Golf Dictionary - What golf terms really mean


Hacker A terrible golfer. A person who hacks it around the golf course. (See also dub and duffer.)

Halve - In match play, to tie a hole. Thus, if player A and player B both have a 5 on the 14th hole, they have "halved" the hole. Incidentally, that phrase is pronounced "they have paved" because the "l" in "halve" is silent, a fascinating fact that player A may want to discuss with player B during the latter's backswing on the 15th tee.

Ham and egg it For partners in a competition to take turns winning holes for their side. As with a brother-in-law act, two stiffs take turns getting lucky—at their opposition's expense.

Hand mashie The five-fingered "club" attached to the end of a golfer's arm.

Handicap - An allocation of strokes on one or more holes that permits two golfers of very different ability to do equally poorly on the same course.

Hanging A lie where the ball is above the golfer's feet. Also what happens to a golfer caught using a hand mashie.

Happy feet A nervous condition that afflicts golfers facing difficult shots. They just can't seem to get settled properly before taking their swing. A desirable trait to look for in potential betting opponents.

Hazard - A man-made obstacle on the course, either a bunker or a water hazard. It is against the rules for players to "ground" their clubs in a hazard, i.e., to allow the clubhead to touch the sand or water before making their shots. They may, however, bury their own head in their hands, strike their forehead with the base of their palms, shake their head vigorously from side to side (with or without their hand placed on their brow) and, if it does not delay the match, lightly and repeatedly tap their head against a tree.

Head - The end of the club that produces bollixes and mis-hits as opposed to the end of the club that produces calluses and blisters. See GRIP.

Hickory - Tough, resilient wood originally used for golf club shafts. The chromed steel tubing employed today has superior strength and durability, but old-time golfers insist that there is nothing more satisfying than the crisp snap of a hickory-shafted club being broken sharply across the knee or the delicate aroma of an entire set of clubs burning merrily in a fireplace.

Hit it in the head To hit the top of the ball. (See also top.)

Hog's back A large mound used in the design of a golf green. (See also elephant burial ground.)

Hole - 1. To hit the ball into the hole, as in "I holed my putt for a five."

2. The cup in the green into which the ball is hit, as in "Five" Try again, buster-you're in the hole in twelve."

3. One of 9 or 18 playing areas constituting a golf course, as in "On that hole I had a drive, two approach shots and two putts-that makes five."

4. A missing element or discrepancy in a narrative or a fault or flaw in logic or reasoning, as in "Your story is full of holes-what about those two lost balls, the stroke in the water hazard and the out-of-bounds shot?"

5. An aperture or opening, as in "You have a hole in your head-those were practice swings."

6. Indebtedness, as in "You lost, you weasel-you're in the hole to me for fifty bucks."

7. An embarrassing predicament or position, as in "Oh, yeah? Well, I'm not paying, so how do you like them apples? But you fork over fifty clams or you'll be in a real hole at work when I tell your' boss about how when you're supposed to be with your clients you're out on the golf course and your wife about that doxie you met on the putting green"

8. An excavation or cavity, as in "The body was found in a shallow hole in a sand trap by the thirteenth green."

Hole-in-One - An occurrence in which a ball is hit directly from the tee into the hole on a single shot by a golfer playing alone.

Hollywood Where you're at and what you are when everything is going just the way you want. Keep dreaming.

Home Course - A place where your chief handicap is that everyone knows exactly what it is.

Home hole The eighteenth and final hole on any golf course, so named because the golfer is approaching home-the nineteenth hole.

Honour - The privilege of being laughed at first on the tee.

Horses for courses Players (horses) who play certain courses well because those courses fit their style of play. Ben Hogan played Riviera Country Club very well, so the course became known as Hogan's Alley. Mark O'Meara plays Pebble Beach very well, having won there on four occasions. Whether you're a thoroughbred or a nag, you probably play some courses better than others.

Hooding the clubA stroke in which the golfer moves his hands ahead and tilts the club head forward (to reduce the club's loft). Done to make the ball fly lower or to get more distance than normal from a club.

Hook & Slice- To hit a shot that curves sharply left (hook) or right (slice), respectively. Players who do one or the other should consider changing the way they stand, hold the club, or swing. Players who do both should consider changing the way they spend their weekends.

Hot A ball that is travelling at a high rate of speed without much backspin (and many times at a lower trajectory than desired) is said to be hot. A ball may come into the green hot or out of the rough hot. In most cases, this shot will run along the ground or green much farther than desired, making the golfer hot, too.

Hump When a caddie is carrying a golf bag around the course, he's humping it.

Hunching Term for an illegal tactic in which a golfer inches closer to the hole when replacing a marked ball on the green. If your opponent hits his approach shot twenty feet from the hole but his first putt is only a fifteen-footer, add huncher to the list of names you call him.

Hung it out A golfer who attempts to play a draw but hits a straight shot instead is said to have hung it out.

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