Updated on May 4th, 2021 at 02:15 pm

Just started hitting the golf course? There’s no doubt that some terms may sound like a different language you have never heard of. Whether you are a new golfer or an intermediate player, you need to learn these terms. We are going to discuss golf terminology for beginners.

The most common golf terminologies you are likely to encounter are albatross, birdie, bogey, eagle, mulligan, and fore, among others.

Let’s have a more in-depth look at each term and learn what they mean in golf.

What is an Albatross?

In golf, an albatross is a term that can also be called a double eagle. Both words have the same meaning. However, albatross is used more than double eagle. This is a term that golfers use when a player uses three shots less than the holes par score.

Albatross is something that the majority of golfers would struggle to achieve since it’s quite tricky. However, there are a few professional golfers who managed to score an albatross in a tour event.

To score an albatross in any given hole, you need to play on a par-5-hole. If you were supposed to hole out three shots on a par-4 below par, this achievement can be called a Hole in one as well as an albatross.

Hole in one - AEC Info

If it’s a par-5 hole, you will be required to hole out your second shot to score an albatross. You will need luck and precision with a second shot that would likely be 200 or more yards from the green, requiring a Hybrid or Fairway wood to hit the green.

One of the reasons why it is a bit difficult to score an albatross is because most golf courses offer golfers two par-five options per 9 holes to achieve the feat. You can only par-5 hole, and this reduces scoring an albatross. While you can make a 2-under-par eagle or 1-under-par birdie on any course or hole, the albatross will always be highly elusive.

What is a Birdie?

Golfers use the term birdie to refer to a score of 1-under par on any specific golf hole. Remember that par is the number of strokes an expert is expected to take to complete the hole. An expert golfer needs three, four, and five strokes to play those holes.

A birdie is, therefore, a good score on a hole. Most high handicappers and many mid-handicappers rarely make a birdie. You can hear golfers say statements like, “I need birdie this hole to win the match.”

Some of the scores that result in a birdie include:

  • Scoring a two on a par-3 hole
  • Scoring a three on a par-4 hole
  • Scoring a four on a par-5 hole

While par-6 holes exist in golf, it’s very rare to get them. For this reason, you can claim a birdie by scoring five on a par-6 hole.

The term birdie came in the 1800’s when Abner Smith, an Atlantic City Golfer, scored his second shot within inches of the cup on a par-4. The United States Golf Association website reveals that Smith referred to his near-miss experience as “a bird of a shot.” After tapping in for one under par, Smith and his partners decided to call such a score a “birdie.”

What is a Bogey?

Golfers also use the term bogey often, which means that the golfer scored 1-over par on a specific golf hole. Take note that par is the number of strokes expected for an expert golfer to take to complete a hole. On the other hand, golf holes are rated as par-3s, par 4s and finally par-5s. Expert golfers, therefore, needs three, four, and five strokes to play these holes.

Individual scores that result in a bogey include:

  • Scoring 4 on a par-3 hole
  • Scoring 5 on a par-4 hole
  • Scoring 6 on a par-5 hole

It’s quite rare to get par-6 holes, but some golfers encounter them occasionally. Getting a bogey on a par-6 hole implies that the golfer played that hole using seven strokes.

Remember that even though bogey is a score that usually disappoints a golfer, very few people are expert golfers. The majority of recreational golfers don’t get disappointed with a bogey recording. In a round, professional golfers often score a bogey or two.

The term bogey first got into the golf lexicon in the 1890s. However, it had a different meaning than what we use today. It was closer to what we understand as “par.”

It used to be a good thing and was referred to as the ideal score for a player to score par on a hole in perfect conditions. When the term par was introduced, bogey was used to describe when a player couldn’t meet par.

What is an Eagle?

In golf, an eagle is defined as a score of two strokes under par on a hole. To eagle means to shoot 2-under par on any hole. We can say you’ve scored an eagle when you hole your ball in three shots on a par-5. You can also score an eagle if you hole your ball in two shots on a par-4. This is not a common score for most golfers because eagles don’t come so often, even for professional golfers.

Did you know that the term eagle came from the term “birdie”?

It implies shooting a single stroke below par on a hole. Whenever you shoot one below par, it is referred to as a birdie. Later, they recognized an eagle as a shot, which was better than a birdie. The term eagle was therefore coined as a way of referring to a big birdie.

When a golfer shoots three under par on a hole, we refer to that as a double-eagle. This can only happen on longer holes or par-4. As for par-4’s, a golfer needs to hit a hole-in-one, and this might never happen.

What is a Mulligan?

In golf, you often hit several shots that you wish that you could take back. Some of these shots are bad. Golfers, therefore, came up with a “do-over”, referred to as a mulligan. A mulligan allows golfers to retake a shot.

Therefore, a mulligan is a stroke in golf that you play from the same place you hit your previous stroke. You aim to repeat the last shot without getting a penalty. Therefore, mulligans are used to wipe out the former shot and consider it something that has never counted.

Why do Golfers say Fore?

During a round of golf, when you hear a golfer yell “fore.”,  it is a warning telling them to take quick action and prepare for a golf ball coming your way. Fore is a short term of the word before.

On the other hand, before is another name of “ahead.” Fore, therefore, means “lookout ahead.” This term is used in golf after an errant shot to caution other golfers that a ball could be heading their way.

While playing, you’ll hear the word “fore,” and here’s what you need to do. Consider ducking and shielding your face. While the ball coming may not hit you, it’s crucial to protect yourself quickly. Sometimes you may not know where the ball is coming from, and this is the best reaction.

These are just some golf terminologies that you need to know as a beginner golfer. You may also want to check out our recent posts on Slope and the how green speeds are measured using a Stimpmeter. Please come back often for more reviews and tips from the team at AECinfo.org. We hope you stay safe and hit them straight.