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Golf Instruction Book

The ABC's of Golf

Introduction
Part A - All About How to Get Started in Golf
Part B - Basic Fundamentals and Concepts in Golf Swing Technique
Part C - Common Golf Words and Phrases - Glossary
Conclusion

Glossary of Golf Terms and Phrases
 Golf Terminology - Definitions and Usages

Golf words or phrases beginning with the letter
L

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Choose a tab above to find words that begin with that letter.

Or enter the word in the form below. If the word you're looking for cannot be found it will automatically be suggested to the Glossarymaster (MB) for review and inclusion.

L wedge
(also "lob wedge, 60 degree wedge") a very lofted wedge, usually 59 or 60 degrees (more sometimes), designed for playing high, soft shots from short distances
Example: The pin was so close to the edge of the green that I needed to use my L wedge/lob wedge to get the ball to stop close to the hole.
ladies tees
(or "ladies' tees, women's tees," etc.) many times the shortest yardage for golf holes at a course, most commonly red in color—though different courses may call them different things and use different colors
Example: The ladies tees were set to the longest position on each tee box for the annual Member-Guest Tournament.
lag
1. (also "lag putt, approach putt") a putt that is intended to stop close to the hole but not presumed to be holed  2. (also "delayed release, late release, hold[ing] the lag") the clubhead following (lagging behind) the hands in the swing sequence prior to impact (the opposite of this idea might be referred to as casting, early release, flipping, etc.)
Example: 1. I was just lagging the putt, actually; I never thought it would go in.  2. All else being equal, swingers typically have lag/delayed release/late release more than hackers.
laid off
when (usually) the hands have moved the club under the initial swing plane on the bacskwing (especially at the top of the swing)
Example: John's club was laid off at the top of his swing.
landing area
usually a portion of the fairway where the majority of tee shots land, or are intended to land (this could apply to second shots on a par 5 also)
Example: The landing area was severely sloped downhill, so well-struck tee shots rolled a long way.
lateral
(also "hosel rocket, shank") when the ball is contacted by, and ricochets off, the hosel or neck before it hits the clubface causing an errant direction and trajectory (low and to the right for a right-handed player) Note: not usually much fun
Example: His hacking style frequently resulted in an ugly lateral/hosel rocket/shank.
lateral hazard
(also "lateral water hazard") a water hazard (whether filled with water or not) which is generally adjacent to, or to one side or another of, the line of play (usually marked with red stakes or lines)
Example: A lateral hazard/lateral water hazard has some additional options under the rules of golf.
launch angle
the initial trajectory of the ball relative to ground level
Example: Launch angle is one of many variables that influence distance, but club head speed and square solid contact are more fundamental.
launch monitor
a sensor and computer system used to analyze shots and arrive at the best driver characteristics for a golfer
Example: Getting tested on a launch monitor might help you find the right shaft flex, loft angle, swingweight, etc.
lay up
(also "lay back, play for position", sometimes "transport shot") a shot played to a particular location to allow for an easier subsequent shot or to keep the ball from going too far (e.g., when the fairway ends in a deep canyon and it is not possible to carry the canyon from the current position)
Example: I hit my tee shot too far to the right on the par 5, so I had to lay up/lay back/play for position, as I couldn't carry the water with my second shot.
laying the sod over it
another expression for hitting the ball fat (in the most amusing version of this the divot would actually cover the ball after the swing, with the ball having not moved at all -- see also "hairpiece")
Example: Laying the sod over it is a horrible feeling, when your intention is to hit the ball solidly.
lead powder
another way of adding weight to a club head, the powder is poured down the shaft, followed by a cork to hold it down, before putting on the grip
Example: I think using lead powder is inferior to using lead tape, as the weight is being added far away from the center of gravity -- but at least you don't see it, I guess.
lead tape
thin adhesive strips (also comes in rolls) of lead used to add weight to a club head
Example: Lead tape is easy to apply or remove to change a club's swing weight.
leader in the clubhouse
the player with the lowest score having completed regulation play
Example: Smith was the leader in the clubhouse at -9, but Jones was at -10 with the last two holes still to play.
leading edge
(also "blade") the lowest or forward-most edge of a club's head, where the sole and face meet
Example: Hitting the ball on the sweet spot is preferrable to hitting it with the the leading edge/blade.
leak
(also "fade") a ball that moves somewhat from left to right for a right-handed player, usually used in reference to a ball that is moving away from the target rather than toward it
