turfgrasses, which is used to cover entire areas

ground score
Term used until the late nineteenth century synonymous with the term “par” that is used today

ground under repair
A marked area determined by the green committee from which a player is allowed to remove a ball without penalty

ground-level green
Green built at the level of the surrounds

groundwater
Water that saturates soil or rock, supplying springs and wells

groundwater recharge
Infusion of water to a ground water reservoir from the surface

grove
Mass planting of trees of which most or all are aligned in a geometric pattern

grubbing
Removal of roots, stones and debris following or in tandem with the clearing of an area

grunkle
Refers to grasses and low shrubs found in native areas of a golf hole; any unidentified low-growing plants other than turfgrass (see also: gunch, jungle, magoombi)

guide post
See: aiming post

gulch
Usually a deep ravine, gully or dry wash

gull-winged green
Green with two areas to the sides separated by a lower portion in the center; the surface resembles that of a gull’s wing

gully
Watercourse created by running water, but normally dry; gullies are distinctive from rills as being deeper

gully pot
A catch basin (British)

gumbo
A fine, silty soil, common in the southern and western U.S. that forms an unusually sticky mud when wet

gun barrel tee
Tee box set back into a grouping of trees or other closed-in features with a narrow opening for the tee shot to pass through

gun platform green
Refers to a green that sits on a noticeable plateau

gunch
Refers to tall, thick native rough on a golf course, from which a golfer normally has to accept an “unplayable lie”

gunsight
An opening through woods, hillocks or outcroppings that aligns the golfer in one obvious direction

GUR
Abbreviation for “Ground Under Repair

back to top>>
 

H

H
Abbreviation for “hazard” on early hole diagrams

habitat
The native environment or specific surroundings where a plant or animal naturally grows or lives; include physical factors such as temperature, moisture, and light together with biological factors

hair
Small amount; “Add a hair to that mound and I’ll be very happy.”

haircut
Removal or trimming of a portion of vegetation that obstructs visibility or the hitting path

Haley Hill
Large, created “hill” feature at Coldwater Golf Club in Avondale, Arizona

halfway house
A building located at the halfway point in a round, especially on courses where the ninth hole does not return to the clubhouse; snacks, beverages and restrooms are typical of amenities

halfway hut
Same as “halfway house”

ham and egger
Describes a feature or golf course that is very common in nature

handicap
Devised to afford the opportunity for players of different skill levels to play competitively by way of deducting strokes from one player compared to another

hard pan
Soil that has become compacted to the point that grass roots cannot easily penetrate; bare, hard ground

harmony
Complete or near complete interworking between features, areas and aesthetics

haugh
Area of meadowland adjacent to a river (Scottish)

haycock
Mound resembling a somewhat rounded and conical pile of hay

haystack
Type of mound that is pronounced and dome shaped at the index, like a “stack of hay”

hazard
Area of a golf course containing water, sand or other terrain which is subject to The Rules of Golf pertaining to play from such areas; also a term used loosely to describe features which are in the path of a shot (i.e.,
trees, hillsides, etc.)

hazard marker
Any device used for delineating a water hazard; the most common examples are posts made of wood or plastic and are driven into the ground directly or inserted into a sleeve; standard recognized colors for hazard markers are yellow for water hazards and red for lateral waterhazards

Hcp.
Abbreviation for “handicap”

he’iau
Hawaiian word for a place of worship; best left alone when encountered on Hawaiian soil

head
The leading end of a feature

head greenkeeper
The greenkeeper in charge

headland
Land extending out into a bay or sea

headwind
Condition of playing into or against the wind (see upwind)

heart
The portion of a green or feature that constitutes the largest part of its surface area, usually in or near its middle

heart shaped
A feature having the shape of a heart

heath
Same as “heathland”

heather
Refers specifically to Cerica, native plant on the linksland of the British Isles

heathland
An expansive area of interior land, usually wasteland that is relatively flat and poorly drained

hectare
A metric unit of area equal to 100 Ares (2.439 acres) and equivalent to 10,000 square meters (107,639 square feet).

Hell Bunker
Bunker on the par-5, 14th at The Old Course at St. Andrews, large and strategically placed approximately 100 yards short of the green

hemmed in
Tightly situated amongst bunkers, features, trees, etc.

heroic design
Design of a hole that provides the golfer an opportunity to attempt a high risk shot in order to place the ball in a very desirable position; failure to successfully execute the heroic shot usually results in highly penalized situation

het kolven
Dutch game believed to be involved with golf’s ancestry; two pound ball the size of a grapefruit is struck toward two posts at opposite ends of a court with the fewest possible strokes; game was also played on roads, cemeteries or ice

hidden gem
Course that is not well known, but excellent and worth the visit and green fee

high altitude planning
Planning that is especially conceptual in nature and quite overviewing in its level of detail

highlands
The highest part of an area; a mountainous region (from the Scottish “Highlands”, the mountain covered area north of the fault line between Dumbarton and Stonehaven)

hike
Refers to a long walk between holes or an uphill hole

hill
Smaller than a mountain; can be created by earthmoving equipment in small sizes

hillock
A small hill (Scottish in origin)

hillside
The slope of a hill

hillside course
Course built primarily on hillside

hillindex
index of a hill; highpoint

hilly
Course or area that traverses hills or steep terrain

hin-end
Back part of a green or feature; bottom (Scottish)

hinge point
The angle points of dog-leg holes

hinterland
Referring to land located away from coastal areas in the interior of a region

historic alignment
Flow of a stream or watercourse before being relocated; also reference to a golf hole that is

hitting path
The entirety of the airspace required for a golf shot to be played from a particular point, most commonly from a tee; “The hitting path at the twelfth hole was encumbered by a cluster of bushed that had been allowed to grow in front of the tee.”

hogback
Describes the shape of a mound that resembles the back of the hog in profile; usually smaller than a buried elephant

hogback ridge
Ridge with a sharp summit and steep slopes of nearly equal inclination on both flanks, and resembling in outline the back of a hog.

hogshead
Any of various units of volume or capacity ranging from 63 to 140 gallons (238 to 530 liters), especially a unit of capacity used in liquid measure in the U.S. equal to 63 gallons (238 liters)

holding ability
How apt a green or other area is to hold a golf ball hit to it

holding pond
Small basin or pond designed to hold sediment laden or contaminated water until it can be treated to meet water quality standards or be used in some other way

hole
Short for “golf hole”; also the specific and final target for the golfer; a 4-1/2” diameter by 4” deep cylindrical space cut into the putting green of a hole

hole handicap
Rating system used to determine whether or not a competitor in a handicap match will get a stroke or how many strokes he/she will receive; holes ranked from 1-18; golfer’s receiving handicap strokes count them on the lowest rated holes; i.e: a golfer receiving seven strokes will receive one stroke on each of the seven holes ranked 1-7; not a rating system for hole difficulty

hole indicator
A small flag, ball or other attachment to a flagstick that may be slid up and down to visually represents at what depth the pin is set from the front of a green, the higher the indicator is set on the flagstick, the further back the hole is positioned; indicators may also be in the form of signs or plaques configured at tees with small pegs or markers showing where the pin has been set on a hole

hole length
The distance as measured along the centerline of a given hole from any tee center point to the green center point

hole make up
The layout or routing of a golf course

hole name
Name given a hole; usually indicative of the holes specific hazards, strategy, surrounds, etc.

hole par
The score standard for each hole of a golf course; representing the number of strokes that a scratch golfer may be expected to incur until holing out; par may be different for men and women golfers and may also be adjusted based on alternative lengths of a hole (see also: “par” and course par”)

hole plan
A plan for an individual golf hole

hole plaque
A plaque set into a base at the tee of a hole, with or without a diagram of the golf hole, that contains the hole’s number, par, yardage, handicap and any given name or other important information

hole strategy
The end result when the art of devising plans for a golf hole have come together to create one or more approaches to playing a golf hole in the fewest strokes

holler
Southern dialect for “hollow”

hollow
Depressed or low point of a surface; small valley or basin; usually subtle and fitting harmoniously into surrounding slopes or mounds; hollows are not always fully depressed and may drain to other areas

home green
The 18th green; also the ninth green of a nine-hole course

home hole
Refers to the last hole of golf course

homestretch
see finishing holes

homeward half
The last nine of an 18-hole golf course

homewards
The second nine of an 18-hole course; or any of the last holes leading to the home hole

homogeneous
When the look or features are not distinct and everything begins to look too much the same as everything else

honesty box
Literally, a box placed near to the first hole or clubhouse in which golfers deposit their green fee when no one is around to collect the fee (mostly a Scottish custom; sadly not seen much nowadays)

hopscotch
Sarcastic term used to describe a course or hole where the play or connection between holes requires “jumping” from one place to another in an way not necessarily convenient to the golfer

horseshoe shaped
A bunker, mound, green or other feature having the shape of a horseshoe; a “U” shape

hostile course
A golf course with an abundance of difficulties and, very often, not much fun to play

hourglass shape
Refers to a feature that has an extreme pinch in its middle

hug
To place a feature close to a green or landing area

hummock
Rounded knoll or hillock, mostly irregular in shape

hump
An abrupt rise in elevation concentrated on an isolated area

hump and bump
A rise and fall occurring in combination; a series of such combinations

humpback
A large bump or ridge, usually in reference to a raised area on the surface of a green creating interesting breaks

hundred year flood
Despite popular belief a “100-year flood” does not refer to a flood that occurs once every 100 years, but to a flood level with a 1 percent or greater chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year

back to top>>
 

I

ideal course
A golf course architect’s personal vision of a golf course that would be “ideal” in every aspect; an “ideal course” involves an ideal landscape with indexographical interest, ideal routing, length, par distribution, variety of holes, etc.; George C. Thomas, Jr. wrote extensively about “The Ideal Golf Course”

ideal hole
A golf hole that affords the greatest pleasure to the greatest number, gives the fullest advantage for accurate play, stimulates players to improve their game and which never becomes monotonous; provides an infinite variety of shots according to the various positions of the tee, the situation of the flag, the direction and strength of the wind, etc. (as defined by Dr. Alister MacKenzie)

ideal play
The way a hole should be played by a golfer

illusion
Visual condition that makes something appear differently than it is in reality

immovable obstruction
An obstruction that does not meet the requirements for a movable obstruction and under “The Rules of Golf” that golfer may take relief from without penalty

in nine
Refers to the last nine holes of an 18-hole golf course; originated from early links courses as last nine holes bring golfers “in” from the golf course (see also “back nine”)

in play area
Area of a hole or course that is within bounds

inch
A small island; low-lying land beside a river (both Scottish)

Indian burial mounds
Refers to shaping mound features which are constructed on index of the existing grade appearing similar to that of the domed shape of graves; a collection of mounds all of the same general shape in a given area

indigenous
Either existing, growing, or produced naturally in a region

Indy 500 turn
A curved mound shaped like a canted racetrack turn; tends to hold and guide balls

infrastructure
An underlying foundation for the basic facilities and services needed to support a community, such as transportation, communications, water and power systems; and public institutions including schools, post offices, and prisons; specifically for a golf course: the water delivery, drainage and irrigation system required to sustain the golf course

inland golf course
Golf course not located within the vicinity of a sea or ocean

inlet
A recess, such as a bay or cove; also, a narrow passage of water or drainage passage

intercept swale
An open drainage pathway above a feature, especially a green or sand bunker that catches runoff water and prevents it from flowing across or into the feature

intermediate rough
An occasionally used level of grass cut at a height taller than the fairway grass but shorter than the primary rough grass rough and located between the fairway and primary rough; also called a “step cut”

intermediate tees
The tees in between the back and regular tees, or between the regular tees and the forward tees

interpretative sign
Signs with an educational purpose; about flora, fauna, history, etc.

intimate green
Green set in a secluded place or with mounding, hillsides or trees that surround and create a sense of seclusion

irrigation
Artificial method of providing water to golf course turfgrass and plants

irrigation heads
A nozzle which emits water coming through a system of pipes
irritation system Sarcastic term used when referring to the irrigation system

island green
a green and green complex completely surrounded by water and connected to the remainder of the golf course only by a bridge, causeway or ferry

island landing area
Fairway landing area enclosed by water or a hazard on all sides

island tee
Tee constructed on an island

islet
A small or minor island

isthmus
Narrow strip of land connecting two larger bodies of land such as a peninsula would be connected to a mainland area

back to top>>
 

J

Jack Daniel change order
A change made by a golf course architect that is handled between the architect and the shaper with no monetary consequence; comes from the nearly universal appreciation by shapers for Jack Daniel’s Whiskey and its use as a token of appreciation to shapers for jobs well done and occasionally as a ‘bribe’

jaggy
Prickly or especially rough surface or edge (Scottish)

jail
Term used to describe the position of a ball when advancement toward the target is near impossible

jetty
Land form extending out into a body of water

jeu de mail
Archaic french game of Italian origin played within an enclosed court or roadway; thought to be partially responsible for the development of golf; combines elements from modern-day croquet, billiards and golf

jigger
Classic golf term referring to an iron club with the loft of a 4-iron

jigsaw puzzle
Slang for a course routing with many pieces and elements to fit into place

journey
Where the routing of a course takes the golfer, including the vistas, turns, changes in scenery and experience of each individual golf hole

jungle
Tangled mass of vegetation, usually tropical in nature, that is nearly impassable; slang for dense vegetation, natural or planted

back to top>>
 

K

keeper of the green
Alternative term for “greenkeeper” or “golf course superintendent”

Kelpie
A water spirit of Scottish folklore (also Kelpy), usually having the shape of a horse and rejoicing in and causing drownings to wayfarers

key tree
A tree so definitive that it would need to be replaced in order to preserve the integrity of the design of a golf hole

kick
Action of a ball against a mound or slope

kidney shaped
Refers to a feature that has a shape resembling that of a kidney bean

kieke course
Hawaiian term used to describe a course specifically designed for play by kids and with holes shorter and miniaturized to reflect lengths at which young golfers are able to hit golf shots (kieke means “child” in Hawaiian; coined by Arthur Jack Snyder 1990)

kitty litter
Slang for a sand bunker

knob
A small, isolated and well-defined mound

knoll
Small round hill

knowe
a small rounded hill (Scottish)

knuckle
Series of congruent mounds or bumps

kolbe
German word for ‘club’, origin of the word “golf”

kolf
Dutch word for a archaic game with similarities to modern day golf and played with a curved wooden club

kyle
Narrow part of a river (Scottish)

back to top>>
 

L

lade
Canal or watercourse that carries water to a mill (Scottish)

ladies tee
Mostly archaic term which defined tees closest to the green of a golf hole or those for play by female golfers and separately listed on the official scorecard(see “forward tee”)

lagoon
Body of relatively still water which articulates to another, adjacent body of water or watercourse; a lagoon is generally smaller than a lake, larger than a pond and is defined by its relationship to another lagoon or water area; especially an area of shallow salt water separated from the sea by sand dunes

