Golf Course Terms

Definitions of Golf Course Terms

Our glossary of golf course terms is one part of our larger Glossary of Golf Terms. If you need the definition of golf course term, check the list below, which includes terms relating to architecture, maintenance, turfgrasses, course setup and other golf course terms. If you are looking for more general golf terms, visit the main golf glossary index.

90-Degree Rule
Abnormal Ground Conditions
Alternate Fairway
Alternate Greens
Alternate Tees
Approach Course
Back Nine
Back Tees
Bail-Out Area
Ball Mark
Ballmark Tool
Blue Tees
Cart Path Only
Casual Water
Championship Tees
Church Pews bunker
Collection Area
Course Furniture
Cross Bunker
Crowned Green
Desert Course
Divot Tool
Double Green
False Front
First Cut
Forced Carry
Golf Club
Grass Bunker
Ground Under Repair
Heathland Course
Island Green
Ladies Tees
Lateral Water Hazard
Municipal Course
Out of Bounds
Par 3 / Par-3 Hole
Par 4 / Par-4 Hole
Par 5 / Par-5 Hole
Parkland Course
Pin Placement
Pitch mark
Pot Bunker
Primary Rough
Private Course
Punchbowl Green
Punched Greens
Red Tees
Redan / Redan Hole
Resort Course
Semi-Private Course
Signature Hole
Split Fairway
Stadium Course
Tee Box
Teeing Ground
Warm-Season Grasses
Waste Bunker (or Waste Area)
Water Hazard
White Tees

... and More Golf Course Terms Defined

Cape Hole
Today the term typically refers to a hole on a golf course that plays around a large, lateral hazard, and presents a risk-reward tee shot - the option of crossing part of that hazard (or playing around it). The fairway on a cape hole gently curves around the hazard, as opposed to the sharper dogleg style of hole.

Cart Path
The designated route around a golf course that riding golf carts are expected to follow. A cart path is usually paved in concrete or covered in some other surface (such as crushed stone), although some courses have more rudimentary cart paths - ones that are just trails worn down by traffic. See Golf Cart Rules and Etiquette for considerations.

Cool-Season Grasses
Exactly what the name implies: Varieties of grass that grow best in cooler conditions, as opposed to hotter climates. Golf courses in cooler regions are likely to be turfed with a cool-season grass.

And golf courses in warmer locales might use a cool-season grass during winter as an overseed. Some examples of cool-season grasses cited by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America include colonial bentgrass, creeping bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue and tall fescue.

Daily Fee Course
A golf course that is open to the public but is privately owned and operated (as opposed to a municipal course). Daily fee courses are often (but not always) upscale and try to provide the golfer a "country club for a day"-type experience.

Double Cut Green
"Double cut" is an adjective referring to putting greens; "double cutting" is the verb that refers to the action taken. A "double cut" green is one that has been mowed twice in the same day, usually back-to-back in the morning (although a superintendent may choose to mow once in the morning and once in the late afternoon or evening). The second mowing is usually in a direction perpendicular to the first mowing. Double cutting is one way a golf course superintendant can increase the speed of the putting greens.

Finishing Hole
The finishing hole on a golf course is the last hole on that course. If it's an 18-hole course, the finishing hole is Hole No. 18. If it's a 9-hole course, the finishing hole is Hole No. 9. The term can also mean the final hole of a golfer's round, whatever that hole might be.

Front Nine
The first nine holes of an 18-hole golf course (holes 1-9), or the first nine holes of a golfer's round.

Hole Location
Also called "pin placement," this refers either to the specific place on a green where the hole is located (exactly what it sounds like, in other words); or to the multiple areas of a putting green where a superintendent has the option to cut the hole.

See How to Read Pin Sheets for more.

Can refer to a bunker or to the hole cut in the putting green:

  • Bunker lip: A bunker lip is a well-defined edge of sod or turf around the bunker that acts as a rim. A lip requires the golfer to get a ball airborne out of the sand in order to clear the bunker's edge.
  • Hole lip: The rim of the hole on the putting green, its edge, is called the "lip."

Par-6 Hole
A hole on a golf course that is expected to require six strokes for an expert golfer to play. Par-6s are rare on golf courses. But when they exist, the yardage guidelines are effective playing lengths of more than 690 yards for men and more than 575 yards for women.

Public Course
Any golf course that primarily serves the general public. For example, municipal courses or daily fee courses.

Sand Trap
Another name for a bunker.

The USGA, R&A and the Rules of Golf only use bunker, never sand trap, which is considered more golfer's lingo.

Through Line
An extension of your putting line a couple feet beyond the hole. In other words, if your putted ball rolled over the hole, or just barely missed the hole, and kept rolling a couple feet, the through line is that ball's path. Golfers generally try to avoid stepping on a fellow-competitor's through line just as they would try to avoid another golfer's putting line.

Water Hole
Any hole on a golf course that includes a water hazard on or alongside the hole (in a position where the water can come into play).