Example: Fred's ball started right at the pin but, disappointingly, began to leak to the right as it approached the green, and fell into the water hazard in the end.
leave
another word for a shot played, but used with respect to how the ball is positioned, or how it is left, for the next shot; e.g., a good "leave" would be one where the next shot is relatively easy, and vice versa
Example: "That's a nice leave, Frank; it's a straight uphill putt from there."
left the headcover on it
another phrase for leaving a putt short
Example: Rupert was under tremendous pressure on the last hole, and with a 3-footer for the win he left the headcover on it to lose all his bets by one stroke... and obviously the universe, as Rupert knew it, ended at that moment.
left-hand-low
another expression for cross-handed (since most golfers are right-handed the expression is left-hand-low, which would obviously be reversed for left-handers but right-hand-low is not commonly heard)
Example: Jacqueline had an interesting quirk: she liked to putt left-hand-low/cross-handed only on downhill putts.
less club
(also "club down") using a shorter, more lofted club
Example: Apparently Josh had needed less club, based on the fact that his ball sailed over the green and into someone's backyard.
let it go
free relaxed swinging through the ball, as opposed to attempting to guide or steer a shot
Example: Learning to let it go is not as easy as it sounds, for some people or in some situations.
let the big dog eat
to use the driver or number 1 wood, typically used in reference to swinging aggressively
Example: It was a very long hole so I let the big dog eat.
let the shaft out
to make an effort to hit the ball long
Example: Finally I got to a wide open par 5 where I could let the shaft out.
level
(also "level par, even, even par") anytime one's score is level with, or equivalent to, par during, or at the conclusion of, a round of golf
Example: Jill was at level/level par/even par/even/par with two holes still to play.
lie
1. the quality, manner, style, way, or position relative to level in which a ball rests on the ground (e.g., good lie, bad lie, downhill lie, uphill lie, sidehill lie, fluffy lie, flier lie, and so on)  2. can also refer to the number of strokes taken up to the current moment on a given hole when the ball is at rest
Example: I had a pretty bad lie for my second shot on number 1, because the ball was sitting down in deep grass.  2. I was lying 3 after I dropped out of the hazard.
lie angle
the angle between the sole of the club and the shaft from the face view (looking at the face of the club straight on)
Example: I had my lie angles adjusted because my divots were too deep in the toe.
lift, clean and place
(sometimes also "preferred lies, winter rules") a mode of play, usually because of muddy or poor course conditions, where through the green the ball may be picked up, cleaned off and replaced (within a pre-specified distance from the ball's original location) in the position of the player's choice, if desired
Example: Conditions have to be pretty bad for the PGA Tour to go to lift, clean and place.
light it up
(also "go low") similar to expressions from other sports (e.g., on a roll, on fire, hot); ususally used to mean a number of subpar holes in a row or an overall low score (see also lights-out below)
Example: Brad really started to light it up on the back nine, and almost caught the leader.
lights-out
playing excellently
Example: Jan shot lights-out in the 3rd round and coasted to an easy victory in the final round.
like a butterfly with sore feet
a shot that lands very softly, usually because of high backspin or altitude/landing angle
Example: Jack's approach on the 15th at Augusta landed like a butterfly with sore feet.
like trying to stop it on the hood of a car
refers to a situation (usually an approach shot to a green) where the landing area is very hard ground and perhaps even somewhat crowned (convex or domed), making it very difficult to stop the ball close to the hole, even with a well-struck shot with lots of backspin
Example: Hitting an approach shot into a left hole location on the 15th green at Pebble Beach in the U.S. Open has, at times, been like trying to stop it on the hood of a car.
line
1. ("target line, intended line") direction, as indicated by a vertical plane  2. ("line, line of a putt, putting line") the path on which the ball rolls, or will roll, enroute to the hole
Example: My target line was right over the big oak tree.  2. It is common courtesy to avoid stepping in someone's line, as a fresh footprint on the green could alter the ball's course and/or speed.
line of play
(also perhaps "intended line") the direction a player intends their ball to go, plus or minus a "reasonable" distance on either side
Example: "Intended line" is usually used in reference to putts or short shots and line of play is probably thought of mostly in reference to longer shots.
line up
1. (also "align") position/direct/orient the body and/or club  2. assessing the direction of a shot or putt
Example: She was told to line up more to the right, even though she felt like she was square to the target.  2. The gallery was quiet as Carmichael lined up his eagle putt.
links