Lahinch Barometer
Reference to the procession of goats on the grounds of the Lahinch Golf Club in Ireland as they make their way back to the shelter of the clubhouse in anticipation of inclement weather

lake
Significant body of water located inland from the seacoast

lake bunker
A smallish pool, usually adjacent to a green; the term stemmed from sand bunkers that by some means filled with water or may have been intentionally filled with water to create a more penal hazard (see: water bunker)

lake hole
Golf hole playing aside or over a lake

lake range
A practice range where special floating golf balls are hit out into a lake from the shore toward floating targets

lakeside bunker
Bunker located next to a lake

land breeze
Land-to-sea surface wind that occurs in coastal areas at night and caused by the rising of the air above the ocean, which is warmer than the land due to the rapid cooling of the land after sunset.

landfill
A designated area where waste has been interred; a disposal site which houses compacted solid waste at specific intervals separated by layers of soil

landfill course
A golf course built on a closed solid waste landfill

landform
The form of a tract of land or region; also used to pinpoint a smaller formation of land

landing area
Typically, the area prior to the green of a golf hole in which a golfer is expected to land a ball from the tee or fairway; however, it extends to include an imaginary circular area measuring approximately 200 feet in diameter which surrounds any point defined by the golf course architect at which properly executed shots will come to rest when a golfer plays a hole as intended based on its design; this definition includes the circular area surrounding fairway angle points and green center points

landscape
All the natural and man-made features, such as landforms, plantings, and water that distinguish one part of the earth’s surface from another; refers to that portion of land which the human eye can comprehend in a single view, including all of its characteristics

landscape architecture
Primarily a fine art, and as such, its most important function is to create and maintain beauty in the surroundings of human habitations, and in the broader natural scenery of the country; but it is also concerned with promoting the comfort, convenience and health of urban populations which urgently need to have their hurrying workday lives refreshed and calmed by the beautiful and reposeful sights and sounds which Nature, aided by the Landscape Art, can abundantly provide (Origin: Penn State’s Dr. John R. Braken, as recalled by Arthur Jack Snyder)

lateral water hazard
A full or partial body of water or other similar area parallel to a fairway that has been staked or defined as a lateral water hazard subject to the rules of golf; a lateral water hazard may be defined to include only a portion of a body of water with the remainder being either a water hazard, through-the-green or out-of-bounds

launching pad
Slang for a tee or teeing area

law
A rounded hill (Scottish)

Lawrence of Arabia
Slang for a sand bunker or trap; especially in the United Kingdom

lay-up area
An area provided by the design of a golf hole, usually short of the eventual target or a hazard crossing the line of a hole, that allows a golfer an alternative to a more aggressive line of play while perhaps sacrificing an opportunity for a lower score (see also bail-out area)

lay-up hole
A par-4 or par-5 hole on which it is expected that a predominance of golfers will hit an intentionally shorter shot from the tee than a full drive in order to sindex short of an obstacle; a par-5 hole on which the second shot played is subject to the same expectation

lay-up shot
A shot played intentionally short of that required to advance the ball to the green or short of the farthest shot capable by the golfer; such a shot is executed in order to sindex short of an obstacle and place the ball in position for the next shot

layout
Refers to the general planning of the golf course facility (see also “routing”)

leeward
Being in or facing the direction towards which the wind is blowing

left bank
The left-hand bank of a stream viewed when the observer faces downstream

let ‘em know you’ve been here
Saying of the late golf course builder Henry Shelton to encourage the shaping of strong features

letdown
Course or hole which is supposedly regarded but does not live up to its reputation

levee
Natural or man-made earthen obstruction along the edge of a stream, lake, or river; when artificially constructed a levee is used to restrain the flow of water out of a river bank

liability
Any condition or situation which may spawn legal action as a result of incorrect or incomplete planning, implementation, maintenance or management

light bulb shaped
Of a green or other feature, a shape with a bulbous end tapering to a rounded point

light trespass
Light from range or course lighting that shines beyond the horizontal boundaries of a golf course property

limited turf course
Golf course restricted or by design planted with a set acreage of turf or allocated a set amount of water for irrigation purposes

limits of work
The absolute limits at which a contractor can disturb or maneuver in the process of building a golf project

line of charm
An attractive and enticing line of play; a suggestion as to the alignment a golfer should play a golf hole that is implied by the design of the hole itself, especially as a result of the placement of hazards and features upon the hole; describes the line of play down a fairway that is the most alluring to the golfer in regards to yielding the best position balanced with how safe the line is in terms of peril from a hazard or feature; the “line of charm” of a golf hole is not necessarily the shortest route nor is it the safest; hazards contribute greatly to establishing an obvious “line of charm” by creating intrigue and challenge to the alignment a golfer might decide to follow en route to the hole

line of flight
The horizontal path a golf ball travels from impact by a club to its first contact with the ground

links
A seaside golf course constructed on a natural sandy landscape that has been shaped by the wind and receding tides (from the Old English “lincas”, meaning the plural of a ridge, a Scottish term to mean the undulating sandy ground near a shore ); also used more generally as a synonym for a “seaside golf course” or a golf course that is configured with nine holes extending outward and nine holes returning to the clubhouse; often incorrectly used to describe any golf course

linksland
Land located proximal to an open sea, or bay connected directly to an open sea, and possessing the characteristics of dunes or seaside vegetation that is composed of naturally rolling sand dunes formed by the wind and the ocean

linksmaker
A golf course architect

linksman
A golfer who plays upon a links course

linn
A waterfall or the pool footing one; also a ravine (both Scottish)

lip
The vertical edge of a sand bunker; the visible band of soil beneath the turf surrounding the bunker to the point at which the sand is placed; also the upper edge of the hole cut into a green

local rule
A rule enacted locally at a particular golf course that, by way of designation of a feature, area or condition, gives a golfer additional options or regulations over and above “The Rules of Golf”

loch
A lake, especially a long, narrow one in a chain of such bodies of water (Gaelic)

lochan
A small lake (see “loch”)

lock
Section of a waterway, such as a canal, closed off with gates, in which vessels in transit are raised or lowered by raising or lowering the level of water level of the section

lofter
Classic term that refers to an iron club with the loft of an 8-iron

logo
Design used by a course to represent it

logotype
A particular type font or customized lettering used by a course to represent it

logs
Alternative method of appeasing those desiring to “save” a tree or trees from an area to be cleared; “But we did save the tree Mr. Billings, it’s stacked right over there.”

long man
Term for a player who hits the ball far

lone soldier
Any solitary mound, trap, hillock, or tree which is so isolated and yet serves an integral purpose in protecting or guarding entrance to an area or target

long carry
An expected flight of a golf ball in excess of approximately 180 yards

long hole
Any par-5 golf hole; also generically used to describe any hole of exceptional length regardless of its par

long irons
Referring to irons with a loft ranging from a 1- to 4-iron

long tees
The longest distance measured or designed from which a hole or course will play; the longest of the provided tees on a hole or course; the set of long tees of a course

loop
Referring to nine hole segments of a course or facility which begin and return from the same area; a 27-hole facility may have three nine hole “loops”; practice courses with less than nine holes may have loops of fewer holes; also slang used by caddies to mean a “round of golf”, usually 18-holes; “Ordinarily our caddies get thirty dollars per loop, but because your bag is the size of a Buick we will have to charge forty.”

loose impediment
Object that exists naturally on the golf course but is not fixed into place

loss
Shaping material lost due to compaction, wind, theft, etc.

lot indemnification
Legal term for requiring property owners to assume liability for damage or injury from errant balls originating from golf course property

low flow crossing
Usually a cart path crossing over a normally dry watercourse that will withstand periodic flooding

low-lying
Used to describe mounds and hollows, or the position of a feature amongst mounds and hollows

lowlands
Land that is low (from the Scottish “Lowlands”, the land south and east of the Highlands)

back to top>>
 

M

M
Abbreviation for “mound” on early hole diagrams

macho boy tees
Farthest back teeing ground of a hole (coined by Arthur Jack Snyder)

MacKenzie Bunker
Refers to the fairway sand bunker on the 10th hole at Augusta Nationalwhich was a greenside bunker until the green was moved back considerably

MacKenzie green
Term coined in the early 20th century during the lifetime of golf course architect Alister MacKenzie that refers to a putting surface with considerable contouring, but a natural appearance conforming to the adjacent terrain; not necessarily a green designed by Alister MacKenzie, but mimicking his style

Mackenzie school of design
Conforming to the practice of Dr. Alister MacKenzie; strategic and playable designs with especially natural and irregular bunker design sporting bold, contoured greens; example works include Cypress Point and Augusta National

magic lot extender
Method of expanding a residential lot into the area reserved for the golf course by restricting all uses of the expanded portion through a clause in the deed

magoombi
Deep, deep rough; Australian in origin (see also “grunkle, gunch, jungle”)

main course
The primary course of a multiple course facility

maintenance facility
The entirety of the facilities required to care for a golf course; usually a building and grounds for storage of equipment and supplies, and space for offices and maintenance of equipment

maintenance road
Improved road or path alignment developed only for use by maintenance personnel for their access to and around the golf course and maintenance facility

maintenance yard
Totality of the area comprising the maintenance facility and grounds, usually fenced or contained by a hedge or other barrier

makani
Wind (Hawaiian)

man made feature
Any individual feature or collective features of a course or hole which was created through construction efforts

manchair
Low-lying sandy grass area located just above the high water mark of a bay or watercourse (Scottish)

marker
Short for any type of yardage marker or indicator affixed to a course; a person who keeps the score

markers
Short for “tee markers”, the set of movable objects which define the official limits from which a golfer begins each hole

married to the land
A design that is closely integrated to the natural landscape and its subtleties

mars
Sarcastic for an odd looking area or hole; something not seen before

marsh
Area with little or no drainage, creating wet soil conditions; often indicated by grasses or cattails

mashie
Classic golf term for a middle iron with the loft of a 5,6 or 7-iron

mashie course
Phrase used by George C. Thomas to denote a short course (to be played by lofted, or mashie-length, clubs) such as he designed adjacent to the Riviera Country Club’s main course

massive par-5
A very long par-5, 580 yards or longer

master plan
Overall plan of a site, course or development prior to construction drawings

match
Play between two or more golfers; a competition comparing “rounds” of golf or scoring on individual holes as in match play

mauna
Mountain (Hawaiian)

Maxwell Rolls
Significant rolls (contour) in a green named after golf course architect Perry Maxwell and indicative of this bold and dramatic style

me-too
A course or hole that is not different or unique and is so similar to other courses or holes to the extreme that, if not for the scorecard or other landmarks, a golfer may be confused as to his whereabouts

meadow
Tract of moist, low-lying grassland, usually level or slightly rolling

meandering
Routing which wanders through the land; any feature or watercourse which twists and turns

mediocre
Low quality, not interesting

medium irons
Referring to irons with a loft ranging from a 5- to 7-iron

medium tee
The tee of a hole midway between back or forward tees; the distance of a hole as measured from the middle of the whole of the length of available teeing ground

member feature
A feature added to a hole by a decision of a clubs’ members after a course has been finished, but usually without the original designer’s blessing

memorable
Descriptive for a hole or course that stands out among others as being unique

men’s tees
usually the regular tees of a hole and course

Merion baskets
The baskets used in place of flags at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania; the baskets are a tribute to the Scottish shepherd believed to be the inventor of golf who set his lunch basket aindex his staff which served as his “flagstick”; the baskets in use at Merion are an example of the leeway that the “Rules of Golf” permit in terms of attachments to a flagstick

mesa
Major isolated elevation with a relatively flat index; less extensive than that of a plateau and more extensive than that of a butte

meter
Base unit of length for the metric system; unit of measurement for lengths of golf holes and courses for most golf courses outside the United States; approximately 39.37 inches or 1.09 yards

Mickey Mouse
Used to describe a hole or course with too much gimmickry

midsection
Middle part of a golf round; for 18-holes about holes seven through twelve

military golf
Golf played to the right, left, right, left, right, etc.

military golf course
Golf course built specifically to serve military personnel and their guests

mine field
Hole or fairway with an abundance of sand bunkers, especially one where such bunkers intrude into the fairway

minefield
So many pot bunkers it appears as such

miniature course
Course for putting and sometimes chipping; may also cover any type of course of fewer holes than nine or courses with all par-3 holes; unless “golf” is inserted, as in “miniature golf course”, the term “miniature course” is used to mean play on natural grass and not uopn artificial carpets and amongst decorative obstacles

miniature golf
Derivative of golf played usually on artificial ground at a ratio of 1:20 to that of regulation golf holes and comprised of such appointments as windmills, draw bridges and the like; sarcastic term used to describe a golf hole or course with gimmicks or an overabundance of artificial materials or especially tight conditions; also sarcastic for a green with severe slopes causing balls to roll backwards toward a golfer

minimalism
Moving or changing a minimal amount of the natural terrain in shaping a golf hole or course

minimalistic
Design and construction approach that involves the least disturbance, excavation and improvements to a golf course or hole that is possible while still achieving aesthetic, playable and interesting results

mit
(See catcher’s mit)

modeling
To shape; the act of moving material to create form and shape; favorite term of early golf architects to describe the craft of shaping in the field for optimum results

modelled
To plan or form after a pattern, especially an imitation

modified USGA Green
A green constructed differently than official USGA specifications but with regard for a majority of USGA Green ideals and requirements (note: a modified USGA Green is not endorsed by the USGA)

mogul
A small hill usually in multiple numbers and often next to one another

monitoring well
A well established for the purpose of monitoring changes in water quality or abundance

monster
Hole, course or play from a particular set of tees that is very difficult or taxing

Monterey Peninsula
Famous golf mecca of California’s northern coast; home to Pebble Beach Golf Links, among others

