As part of an occasional series geared towards newer golfers, I humbly present a list of terms you’re likely to encounter on the golf course that may confuse you. We have a host of ways to describe shots that don’t quite come off the way we planned it. Some people just throw a club while others will often use various terms of endearment. Some of these terms are regional in nature, but I find it’s good to have a solid level of understanding. Others of these are terms I’ve conjured up as a means of not offending people with the usual stream of profanity that I’m frankly quite good at.
Chili Dip: Nothing to do with chili, or dip. When you are hitting a chip or a pitch shot and stick the club in the ground rather than hitting the ball.
Enter Sandman: When you take more than one shot to get the ball out of a bunker. Also a famous Metallica song. You have a hole where it takes you 7 shots to get the ball out of the bunker and you never live it down.
Pinball Wizard: When you manage to hit multiple trees with one shot. Don’t know what a pinball machine is? Ask your parents.
El Hozel: Otherwise known as the lateral vomit, la hozela, a hosel rocket, or a word that rhymes with banks that we simply do not say for fear that it will show up. It’s like a virus. You go to Tijuana for a fun evening of donkey shows and cheap tequila and you end up with some kind of infection. El hozel works the same way. I’ve seen people do everything short of animal sacrifice to get rid of el hozel.
Slice: For a right handed golfer when the ball goes unexpectedly right in the arc/shape of a banana. For a lefty, the ball goes to the left. Common miss for most amateurs. Distant cousin of the power fade. You can talk to a power fade. You can’t talk to a banana slice.
Hook: The opposite. Ball goes to the left for right handed players and to the right for lefties.
Skull: hitting the ball with the leading edge of your iron. Often results in a ball that doesn’t get airborne and doesn’t go very far. Used to end up cutting the surface of old balata balls.
Whiff: Making a swing and missing. Also known as stiff breeze, air shot, 0 and 1, 0 for 1, etc.
Rinsing the Balata: Hitting a ball into a water hazard. Balls used to be made out of balata.
Teenage Beer Pong: The act of getting on the green in two shots on a par 5 and then three-putting. Much like teenagers who think it’s going to go great…and then it doesn’t. Helps if the birdie putt just misses.
Sacrifice fly: A short tee shot that goes very high in the air but not very far. Often followed by the ‘the runner will score on the sac fly.’ Don’t know what baseball is? Ask your father.
Swing Oil: Alcohol quickly consumed. A chugged beer, an airplane bottle of alcohol consumed in one shot. Not to be confused with actual Swing Oil which is a supplement some golfers take.
La Hozela: El hozel, but for women. Equally maddening.
Decell: Slowing your swing down on a chip or pitch shot which results in the ball either not making it on the green or just trickling on leaving you with a long and difficult putt.
Hairpiece: The pelt-sized divot that comes from hitting too far behind the ball. Please replace if at all possible or at the very least fill that crater with some divot mix. Sometimes called a toupee.
Topper: A topped shot; often a tee shot where you hit the top half of the ball and the ball rolls a few dozen yards. Sometimes known as Free Toppings, Topper Shutt, Top of the Pops, or Big Top Pee Wee.
Moped: A guy who has a golf swing that looks ugly as sin but ends up scoring fairly well.
Commercial: A putt that ends up in tap-in range is said to be Commercial. Not to be confused with the ads CBS runs to infinity during their broadcasts (it’s a pity that the golf gets in the way of their never-ending ads).
Donna Shalala: A short shot that goes left. Named after the former Clinton cabinet member.
Rush Limbaugh: A fat shot that goes hard right. Named after the conservative talk radio host.
Fat: Hitting behind the ball, causing the ball to not go as far as intended. The cousin of the chili-dip.
Three Waggle: Taking three strokes to hole out on the green. Also known as three-putting, going three-Jack City, three hole Monty, or just being bad at putting.
Socialist Roid Rage: A shot that gets hit hard left and long.
One: The thing that you can be guaranteed someone will say if your ball falls off the tee while you’re getting ready to hit your tee shot. I think it’s required.
Caddyshack: Golf movie of some renown. Someone is legally required to quote from the movie during your round or someone has to die (I think this is the rule…but I could be wrong).
Mrs. Doubtfire: Professional golfer and Scotsman Colin Montgomerie. Use Google Images.
All Bag: Term of derision to describe guy that has pro staff bag and matching clubs but couldn’t break 130 to save his life. The golf equivalent of soccer’s Full Kit Wanker. Often will wear full Nike stuff with red shirt. Impossible for him to play in under 5 hours.
Action: Wagering. Many people will wager during a round of golf because they need ‘action’ to keep things interesting.
Fugly/Fungly: Decent and fun player to play with who has horrible-looking swing.
Sandbagger: See ‘cheater’. Someone who keeps an artificially high handicap and during competitive events will play much better. Will often use words like ‘I never putt this well’ or ‘I guess I was due for a decent round’ and the like. The Brits like the word ‘bandit’ and I prefer cheat.
Man Bun: A generic term to describe something wholly inappropriate. Think ‘chipping on the putting surface’ or using the word ‘sh***k’ on a golf course.
Evel Kenevel: Famed stuntperson and doer of stupid things. Used to describe people who think a golf cart makes a great racing car.
Flying Lady: Generic term used to describe lower-compression golf balls some women and older men use.