Out Of The Screws: An Essential Guide To Golf Slang

Golf Care, 13th September 2018

golf slang


If you sometimes wonder what on earth people are prattling on about as they stride the fairways, here’s a selection of golf slang that might help you out. In no particular order:


Ferrule – This is the small ring of plastic that circles the shaft of the golf club where it enters the clubhead. On most modern clubs, the ferrule is purely aesthetic.


Out of the screws – To hit a ball flush out of the centre of the club face. This term harks back to the days when the face of a driver or wooden-headed club was literally screwed into the clubhead and one ‘out of the screws’ had come straight from the middle.


Unmentionable – The unmentionable is… say it quietly… a shank. A shot striking the hosel of the club and a portion of the face, before squirting off at near right angles. This term is also known as: The socket rocket, the Lucy Locket, the J. Arthur (Rank), the Ravi (Shank-ar), the Armitage (Shanks), the Scottish shot (from the fact it’s unmentionable much like ‘the Scottish play,’) and the Sherman (Tank).


Dunch – A horribly fatted pitch or chip shot that barely moves from its original spot.


Knife – A horribly thinned pitch or chip shot that flies across the green at knee height, invariably into some awful trouble on the other side.


Nassau – A type of golfing wager originating from Nassau Country Club on Long Island, New York. Basically, it divides the game into three and you have bets on the front nine, the back nine and the whole round.

Dog Licence – Beating, or losing to, an opponent 7&6. This term stems from the fact that, in old money, the price of a “dog licence” used to be 7 and 6. This score is generally considered to be a bit of a thrashing on the links…


Condor – The rarest of all golfing birds – a score of four-under-par on a hole, so a hole-in-one on a par-5.


Dead Sheep – This is when, after hitting a poor first putt, a golfer does not lose his or her turn… “Still Ewe.”


Daisy Cutter – A shot that never leaves the ground. Known in the U.S as a “worm burner.”


Trombones – An 18-hole score of 76, after the musical number starting:


“Seventy-six trombones led the big parade/
With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand …”


Walking Sticks – An 18-hole score of 77, from the fact that 7s look like walking sticks… sort of.


Snowman – An eight.


Captain Cook – Rhyming slang for a hook, after the old English explorer.


Ronnie Shade (Ronnie) – Rhyming slang for a fade, after the old Scottish professional.


Jon Bon Jovi – A putt that doesn’t come close to making it to the hole, aptly named after the 80’s rock band’s classic “Livin’ on a prayer” …


“Woah, we’re half way there…”


Don Henley – An Eagle.


Oscar Bravo – OB, or out-of-bounds.


The double-cross – When you try to hit a fade but hit a pull-hook instead. Results tend to be poor.


A flake – An 18-hole score of 99.

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