Monterey school of design
Associated with the development of those courses located on the Monterey Peninsula including Pebble Beach; Architects: Jack Neville and Douglas Grant

moon crater
Depression with a faint ridge or lip surrounding

moor
An expanse of open rolling land, often infertile; can also mean a boggy area

moorland course
A golf course built on land which is open and rolling, usually inland and not linksland in nature

mother nature
That created naturally and existing naturally; the weather and its effects

mound
A single raised area of earth created by shaping; seldom used in reference to a natural rise in the ground, unless specifically a “natural mound”

moundectomy
Removal of a mound already built and shaped

mounding
Several mounds interrelated to one another visually or by proximity; the total of the mounds on a given course or area; the act of shaping mounds

mountain
larger than a hill, typically not moveable

mountain course
Golf course located on or around mountainous terrain such as courses located within the Rocky Mountain Range

mouth
Refers to an opening to or access point of a golf course feature; “The mouth of the bunker was especially wide”

movable obstruction
An obstruction that can be moved without unreasonable effort, undue delay of play and without causing damage to the course as specified by “The Rules of Golf” (see also “obstruction”)

movement
Widely used term to suggest areas of a course flow naturally from an aesthetic viewpoint between area to area, or feature to feature; (golf course architect: “I need to see more movement in the mounds”; shaper: “I’ll give you some movement”

mowed path
See: walking strip

muck
Soil with very high organic content; found naturally in wet, boggy areas; a condition of old golf greens through the natural and continual death of portions of the root system or due to poor maintenance practices and excessive organic content

Mug’s Hole
Large depression left of the No. 5 Green at Royal Worlington Golf Club, so named for the many unfortunate mugs (British term for “fools”) who wind up there

muir
Same as “moor” (Scottish)

mull
Headland or narrow peninsula (Scottish)

multi-level
A tee, green or fairway having multiple and distinct levels

multiple fairway
Hole with more than one fairway or ideal path that can be used to reach the green

mumbo-jumbo
Focused area of mounds, sand bunkers and grass bunkers located in roughs

mundane
Boring course, series of holes, or individual hole

muni
Slang term that refers to a “municipal golf course”

municipal golf course
Golf facility owned by local or city government and open to the public

must
Course that one cannot afford to not visit or play

mustache swale
Swale on the high side of a tee that splits the drainage of water in both directions much like the shape of a mustache, in order to divert the runoff around the tee

mustard
One of the very few condiments that cannot be spilled on the Ross Tartan without detection

mutton chop
The connection of a larger mound to a longer, lower mound; resembling a long sideburn (coined by Arthur Jack Snyder)

back to top>>
 

N

name architect
A golf course architect possessing a name; used commonly to denote a golf course designer who has heightened awareness among the golfing public; “Bob, we need a ‘name architect’ otherwise no one will play here...who’s that guy who did Pebble Beach?”

nap
Characteristic of a putting green’s surface, the texture created by the trimmed ends of the leaves of the turfgrass which make up the green

nap
See “grain”

nasty bunker
Bunker presenting the utmost of trouble if and when hit into by a golfer

National School of Design
Design approach responsible for the arrival of golf course architecture into the United States in the early twentieth century; goal was to emulate the golf holes that existed over seas so that American golf would be comparable; architects: Charles Banks, Devereux Emmet, C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor

native
Having natural, indigenous qualities that are untouched or partially preserved

natty
Looking good

natural
Having a form or appearance found in nature; area or condition left as such with little or no disturbance

natural amphitheater
Green set into an area that is naturally like an “amphitheater”; any area which appears as such

natural feature
Any individual feature or collective features of a course or hole which was not manufactured

natural hazard
Feature that existed on the site before the construction of the golf course and was incorporated into the design as a hazard; usually a body of water, indexographical feature or natural sandy area

natural hole
A hole which fits so well into the natural landscape prior to construction that only minimal effort is required to ready it for play in terms of grading and shaping work

natural open space
Areas usually between or surrounding golf holes that have been left in their pre-existing state or have been developed to mimic the native surroundings

natural rolls
Rises and fall, mostly within the surface of a green, which are graceful and appear natural in context to the surrounds

naturalness
Possessing a natural quality

navel
A small depression

neck
Refers to a narrow width of a golf course feature, usually a fairway or a green (see bottleneck)

nest
Cluster of bunkers

nestled
Act of configuring golf holes tight to one another with no extra space between them; also the position of a golf hole tight into a natural feature such as a canyon, shelf, etc.

neuk
Land that projects into a sea or body of water (Scottish)

newfangled
Describes a modern golf course built with high-tech appointments and construction methods; also term to describe remodeled features that do not look like areas of the course left untouched

niblick
Classic golf term for an iron club about the loft of a 9-iron

nightmare
Hole or hazard that is especially menacing; project that goes bad at some point in time

NIMBY
Acronym reference to a person who declares “Not In My Back Yard” with regard to development of a golf course

nineteenth hole
Refers to the clubhouse or bar facility visited after 18 holes in order to exchange golfing pleasantries and beverages; rarely used, but can also refer to an extra hole in a layout used when another hole may be taken out of play for maintenance or simply an extra hole for settling bets

ninety-degree cart rule
Course policy on use of golf carts requiring golfers to use paths until a point at which they are at a right angle to the location of their ball at which point they may exit the path and travel across the fairway to access their ball and then return to the path along the same general alignment

ninety-degree dog-leg
Par-4 or par-5 hole closely approaching a 90 degree bend at the first landing point; hopefully formed by a suitable hazard or obstacle and not other holes, houses or private property

no-brainer
Predictable design of a golf hole so natural in context to the landscape that it would most likely have been designed in the same general configuration by any golf course architect; (not necessarily a sarcastic term)

no-man’s-land
A golf hole measuring from 250 to 350 yards, often thought to be a range of awkward length as it is near to a par-3 in shortness and at the limits of the lower end of a par-4; also, an area of any golf hole where not many players are apt to hit a ball, but usually within the fairway or not far off to either side

non-returning nines
Nine hole series which do not return to the point of origin

nook
A small area concealed from view from most viewpoints

noose shot
A shot in which a golfer may “hang” himself by testing the limits of his ability in an effort to try and get away with a tempting, but extremely risky shot

nose
Analogous to a “cape” extending into a bunker that is shaped like a human nose, being wider at the upper portion and tapering to its lower end; any mound which resembles a “nose” and extends into an area

notch
An opening shaped into a fairway or between mounds that opens to a larger area; a naturally occurring opening in a valley or

nursery green
A putting surface grown and maintained for the express purpose of transplanting to other areas of a course or facility

nursing slope
A slope that assists a balls toward a safe area or target when a play is made towards the mound (used by george C. Thomas)

back to top>>
 

O

oasis
A fertile or green spot in a desert or wasteland, made so by the presence of water

OB
Abbreviation for “Out-of-bounds”

obstacle
Any feature, tree or condition in the way of a golfer’s pursuit of a target or lower score

obstacle factors
Ten considerations that determine course ratings: indexography, fairways, green targets, recoverability/rough, bunkers, OB, water hazards, trees, putting surfaces, and psychological influence

obstruction
Anything artificial, including the artificial surfaces and sides of roads, paths and manufactured ice, except: objects defining out of bounds, objects that are out of bounds and any construction declared to be an integral part of the course as specified by “The Rules of Golf” (see also “movable obstruction” & “immovable obstruction”)

Old Course
Shorter and common reference to Royal St. Andrews Golf Links Old Course

old field
Cropland that is no longer used to produce an agricultural crop and that has been allowed to revert to natural plant cover

Old Tom Morris
Regarded as the first Golf Course Architect who designed many courses in Scotland including Muirfield, Prestwick, Royal Dornoch, Royal County Down and performed redesign work on the Old Course at St. Andrews; tutored many “Golden Age Architects” including, C.B. Macdonald, Dr. Alister MacKenzie and A.W. Tillinghast

on the fly
Flight of the ball to where it touches down

one hundred fifty yard markers
On some courses a specially selected and constant plant variety planted to the sides of par-4 and par-5 fairways at 150 yards from the center of the green; any post or marker indicating yardage

one shotter
A par-3 hole

one-hundred fifty yard bush
A once common practice of planting a smallish tree or bush, or a pair of plants, at the edges of a fairway at 150-yards from the green center point

one-hundred fifty yard marker
Any marker, a post, plaque, stone, or plant placed at a distance of 150-yards from the green center point of a hole

one-hundred fifty yard rock
A large rock, or pair of rocks, placed on the edges of a fairway at 150-yards from the green center point

open entrance
Opening to a target, usually a green, that is free of obstacles between relatively wide margins

opener
First hole of a course or nine

openers
See: opening holes

opening
An area allowing entrance; such as to a green or landing area; an area through trees or mounding that allows visual sight to the target

opening hole
Refers to the first hole of a golf course; can also refer to the first hole of a new nine being played after making the turn

opening holes
Usually the first three or four holes of a course

operator
Management entity of a golf facility

optical illusion
A condition where what is seen is not equal to the actual physical condition

option hole
A hole with alternative fairways, routes or definite choices as to play throughout the entirety of its length

optional hazard
A hazard over or around which play must continue in order to avoid another hazard

optional hole
An extra golf hole consisting of its own set of tees, fairway and green complex built into a course and played as an “option” to another hole; both holes in this case are numbered the same (e.g., “No. 12”) and roughly parallel with one closed while the other in play; optional greens or tees alone do not constitute an optional hole

ornate
Design of a golf hole or course that is very complex and detailed more than usual

orphan bunker
An isolated bunker that is not integrated with other bunkers by way of mounding or features

out
The mouth of a river or stream where it flows into a larger body of water

out nine
Refers to the first nine holes of an 18-hole golf course; originated from early linksland courses as the first nine holes lead golfers “out” from the clubhouse (see also “front nine”)

out of bounds
Ground on which play is prohibited; can be golf course property boundaries or defined in the local rules

outbuilding
A structure located on a course and usually providing charm and ambiance but not integral to the operation of the course; examples are lighthouses, windmills, towers, castles, etc.

outby
Area away from a specific place; the outlying (Scottish)

outcropping
A prominent protrusion of rock or natural terrain which juts up in the landscape; “The owner drove his SUV over the outcropping while showing the banker the construction progress.”

outfall
The outlet of a drain or basin

outlet
Point where water exits from a stream, river, lake, reservoir, tidewater, or artificial drain

overflow
To flow or run over the index, brim, or banks of a waterway or reservoir

overgrowth
Area allowed to grow naturally with no care

overheight pin
A higher-than-normal flagstick used on a hole which would ordinarily not be able to be seen from the tee or fairway with a shorter flagstick
overstory...The uppermost, or treeindex, part of a forest, formed by tree crowns; the canopy

oxbow
A looping bend in a river or stream that is geologically caused by water meandering on gradually sloping land; repetitive “oxbows” are called meanders and have opposite curves; anything in the shape of an oxbow

oz
Sarcastic term for an ostentatious clubhouse or a particularly tricked-up golf course; slang for “Australia”

back to top>>
 

P

pace of play rating
A rating system established by the USGA that indicates the baseline pace at which a round of golf on a given golf course can be expected to take; the “pace of play rating” amounts to an “ideal” time for a round, and is influenced by course policy, player ability, course condition, and other factors which change continuously

padding the yardage
Rounding up hole yardages or measuring from the back of tees to the backs of greens to give the impression that the overall course is longer than actuality

paganica
Ancient Roman game similar to golf involving a leather ball stuffed with feathers and a bent stick; name means “the game of the countrymen”

palisade
A line of dramatic cliffs

pan bunker
Small sand bunker that in plan view is the size and shape of a pot bunker but much less deep

pancake green
Flat, boring green that is round

par
The score standard for a golf course and for each hole of a golf course; the number of strokes that a scratch player may be expected to take in order to complete a round or an individual hole; a standard reference number used to keep a running tally of score throughout a round of golf; par may be different for men and women golfers and may also be adjusted based on alternative lengths of a hole (see “hole par” and “course par”)

par distribution
The term used to describe the pattern, or lack thereof, of the sequential par for holes of a given course; good par distribution is generally thought to avoid more too many repetitive par-4s, for example

par four and a half
Slang for a really long par-4; or really short par-5

par order
The sequential order of par on a course; e.g., 4, 4, 5, 4, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 4 for a nine-hole course would constitute its par odder

par value
The shots required by a first rate golfer to ordinarily negotiate a given hole; “The sixth is a par-4 but has a shot value of at least four and a half.”

par-2
A golf hole at which play begins on the actual surface of
a green or its apron area and the object is to hole the ball within two shots in order to meet regulation “par” (coined by Forrest Richardson 1976)

par-3
Golf hole having a length less than 251 yards for men and less than 211 yards for women; or any golf hole where the standard of play based on conditions of its design for the scratch golfer is deemed to be three based on the expectation for such player to reach the green in one stroke and have two remaining strokes to equal par

par-3 course
Courses where all
of the holes are par-3s

par-4
Golf hole having a length from 251 to 470 yards for men and 211 to 400 yards for women; or any golf hole where the standard of play based on conditions of its design for the scratch golfer is deemed to be four based on the expectation for such player to reach the green in two strokes and have two remaining strokes to equal par

par-5
Golf hole having a length from 439 to 690 yards for men and 401 to 590 yards for women; or any golf hole where the standard of play based on conditions of its design for the scratch golfer is deemed to be five based on the expectation for such player to reach the green in three strokes and have two remaining strokes to equal par

par-6
A hole measuring longer than 690 yards for men or 590 yards for women as specified by the USGA; or a hole determined to have difficulty justifying a par of six

parallel fairway
Situation where fairways of different holes are directly parallel

parallel holes
Golf holes situated alongside one another

parapet wall
A solid wall built along the index of a dam mainly to prevent vehicles, such as golf carts, from overindexping

parkland
Land located inland and partially wooded, but open enough to resemble a park area

parkland course
Course located on parkland or in such a setting

partial paths
Cart trails which are limited to only certain parts of a course and require use of fairways and roughs for cart traffic, such as from greens to tees

passage
A way to the target through an area

pasture
Land used, or once used, for grazing

patent
Invention involving a process, system, living plant, design, or way of doing business; some unique golf facility designs have been issued U.S. patents which affords protection for 25 years from the date of issue

pawky
Scottish for tricky or cunning

pay-as-you-play course
Another term for “daily fee course”

peanut shaped
Refers to a feature, having a shape resembling that of a peanut; a rounded elongated shape being narrow or “pinched” in the middle

peatland
Type of ecosystem, also referred to as a mire, in which organic matter is produced faster than it is decomposed, resulting in heightened accumulation of partially decomposed vegetative material called peat; mires dominated by grasslike sedges, are called fens and peat in these mires has not prevented water to reach the plants; in other mires peat becomes so thick that the surface vegetation is insulated from mineral soil; mires dominated by acid-forming sphagnum moss are called bogs

pebble
Small stone measuring between 4 and 64 millimeters (0.16 and 2.51 inches) in diameter, especially one worn smooth by erosion

pedestrian
A routine hole or feature with not much interest or challenge; straightforward

pee wee course
Course of short length and made up of par-3 holes

penal design
Golf course design focusing on penalizing a golfer for a poor or mis-hit shot in the form of either forced carries or fairways lined with hazards; a penal design is characterized by a lack of strategic concept other than to not mis-hit

penal school
A golf course architect who subscribes to the penal way of design

penalizer
A hazard or feature that is particularly troublesome if hit into or encountered

penalty box
A bunker so deep or defined that it may take a golfer much time and multiple strokes to negotiate a way out

pend
Passage (Scottish)

pendant flag
Flag for attachment to a flagstick that is triangular-rather than rectangular in shape

peninsula
A mass of land protruding into open water that is connected to land by an isthmus; a feature of shaping where a raised area protrudes into a depression or bunker; a fairway which protrudes into a body of water or low area of native terrain

peninsula green
Green set on a raised area

percolation pond
A pond, usually man-made and engineered to allow treated wastewater effluent to percolate slowly into the ground via gravity to a local water table

perilous
Of or involving peril; dangerous

periscope
Optical device sometimes set at tees where a blind shot condition exists, enabling the golfer to see to the area that is blind before hitting

personal bunker
A deep pot bunker, large enough for only one golfer (see also “pot bunker”)

phalanx
A mass of bunkers organized to protect an area or green

phantom lots
Home lots for development that a developer wants to add but for which there is no room once a golf course is routed and planned

