back door The rear of the hole.
back lip The edge of the bunker that is farthest from the green.
back nine The last 9 holes of an 18 hole course
backspin A reverse spin placed on the ball to make in stop short on the putting surface
backswing The backward part of the swing starting from the ground and going back over the head
baff An obsolete term, Scottish in origin, meaning to hit or graze the ground behind the ball.
baffle Previous name given to a 5 wood.
baffy A lofted wooden club developed from the baffling-spoon no longer in use. Also the alternate name given to the 4 wood.
bail out To avoid trouble, such as a water hazard, in one area by hitting the ball well into another area.
balata A hard, resilient sap-like substance from the South American Balata tree that is used to make a cover for rubber-cored golf balls.
ball The round object which we attempt to hit into the hole. Prior to the 17th century it was made of wood or wool in a leather cover. After the 17th century feathers were boiled and compressed, then sewn in a leather cover. It continued to evolve to a solid gutta percha (or a mixture with gutta percha other substances) in the 1850’s and strip rubber wound around a core in the 1900’s. Presently made of solid compressed synthetic rubber with hundreds of surface indentations which aid in the flight of the ball.
ball at rest The ball has come to a complete stop on the fairway or green
ball embedded A techinical term for a plugged ball
ball holed A ball is holed when it is entirely below the level of the lip of the hole
ball in play A ball is in play as soon as the player has made a stroke in the tee off area. It remains in play until it is holed out except when it is out of bounds, lost, lifted or when another ball is substituted in accordance with the rules.
ball marker A token or a small coin used to spot the balls position on the green prior to lifting it
ball retriever A long pole with a scoop on the end which is used to collect balls from water hazards and other areas.
ball washer A device found on many tees for cleaning golf balls
bandit See hustler
banana ball A slice that curves to the right in the shape of a banana. An extreme slice.
baseball grip Holding the club with all ten fingers on the grip.
beach A sand hazard on the course
bend The curve on a shot created by sidespin.
bend one To hook or slice a shot by using sidespin.
bent grass Type of grass seen for the most part on Northern courses. It is of the genus Agrostis, native to North America and Eurasia. It is a hardy and resilient type of grass that can be cut very short.
bermuda Type of grass seen mostly on Southern courses in North America. Of the type Cynodon dactylon. Originally native to southern Europe. It was introduced to warmer areas of the world to be used on courses where bent grass will not grow.
best ball A match in which one player plays against the better of two balls or the best ball of three players. Also the better score of two partners in a four-ball or best-ball match.
better ball A match play or stroke play gamewhen two players on a side each play their own ball score the better of their two scores at each hole against the other side.
birdie One stroke under par for a hole. Also possibly derived from the term “It flew like a bird” to indicate a good shot.
bird’s nest A lie in which the ball is cupped in deep grass.
bite The backspin imparted on the ball that makes the ball stop dead, or almost so, with little or no roll.
blade 1) The hitting part of an iron clubhead, not including the hosel. 2) To hit the ball with the leading edge of the blade of an iron.
blade Putter A type of putter with an iron head with the basic form the same as other standard numbered irons.
blast A shot that takes a large amount of sand with it when hitting out of a sand trap. An explosion shot. An aggressive shot. A powerful drive.
blind Bogey A type of competition in which each player tries to come the closest to a score that has been drawn out of a hat.
blind hole If the putting green cannot be seen by the player as he approaches, the hole is called blind.
block To play a shot by delaying the rotation of the wrists during a swing. This causes the clubface not to be square at the point of impact resulting in a sliced ball.
bogey A score of one over par for the hole. To play a hole in one stroke over par.
bogey competition A form of stroke play in which players play against a fixed score at each hole. Scored as in match play with the winner being the most holes.
bold A firmly played approach to a well -protected pin. Also, too strong or long a shot.
borrow To play to one side of the hole or the other to compensate for the slope of the green.
boundary The edge of the golf course that defines the area of play.
bowker This refers to a shot that appears to be horrible and then hits a tree, a rock, a spectator, etc. and bounces back into play. Sample usage: “I would have bogeyed the fourth hole but I got a bowker.” Pronounced “boughkur”.
bramble A small molded bump on some types of golf balls (gutta purcha and rubber core). Intended to give aerodynamic properties like the dimples on present day balls.
brassie Former name given to a 2 wood. A wooden club with a brass sole plate with more loft than a driver and less than the than the spoon.
break To make less than a specified score. Such as when you finally broke 90.
break The way in which the ball will roll or bounce. Also the sideways slope on the green.
break the Wrists To bend the wrists back during a swing.
British Ball The type of golf ball specified by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. Diameter is not less than 1.620 inches and the weight is not more than 1.620 ounces. Now used mainly in amateur play.
British Open “The Open” – the first one ever held. The National Championship put on by the Royal And Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland.
bulge The curve across the face of a wooden club.
bulger A wooden club with a slightly convex face. Mainly a driver.
bull dog Former name for a 4 or 5 wood.
bump and run A chip shot including the run of the ball after landing. Also known as ‘chip and run’
bunker A depression in bare ground that is usually covered with sand. Also called a “sand trap”. It is considered a hazard under the Rules of Golf.
bunt To hit an intentional short shot
burn The Scottish term for a creek or stream
burried ball A ball partially buried beneath the sand in a bunker
buzzard A score of two strokes over par for a hole.
bye A term used in tournaments. The player who draws a “bye” is allowed to advance to the next round without playing an opponent. In match play, it is the hole or holes still left to play if the match is won before the 18th hole.