Golf Dictionary - What golf terms really mean


Ladies' Days & Hours - Times set aside by a golf club during which the use of the course is exclusively reserved for women players, who are sometimes barred at other times. The number of women playing golf has increased dramatically in recent years, but as the institution of Ladies' Days and Hours indicates, their presence on courses is still objectionable to male players who take the game of golf very seriously and resent the sudden intrusion into their hallowed pastime of the lady golfer, whose insistence on actually hitting balls toward the holes interferes with the conduct of business deals, interrupts the recounting of lengthy comic narratives, and impedes the timely exchange of critical information on the recent performance of automobiles and the relative prospects of sports teams.

Ladies' Tees - Teeing areas placed somewhat closer to the greens to compensate for the fact that although women are as capable as men of playing first-rate golf, they do not, as a rule, hit the ball as far. Other allowances made for women golfers to permit them to hold their own during rounds with male players include giving them, along with their scorecards, a copy of The Wall Street Journal, a booklet of old jokes and a laminated card on which is printed key data on the recent performance of various cars and ball clubs.

Lag - A long putt played conservatively to make sure that the ball ends up near enough to the hole to be sunk with the next stroke. If this putt is missed, it is referred to as an "aaag."

Large Term of admiration for a well-hit drive. For example, "That is large! Anything flying that far should have a stewardess on it."

Launched Term for a drive that takes off like a Tomahawk cruise missile. A launched ball is usually large and vice versa.

Lay the sod over it Another term for hitting the ground behind the ball first. Theoretically, if you hit the ground firmly and far enough behind the ball, you may produce a divot that covers the undisturbed ball. (See also fat, hit it.}

Lay up To aim short of the green and chip on rather than attempt a long or otherwise risky approach shot.

Leaf rule Rule used in certain parts of America during autumn allowing a golfer to play another ball without penalty when his previous shot is lost and assumed covered by leaves. The leaf rule can cause a lot of arguments. You can protect against opponents invoking this rule by carrying a book of matches and gasoline in your golf bag.

Leak oil What a golfer does as his game begins to fall apart. For duffers this process often begins at the first tee. With reference to the pros, this term is usually applied to a golfer who is leading a tournament but has begun to give away shots as his game disintegrates. Greg Norman has leaked more oil than the Exxon Voldez.

Leaner A shot that comes to rest so close to the hole it appears to be leaning against the flagstick. A term usually associated with horseshoes or quoits.

Left-handed Golfers - Although golf, with its overwhelming right-handed orientation, penalises left-handed players more than other sports do, it also provides two significant advantages to "southgrips": most golfers can't borrow your spare golf glove and they can't demonstrate the "right way to swing that club" after you muff your drive.

Legs - A ball is said to have "legs" if it continues to roll a significant distance after landing. If it bounces into the rough and becomes wedged under a rock or in the crook of a tree, it is said to have "claws." If it runs down a bank and into a water hazard, it has "fins." If, on a putt, it rings the cup without going in, it has "lips." And if it does all these things on the same hole, it is given "wings" and flung into the underbrush.

Lie - 1. Where the ball comes to rest after being hit by a golfer. 2. The number of strokes it took to get it there, as reported by that golfer.

Links - Golf courses are often referred to as "links," but, strictly speaking, this term applies only to a course laid out over the natural contours of the bleak, wind-swept land along the sea, as was the original course at St. Andrews. At first glance, the lush golf courses in the U.S. seem to bear little resemblance to their austere Scottish progenitor, but tradition is very important in the game of golf and American clubs have made every effort to be true to their Highland roots. For example, no towel in any golf club's locker room exceeds 2 square feet in area or 1/20th of an inch in thickness; no light bulb in any washroom is ever of a wattage greater than 25; no radiator in any dressing room achieves a temperature higher than 66°, nor is hot water ever warmer than 88°; walls are painted only in years divisible by 16, and no object or mechanism is replaced until the end of the decade in which it first broke or ceased to function; and all facilities for women are faithfully patterned after the original Wee Lassies' Changing Boothy in a leaky greenskeeper's but overlooking the Firth of Fife.

Lip - 1. Perimeter of grass surrounding the hole. 2. Remarks made by fellow golfer when your putt stops there.

Lip out A putt that hits the lip and spins out.

Liz Taylor A shot that's a little fat but still okay. Not to be confused with a Roseanne, which is very fat and not okay.

Local Rules - A set of regulations that are ignored only by players on one specific course rather than by golfers as a whole.

Lockjaw Condition afflicting golfers who refuse to concede putts, even very short ones.

Loft - The angle of a clubface and the corresponding steepness of the shot it will produce. Loft angles range from the relatively shallow ones used for long, unobstructed shots (12° for a driver, 20° for a fairway wood, 30° for a 5-iron) to the much steeper ones needed to clear obstacles (47 ° for a 9-iron, 58° for a sand wedge, 75° for the tip of a golf shoe, and up to 100° for a throwing arm).

Long and wrong Description of a golfer who can hit the ball long distances but seldom in the right direction. As the late, great Harvey Penick said, "The woods are full of long hitters."

Looper Caddie.

Loose Impediments - Natural and legally movable objects that interfere with play, such as dazed or disoriented reptiles or mammals, stunned birds, pulverised stones, flattened bushes, uprooted shrubs, severed branches and felled trees, or if you are Tiger Woods boulders that require a complete work crew to move. See OBSTRUCTIONS.

Lost Ball - An opponent's missing ball after 90 seconds of searching, or one of your own after 20 minutes.

Lot of game Phrase describing a golfer who is excellent in all phases of the game. You say, "He certainly has a lot of game." Then you say, "I hate him."

Low Side - The side of a hole on a sloping green that gravity tends to send a ball away from. Canny golfers always aim for the "high side" of the hole or lay the flagstick along the edge of the cup and putt toward this "safe side."

Lurking In stroke-play tournaments, a term used to describe a player who is poised to make a move toward the top of the leader board. In amateur golf, it describes the lecherous souls who frequent the nineteenth hole.

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