Philadelphia School of Design
Born out of a supply of talented golfers in the Philadelphia area with little or no skilled golf course architects; considered one of the more daring and creative schools; architects: Billy Bell, George Crump, William Flynn, A.W. Tillinghast, George Thomas, Hugh and Merion Wilson

physiognomy
The external features of golf hole or course which sheds light on the inner character

pickles
Slang for the depiction of golf holes on a loosely drawn routing plan, the look sometimes being that of multiple “pickles” especially when filled-in with a green color

pie shaped
Very round, concentric

pig snout bunker
A very, very small bunker or pair of shallow and round sand depressions that look like a pig’s snout; such bunkers may only be 5-6 feet in diameter each

pill
Slang term for golf ball

pimple
Mostly used to describe an unsightly feature on a golf course, usually too small in relation to its location and out of place as a result

pin position
Location of the hole for a particular day; note: “The Rules of Golf” do not provide standards for the for maximum slope on which a hole can be cut or the minimum set back from the perimeter of the putting surface

pin position indicator
On a flagstick, a sliding device such as a ball or pendant which, depending on its position, indicates whether a hole location is in the forward midrange or back portion of a green; the indicator is placed low on the flagstick for a position in the front, and higher on the flagstick for hole positions commensurately further back on the green

pine straw
Bailed quantities of pine needles typically spread over areas in rough; sometimes used to control erosion and promote growth

pingo
A mound or conical hill; by literal definition one in arctic regions that consists of an outer layer of soil covering a solid core of ice, but in golf course construction any conical shaped hill

pinnable area
The areas on a green where it is practical to set a hole

pit
Deep bunker or grass depression with steep side slopes

pitch and run
Golf shot played high and short and then allowed to run toward the hole

pitch hole
Refers to a short par-3 that may require less than a full swing

pitch mark
Indentation made by a ball when hitting a green

pitch-and-putt course
A course on which all of the holes are significantly shorter than most
par-3 holes and require “pitch” shots to reach a green or area defined for putting; such courses generally have holes ranging from 10 to 100 yards

pitched
At an angle or slope

pitching green
A designated green for accepting pitch shots

pivot
Alternative for angle point

plain
Level or gently rolling land, usually below 2,000 feet (610 meters) in elevation

plan
A compilation of goals, objectives, policy statements, and implementation strategies for guiding the physical, social, and/or economic development of an area

plan view
A direct view or facsimile such as a drawing or diagram that represents the accurate view from directly above at a ninety degree angle to the level ground

planning
The comprehensive study of present trends and of probable future developments, together with recommendations of policies to be implemented; the act of creating plans that take into account the physical land and all influences to it

plans wind
Sudden gusts or a windy condition which begins the moment plans are unrolled on a site

plastic surgery
Remodeling term used to denote work of an area or course that focuses on the visual surfaces and not major changes to grading, routing or features

plate marker
A flattish marker installed level with the ground for indicating yardage

plateau
A flat area with drop offs on all sides; in geographic terms, a level, elevated land area, usually between 2,000 and 6,000 feet (610-1,830 meters) in elevation above sea level

plateau green
A green set on a natural flat area or constructed to look as such

play club
Archaic term for driver or 1-wood as this club is generally used to put the ball into play on a majority of holes

playa
A dry or intermittently dry lakebed in the lowest spot of a closed valley; a nearly level area

playability
The extent to which a golf hole or course is playable by a particular type of golfer

player-consultant
A golf professional who lends his name and expertise to the design effort of a golf course or facility

playing oddity
Term used to describe very unusual par distribution, course or hole lengths, etc.

pocket
Area of a green that is contained and defined; any area of turf that is contained and usually small in size; an intimate area of a course secluded from view; a portion of a bunker that is deeper or more contained by side slopes or mounds

pocket green
Green, usually small, which is contained with

poke
Golf shot

pond
Inland body of standing water, smaller than a lake and generally shallow, mostly concentric and rather small; pond surface areas are usually less than one acre in size, although there is no set standard

pook
A tuft, such as grass, sticking up from an area (Scottish)

pool
Small body of water sometimes fed by a waterfall or stream

post and beam fence
Famous white fence and railing used at St. Andrews Golf Links to define the in bounds playing area and perimeter of the courses; any fence consisting of simple post and beam construction

postage stamp green
Describes an extremely small green, usually elevated and somewhat squared off on the sides; the par-3 8th Hole at Royal Troon

postcard
Hole or view of a course worthy of such

pot
Short for “pot bunker”; also the occasional cause of unexplainable shaping work

pot bunker
Small and round, especially deep sand bunker (see also: “personal bunker”)

potable water
Water that is drinkable and safe for human consumption

potato chip green
Putting green with contours that undulate similar to that of a potato chip

potatoe chip green
“Potato chip green” as spelled by Dan Quayle

power points
Focal points in shaping that attract attention through abruptness or majesty

practice area
An area specifically designated for practicing the game of golf; practice areas may contain areas for hitting shots, putting, chipping, pitching, playing from bunkers, uneven lies, etc. and are usually contained within a golf course’s property; practice area can also mean “practice range”

practice bunker
A designated bunker created for the purpose of practicing, usually situated within a practice area, driving range area or other practice venue

practice course
A designated venue for practicing which is made up of more than one hole and is “played” similarly to a course not so designated

practice facility
Typically the whole of components of a course that constitute areas where golf practice occurs; sometimes a stand-alone enterprise consisting of a driving range, practice greens, and a retail proshop

practice fairway
Refers to a practice area, but typically more narrow and resembling a fairway

practice green
A green surface specifically placed for practicing putts, chips or other short shots

practice green flagstick
A short flagstick about 30” tall and indexped with a pendant, plastic handle or other marker that signifies the location of holes cut into a practice putting or chipping green

practice hole
A designated hole set up solely for practice; a practice hole may have multiple tees and areas from which to play shots and duplicate conditions found on courses

practice range
An area generally designated for hitting full shots to an open area from a wide tee area and off limits to golfers for any other purpose

prairie
Land which is predominantly covered in natural grasses, mainly devoid of trees, is uncultivated and gently rolling or almost flat; an area of a course approximating a natural prairie

precipice
Steep or overhanging place; deep ravine with steep sides; exaggeration of the condition of a bunker

precipitation
The discharge of water, in liquid or frozen state, from the atmosphere, onto a land or water surface; includes drizzle, rainfall, glaze, sleet, snow, graupel, small hail, and hail

precision course
term coined to denote a course of shorter length and an 18-hole par less than 68, especially one containing par-4 or par-5 holes along with par-3 holes (see “executive-length course)

predictable
Design which is foreseen by the golfer and not too enlightening, interesting or memorable

pregnant bunker
Small bunker located above a larger bunker on a mound

preliminary grading
Grading work performed in advance of feature shaping and finish shaping

premiums
Lots or parcels that command higher sales prices as a result of views, golf frontage, etc.

prevailing wind
Direction from which the winds predominately come from for a certain locale

primary rough
The grass cut to a consistent height and immediately adjacent to the fairway unless there is intermediate rough

primitive layout
Course designed and built in the most simplistic fashion, without mechanized earthmoving equipment and not up to modern standards in terms of underdrainage

principal hazards
Those which are key to the playability or aesthetics

Principal’s Nose
Refers to the cluster of three small pot bunkers in the crook of the 16th fairway on the Old Course at St. Andrews

privacy mounds
Mounds situated such that their primary purpose is to create a secluded area, such as for a tee or green to separate it from another area, activity or use

private
Course that only allows members and their guests to play (see also “country club”)

profile
A elevational view of a golf hole that shows a view as if looking from the immediate side; a cross-sectional view of a golf hole

project site
Space available for construction activities, either exclusively or with others performing other construction on the project

promontory
Point jutting out into a body of water or on land a point extending out from a ridge or cliff which is isolated; from such a place you can see far and can be seen from afar

protection bunker
Sand bunker placed to assist in reducing shots being hit in its direction

psychological terror
Extreme consternation presented the golfer by the design of a golf hole, shot or feature

pu’u
Hill (Hawaiian)

pub
Drinking and eating establishment or spot at or adjacent to a golf club

public course
Course on which the public may play; e.g., not entirely private

pulchritude
Latin for beauty, excellence (see: three P’s)

pump house
The structure which protects and houses a pump station

pump station
A mechanized pump, the associated electronics and equipment use to pump water to areas of a golf course

punch bowl green
A green that is located in a depressed area or formed by surrounding mounds shaped like that of a punch bowl; archaic design used to help collect water onto the greens for better turf conditions

punch bunker
Small deep bunker shaped as if a fist was punched into a slope

push-up green
A green constructed by pushing material from surrounding areas to form the green’s elevation and basis from which it is shaped; typically with no formal under drainage

pushover
An easy hole

putt
Stroking a golf ball in such a manner that it rolls the entire distance it travels, usually in an attempt to achieve the final goal of hitting the ball into the hole either from the surface of a putting green or near proximity to one

putting clock
An especially large putting green set up for organized play where patrons circulate clockwise (usually) and negotiate a “course” of 18 or any other set number of “holes” (principally British)

putting course
A separate venue for putting which consists of designated “holes” laid out in a sequence a played one after another; some elaborate examples are built with miniature sand traps, water hazards and formal “teeing” areas from which to begin the play of each “hole”; a putting course may be built on one large green surface or multiple greens

putting green
An improved surface for putting (see “green”); often used to refer to a practice green for putting, but the term can mean any green where putting takes place

putting green surrounds
Area of turf around and outside of the collar, not including the apron, that is usually maintained as primary rough

putting surface
The closely mowed surface of a green

back to top>>
 

Q

quadruple green
A green serving four separate holes or fairways on one single surface

quaking bog
Bog formed of peat, wholly or partially suspended above a water layer so that it shakes when walked upon

quarry
An area cut into the earth for the purpose of harvesting rock, minerals or soils; a large hole resembling a quarry

quicksand
In geologic terms, sand that is unstable due to the upward pressure of water; in golf terms, slang for a sand hazard that is so severe that it may not be escapable

back to top>>
 

R

R
Abbreviation for “rough” on early hole diagrams

R and A
Short for “Royal and Ancient Golf Club”

radical bunker
A sand bunker so large, expansive and intrusive that it is radical compared to most others and will likely attract criticism

Rae’s Creek
Narrow creek at Augusta National Golf Club that runs behind the 11th green, in front of the 12th green and along the left side of hole 13; namesake is John Rae who lived in a house on the Savannah river that he used to harbor residents who could not reach Fort Augusta safely during Indian attacks

railroad tie embankment
A wall or slope stabilized with railroad ties which creates a formal appearance along a bunker or other slope

rain shelter
A small structure provided in regions prone to rain outbursts in order to provide refuge to golfers during a round; typically located in areas accessible from multiple holes and often provided every few holes

rainfall
Fall of rain and the associated quantity of water that falls in a specified area and time interval

randomness
A look resembling the aftermath of natural selection or result and not one of human or mechanical intervention

range
Same as “practice range”

range target
A flag, post, net, area of turf or artificial turf set in a practice range and used for aiming by golfers when practicing

ranger
Official of a course, usually of retirement age, who roams a course for the purpose of maintaining the pace of play and can often be more annoyance than effective

rating
See “course rating”

rating marker
An official marker designating the precise length at which a rating was determined for a given golf hole

ravine
Narrow, steep-sided valley larger than a gully and smaller than a canyon; usually formed by flowing water

re-shape
To grade or shape to re-do work already performed

re-veg
The process of restoring vegetation to an area cleared or graded; usually with native species

reachable
refers to a par-5 hole on which it is possible to reach the green in two strokes

rebuilding
The process of having to reconstruct a feature or area damaged or otherwise unacceptable

reclamation
Course or project built on land reclaimed from a previous use or previously unsuitable conditions

reclamation course
A golf course or area thereof that utilizes land previously damaged by water degradation,air pollution, soil contamination, damaged wildlife habitat, flooding, erosion, landfill operations and adverse effects from surface mining operations including surface effects incidental to underground mines; such a golf course improves environmental conditions through backfilling, grading, resoiling, revegetation, soil compaction, stabilization, and other measures

reconstructing
Act of re-building a hole or feature due to loss from damage or abandonment

recovery shot
A shot played by a golfer to recover from a locale where a misplaced shot came to rest

rectangular tees
Tees shaped with straight sides and ends forming a rectangle and, hopefully, aligned directly towards the intended line of play

red markers
Named for the color of a majority of tee markers used to designate the area of the forward teeing ground on a hole

redan
A well fortified position; fortification where two parapets meet at a salient angle (a “salient” is a outwardly projecting part of a fortification)

redan green
A green mimicking that of the “Redan Green”; refers to a green with an angled hazard which limits the approach to a narrow line of play

