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Golf Instruction Book

The ABC's of Golf

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

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

Golf words or phrases beginning with the letter

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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.

1. one of four annual tournaments (The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open or PGA)  2. could also refer to a tournament of greater significance than usual due to tradition or the sanctioning body
Example: There are four Majors/Major Championships.  2. Many sanctioning bodies have what they call their Major Championships.
(fairly subjective) commonly used by commentators in broadcasts, refers to a putt (or short game shot) that is relatively straight forward and predictable in terms of the read (e.g., slope, speed) but with a length which would not necessarily suggest good odds on holing
Example: This is a makeable putt; we've seen more than one go in from about this position today.
mallet putter
(also "mallet head, mallet putter, mallet-style putter") a type of putter head characterized by substantial depth from face to back end
Example: The first mallet putter I ever had was called a Zebra.
maraging steel
type of steel alloy that is harder and tougher than normal steel without losing its malleability (usually associated with driver faces)
Example: Even with a face of maraging steel Gonzo managed to cave it in with his first swing.
(also "spot") to put down a ball marker (usually a small flat object, like a dime) to be able to replace the ball precisely in its original location after lifting (usually, but not exclusively, on the green)
Example: Jim's ball was lying right where I was going to place my foot, so I had him mark/spot it.
1. (also "ball marker") usually a small, flat object (like a dime) used to mark the ball's position (usually, but not exclusively, on the green) while other players putt and/or the ball is cleaned  2. a person designated to record a player's score in stroke-play
Example: 1. When you're on the green you may mark the position of your ball with a marker/ballmarker.  2. A marker is appointed by the tournament committee and is frequently a fellow-competitor.
(also "tee markers, blocks, tee blocks") two objects that indicate the foreward boundary of the teeing area
Example: The markers/tee markers/blocks/tee blocks had been moved forward since yesterday.
1. a person designated by a tournament committee to help with crowd control and to keep order  2. a person designated to patrol the course, keeping an eye out for problems in general, but usually present to promote a reasonable pace of play or keep things moving
Example: The marshal/ranger told the gallery to move back to make room for Byron's swing.
archaic term for a 5 iron
Example: Her mashie was well-worn from much use.
mashie iron
archaic term for a 4 iron
Example: Her mashie iron was shiny and new compared to her more lofted iron clubs.
mashie niblick
archaic term for a 7 iron
Example: Her mashie niblick was well-worn from much practice.
match play
scoring by holes rather than strokes, the way golf was originally played
Example: The winner of a match play competition is the player who has won the most holes, not necessarily the player with the fewest total strokes.
scoreboard abbreviation for Made Cut, Did not Finish
Example: You see MDF on the scoreboard when the player qualified for the weekend but did not finish the event.
the player in a stroke play, or medal play, competition with the fewest strokes/lowest score; the winner
Example: The medalist received the maximum award allowable by the rules of golf for an amateur.
medal play
(also "stroke play") scoring by the total number of strokes
Example: The PGA Championship used to be decided by match play, but now it is a medal play/stroke play competition.
a (usually plastic) button, decal or sticker affixed to a clubhead (usually in the cavity) for decoration
Example: When he hit the ball (rather firmly) into the lake with his putter, in anger after missing a 2-footer, the medallion came loose and followed the ball into the water.
member bounce
(also "member's bounce, lucky kick") a very favorable (lucky) bounce or kick of the ball
Example: Sally feared her ball was headed out of bounds, but she was saved by a member's bounce.
Member-Guest tournament
a tournament at private courses, or held by golf clubs at public courses, in which a member of the club teams up with a guest of their choice
Example: At the course she grew up on the Member-Guest was the highlight of the year.
mid mashie
archaic term for a 3 iron
Example: Her mashie iron was often left at home.
middle iron
(also "mid iron, mid-iron") generally irons 5 through 7, which are in the middle of the range of irons in terms of length, loft, etc.
Example: She was left with only a middle iron into the green on the par 5 10th hole after hitting a very long tee shot.
milled face
an extremely smooth and flat but finely textured face (usually on a putter) created using a milling machine and made to very tight tolerances
Example: Cast, forged and milled face putters can all feel very different.
choosing the wrong club (usually associated with good execution but an incorrect distance result)
Example: I hit my 6 iron very solidly, but realized I had misclubbed when it fell 20 yards short of the green.
to not hit a shot solidly
Example: A 6 iron was the correct choice; I just mishit it.
to incorrectly assess the break of a putt or chip shot
Example: Wow, that was an extreme misread -- it broke in the opposite direction.
modified *
(as in a modified tournament format) * This is just a note rather than a definition.
Obviously the word modified is not specifically a golf term. When a tournament format is called "modified" it means the standard format is altered in some way (there are many different ways in which it can be changed). Each event should have its own explanation of the format and a tournament committee who can clarify it.
(See tournament formats, golf games, competitions, betting, etc.)
the strength of the raw material (e.g., graphite strand or sheet) used in a shaft before manufacturing; generally the higher the modulus the less yielding (stiffer/less torque) the shaft
Example: "High modulus graphite" might be a phrase you see in advertising or manufacturers' promotional material, not only for golf clubs but for fishing rods and various rackets, etc.
moment of inertia
(also "MOI") not a golf-specific term; when used in the golf-specific sense MOI usually means the resistance of a clubhead to twising on off center hits, mainly due to weighting in the head: high MOI = less twisting, low MOI = more twisting
High MOI/moment of inertia clubs are supposedly more "forgiving."
more club
(also "club up") using a longer, less lofted club
Example: Apparently Josh needed more club, based on the fact that his ball only made it halfway across the pond.
(also "bend, shape, turn, work") a term sometimes used to refer to curving the ball's flight
Example: Since she was behind a tree, she had to move/bend/shape/turn/work the ball left to right.
in the Rules of Golf, the ball has moved if it leaves its original position and comes to rest in another place (this includes movement downward, e.g., lower in the grass)
Example: If your ball moved you would replace it as nearly as possible to its original location and add one penalty stroke.
moving day
Saturday of a tournament taking place Thursday through Sunday, refers to the fact that it is common for a field of professional golfers to go through a substantial reshuffling in the standings once the cut has been made and as the final day of a tournament nears
Example: On moving day some players climb up the scoreboard and some players plummet.
(also "breakfast ball, lunch ball, Sunday ball") taking a second attempt (replay, "do over") at a shot when one doesn't like the result of the first attempt
Example: Taking a Mulligan/breakfast ball/lunch ball/Sunday ball is not allowed in the rules of golf, but is usually tolerated (only if time allows) in casual play.
short for a municipal or city-owned golf course
Example: The dress code at a muni might be more relaxed than at a private club.
muscle back
(also "muscle-back, muscle-backed") a style of iron head with a thick amount of metal on the lower half or two-thirds of its back side (thicker than a traditional blade iron and almost the opposite of "cavity-back" or "perimeter-weighted" designs)
Example: Muscle back irons were more popular in the 1970's than they are now.
muscle memory
a (not golf-specific) phrase referring to the ability to memorize, or perform a well-rehearsed motion or motor skill less consciously or more by habit - "like riding a bike" is a cliche that expresses the idea; in golf, suggesting that someone's swing is "grooved" would generally mean the same thing
Example: His muscle memory seems to be exquisite, as every swing looks exactly the same.


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