Golf Dictionary - What golf terms really mean


Fade - 1. (Right-handed golfers) A shot that curves from left to right. 2. (Left-handed golfers) A shot that curves from right to left.

Fairway Wood - A club with a medium loft that is used to get a ball out of a good lie on the fairway and into position for a shot from a slope, a bunker, a water hazard or in back of a tree.

Fall Classic Pro golfer's term for the annual PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, also known as Q-School. Each year young phenoms, journeyman pros, and fading veterans attend the Fall Classic in an attempt to win a membership card that will allow them to compete on the prestigious and lucrative PGA Tour. Because of the all-or-nothing nature of the competition, the pressure is incredible, enough at times to reduce the participants to tears.

Fan To miss the ball completely. The air moves, but nothing else does.

Fat, hit it To hit the ground behind the ball first so that the shot has no spin and does not achieve the desired distance. Results often resemble an elephant's ass. (See also lay the sod over if.)

Feather To hit a controlled shot with a full swing. By slowing down the club-head speed, the golfer hits a shot that travels less distance than a full club would normally allow, causing the ball to land softly like a feather. The shot is popular in match play because it can confuse an opponent into thinking that more club is needed to hit a certain shot.

Fight To struggle with a particular golfing flaw. If all your poor shots are slices, you're said to be fighting a slice. If all your misses are hooks, you're said to be fighting a hook. If you miss all your short putts, you're said to be fighting a balky putter. If your rounds resemble boxing matches, take up tennis.

First-tee syndrome The fear of hitting the first tee shot of the day, a devastating malady known to overcome many amateur golfers. Also known as first-tee jitters.

5th & 15th Holes - See RAIN.

Finesse Shot - Any non-standard shot used to get a ball out of an awkward or impossible lie by bending, twisting or stretching the rules or by hitting it directly through a loophole.


Flagstick - Long, flexible metal pole with red-and-white markings along its length and a numbered flag at its top, which, had it not been left lying on the green by the previous foursome, would have indicated the position of the hole.

Flame-broiled description of a drive that is hit hard and far. (As in a Whopper, just like at Burger King.)

Flat bellies The younger, thinner golfers on the PGA Tour Coined by golfing legend Lee Trevino.

Flier A shot that flies farther than normal because of the way the ball is lying on the ground. Fliers often occur when the ball is sitting in light rough, where the blades of grass are growing toward the intended target, or when the ball is lying in clover, or when the ball is lying in wet grass. All of these scenarios eliminate backspin from the ball, thereby allowing it to fly through the air with less resistance. The term can also be used to describe the lie of the ball, as in a flier lie.

Flop shot A high, delicate shot that travels only a short distance and then rolls very little once it lands on the green. Essentially, it is flopped onto the green. Not to be confused with a dropped cat.

Flub - A shot that is too weak to register on conventional scorekeeping equipment.

Fluff - A shot in which the clubhead strikes the ground behind the ball before hitting it, causing it to dribble forward one or two yards. A more widely used term for this type of stroke is "practice swing." See WHIFF.

Fluffy Description for a lie where the ball is sitting on top of the grass leaving room for the club face to travel under the ball. This lie allows for little spin to be imparted onto the ball. Chips and pitches hit from fluffy lies are often left short as the club goes under the ball rather than making solid contact with it.

Flying elbow When the right elbow (for a right-handed golfer) is far away from the body on the downswing, usually meaning that the club is approaching the ball on an out-to-in path, thus causing the ball to slice. It was thought that anyone with a flying elbow could not play good golf until Jack Nicklaus flapped his way to being the greatest golfer in the history of the game.

Follow-through - The part of the swing that takes place after the ball has been hit but before the club has been thrown. See SWING.

Fore - The first of several four-letter words exchanged between golfers as one group of players hits balls toward another in front of them on the course.

Four-ball - A match in which two pairs of players each play their better ball against the other. Additional golf matches include: best-ball, in which one player plays against the better ball of two or the best ball of three players; three-ball, in which three players play against one another, each playing his or her own ball; and no-ball, in which two, three or four players, all of whom have lost all their balls, go to the clubhouse and play gin rummy.

Four-jack To take four putts on a hole. Only tolerable for those who can drive the green on a par five. When asked how he four-jacked a hole at the Masters, Seve Ballesteros replied, "I miss. I miss. I miss. I make." Well said.

Four-putt - To take four strokes of the putter to put the ball into the hole after driving it onto the green. See ONE-PUTT.

Foursome - Four golfers playing a round together. Three golfers are a threesome, and two form a twosome. Four ladies playing slowly are a "gruesome." Four men playing after a long lunch at the 19th hole are a "fearsome." A single attractive woman playing alone is a "toothsome." A husband and wife playing together are a "quarrelsome." A group of golfers who give advice while watching another group tee off is a "meddlesome." A single player with a large number jokes is a "tiresome." And two younger men playing a fast, sub-par round are a "loathsome."

Fried egg A ball buried in the sand, with a ring around it created on impact. Too many fried eggs will make you lose your appetite for the game.

Frog hairs The short grass at the edge of the green. Also known as the collar or the fringe.

Front Nine - The first half of an 18-hole golf course. A golfer who, by the end of the 9th hole, has shot within a few strokes of par for 18 is entitled to skip the second half of the course and head directly for the 19th hole.

Frosty Nickname for the score of eight on a hole. Synonymous with snowman because the figure eight resembles a snowman and Frosty is the most famous snowman of all.

Fuzzy Description for the condition of greens that haven't been mowed recently. Putting on fuzzy greens is more like putting in the fairway—slow! Also a nickname for PGA Tour golfer Frank Urban Zoeller.

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