Redan Hole
Refers to the par-3 15th hole at North Berwick; also generally refers to a hole mimicking the “Redan Hole” with the green slightly elevated and sitting at angle to the line of flight with a menacing hazard fronting the angled green; such a hole requires a golfer to carry the hazard to access a middle or back pin placement or play safe to the front of the green and accept a long and more difficult putt

redesign
A hole or course which is undergoes a new design

reef
A ridge of rocks, sand, or coral that rises to, or near, the

regular tees
The tees from which the majority of golfers are expected to play; typically in the mid position of all tees on a given hole, but not exclusively

regulation course
A golf course of 18 holes, usually longer than 6000 yards and with most of the holes being par-4s; a debatable definition as there are references to “regulation nine-hole courses”; some definitions claim a regulation course has a par between 70 and 72, but there is no basis for this providing the yardage is above 6000 yards

relief course
Course adjacent to the primary course which may be shorter or consist of fewer holes than 18; used to handle overflow or when the primary course is closed, booked for a tournament or under repairs

renovation
Change(s) made to a golf course or hole to improve conditions

renumber
Course where a change in routing is attained by way of renumbering holes and still providing continuity; rerouting can be more than just switching nines; see: flip-flop

replica course
Course created to duplicate a famous course and promoted as such

replica hole
Hole reproduced to appear as a famous hole of another golf course and promoted a such

reservoir
A body of water, either artificial or an improved natural body, which is used to store water for irrigation or other uses

residential course
Course built as part of a residential community and principally serving as the basis for either the real estate or open space requirements

resort course
Golf course built as a recreational amenity for guests of a specific resort or hotel; a majority of resort golf courses are also daily fee golf courses; occasionally a resort course will also have private memberships

restoration
Careful rebuilding of a golf course, hole or area to return it to the form and character as designed and constructed originally

retention pond
A depressed or dammed area used to capture and hold runoff (see also detention pond)

returning nines
Nine hole loops or series which return to the point of origin

revision
Change(s) made to a golf course or hole to alter its aesthetics, play, or features

rhinn
Archaic for headland or promontory (Scottish)

rhythm
The pace and intensity with which a golf course presents itself to the golfer; speaking of a specific hole or area, a positive relationship between features, grading and landscape

ribbon
A thin band or strip; usually a swath of grass which extends to an area

ridge
A pronounced linear feature of generally consistent height which forms a division between two areas; on a putting surface, a linear alignment from which surface drainage will fall in opposite directions at any given point

ridge line
Series of points of higher elevation that separate two adjacent lower areas or watersheds; same as: divides

ridgeindex
index of a ridge of dunes or linear mounds

right bank
The right-hand side of a stream, river, or channel when facing in the direction of the flow.

rills
Pattern of linear residue of soil, sand or debris and the small channels in between them which forms following heavy rainfall or watering, especially on freshly floated surfaces

ringed
A green or landing area surrounded by bunkers or features

rip-rap
Large stones or boulders placed against a slope or bank to prevent erosion (see: armoring)

riparian
Pertaining to the banks of a river, stream, waterway and the plant and animal communities bordering such watercourses; often used in place of littoral, the correct term used to describe such areas along ponds and lakes

ripper
A terrific golf hole (Australian)

risk-reward
A shot requirement, or series thereof, which involves initial risk on the part of the golfer in anticipation of a reward by virtue of the finishing position of the ball, shorter distance to be covered or eventual reduction in further risk to be encountered; a heroic or strategic hole; which rewards the golfer with a better position or opportunity in exchange for a degree of risk (also seen as: risk and reward)

river
Large linear body of flowing water

riverine
Related to a river; being situated along the banks of a river

road
Non-formal hazard unless otherwise marked

Road Bunker
Deep, steep sod-faced pot bunker at St. Andrews

Road Hole
Specifically refers to the par-4 17th hole on the Old Course at St. Andrews with an extension of North Street located directly behind and bordering the back of the putting surface; the road leads directly into the center of the city of St. Andrews

Robin Hood method
Approach to construction where budgets are “robbed” from categories to offset overages and other needs

roch
Rough (Scottish)

rock feature
Refers to any feature, natural or built, for visual or strategic qualities that is primarily made of rock

rock veneer
Natural or artificial stone faced over a wall surface to be covered

ROG
Abbreviation for “Rules of Golf”; stems from a 1927 campaign to promote adherence to the rules of the game

roll
A defined rise and fall across an area which forms a linear hump; also used to describe an area blending to another via a slope or combination of slopes

roller coaster
Fairway or green with multiple rolls that rise and fall in succession

rollie-pollie
Consecutive rolls or bumps in a fairway or green

rolls
Consecutive rises and falls across an area which are mostly parallel to one another

roman nose
Describes the slope of a nose that protrudes into a bunker that has less slope on index and then drops steeply into the bunker (see “nose or cape”)

romp
Slang for a round of casual golf

roost tee
A tee set all alone on the index of a hill or promontory; a tee that is especially elevated above all others

rope stanchion
A upright post approximately 24” in height which is driven into the ground and supports a rope at its exposed end; commercially manufactured rope stanchions are designed to prevent injury without sharp or pointed ends; rope stanchions used for gallery control at tournaments are typically 42” in height above the ground

Ross school of design
Conforming to the practice of Donald Ross; design was intended to promote golfing variety, strategy and naturalness

Ross Tartan
Traditional tartan cloth worn by ASGCA members at official functions in tribute to Donald Ross and his great influence to the professional of golf course architecture;

rough
The taller grass that borders fairways and may include native areas that are unimproved; generally speaking, all parts of a golf course excluding greens, tees, fairways, hazards, and areas out-of-bounds (see “roughs”)

roughs
All parts of a golf course excluding greens, tees, fairways, hazards, and areas out of-bonus which, with the tees and tee banks, greens and green banks, fairways, sand traps and lakes make up the total area of the golf course

round
A completed golf outing on a given course on a given day by a individual; (see: match)

rounded mound
Any mound with a roundish index and being relatively concentric

routing
The path of golf holes from the first tee of the first hole to the last green of the last hole of a given golf course; also used to describe the alignment of cart paths

Royal and Ancient
Golf club in St. Andrews, Scotland which serves as golf’s authoritative ruling body

Royal status
Bestowed to a golf course by the King or Queen of England in order to signify its magnificence; examples: Royal Troon, Royal Lytham and St. Annes, Royal Liverpool and Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews; not just reserved to 18-hole layouts as evidenced by Royal Worlington, “The Nine Hole Wonder”

rub of the green
Refers to unexpected turns of events that may go with or against the intent of the golfer; good luck or bad luck

rudimentary
Built in the most simplistic fashion and not up to modern standards in terms of its appearance or sophistication

rugged dunes
Natural sand dunes with native grasses holding sand in place at clumps

run-up
A shot played purposefully to run along the ground and “up” to the the green

runnel
A narrow rivulet or brook

running approach
A shot played to a green that bounds along the ground prior to the green as opposed to being hit higher and landing upon the green’s surface on the fly

rushes
any of various monocotyledonous often tufted marsh plants with cylindrical and often hollow stems

back to top>>
 

S

saddle
A raised point on a landscape equidistant between the opposing slopes of two hills that remains above the lower limits of the slopes of the hills

safety cone
An area defined from the tee of a golf hole outward within which golf balls will always breach

sag pond
Small body of water created from an earthquake fault

sand
A godsend when discovered naturally; used to describe a sand trap or sand bunker

sand
Composed predominantly of coarse-grained mineral sediments with diameters larger than 0.074 mm (0.0029 inch) and smaller than 2 mm (0.079 inch) in diameter

sand box
Slang for sand trap or bunker

sand faced bunker
A bunker with a steep face covered with sand (also: “sand walled bunker”); a natural appearing bunker with sand continuing up the face and held in place with native grasses or natural conditions

sand green
Putting surface constructed of compacted sand and no turf, the surface is often oiled to keep the sand in place; sand greens are constructed where no water is available or where no means exist to finance standard turfgrass greens

sand pit
A “sand bunker”, usually deep

sand trap
Sand-filled depression strategically placed as a hazard and a deterrent to making an unimpeded recovery shot; term used regionally in place of bunker (see “bunker”)

sandhill
A hill all or partially covered with sand; a small dune stabilized partially with turf or tall grasses

sandy
When a golfer hits into a sand bunker on a hole and still scores a par for the hole

saucer green
A round shaped green usually not contoured and small compared to other greens

sausage links
Slang for the depiction of golf holes on a loosely drawn routing plan, especially in a plan where holes go out and return in single file as if chained together like sausage links

savannah
Tropical or sub-tropical grassland with sparse woody vegetation and drought resistant undergrowth (also savanna)

scab bunker
Refers to a style of bunker that is carved into a mound or placed between two small mounds with lips of varying heights and an appearance similar to that of natural sand dunes; particularly used to describe bunkers designed by Dr. Alister MacKenzie that had the appearance of scabs

scale
Relationship between two or more objects in terms of size, mass, height, etc.

scaur
Area of steep and exposed rock on a hillside (Scottish)

scenery
Picturesque view usually of the surrounding or distant landscape; often referred to as “the most valuable site characteristic” in terms of golf course design

scenic route
Sarcastic term for a golfer’s journey into the rough or along a path of many obstacles to get to the target

scheme
A layout or routing of a course or hole; often one of many created toward a solution

scooped edge
Slope or mound which is shaped with a depressed area as though it had been “scooped” out

scoreboard
Large board or structure for posting scores; ideal placement is north or south facing to avoid conflict with the sun

scorecard
Card used to keep track of a golfer score and customarily imprinted with data about each hole plus

scorecard tee
Tee built primarily for the purpose of adding length to the scorecard and not intended for much practical use

Scotland’s gift
Golf

Scottish course
A golf course typified by open fields, deep bunkers and a wind swept climate

sculptural
Having a quality that is harmonic in terms of its shape and three-dimensional quality

scythe man
Person who uses a scythe, an implement with a long curving blade; in the days before rotary and walk behind mowers, rough areas were mowed with “scythes” usually by European immigrants using straight-handled scythes

sea breeze
Inward surface wind from the sea that typically occurs during the day and caused by the thermal rising of the air above

seascape
Landscape which includes the coastline and sea

seaside bunker
A sand bunker formed by the wind and blowing sand, or one so built to resemble this appearance; not necessarily or typically bunker situated by the sea

seaside course
Golf course located immediately adjacent to a sea or ocean; synonymous with “links” in modern times

season
Period of time characterized by some distinguishable occurrence or feature, such as growing season, harvest season, winter season, dry season, etc. and not annual in duration

seasonal tees
Optional tees to be used during seasons of the year to avoid intruding sunlight facing the golfer

seawall
A structural wall designed to repel the force of the sea against the land or improvements built on the land

secondary rough
The rough beyond primary and any intermediate roughs

section
Unit of land area equal to one square mile or 640 acres (259 hectares); 36 sections comprise a township (6 miles long by 6 miles wide); a section is part of a description of the location of land using the survey system (Public Land Survey System) of the United States Government; each township is divided into 36 parts called sections one mile square (each section measuring 5,280 feet on each side); sections containing 640 acres may be further subdivided into quarter sections (measuring 2,640 feet on each side) and equal to 160 acres of that particular section; quarter section may be divided into four quarters, each being 1/16 of a section, or 40 acres (measuring 1,320 feet on each side

sedate
A feature or area that is not very noticeable or striking

seed mix bins
A container specifically for holding a blend of soil, sand and seed mix used by golfers to fill divots; such bins are typical on par-3 tees

selective clearing
Clearing only certain trees and vegetation so that natural specimens are left in place

semi-blind
A hole or shot requiring execution with only partial visibility to the target due to an obstacle or indexographical condition

semi-private
Golf course that has members yet allows the public to play for a fee

senior tee
Term used to describe a secondary “forward” tee or set of tees which is intended to be used by senior citizens as a way of lessening the length of holes and making them more playable

sense of place
An response by a golfer to an authentic setting in which the golfer feels he or she has been somewhere during a visit to a golf course

sentinel tree
A lone tree strategically placed, or left in place, that guards entrance to an area or target

sentinel
Referring to a lone feature that stands guard to a green or target; “The tall pine stands as a sentinel to any approach from that side of the fairway.”

separation
Area, landscaping and mounding between golf holes

series
As of a series of golf holes; sometimes casually in reference to a course; “As a whole, Pebble Beach is quite a series.”

serpentine
Refers to a feature, or fairway that has a narrow and winding, or snake-like shape

serrated edge
Referring to the edge of a bunker which is rugged and not evenly trimmed and consistent

service road
A roadway that provides access for behind-the-scenes uses such as deliveries, maintenance, etc.

set back
A limit established away from the center points, angle points and center lines of a golf hole or other golf area

set of tees
The whole of the tees of a given course from which play during a round will take place by a particular player; in architectural terms, all of the tees, such as all of the back tees, of a given course; e.g., all of the “white” tees constitute a set of tees

sex it up
Phrase used to describe what needs to be done to a shape or hole that lacks interest either visually or strategically

shadow points
Defined shadows as a result of forms in grading which are set against each other enough to create such an effect

shaper
Operator of equipment who shapes features according to the plans created for a golf course or instructions given by the architect

shaping
The process of moving or pushing dirt to create the shape of fairways, tees, greens, mounds and hazards

sharp dogleg
Dog-leg hole with a second shot alignment at an angle to the tee shot in excess of 33 degrees

shelf
A tier or flat area area which is situated within an incline and interrupts a slope

shelved
A area which is graded to form a shelf in a fairway, green or other area

shoal
A shallow place in a body of water; a sandbank or sandbar that makes the water shallow, but specifically not a rocky area; in marine terms an area which is six fathoms (11 meters or 36 feet) or less in depth; also referred to as a sandbank or sandbar

shoehorned
Layout or portion thereof forced into a an area too small

shoreline
Edge of a generally still body of water

shoreline trap
Sand hazard or area bordering a lake or pond where the waterline laps directly to the sand surface

short course
Usually a par-3 or executive-length course, but occasionally a regulation course that is shorter than average

short hole
A par-3 hole; sometimes used to describe the length of any hole that is short compared to its par, regardless of par

short irons
Referring to irons with a loft ranging from an 8- to 9-iron, and loft and wedge clubs

short man
A golfer who regularly hits the ball short lengths compared to other golfers

short pin
Location of a hole on a green toward the front; literally, a short flagstick such as those common to some British courses or used in the early days of golf on links courses where a higher flagstick would have been superfluous to adequate visibility

short range
A practice range shorter than normal and restricted

short tees
The shortest distance measured or designed from which a hole or course will play; the shortest of the provided tees on a hole or course; the set of short tees of a course

short-cut hole
A hole, or holes, built to allow golfers to return to the clubhouse when a regulation ninth hole ends away from the clubhouse; an example is Longue Vue Club near Pittsburgh where two extra holes complete a nine hole round using the first seven holes in addition to the short-cut holes

shortish
A hole that is relatively short compared to its par

shot requirements
The pre-planned test that a golfer will need to endure to negotiate a given hole; the shot-by-shot analysis of how a hole ideally is to be played

shot value
Unmeasureable, but often used, descriptive to indicate that a particular shot required by a golf hole has value in terms of challenge, strategy, or thought

