Sports, Fitness & Wellness

Golf Terms to Know for the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

Learn the language of golf so you're not left wondering.

Webster’s Dictionary defines “golf” as “an outdoor game, played on a large course with a small, hard rubber ball, with a set of clubs with wooden or metal heads, the object being to drive the ball into a series of variously located four-inch holes with the fewest possible strokes.” We should all be familiar with that. But just as with baseball and its RBI, WAR and ERA, golf has countless specialized terms.

So if you’re headed out to the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, read up here on what some of those terms mean (and don’t mean) so you’re not left scratching your head.

Approach
The hours spent in traffic on the way to Shinnecock Hills
A shot hit towards the green

Backspin
A hip, new dance move all the kids are doing
The rotation of a hit ball, making it fly higher and stop or spin backward upon hitting the ground

Birdie
Young beach bunny
A score of one under par

Bogey
Betty Bacall’s husband
A score of one over par

Break
The time thirsty golfer spends at the bar while the match is going on
The amount a putt will curve given all sorts of factors

Bunker
Where the East End summer staff is housed
An obstacle generally comprising sand or grass

Caddie
The guy you accidentally woke up next to
A person hired to carry clubs

Carry
A Sarah Jessica Parker sighting
The distance the ball flies in the air

Chip and Run
Snacking on the go
A shot that spends more time on the ground than in the air

Cut Shot
Photoshopped image from which your former best friend has been cropped
A shot that results in a soft fade and produced backspin causing the ball to stop quickly

Divot
A diving board for dogs
The turf displaced when taking a shot

Double Bogey
Messy accident
A score of 3 under par

Eagle
Seagull watching the action
A score of 2 under par on a hole

Fade
A fresh haircut
Shot that flies slightly left to right

Fluffy Lie
When you say your sweater is cashmere but…
A ball resting atop long grass

Fried Egg
Breakfast at Cove Deli in Sag Harbor
A ball buried in the sand

Grand Slam
Breakfast at the Open
The four major professional championships, of which the U.S. Open is one

Grain
Whatever is growing
The direction in which the grass grows

Hitter
Something you drink before a chaser
A player whose swing is forceful and aggressive

Lag
That feeling after spending hours in traffic on the way to Shinnecock
A shot designed to finish short of the target

Long Irons
Tall men named Jeremy
The 1-4 irons (clubs)

Middle Irons
Forearm jewelry
The 5-7 irons

Par
Despite how badly you want a drink, they did not say “bar”
The score a player is expected to make on a given hole

Pinch Shot
A photo, using a trick of perspective, showing someone pinching the sun or moon
Clean shot played around the green

Rap
Jay-Z and Beyoncé are not believed to be attending
To putt with a short, firm stroke

Release
Something one must sign due to the Open being nationally broadcast
The act of hitting the ball squarely, producing a powerful shot

Scoring Clubs
A place for “swingers”
Driver, putter and sand wedge

Shank
Baby shark
A ball struck poorly

Short Game
Popular investment strategy
Shots played on and around the green

Slice
Dinner at Dan’s Best of the Best Pizza spot, Citarella
A ball that curves drastically from left to right

Swinger
We can’t be sure, but, the couple next to you at the 15th hole…
A player whose swing is based on timing and rhythm, as opposed to a “hitter”

Tee Box
The Queen’s private seat
Area in which the golfer starts a hole

Whiff
The smell of money
A complete miss

Get more info about the 118th U.S. Open Golf Championship, and how to prepare, here.

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