So you're planning your first golf tournament or outing. You’ve purchased the prerequisite plaid pants but still don’t know the difference between an iron and a wedge (those are golf clubs, by the way). Have no fear—we spoke with Ryan Dunning, group sales manager with Pronghorn in Bend, Oregon, who supplied us with some golfing terms that will help you talk like a pro, even if you’re a duffer.
Above the hole: Your ball is positioned such that you will be putting downhill to the cup. Downhill putts are particularly tricky, so you want to avoid being above the hole.
Approach shot: “Approach” and “approach shot” are interchangeable. Both terms refer to the shot a golfer plays into a green from a distance requiring a full swing.
Below the hole: Your ball is positioned such that you will be putting uphill to the cup. Uphill putts are generally easier than downhill putts.
Best ball: A type of tournament typically played by teams of four. All members of the team play each hole, and the lowest score is the team’s score.
Bingo, Bango, Bongo: Tournament play that can be played by individuals or teams. Points are awarded for being the first player to get a ball on the green, being the player whose ball is closest to the pin once all the balls are on the green, and being the first player to hole the ball.
Birdie: Scoring term for 1-under-par. You finished the hole one less stroke than par.
Bogey: Scoring term for 1-over-par. You finished the hole with one more stroke than par.
Bunker: A sand trap.
Double bogey: Scoring term for 2-over-par. You finished the hole with two more strokes than par.
Double eagle: Scoring term for 3-under-par. You finished the hole with three less strokes than par. It’s very rare and also called an albatross.
Eagle: Scoring term for 2-under-par. You finished the hole with two less strokes than par. (On a par-3 hole, an eagle is a hole-in-one or an ace.)
Fairway: The area of the course between the tee and the green that is well-maintained, allowing a good lie for the ball.
Flags: Tournament play with everyone playing starting out with a certain number of strokes. Whoever is farther along on the course when their strokes run out is the winner.
Green: The area of specially prepared grass around the cup, where putts are played.
Mulligan: Usually given when a shot is errant, a mulligan is a nonpenalty stroke that is replayed from the spot of the previous stroke. Like a freebie.
Par: The total number of strokes it should take to finish a hole, from tee to cup.
Scramble: One of the most common tournament formats for charity events and fundraisers. Can be played with either four- or twoperson teams. In a scramble, every person on the team tees off. From the location of the best shot, every player takes their second shot. This continues until the ball is holed.
Shotguns: Refers to a “shotgun start,” in which all players tee off simultaneously from different holes on the course, allowing for more players to participate in a tournament in less time.
Split tee times: When half the group starts from the 10th hole—allows more players to complete the course.
Tee times: Another common corporate tournament format is to simply reserve tee times at a course, which means the group’s round starts at their own scheduled time.
Triple bogey: Scoring term for 3-over-par. You finished the hole with three more strokes than par.