shotgun start
Format for starting times where players begin simultaneously on the tees of holes, usually at the sound of a shotgun, siren or at a prescribed time; such format allows more play to occur on a given day and players to finish at the same time; format is especially popular for tournaments and events

shoulder season
Time of transition between a course’s “in season” and “off season” usage

shrub
A woody plant which at maturity has a bushy appearance and is less than 20 feet tall

sideburn
Area of rough or longer grass extending from one area to another

sidehill
Area on the side of a hill; a “sidehill green” would be a green set into a hillside

signal bell
A permanent bell mounted so it may be used by players leaving a green or other area which is blind from the golfers who follow, the bell is a method of signaling that play is complete and it is now safe for the group following to play to the area

signature course
Term coined popular by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. through a series of ads he ran in golf publications suggesting that “your course needs a signature”

signature hazard
A bad idea

signature hole
A hole promoted heavily as representing the whole course; refers to the architect’s “signature”, but prompting the question of what to make of the remainder of the holes

silicone
A mound which is so perfectly formed so as to look unnatural

silver tees
Modern term for tees designed for use by senior golfers; related to hair color

singing
describing a green or area of shaping which comes together especially well and with all parts in “harmony” with one another

sinkhole
A depression caused by the dissolving of underlying limestone, salt, or gypsum or other unstable conditions; slang also for an depression or pit which is built resembling a “sinkhole”

sinuosity
Describes the wavy or serpentine movement of a creek

sister course
The less celebrated golf course of two or more courses operated by the same entity

site conditions
Any aspect of a site before it is built upon

siting
Process of determining a site for a golf course, hole, clubhouse or other improvement

skerry
An island made up of a single rock or rocks; “The ball went off course, hit a skerry and careened back onto the green.”(Scottish)

skillet bunker
A sand bunker the size of a pot bunker but much less deep; (coined by Cabel Robinson)

skosh
A small amount, a wee bit; Americanized from the Japanese word “sukoshi”; “Kindly move your tractor just a skosh, it’s on my foot.”; often assumed to be Scottish in origin and confused with “scoosh”, a squirt or fizzy drink and also describing a person who can perform a certain task easily

sleeper
Hole or course that is astonishingly beautiful, interesting or challenging within a layout that might be otherwise; a course that gets little attention and is more deserving; timber, stone or steel set into the ground to support railroad ties set to provide windbreak or hold back a slope; see sleepered bunker

sleepered bunker
Bunker that has a lumber or railroad ties holding back one or more banks

sleeping policeman
British term for a speed bump, stems from the passive method that such bumps in roadways and parking lots control speed; used relative to golf to define a long bump in a fairway or green

slight hollow
A grassy area depressed and within mounds but subtle

slippery
Used to describe a slope on a green, or an entire green, which is severe enough to cause balls to roll off or further than normal

slope
The side of a hill; the inclined face of an embankment or an inclination from true horizontal; in the U.S. slope is measured as the ratio of the number of units of horizontal distance to the number of corresponding units of vertical distance, for example, a 25% gradient would be expressed as a 4:1 slope

slope rating
A rating ranging from 55 to 155 that indicates how much above or below the course rating a golfer of a given handicap can expect to score on a particular golf course; USGA slope rating for men is 5.381 x (bogey course rating – USGA course rating); USGA slope rating for women is 5.424 x (bogey course rating – USGA course rating)

slow green
Green on which a ball will roll six feet or less from a stimpmeter

sluiceway
An artificial channel, especially one for carrying off drainage from an area

small green
A green serving a hole which is under 3500 square feet in surface area

snake
Feature or hazard that can quickly grab a shot or come out of nowhere to do so; a fairway that “snakes” or zig-zags

snake pit
A bunker, usually sand, which is so deep and defined that it is almost certain disaster if hit into by a golfer

Snyder Green
A green constructed of pure coarse sand upon a subgrade identical to its finished surface and drained to low points equipped with sumps and smile ditches

soap carving
Applies to a grading plan that involves only excavation from an area with no fill material involved in the work

social club
A private club which is not necessarily aligned with a particular golf course and may meet away from the course itself in addition to conducting the customary events and outings of a private golf club

sod
Turf that has roots and is either in place with the intention to be cut and replaced elsewhere, or is already cut and ready to be placed

sod faced bunker
A bunker with a steep face, sometimes vertical, which is stabilized and faced with layers of sod which form a wall capable of retaining the earth behind it

soft green
A green that is physically soft due to agronomic conditions; a green not so challenging

softening
Changes made to a hole or course to lessen its difficulty or take away strong features or aspects; also changes made to shaping before turf is planted to make them more gradual and less abrupt

soil
Dirt with a purpose; medium composed of mineral and organic materials and living forms in which plants are able to grow

soil management
The basis of all scientific agriculture, which involves six essential practices: (1) proper tillage; (2) maintenance of a proper supply of organic matter in the soil; (3) maintenance of a proper nutrient supply, including water; (4) control of soil pollution; (5) maintenance of the correct soil acidity; and (6) control of erosion

solar altitude
Measures the angle of the sun’s position on the vertical plane in terms of degrees above the horizon

solar azimuth
Measures the angle of the sun’s position on the horizontal at a given time in terms of degrees; usually given in the number of degrees east of north

solo effort
Work by a golf course architect that is completed

sore thumb
Anything that stands out negatively on a golf course

sound
A long and wide passage of water separating two large bodies of land that is connected to open water or a sea at both ends; larger than a strait or a channel

soup bowl
Description of a setting so surrounded by wooded areas or grades that it prevents the natural wind to effect shots and play

sow’s back
An earthen ridge (British)

spartan
Simplicity, frugality and avoidance of luxury; “The hole was pure and beautiful for its spartan approach”

specimen tree
A usually large or mature tree that is integral to the play or beauty of a hole or area

spectator mounds
Usually large mounds not necessary for the aesthetics and play of a golf course, but constructed and shaped primarily for the purpose of accommodating spectators to a golf tournament; ideal for entertaining children at golf tournaments

speed of play
The actual pace of play around a course

speed slot
Term used to describe a funnel-like feature, mostly on a green’s surface, in which a struck ball will gather momentum in the direction of the downward end of the slot

spillway
Channel or passageway around or over a dam through which excess water is discharged

spine
A pronounced ridge in a green, often feathering out to nothing

spiral easement
an engineering formula for road and cart path alignment which involves increasing or decreasing radiuses until they meet other segments; better transitions are created by spiral easements than with a singular radius because the spiral method establishes a more gradual and natural alignment for drivers to negotiate (source: Arthur Jack Snyder)

split fairway
A fairway divided by one or more features or hazards along the linear direction of the play of the golf hole which creates an option for the golfer as to which route to follow; one route usually offers a greater reward at a greater risk of penalty

split level
Relating to a fairway, tee or green, but usually reserved to describe a fairway with distinct levels separated by an embankment (see “bi-level” and “tri-level” in reference to greens and tees)

spoon
Classic term that refers to a wood club with the loft of a 3-wood

spring
A natural and concentrated discharge of ground water emitting at the surface as flowing water

spring equinox
Refers to the first day of spring as the sun passes directly above the Earth’s equator

sprinkler
The nozzle end of an irrigation system which emits water coming through a system of pipes

spur
The tapered extension of a mound that is ridge-like and gradually slopes away from the index of the mound and is significant in form in relation to the other slopes of the same mound; stems from the look when multiple “spurs” extend from a mound creating a star shape

squeaker
Very short par-3 hole within a routing that contains holes of more typical length

St. Andrew
First disciple of Christ believed to have been crucified by the Romans in Patras, Southern Greece; according to legend, Saint Rule stole parts of St. Andrew’s remains centuries later to take them to the “Ends of the Earth,” as directed by divine influence; St. Rule’s ship wrecked on the east coast of Scotland, the known “Ends of the Earth” at the time; namesake for the town of St. Andrews, Scotland

St. Andrews
City on the east coast of Scotland; location of the Old Course at St. Andrews, regarded by many as the “home of golf”

stadium course
Golf course design concept which facilitates tournament play, particularly the seating of spectators, giving the golf course a “stadium” feel

stammygaster
Incredibly poor shaping work when first seen by the golf course architect; anything shocking or unpleasant (Scottish)

standout
Individual hole that rises to the surface when a golfer recalls a round

stank
A pond or pool; also a very small dam to hold water back (British)

starter shack
Typically small structure large enough for not much more than one person who controls access to the tees on starting holes according to policy set by the green committee

Steam Shovel Banks
Refers to Golf Course Architect Charles Banks (1883-1931), an understudy of C.B. Macdonald; earned name through the belief of moving massive amounts of earth to create elevated greens and deep bunkers; said to have requested a hole so deep that a steam shovel sank beneath it

step
Area between levels of a green

step cut
Same as “intermediate rough”

stepped
Bunker with multiple levels or a series of bunkers set in a staircase fashion; a green which has multiple levels; a continuous turfed area which has tees at multiple levels

sterile
Golf course design that lacks interest or intrigue; a layout that has sameness

stey
Steep; steepness (Scottish)

stick figures
Routing plan done with center points and center lines only, usually as a precursor to a more refined routing plan indicating features, clearing and and fairway limits

Stimpmeter
A three-foot metal ramp used to measure the speed of a putting green; named after inventor, Dr. Edward Stimpson; involves placing a golf ball is in a notch approximately six inches from one end which is elevated by hand until the ball naturally rolls out of the notch, down the chute and onto a flat section of the putting green and the distance the ball rolls is measured in feet and inches; the process is repeated in the opposite direction and the average of the two measurements is the green’s “Stimpmeter reading”; public access golf courses are recommended to read under 10 on the Stimpmeter; greens at Augusta National are rumored to measure between 12 and 14 during the Masters Tournament although those measurements are not released

stone’s throw
Distance of about 100 to 150 feet

stonewall
Literally, a wall made from stone, usually stacked with no mortar or bonding;

sindexlogs
Logs, timber or steel beams stacked with their ends held in guides on each side of a channel to provide a temporary closure that prevents water from passing through a conduit or ditch below a certain elevation; as “logs” are removed or replaced water level is controlled

straightaway hole
Golf hole especially straight in alignment from tee to green with little to no obstacles intruding to that alignment

straightforward
Hole or course that presents little challenge and demands no thought to execute

strait
Small body of water, usually linear in nature and narrow, that connects two larger bodies of water

strand
Linear strip of land bordering a body of water, such as a beach

strand line
A shoreline, usually defined by the highest visible traces of a water level in a lake or pond, or the high tide mark of an ocean shoreline

strata
The distinct horizontal layers in geological deposits of which each layer may differ from adjacent layers in terms of texture, grain size, chemical composition, or other geological criteria

stratagem
A design which tricks or lures play to peril; an especially clever design or feature which makes the pursuit of par more difficult

strategic design
Golf course design concept focusing on alternate routes from which a golfer may choose to proceed based on risk versus the reward; this approach also allows for players with different skills to negotiate a hole commensurate with their particular skill level

strategic school
A following to strategic design principals

strath
Wide and flat valley with a river running through (Scottish)

stratum
A horizontal layer or section of an area

stream
A channel of water generally narrow, free flowing and less wide than than a river; a stream is usually a natural watercourse or one created to resemble such; classifications of natural streams include: ephemeral streams: those flowing only in direct response to precipitation and whose channel is at all times above the natural water table; intermittent or seasonal streams; those flowing only at certain times of the year when receiving water from springs, rainfall, or from surface sources such as melting snow; perennial streams: which flow continuously

streambanks
The usual boundaries, not the flood boundaries, of a stream channel

streambed
The channel through which a stream of water runs or

streamlet
A particularly small stream

stretch
Series of a few golf holes

strip mine
Slang for a long narrow bunker

strip path
See: walking strip

stymie
Archaic term used to define a situation when an opponents ball blocked the line to the hole when within close range of the cup; now used to indicate a situation when a golfer has an object directly blocking the direct line or intended path of a shot

subdued
Toning down the intensity of a feature, hole or course by changing it

subgrade
The grade below the final finished grade

summer solstice
Refers to the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere; due to higher summer sun angles, the time period of play that is impacted by sun glare is at its shortest on this day

sump
A hole where water is diverted and then allowed to percolate into the ground or carried elsewhere by pipes or pumps

sunk green
A green depressed into the surrounding landscape if not entirely, at least visually from the tee locations

sunken
Green or area depressed into the surface with no obvious outfall

super highway
Sarcastic for a cart path that is out of place, unsightly or exceptionally long and straight

superfund
A federal trust fund of the U.S. for use in the cleanup of spills or sites containing hazardous waste that pose a significant threat to the public health or the environment

surface water
All waters whose surface is naturally exposed to the atmosphere, for example, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, streams, impoundments, seas, estuaries, etc., and all springs, wells, or other collectors directly influenced by surface water; surface water includes rainfall or discharges once the water reaches the ground and remains thereupon tarn A small steep-banked mountain lake or pool; in nature formed by a glaciation process

surrounds
The entirety of the features and forms surrounding a green; also the landscape and environs around a course property or any localized area

swale
A visual low area of linear proportions in which drainage may flow to an outfall or low point; the term is usually reserved for fairways and roughs

swamp
Wetland area that is covered in water often; dominated normally by woody vegetation

sward
Grass covered soil

swath
A row of grass left after cutting; a surface with a long, broad strip or belt, such as a “swath” of grass between two bunkers

sweeping
Characteristic of a mound, slope, green or fairway in which there is a huge area of gradual grade which appears to be larger than in reality

