Golf Dictionary - What golf terms really mean


Take-away - The initial part of the backswing. The name derives from the fact that a properly executed, ground-scraping, slow, backward sweep of the club with the clubhead pressed firmly onto the ground will "take away" most impediments interfering with the lie.

Take it deep To shoot a very low score. (See also shooting the lights out)

Talk to it Golfers are always issuing pleas or instructions to their ball. "Get up!" "Get down!" "Sit." "Bite." It's fun, and there's no rule against it, so go ahead and talk to it.

Tap in A short, easy putt that anyone can make. (See also gimme)

Tap-in - A putt short enough to miss one-handed.

Target Line - An imaginary line from a player's lie to the target which the ball would follow if an imaginary golfer hit it.

Tee - Small wooden peg on which the ball is placed for a drive from the teeing ground. The condition of the tee after the tee shot provides an indication of whether or not the ball was hit correctly. If the tee flips backwards and lands in one piece a few inches behind the place where it was inserted into the grass, the ball was probably hit well. If, on the other hand, the tee breaks into three or more pieces, is driven deeper than two inches into the ground, travels farther than the ball or catches fire, it probably wasn't.

Tee Off - To drive a ball off a tee. Players who have made their drives off a tee are said to have teed off, but at this point it is almost always also correct to say that they are teed off.

Teeing Ground - A clearly defined rectangular area 2 club-lengths in depth from which players hit shots 20 to 30 dub-lengths directly forward or 5 to 10 flub-lengths to either side.

Temper - 1. Metal transformation into a heated state in which stiffness and strength are imparted to steel club shafts. Z. Mental transformation into a heated state in which bends and crimps are imparted to steel club shafts.

Tester A putt that's long enough so that it's not a gimme but short enough so that a decent player should hole it, so called because it tests a golfer's skill.

Texas wedge When you use your putter from off the green, that club becomes a Texas wedge, so named because the shot became popular in Texas, where hard, dry conditions make it less risky to putt from off the green.

That dog will hunt Expression golfers use after they've hit a good shot. It is derived from hunting, where certain dogs are better hunters than others. So it is with golf shots.

That's good When you want to let an opponent know that you are conceding a putt you say, "That's good."

Thin, hit it To hit the ball in the centre with the club's leading edge, instead of sliding under it. Chances are your shot will fly lower and farther than you intended. This is still much better than hitting it fat.

Three! - What many golfers, through habit, cry instead of Fore!

Three-jack Three putts on a single green. Very bad, indeed.

Throw-Up range Any putt that's short enough so a good player should make it, but long enough so that he's nervous about missing it, is in throw-up range. Players don't really throw up over these putts, they just miss them. (See also yips and knee-knocker.^)

Tight If there is very little cushion (grass) between the ball and God's earth, you have a tight lie. If the guys in your group don't want to play for some cash, they're tight.

Tight Lie - Poor playing position in which the ball is lying low in the grass or sitting on a bald or bare spot. Also known as a "close lie" or, more commonly, as an "original lie," "preliminary lie," "previous lie" or "former lie."

Timing - Precise control of the speed of movement in the swing to achieve the greatest possible power and accuracy. If a player's timing is off, then there is no way his or her shot will reach its . . .

Tip - A piece of advice, such as "You know, you need to work on your timing." . . . intended target.

Tips, the The tees from which the course plays the longest.

Toe The part of the club head farthest from the club shaft. If you hit a ball out there you toed it, or hit a toe job, and it will probably travel on a right-to-left flight path.

Top - To hit the ball well above its centreline, causing it to hop or trickle a few feet forward. Topping the ball is a problem that usually afflicts only beginning golfers, and it is quickly left behind once a player has learned to master the hook, the slice, the shank and the airball.

Tossing balls An easy way to decide who will be partners during a competitive match between four players. One golfer takes a ball from each player and then tosses them all into the air simultaneously. Whoever owns the two balls coming to rest closest to each other are partners, as are the two remaining players. This expression is not to be confused with the dastardly act of freeing oneself from a bunker using the hand mashie. That act is known as cheating.

Touch A player with an aptitude for playing short, delicate shots around the green has a deft touch. He is a touch player. Touch shots don't require strength, but call for a certain feel for how the ball will react when struck and when it lands on the green. Seve Ballesteros is one example of a great touch player. Unfortunately for Seve, he can no longer hit the planet with a tee shot, so his great touch does him little good.

Tournament - An elaborate, time-consuming but basically fair method used by many country clubs to decide which individual members will be stuck for the next 12 months with the job of polishing, dusting and displaying their huge collection of ugly silver trophies.

Track The golf course. When track is preceded by dog, it's time to look for a new place to play.

Tracking Term that refers to a putt hit on a perfect line to the hole. Putts that are tracking don't always go into the hole, as sometimes the speed is wrong, but they are tracking toward the centre of the cup when they run out of speed.

Trap A geek's term for bunker. There are no such things as traps, only bunkers.

Triple Bogey - Three strokes more than par. Four strokes more than par is a quadruple bogey, 5 more is a quintuple, 6 is a sextuple, 7 is a throwuple, 8 is a blowuple, and 9 is an ohshutuple.

Trouble shot Whenever you hit a shot into a place where you don't have an easy path to the green, you are in trouble, so your next shot will be a trouble shot. For hackers this constitutes every shot not played from the tee or the green.

Trouble wood Any wood with a loft greater than that of a five wood. The most popular is the seven wood, a club used effectively from deep rough and fairway bunkers. These clubs are especially popular with seniors and women, two groups who need help hitting the ball higher. They have much more success hitting trouble woods than long irons.

Turn it over To move the ball from right to left, that is, to hit a draw. Never say this if you want the ball to move from left to right. If you want to move the ball in that direction, just say, "I want to cut it."

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