A few basics of golf – what do some terms mean

One of the most curious things about this game is that it requires a negative score so that the player can finish as a winner.

Golf is a sport practiced and lover around the globe, where you use a club to hit a ball and get it into a hole. It sounds pretty simple, however anyone who has played or even watched golf knows that it has its strict requirements, rules, specific scoring and penalties. One of the most curious things about this game is that it requires a negative score so that the player can finish as a winner. If you have ever wondered why someone who has finished a game with a result of –5 gets the trophy, have a look at some of the basic golf terms and rules below.

Basic terms

Before we go into further details about the actual scoring of golf, let’s have a look at some of the basic terms you will hear, while watching golf. If it is one of the first times this magnificent game has caught your eye, you are probably wondering what PGA tour or major is.

  • PGA stands for professional golfer’s association and the PGA tour is the organizer of the main male golf tournaments for professionals in the USA and North America
  • LPGA is respectively the organization responsible for the female golf tournaments. Initially it referred only to the US-based institution but now it is also used for several other organizations from different countries that follow the same model
  • Major(s) – these are the most prestigious golf tournaments both for men and women, the male ones include the Masters Tournament, U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the PGA Championship, while the female ones are the LPGA Championship, Kraft Nabisco Championship, U.S. Women’s Open, Women’s British Open and The Evian Championship

Another term that you will hear often is caddy/caddie – this is a person who is hired to carry a golfer’s clubs and more important to offer advice. Many famous golfers has started as caddies before becoming players themselves.

Scoring in golf or what is a par

You will hear that a particular golfer finished four under par or one over par at the end of the tournament, so it is important to know what par exactly is. It is pretty straightforward, actually – a par is the number of strokes a golfer needs to complete a hole, a round or a tournament, which are predetermined. The most common holes are to be completed with 3, 4 and 5 strokes but some golf fields feature par-six and even par-seven holes. A championship golf course usually consists of 18 holes and has a total value of 72, distributed between four par-threes, ten par-fours, and four par-fives. Good players try to achieve a hole with as few strokes as possible and thus the one who has made the lowest number of strokes during the tournament wins. Hence comes the negative result that marks the victory – in everyday language if a golfer has finished with 5 under par it means he/she has made 5 strokes less than the predetermined number and thus proved his or her qualities. There is a specific name for finishing a hole with one or two strokes above or below the requirement:

  • Par or equal (marked as E) – it means the hole was achieved with the exact number of strokes as predetermined
  • Birdie (marked as –1) – the hole is achieved with one stroke less than the predetermined – one stroke under par
  • Eagle (marked as –2) – two strokes under par
  • Albatross or double eagle (marked as –3) – three strokes under par
  • Condor (marked as –4) – four strokes under par
  • Bogey (marked as +1) – one stroke over par
  • Double bogey (marked as +2) – two strokes over par

You can also hear a triple-bogey but the higher numbers will be simply marked as four-over-par, five-over-par, etc. Birdies are the most common scores, while only 84 albatrosses were recorded on the PGA tour from 1970 to 2003. The mythical condor was achieved only four times (as of 2012) by Larry Bruce in 1962, Shaun Lynch in 1995, Mike Crean in 2002 and 16-year-old Jack Bartlett in 2007.

These were just a few of the most common terms used in golf and of course there are many more, however if you are interested in the game you will quickly learn them. Meantime you can follow golf news and even give golf betting a try.

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