Swilcan Bridge
Famous bridge and landmark located on the 18th hole of the Old Course at St. Andrews which crosses the Swilcan Burn (also spelled “Swilken”)

sylvan
Shaped by woodlands or trees; such as a fairway, clearing or opening

sylvan fairway
A fairway cut through a wooded area or created to appear as such

symbolism
Overt examples where features and shaping are used to to create visible designs representing figures, geometric shapes or other created forms, such symbolism on courses is usually reinforced by meaning and can usually be best viewed from elevated positions (Planner and Golf Course Architect Desmond Muirhead tishe master of “symbolism” in golf course design)

back to top>>
 

T

T
Abbreviation for “trap” and occasionally “tree” on early hole diagrams

tableland
Flat land or area; sometimes in reference to a green or green site

tableindex tee
A tee which is rectangular and therefore resembles the index of a table

taiga
Moist forested area in sub-arctic regions which begin where a tundra ends

tail water
Water in a channel that reaches the lower end of a field, such as through irrigation

tailings
The waste material remaining after material is extracted from ore

tailwind
Condition of playing with the wind (see downwind)

tame
Course or hole that does not present too much of a challenge

tank
Alternative term for an artificial pool, pond, reservoir, cistern, or large container for holding and storing water for drinking or

tap
index of a mound, peak or other feature (Scottish)

target
An area at which the golfer is expected to aim, land or end up; sometimes used interchangeably with “pin” or “flag”

target bunker
A sand-filled bunker placed for the primary purpose of directing a shot over or aside it to a preferred alignment

target course
Term made popular with the necessity to decrease turf areas on courses for water conservation; defined by areas of non-turf or native ground in between fairways and surrounding a hole or holes that is mostly unplayable; an 18-hole “target course” may comprise as few as 70 acres of improved turf area

target golf
Coined in mid-1960s to define courses on which play is from area to area and the emphasis on the roll of the ball is diminished as a result of such lush conditions; also interchanged now with “target course”

target green
A green or area made to appear as a green and placed on a range for aiming at and hitting to when practicing

target moundings
Group of mounds that suggest or imply the preferred line of play (either towards, aside or over) or otherwise serve as a crutch in determining alignment of a shot to be played

tartan
Distinctive pattern of colored lines and bands which cross each other at right angles; many are associated with specific clans; tartans are disparagingly used to indicate something is Scottish in an exaggerated or self-conscious way

tartanry
Derogatory term for the excessive use of tartan designs or imagery to evoke a Scottish feel or having a Scottish origin (Scottish)

tassie
A cup or goblet, especially one used as a trophy (Scottish)

teaching area
A designated area for the purpose of teaching; usually within a larger practice area

teaching tee
A designated tee on a driving range or practice area for the purpose of teaching or use by a teaching professional

tee
The starting point of a golf hole, usually multiple points (see “tee box”); Wooden peg used to elevate a golf ball for the first shot of a golf hole

tee border
Any material different from the turfgrass planted on the surface of a tee which encircles the perimeter to define the tee, prevent erosion or control turf limits

tee box
Used to describe the portions of a course that contain the turfed surface area on which the tee markers are placed thereby defining the teeing ground; the term “box” comes from the use of a wooden box which held sand used to tee up a golf ball before the advent of wooden tees; a handfull of wet sand was scooped out from the box and used to build a tiny pyramid on the teeing area with which the ball was positioning aindex to be hit; despite popular belief, “tee box” does not refer to the “boxed” area allowed for teeing a ball nor did the term come from the straight-sided shape of a tee or teeing area

tee caddie
Receptacle placed adjacent to tee markers for golfers to discard broken tees

tee marker
A marker, made from natural or artificial materials, which designates the official beginning point of a golf hole for the purpose of defining the “teeing ground”; usually a pair of markers of the same color and style are used to denote a particular set of tees throughout a golf course

tee station
A combined arrangement at the main tee of each golf hole of a course which usually includes signage with a diagram of the golf hole, lettering with the hole’s specifics, a ball washer and other appointments provided for the golfer

tee wall
Wall built to support material built up to form a teeing area

tee-to-green
The totality of area from the tee to the green of a given golf hole; the path a golfer follows or takes from “tee to green”

teeing area
Flat prepared surfaces from which play begins on each hole

teeing ground
Rectangular space two club-lengths in depth, the front and sides of which are defined by two tee markers set by the greenkeeper perpendicular to the line of play of a golf hole; teeing ground is generally defined on the flat surface of a tee

teeth
Refers to the the more severe or more penalizing areas of a golf hole

temporary course
A combination of tees and/or greens used during periods of construction or seasonal conditions and approved by the governing body of a course or club (note: a temporary course may be defined by a separately determined par and rating)

temporary green
A green or moderately improved area delineated for use as a green under the rules of golf that is temporary in play while the regular green is repaired or altered

temporary tee
A tee or area delineated for use as teeing ground under the rules of golf that is temporary while other tees are being repaired or altered

temporary wetland
Type of wetland in which water is present only part of the year, usually during rainy seasons; also referred to as vernal pools

terminal lake
A lake with no outlet

terminus
Point at which water reaches its final destination after traveling through a river or series of watercourses

terrace
A flat or level area, usually within a hillside referring to the land portion that is flat; also an embankment or combination of an embankment and channel constructed across a slope to control erosion by diverting and temporarily storing surface runoff instead of permitting it to flow uninterrupted down the slope; in nature, an old alluvial plain, ordinarily flat or undulating, bordering a river, lake, or the sea

terraced green
Green with distinct levels or tiers

terrain
The physical features of a tract of land

terraqueous
Being of land and water

territorial waters
Waters under the sovereign jurisdiction of a nation or state including both marginal sea and inland waters; such jurisdiction extends also to the air space above and to the bed beneath such waters

Terror, The
Nickname for Golf Course Architect Albert Warren Tillinghast, because of a tempestuous childhood

terrors
Hazards that intimidate

texas wedge
Refers to the use of a putter from neither the green nor the fringe

thalweg
Lowest thread along the axial part of a valley or stream channel; also the chief, or deepest part of a navigable waterway.

thank you ma’am
A bump or depression in a road or cart path derived from its causing a nodding of the head when driven; used to cause water to run off and thereby minimize erosion

thematic
Constituting a theme, such as a golf course which has a common thread through its holes, design, landscape, water features, signage, etc.

thickage
Thick rough, bushes or trees

thicket
Clump of trees or bushes

think twice bunker
Bunker positioned to cause doubt to a particular shot or route to a target

Thomas bunker
Refers to a dramatic, jagged-edged, “catcher’s mit”-type sand bunker; this feature was a trademark of Golf Course Architect George C. Thomas (1873-1932)

Thomas-Bell bunker
A sand bunker with flashes of sand between jagged peninsulas of turf, or capes; named for the famous bunkers created jointly by golf architects George C. Thomas, Jr. and William P. “Billy” Bell (P./????????)

thought value
Similar to shot value, but differentiated to the demands of a hole upon a golfer to think about alternatives and execution as opposed to the actual act of striking the ball

thought-provoking
One objective of a golf hole

three Bs
Balls, beer and bandaids, slang for the capitalist driven reason to return players as frequently as possible to the clubhouse at anytime, especially used in reference to the rationale for returning nine hole loops

three P’s
“Playability, Practicality and Pulchritude”, the three primary and essential considerations of any problem in golf course architecture (coined by Robert Muir Graves and Geoffery Cornish for their curriculum in the field)

three shotter
A par-5 hole

threes
All of the par 3 holes of a course or discussion

throat
Refers to the center of an elongated golf course feature, usually a fairway; “He hit that drive right down the throat.”

through the green
Any area of the golf course except the teeing area and green of the hole being played, including all hazards on the golf course

tidal flat
An extensive flat tract of land alternatively covered and uncovered by the tide, and comprising mostly unconsolidated mud and sand

tidal marsh
Low, flat marshlands traversed by interlaced channels and tidal sloughs and subject to tidal inundation; vegetation is typically salt-tolerant bushes and grasses

tier
A distinct level of a green or tee

tiered
Having tiers

tiered green
Green that is broken into well-defined levels by

tiger tee
Refers to the back tee markers (note: term developed before the emergence of Tiger Woods

tight
Describes the feel of a narrowness in terms of a fairway penned by features or vegetation; a green or green area closely bordered by anything other than forgiving terrain; requiring a very accurate shot without much room for error

tight fairway
Fairway that is especially narrow in width, either by encroaching hazards, features, trees or rough

tile drainage
Drainage by means of a series of tile lines laid at a specific depth and grade

Tillie
Nickname of Golf Course Architect Albert Warren Tillinghast (see also “The Terror”)

tilted bay
Bay of a bunker that tilts upward toward the outer edge

tilted plates
Greens that are round and tilted at various angles with no other contour interest

tilth
The general physical condition of soil as it relates to use for growing crops or turfgrass

tips
The farthest back tees of a hole or course

toe
The line of any slope where it intersects the natural ground or its lowest recognizable limit at which it intersects with a more level area of the landscape

toe of slope
The point at which a slope ends and meets a level or mostly level area

tongue
A narrow band of turf interrupting a bunker; any strip of turf or terrain which looks like a really big tongue; on greens, an extension of green surface which spills out to a lower grade like a tongue hanging out of a mouth

indexdressing
Act of applying sand, without or without organic and other amendments, to an already planted turf surface such as a green, tee or fairway

indexo
Short for indexographical; refers to a contour map created of a specific tract of land

indexographic map
A map with lines showing equal elevation or a region’s relief; also showing natural and man-made surface features such as hills, valleys, rivers, and lakes, canals, bridges, roads, cities, etc.

indexographical interest
Interest present in the contour of a hole or course, regardless of whether it was part of the natural ground or built through grading

indexography
The general configuration of the land surface including relief and position of natural and man-made features

indexsoil
Upper-most layer of a soil profile containing nutrients necessary for plant life

Toronto Terror, The
Nickname referring to Golf Course Architect Stanley Thompson (1894-1952)

torrent
A turbulent, swift-flowing stream

torturous
Hole, course or shot requirement that is brutal

toupee
Slang for a small piece of sod, such as a large sized divot or trimmed remnant from a strip of sod

tournament tee
Tee built and used exclusively for tournament play, or nearly so

township
A territorial subdivision, generally considered six miles long, six miles wide, and containing 36 Sections, each section 1 mile square (640 acres); see: section

track
Casual term for a golf course; somewhat tacky reference in its attempt to simplify the whole of a golf course to merely its path

track iron
Old fashioned golf club used to lift the ball off of tracks or carraigeways

tract
Expanse of land or water

tract
Term used to reference a golf course, its layout and general land area

trade dress
Term of intellectual property referring to the overall way an entity presents itself through its facilities style, designs, packaging, etc.; golf courses have used trade dress arguments to claim infringement by replica holes and courses

trademark
A name, slogan, symbol, design, odor, sound or sculptural shape used by an entity as a means to denote goods or services; logos and slogans are the most common trademarks used by golf courses, but a golf hole itself may qualify as a trademark if it is used according to trademark law
traditional design Golf course design that is stoic and appears like that of a classic course

trajectory
A combination of the vertical and horizontal alignments a golf ball travels from impact by a club to its first contact with the ground; indeed, the path it travels while in the air; sometimes just the vertical curve of a golf ball after being hit and before descending

transition area
Area along a hole which serves to transition between the turf and native terrain; such areas are twofold as they help prevent both balls and irrigation from infiltrating the native area; usually with a clean edge adjacent to the golf course and an undefined edge adjacent to the native surroundings

transition bunker
A formal bunker serving the same purpose as a “transition area”

transition hole
Golf hole that bridges one area of a course to another, or one series of like or relates holes to another series of holes; a less interesting or intense golf hole than those before and after

transition zone
Intervening area between distinct environments of a golf course or landscape

trap
Short for “sand trap”; mostly a sand or grass depression that catches or sindexs a ball and creates a lie from which it may be difficult to escape (see bunker); as a verb, to mean the act of designing more traps or features into a hole, “We need to trap this hole more.”

trap well
See: bunker well

trapping
General term for the combination of traps on a hole or course

trash rack
A grate located at the intake of a conduit or channel to prevent debris from passing

trashed-up
Look that is rough with natural and random intricacies

traversing
An alignment that goes across, over, at an angle, or along a feature or hazard; usually, though, to go over

treacherous
Hole or particular shot which demands nerves of steel; a “scary” golf shot

treated effluent
Water that has received primary, secondary, or advanced treatment to reduce its pollution or health hazards

treatment plant
A structure built to treat wastewater before discharging it into the environment

tree
A woody plant which at maturity is usually 6 meters (20 feet) or more in height

tree island
A native tree left or one planted within a bunker

tree island
A raised area of land within a bunker or waste area on which a tree is growing

tree line
The edge of a group of trees that defines a wooded area, especially so after clearing for a fairway or following growth of planted trees to maturity

tree lined
A fairway lined with dense trees

tree snag
A dead tree or tree stump left as part of the clearing process to reduce soil erosion and provide valuable wildlife habitat

tree wall
A mass planting of trees that is linear and “wall”-like

treed rough
Deep rough areas with tress and some native terrain

tri-level
A tee or green having three distinct levels

tributary
A stream which joins another stream or body of water.

trickle channel
A longitudinal channel constructed along the center and lowest part of a channel or through a detention or retention facility and used to carry low flows; also referred to as a cunette

trick green
A putting surface possessing optical illusions or slopes which are not as they appear, or a green which presents breaks which are complicated or so unique that they are prone to criticism

tripe
Slang for rough, or worse

triple fairway
Hole with three pronounced fairways that allow a golfer an option in playing

triple green
Putting surface that accommodates three different golf holes, each golf hole having its own flag

trolley
British for a pull cart

trough
A noticeable linear depression which outfalls to a larger low area; troughs are often fairway features which feed or collect balls and drainage; on greens, a subtler low area which is much longer than it is wide

tuft of grass
Small cluster of grass, usually with height similar to that of tall rough

tundra
Rolling plain, devoid of trees with sub soil that is frozen year round

tunnel
An inescapable view to a target; a sight that cannot be ignored by the golfer playing a hole

turf limit
Boundary beyond which ground surface will not be treated with improved turf; used to limit number of acres to be maintained

turf nursery
Area set aside to grow turf for use in replacing damaged turf or for testing

turfgrass
Grass specifically developed to serve as a playing surface for a recreational activity or for a residential or commercial lawn

turn
Transition from the first nine holes to the last nine holes of an 18-hole golf course; often used to refer to the clubhouse when the ninth hole returns to the clubhouse

turn-around
End of a cart path where carts can turn and go back the opposite way; a cul-de-sac; usually 25-30’ in diameter

turn-out
Widening of a cart path enabling carts to park near a tee, green or other area

turndown
Portion of an elevated green which extends down the front slope toward the fairway to allows a portion of the green to be seentwenty-seven-holer
Layout that consists of three nine-hole loops or nines

twisted nose
Nose of a bunker which curves

two, three and four pointers
The common points required for staking golf hole tee, fairway and green center points, a par-3 requiring two points, a par-4 requiring three points, etc.

two-decked
An area with a double level; a fairway or green with two distinct levels

two-green system
A course built with two greens per hole to distribute wear between the two greens; greens are used in rotation

two-hundred post
A waypost set into the ground to mark a distance 200 yards from the green

back to top>>
 

U

U-shaped
A green, bunker, tee or other feature shaped to resemble the letter “U”

