Golfing Terminology That You Need To Know Before You Start Playing

By June 22, 2020Tips & Tutorials

Par, birdie, eagle, albatross, condor, bogey, double bogey and triple bogey

Par refers to the number of strokes you should look to complete a hole in. Typical there are 3 “par scores”; Par 3, Par 4, Par 5. This means that on a Par 4 you should look to take 4 shots to complete the hole. A bogey is one more than a par, a double bogey is 2 more and so on. A birdie is one under the par, an eagle two under the par, an albatross 3 under the par and a condor is also known as a hole in one on a par 5.


  1. A handicap is awarded to a player to indicate their ability. A player’s handicap will be added to the par of the course to give a score that the player should achieve for 18 holes. So, if your handicap is 24 and the par for the golf course is 70 you should score 94 shots. Your handicap will also be used to calculate the number of shots you get with the slope index (difficulty rating of the course) the lower your handicap the better player you are.
  2. Handicaps are also given to each hole, with the handicap 1 being considered the hardest hole on the golf course and the handicap 18 being the easiest. We use these hole handicaps to determine where on the course golfers receive their additional shots. So as a 22 handicapper you would receive 1 shot for each hole plus an additional shot for the holes handicapped as 1, 2, 3 and 4. The handicap index for a hole can also be known as the stroke index.

Provisional Ball

A provisional ball is a ball played in case you do not find your original ball, because you believe it to be lost or out of bounds. (Remember if you believe you are in a penalty area, lake or stream you are not allowed to play a provisional ball). You play a provisional ball to speed up play. If you do not find your original ball then you count all the shots played with the original ball, the provisional ball and a one stroke penalty.

Nearest point of relief

The nearest point of relief means exactly that. If you find your ball on a cart path for example you are entitled to free relief at the nearest point to where the ball lay. This doesn´t always mean the best place to drop.


The word FORE is a warning to golfers on neighbouring holes that they could be in danger from a shot that went astray. Please make sure that if you hit your ball in the direction of another hole that you shout FORE, it is becoming less common to hear this, and I don’t think it is just because golfers are getting better.

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