1. originally referred to seaside courses on "links land" (seaside grassy area), now used loosely to mean any golf course  2. ("links style course, links course") an exposed, windswept (sometimes seaside) course characterized by gently rolling mounds/dunes and very few (if any) trees
Example: Hey, let's hit the links after work.  2. There are even links style courses inland nowdays.
lip
(also "rim") the top edge of the hole, above the cup
Example: My putt hit the left lip and tried to spin out but ended up falling in.
lip out
when the ball hits the edge of the hole and spins out instead of dropping
Example: Except for that lip out on hole number 14, she made every putt inside of 5 feet today.
liquid center
many of the old wound golf balls of yesterday had a rubber ball at the center filled with some kind of liquid, then a winding of rubber bands and a finally a cover
Example: Some golf balls in the "olden days" actually said "Liquid Center" on them.
lob
(also "lob shot") a relatively vertical (steep arced) shot, usually played with a lofted wedge, intended to land softly and not roll far
Example: My lob shot stopped quickly, as I'd hoped.
lob wedge
a very lofted wedge, usually 59 or 60 degrees (more sometimes), designed for playing high, soft shots from short distances
Example: The pin was so close to the edge of the green that I needed to use my lob wedge to get the ball to stop close to the hole.
local knowledge
awareness of a course's idiosyncratic playing characteristics from having played it many times
Example: Jim had the advantage of local knowledge at the course where the tournament would be held, as he had played there countless times.
loft angle
loft
1. (also "loft angle") the angle/cant/slope/pitch/grade of the clubface relative to the shaft of the club (see image); the phrase "dynamic loft" is sometimes used to refer to the actual loft angle of the face at impact in a swing, as that may be different than the loft relative to the shaft; the phrase "effective loft" is used to refer to the combination of loft and face angle (e.g., a driver with 9 degrees of loft and a 2 degree closed face has an effective loft of 11 degrees)  2. hoist or lift
Example: Putters usually have anywhere from 4 to 7 degrees of loft, whereas lob wedges may have as much as 65 degrees.  2. She needed to loft the ball over a tree.
loft and lie machine
(also "loft-lie machine, specification gauge, specs gauge") a device that can measure the loft, lie, face angle, face progression and offset of clubs
Example: A loft and lie machine/specs gauge is an indispensable piece of equipment for a club maker.
long game
the part of golf played with full, or substantial, swings where the ball is intended to cover relatively longer distances (usually thought of in terms of woods, long irons and middle irons)
Example: Ted was a master of the long game and his short game was pretty good, too.
long iron
the longer-shafted, steeper-faced, (and hopefully) longer distance irons, generally numbers 1 through 4
Example: Hitting long irons solidly takes precision.
loop
1. (mainly used by caddies) another term for a round of golf (also might refer to the player a caddie is working for or the job of caddying itself)  2. (also "reroute") a noticeable difference in the path of the club head between the backswing and downswing
Example: 1. The caddie manged to get a loop even though it was raining.  2. Jim's swing had a funny hitch at the top and a dramatic loop -- coincidentally he was very inconsistent.
looper
caddy
Example: Being a looper does not appear to be casual or easy work.
loose impediment
any natural object (e.g., rocks, twigs, leaves, etc.) that is not fixed or growing, solidly embedded or stuck to the ball - but sand or loose soil are only considered loose impediments on the putting green
Example: Loose impediments may be removed at the player's discretion, without penalty, anywhere except in a hazard.
lost ball
any ball that cannot be found within five minutes of beginning a search for it; see definition in the Rules of Golf for more detail (see also "provisional ball")
Example: A lost ball will cost you a two stroke penalty (i.e., the shot itself, an additional stroke, and the ball must be replayed from the original position).
low profile
usually used in reference to fairway woods (but could be other clubs) to indicate a shorter face height than normal
Example: A low profile wood might have a lower center of gravity, but it is also that much easier to go completely underneath the ball in a fluffy lie. smile
low side
the downhill edge of the cup when it is on any slant
Example: Bill missed his putt on the low side of the hole.
LPGA
(Ladies Professional Golf Association) formed to organize and promote women in professional golf
Example: The LPGA was established in 1950.
lubmber
another term for a wood, especially in the days when "woods" were made of wood
Example: I once heard Mark Calcavecchia say something in an interview on TV like, " Lumber on a par three just isn't me," which I interpret to mean that he did not feel right hitting a wood off the tee on a par 3 hole.
lunch ball
(also "Muligan, Sunday ball") taking a second attempt (replay, "do over") at a shot when one doesn't like the result of the first
Example: Taking a lunch ball/Mulligan/Sunday ball is not allowed in the rules of golf, but is usually tolerated (only if time allows) in casual play.

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