Approach shot - a golf stroke that is played directly to the putting surface.
Berm - a landform consisting of an elongated mound commonly used on a golf course to visually define an area, to deflect surface water or to prevent the ball rolling out of bounds.
Blind hole - a hole where either the green or landing area (target area) is not visible from where the golfer must execute the shot.
Bunker - a depression usually, though not always, filled with sand, which is a golf course hazard. Defined by the Rules of Golf as “a hazard consisting of a prepared area of ground, often a hollow, from which turf or soil has been removed and replaced with sand or the like. Grass-covered ground bordering or within a bunker is not part of the bunker. The margin of a bunker extends vertically downwards, but not upwards.”
Chip - a golf shot that is made from just off the green towards the hole. Many golf courses provide a special green for golfers to practice their chipping.
Clubhouse - the main building on a golf course usually containing locker rooms, the pro shop, food and beverage facilities and other amenities.
Contour line - a line on a map or plan that joins areas of equal elevation.
Contours - the topography, or physical shape, of an area of land.
Damping off - a fungal disease that usually attacks newly germinated plants, causing the stem to shrivel and die at ground level.
Dogleg - a par 4 or 5 hole that changes direction at a point (called the turnpoint or pivot) between the tee and the green. Par 5 holes may change direction more than once.
Double green - a green, usually with a very large surface area, which has two cups cut into it and is used by two different holes.
Double hazard - a situation where a golfer is forced to play from one hazard, such as a bunker or sandtrap, over or around another hazard, such as water or a tree.
Driving range - a large teeing area maintained for golfers to practice hitting shots.
Earthwork - the grading of land to form the final shape or contours of an area. Also refers to the moving of soil from one area to another.
Fairway - the area of shortly cut grass between the tee and the green that constitutes the desired playing surface of the hole.
Grain - the texture of the surface of a green which develops when the turfgrass blades all grow in one direction. The direction of the grain affects the roll of the ball on the green.
Green - the area of smooth, shortly clipped grass putting surface, surrounding the hole. Also referred to as the putting green. The Rules of Golf define the putting green as “all ground of the hole being played which is specially prepared for putting”.
Green complex - a term used to describe the green and its immediate surroundings, including the fringe, bunkers and adjacent rough.
Greenkeeper - name given to the person responsible for golf course maintenance, commonly used in the British Isles. In North America this person is more commonly called the golf course superintendent.
Green speed - an expression of the velocity of the ball rolling on the putting surface. Quantitatively measured by an instrument called a stimpmeter.
Grubbing - the removal of tree stumps and roots after the timber has been cut and removed.
Guttation fluid - droplets of material exuded by grass plants at the tips of leaves as a result of root pressure exceeding transpiration demands, usually at night. It consists of the vascular fluids of the grass plant - water and nutrients - and may provide a medium for the growth of pathogenic fungi.
Halfway house - a building located between the ninth green and tenth tee where golfers may purchase refreshments and food if playing on from the front to the back nine.
Handicap - A number assigned to each player based on his ability and used to adjust each player's score to provide equality among the players. In simplified terms, a handicap number, based on the slope of a course, is subtracted from the player's gross score and gives him a net score of par or better half the time.
Hard landscaping - a term used to describe features such as retaining walls or any artistic construction made of rock, wood or concrete.
Hazard - a golf course feature that is meant to penalize a poorly hit golf shot. Bunkers, the rough and water features are all considered hazards. The Rules of Golf state that a hazard is “any bunker or water hazard”.
Heroic design - a design style where hazards are positioned to give the golfer a choice of playing around a hazard on a longer route to the green or negotiating a full carry over all or part of the hazard and being rewarded with an easier subsequent shot. Heroic design is a type of strategic design where players “bite off what they can chew”.
Holding ability - an expression used to describe how well balls hit to a green will stay on the green rather than rolling off. It is a function of green slope, hardness and speed.
Hook - a golf shot that curves to the left (for right-handed golfers) or to the right (for left-handed golfers).
Hydromulching - a process by which mulch is sprayed onto a seeded area using a jet of water.
Landing area - the portion of the fairway of a par 4 or 5 hole where the majority of properly hit golf balls will land when hit from the tee. A second landing area is usually located short of the green on par 5 holes.