U.S. Open rough
Descriptive for especially tall rough

uncork
To hit a golf ball very long, often with minimal emphasis on accuracy

understory
Plants growing beneath the canopy of other plants, such as in forests

undulation
A wavelike motion to and fro in a fluid or elastic medium propagated continuously among its particles but with little or no permanent translation of the particles in the direction of the propagation ;or in other words, a wavy appearance

unisex rest room
Rest room facility that serves both men and women

unnatural
Opposite of natural; shaping or feature which does not fit into surrounds, whether the setting is natural or not

unpretentious
Course that is managed and equipped with amenities such that it does not intimidate by way of grandeur or such an exclusive feeling that a golfer may feel in awe of the setting independent of the golf course itself

unreachable
Par-5 with such a length that even the longest hitters cannot reach the green in two

untouchable
Same as “unreachable”

up-side-down plate
Describes a green’s shape or lack thereof; a green built simply by piling the sub-base material on the existing grade, giving the feature the appearance up an up-side-down plate

uplands
Ground above a floodplain

upstream
Toward the source or upper part of a stream; against the current

upwind
With the wind at your face

urban runoff
Water from city streets and gutters that usually contains a great deal of litter and organic and bacterial wastes; urban runoff includes rainwater and all forms of day-to-day discharges above the ground

USGA Green
A green built to specifications determined by the USGA for a particular region; such definition has to do only with the underlayers of the green and not its size, shape, contour or turf type

back to top>>
 

V

v-ditch
Refers to the cross-sectional ‘V’ shape of a drainage channel

vale
A valley, often coursed by a stream; a dale

valley
An area lower than the land to either side

Valley of Sin
Large low area fronting the 18th green at The Old Course at St. Andrews; used reverently to indicate any similar design feature where the green extends well forward and to a low point from which balls must be putted or chipped a great distance and up a significant incline

valve box
Usually sunken receptacle which contains a valve; not always “box” shaped

variety
The quality or state of having different forms or types of views, strategies and experiences on a course

vegetation
Any variety of plant life

venicular
An apparatus to lift and carry golfers and their equipment up and down steep inclines; a venicular operates like a cable car using rails

vernal pool
A type of wetland in which water is present for only part of the year; see also: temporary wetland

vexatious
Design that is intentionally puzzling and full of disorder

view corridor
A visual opening in the landscape, such as between mounds, vegetation, housing, etc., that permits sight to distant scenes and areas

viewing platform
A platform usually at a tee built to a height so a golfer can see beyond a hill or obstruction before hitting

vintage layout
An older course, usually predating the 1950s

visibility
The distance to which a golfer is able to distinguish features from their background;the determinants of visibility include the characteristics of the target object (shape, size, color, pattern), the angle and intensity of sunlight, the observer’s eyesight; and the extent of light

vista
Naturally occurring or man-made view of a particular focal point or of the distant landscape

vista corridors
Intentionally designed space that allows for relatively unobstructed views to distant landscapes

vistas
The view from any portion of a golf course to areas beyond the immediate area of the viewer

voe
Small bay or narrow creek (Scottish)

volcano
Concentric and rather steep mound with either a flat index or slightly depressed index which overall resembles a volcano

volcano trap
Sand bunker depressed into the index of a significant mound

volkswagen
Slang to mean an abrupt mound in an isolated portion of a fairway that looks as if it was created by covering a Volkswagen Beetle with dirt and sod

volunteer
Growth of plants that are unexpected or unplanned

back to top>>
 

W

wadi
A generally steep-walled channel channel of an intermittent stream in an arid region (see also: arroyo, barranca, and wash)

walk-off
Pathway or area where golfers are expected to exit a green enroute to the next tee or direction of travel

walk-on
Pathway that golfers are expected to use to access a tee, green or isolated fairway; usually an open area between landscaping, mounds, hazards, etc.; see: walk-up

walk-up
An area specifically created to accommodate golfers walking from paths to greens, paths to tees, etc.

walk-up strip
Mowed path to access a green, tee or other area

walker
Golfer who walks rather than taking a motorized cart

walking course
Course which permits walking and has been routed to accommodate a golfer who walks

walking strip
Mowed path, usually from the front of a tee to a fairway that is provided for golfers who walk; a popular sight on tournament courses for players and caddies, the theory being that walking through deep rough in front of a tee would trample down grass, may be wet and would eventually look unsightly as multiple paths developed

wall
Face of a bunker; also any of a variety of artificial walls, usually vertical, such as bulkheads, rock walls, concrete walls, railroad tie walls, etc.

wall-to-wall grass
Descriptive used to indicate a course planted width turf across its entirety, literally from “wall” to “wall” of the limits of the property lines or OB stakes

wallow
A shallow pool of water or mud

wandering layout
Course which winds its way through areas with separation between holes and seems not to parallel itself

warm-up area
An area, designated or not, in which a golfer can take practice swings or loosen up prior to a round; typically warm-up areas are not formal practice areas consisting of greens and tees, but the term is sometimes applied to practice areas of considerably reduced length and size, probably to distinguish the limitations of such areas

wart
Smallish mound that is particularly pronounced due to its abruptness and location

wash
A otherwise dry channel, usually steep walled, in which water flows during rainfall runoff; usually associated with arid climate regions; wash streambeds are generally chocked with coarse alluvium (see also: arroyo, barranca and wadi)

washboard
A rippled surface, either intentionally or undesirable

washout
Erosion caused by a sudden gush of water, as from a downpour or floods; a channel created by such erosion.

waste area
Usually a flat bottomed area with occasional vegetation or tall grasses the surface of which is sand or smoothed soil; resembles a huge bunker, but not defined as a hazard

waste bunker
Same as “waste area”, but defined as a hazard

water
Essential ingredient to sustain golf course turf; in terms of natural rainfall and drainage, typically too much or too little is present at any one given time

water bars
Berms or long swales strategically placed along slopes to runoff to other areas

water bunkers
Very small lakes can be referred to sarcastically as such; historically however, originally designed sand bunkers on some courses which filled with ground water were modified to become water hazard ponds; prior to casual water rules, the term is likely to have had a logical meaning as sand bunkers which filled with rainwater were “in play” with no relief

water feature
Refers to any feature on a golf course, natural or man-made, that holds water, including creeks, streams, washes, lakes, ponds or waterfalls; mostly utilized for golfing strategy, hazards, aesthetics or auditory ambiance; often means a waterfall or cascading stream

water hazard
A full or partial body of water or other similar that usually crosses the path of a golf hole and has been staked or defined as a water hazard subject to the rules of golf; a water hazard may be defined to include only a portion of a body of water with the remainder being either a lateral water hazard, through-the-green or out-of-bounds

water hole
A golf hole where water is designed to come into play; a small natural depression in which water collects, especially one used by animals for drinking;

water supply
The quantity of available water; the source and delivery system of such water

water table
The level of groundwater; the upper surface of the zone of saturation for underground water

water use
The amount of water needed or used

water witch
A person who predicts the presence of underground water with hand-held tools such as forked twigs, or divining rods

water worn
Worn, smoothed, or polished by the action of water

watercourse
A linear alignment above the ground in which water flows continuously or when presented with water

watered green
A green that requires water to sustain turfgrass or conditions

waterfall
A change in elevation where water is allowed to drop vertically

watershed
All lands enclosed by a continuous hydrologic drainage

waterway
A navigable body of water, such as a river, channel,

watery grave
Used to describe a water hazard in which a ball was hit and will not be found or played; any deep or especially menacing water hazard where the above may become a reality

waving mounds
Mounds which are repetitive and appear to have been shaped by the wind

way back tees
The tees positioned at the farthest points from the green of a the holes that make up a golf course

waypost
An upright post incorporating a sign or graphic for the purpose of communicating direction; also a post set in the ground with no wording or graphic used solely as an aid in aiming (see “aiming post” and “barber pole”)

wee bit
Ever so slight an amount of effort or change

weak hole
Golf hole that does not favorably compare to the balance of a course

weather
The composite condition of the near earth atmosphere, which includes temperature, barometric pressure, wind, humidity, clouds, and precipitation; variations over a long period create climate

wee course
A par-3 or executive course; a youth course; any course considered short by way of extremely short length or par well below that of a typical regulation course; most associated with a nine-hole course

weir
Engineered surface on which water is allowed to run over from of a body of water such as a pond or lake and thusly controls the surface of the water behind it via its width and elevation

well
Artificial excavation for the purpose of extracting water from below the surface of the ground; usually a bored, drilled, or driven shaft and encased for stability

well-trapped
Hole, green or fairway that has many bunkers or bunkers which are especially well placed

wet meadow
Grassland with waterlogged soil near the surface but without standing water for a majority of the year.

wetlands
An area with hydrology, soils or vegetation types that support habitat and oxygen exchange meeting a criteria established for determining such an area; the single feature that all wetlands have in common is a soil or substrate that is saturated with water during at least a part of the growing season; wetlands require that one or more of these attributes be met: (1) Hydrology: at some point of time in the growing season the substrate is periodically or permanently saturated with or covered by water; (2) Hydrophytic Vegetation: at least periodically, the land supports predominantly water-loving plants; (3) Hydric Soils: the area contains undrained, wet soil which is anaerobic, or lacks oxygen in the upper levels; other common names for wetlands are sloughs, ponds, swamps, bogs, and marshes

whale-backed green
Green with a large crowned portion resembling the shape of the very index of a whale’s back

whins
Refers to Viex europaeus, a plant native to linksland on the British Isles; another name for “gorse”

whipping pole
Pole used for knocking down worm casts on a green prior to mowing; usually made of bamboo

whirly-gig
Having a whirl-like shape or continually in circles; “The dozer operator made a whirly-gig out of the mounds and traps that made even him dizzy.”

whisker area
Area off the edge of a green that is a continuation of the shorter grass which typically constitutes the apron

White Faces of Merion
Refers to the sand bunker design at Merion where Golf Course Architect Hugh Wilson emphasized the visibility of the hazards; name was coined by amateur golfer Chick Evans in 1924

white markers
Named for the color of a majority of tee markers used to designate the area of the regular teeing ground on a hole; place from which most golfers should play a golf course

white stakes
Another term for “out-of-bounds”; derived from the use of customary “white stakes” to demark the limits of in-bounds ground

whoop-dee-doos
Long and continuous mounds bordering a fairway that go on and on

wildlands
Non-urban, natural areas which contain uncultivated land, timber, range, watershed, brush or grasslands

wildlife refuge
Area designated for the protection of wild animals, within which hunting, fishing and recreation are either prohibited or controlled

wimple
A ripple or ripple-like feature such as the appearance of a ripple upon the surface of water

wind
Any moving air which occurs in nature

wind scale
A systematic arrangement of words and/or numbers used for expressing and recording the velocity or force of the wind; the U.S. Weather Bureau scale uses a graduation of 13 scales (0-12) to represent different wind conditions along with corresponding wind speeds (in miles per hour):
0 = Light (less than 1 mph)
1 = Light (1-3 mph)
2 = Light (4-7 mph)
3 = Gentle (8-12 mph)
4 = Moderate (13-18 mph)
5= Fresh (19-24 mph)
6 = Strong (25-31 mph)
7 = Strong (32-38 mph)
8 = Gale (39-46 mph)
9 = Gale (47-54 mph)
10 = Whole Gale (55-63 mph)
11 = Whole Gale (64-75 mph)
12 = Hurricane (above 75 mph)

window
An opening, physical or visual, to an area, fairway, green or along the line of play; any clearing that enables views to other areas or parts of a course

windswept
Landscape shaped and frequented by wind

windward
Being in or facing the direction from which the wind is blowing

wing wall
Side walls used to retain banks and to direct and confine water into a conduit or channel

wingdam
A wall, crib, row of pilings, stone jetty, or other barrier projecting from the bank into a channel for protecting the bank from erosion or for concentrating the flow into a smaller channel.

wings
Areas of a green, sometimes a bunker, that

winter green
A temporary putting green or area cut to indicate such that is used during the winter season to prevent damage to regular greens

winter solstice
Refers to the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere; due to lower winter sun angles, the time period of play that is impacted by sun glare is at its highest on this day

wooded golf course
Golf course built in a wooded or forest environment

woodie
The act of completing a hole in par after having the ball strike any part of a tree within the duration of that hole (see also “barkie”)

woodlands
Land covered with trees and shrubs (woody vegetation); usually a forest, but also plantations, farmland and other lands on which woody vegetation is established and maintained for any purpose

woody plant
A plant that develops persistent, hard, fibrous tissues, e.g., trees and shrubs.

worm-burner
Golf shot played, usually by accident, that skims along the ground and might “burn” worms who are in the line of flight

wyle hole
A golf hole offering a choice of paths (“Wyle” is of Scottish origin)

back to top>>
 

X

xeric shrubs
Plants adapted to survive in areas of low precipitation

XeriscapeTM
Landscaping with native and naturalized plant species that are adapted to survive in areas of low precipitation. (Note: The term is a trademark of the National Xeriscape Council, Inc., and accordingly should be capitalized and noted as a trademark)

back to top>>
 

Y

yard
Unit of linear measurement standard to golf courses; 36” in length

yardage
Length of a golf hole or point to point measurement on a golf course or golf facility

yardage book
Historically, a booklet giving simple yardages from landmarks on a golf course and updated by caddies; but in modern times has transformed into a colorful production that contains advertising and real estate pitches in addition to course information

yardage marker
Term for any of a variety of yardage markers; examples are sprinkler head markers, tee yardage plaques, cart path markers, 150-yard markers, etc.; standard markings for fairways are at 100, 150 and 200 yards, although 25 yard increments from 75 to 250 yards are also used

yardage plaque
Any plaque, usually one set flush to the ground, which identifies yardage from that point to a green’s front, middle and/or back

yawner
Course or hole that is particularly boring

yawning bunker
Bunker with a large surface area that can been seen, usually rising up at the back and appearing in the shape of an open mouth when yawning; a gaping bunker

Yds.
Abbreviation for “yards”

yield
Quantity of water expressed either as a continuous rate of flow (e.g., cubic feet per second/cfs) or as a volume per unit of time (e.g., acre-feet per year/AFY)

yoke
Center of a green

youth tee
Relatively new term used primarily on courses with dedicated tee times for play by youth; usually a tee or set of tees set forward of other tees or otherwise positioned to accommodate the shot length of young golfers

back to top>>
 

Z

zebra layout
Layout of a golf course with too many parallel holes, the routing thusly resembling a zebra pattern with stripes consisting of fairways next to each other

zig-zag hole
A hole with a double dog-leg

zing bench terrace
A special type of bench terrace designed for dryland moisture conservation where runoff water from the sloping area is retained on the leveled area and absorbed into the soil

zoning
The partition of a city, county, township, or other governmental unit or area by ordinance into sections reserved for different land-use purposes, such as residential, business, manufacturing, greenbelt, recreation or agriculture

back to top>>

© 2013 Forrest Richardson & Associates
home | about us | portfolio | philosophy | services | books & writings | golf course terms | news & press
contact us | legal info