Links - a Scottish term most commonly referring to the natural landform found along the coast of Scotland where the first golf courses where thought to have developed. The predominant features are sandy dunes covered with grasses, gorse and other low-growing plants. Golf courses that are built in these areas, or are designed to imitate these courses, are often called links.
Localized dry spots - areas on a green that do not accept and retain moisture as well as the other areas of the green.
Macro-climate - the weather conditions that predominate in a larger area or region.
Master plan - the plan laying out the overall design of the golf course.
Micro-climate - the weather conditions of a small area. Micro-climate is affected significantly by the shelter provided by trees, changes in terrain or the presence of large bodies of water.
Out-of-bounds - an area that is defined as being out-of-play. Golfers may not play a ball that is out-of-bounds. They must replay the shot and take a penalty stroke. Out-of-bounds areas are usually marked with white stakes. Defined by the Rules of Golf as “ground on which play is prohibited”.
Overseeding - the application of seed into an established turf area to fill bare spots or to attempt to alter the species or variety composition of the area.
Parallelism - a situation where holes run parallel, or directly adjacent to one another.
Parkland - a golf course built in a setting of trees and turf as opposed to the relatively treeless links setting.
Penal design - a design style that penalizes poor shots by placing hazards directly in the line of play. A player must carry the hazard as there is no route provided to play around the hazard.
Recovery shot - a shot played from a hazard such as a trap or the rough.
Recuperative potential - an expression of the ability of a turfgrass to recover from damage.
Revetting - a construction technique that involves the use of layers of sod laid horizontally around the inside perimeter of a bunker to create a very steep sod face.
Rough - the playing area surrounding the tee, fairway and green. Usually the grass in this area is left at a higher height of cut than the grass on the main playing surfaces in order to penalize poorly hit shots.
Routing - the laying out of the golf holes in terms of the direction, or route, that the layout follows.
Sandtraps - an alternative term for sand bunkers. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland, the Royal Canadian Golf Association and the United States Golf Association request that the term bunker be used instead of trap.
Shot value - the difficulty of a specific golf shot. It also refers to the manner in which a hole tests the golfer.
Slice - a golf shot that curves to the right (for right-handed golfers) or to the left (for left-handed golfers).
Soft landscaping - a term used to describe features such as trees, shrubs and flowers. (See hard landscaping.)
Specifications - detailed descriptions of the way in which specific features will be constructed.
Specimen trees - trees that exhibit superior characteristics (size, age, health, location) which make them desirable for retention in a design.
Split fairway - a fairway that is divided by a hazard such as water, sand or trees, providing the golfer with a choice of two routes to the green.
Stolonized - a method for establishing a stand of turfgrass by the planting of stolons (above ground stems) that will root and produce plants.
Strategic design - a design style that provides both a safer but longer route to the hole around the hazards and a more direct route to the hole that requires playing closer to or over hazards but offers the golfer a better opportunity to use fewer strokes.
Stroke - defined by the Rules of Golf as “the forward movement of the club made with the intention of fairly striking at and moving the ball”.
Surrounds - the area immediately adjacent to a green or a tee.
Swale - a depression in the ground that is lower than the surrounding ground. This term is frequently used to describe a depression in the surface of a green.
Sward - term used to describe a population of turfgrass plants.
Tee - the area from which a golfer plays the first stroke on a hole. The actual area from which a golfer may hit, called the tee box or teeing ground; defined by the Rules of Golf as a “rectangular area two club-lengths in depth, the front and sides of which are defined by the outside limits of two tee-markers”. Most tees will provide sufficient space for the placement of several tee boxes to minimize wear in any one specific area of the tee. Most holes will have several tees of varying distances from the hole.
Topdressing - the application of soil or sand to a turf area, which aids in levelling any depressions or filling holes left by aeration machinery.
Turnpoint - the place on a dogleg hole where the direction of play changes. Sometimes called the elbow of the dogleg or pivot.
Water hazard - defined by the Rules of Golf as “any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open water course (whether or not containing water) and anything of a similar nature”.
Wetting agent - a material that increases the ability of water to infiltrate the soil; used to treat localized dry spots on greens.
Working drawings - the drawings that constitute the architect’s standards for the construction of a golf course or the pictorial portion of the contract documents showing design and demens ions.