Golfing Frequently Asked Questions

History of Golf

Golf Etiquette

Women Golfers

Golfing FAQs


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Here are some interesting FAQs on Golf. Terms you’ve heard being used all the time but never knew where they originated!

Why is Golf called Golf?

The origin of the term ‘Golf’ is uncertain. However, it seems to have originated from the old Scots words glove, gowl or gouf. Over time gouf was refined into Golf, which has stuck ever since. Some older Scottish golfers will still refer to Golf as gouf.

What are Links?

As per the British Golf Museum, ‘Links’ are coastal strips of land between the beaches and the inland agricultural areas where crops are grown. The term in its purest sense applies specifically to seaside areas in Scotland. Links golf courses typically feature sandy soil, dunes and undulating topography. Such land is generally not conducive to cultivation. 

In the U.S., the term ‘Links’ is also often used to refer to golf courses that are relatively treeless. 

Why 18 holes on a Golf Course?

Initially there was no standard number of holes in a Golf course. St.Andrews had 22 holes in the beginning and converted to 18 holes only around 1764. It was in 1858 that the Royal & Ancient Golf club of St.Andrews issued new rules that stated that one round of the Links or 18 holes would be reckoned a match unless stated otherwise. Since R&A was the leading golf club and many others imitated it, the 18-hole match was accepted all over Britain.

Where did the term Bogey originate?

The term is said to have originated from Colonel Bogey. He was an amateur player of high standard who was held to play every hole of a given course in the standard stroke score. 

In another theory according to the USGA Museum, the ‘Bogey Man’ was a mythical character who sang, “I’m the Bogey Man, catch me if you can!” The golfers of the late 19th century started chasing the ‘Bogey’ man on the golf course. In other words they started chasing a perfect score. Thus, a Bogey score referred to a great score and the word was interchanged with ‘par’.

In the early 20th century things changed and par was used to refer to the idea score of professional golfers. Bogey was used to refer to recreational golfers.

Today Bogey is commonly used to denote a score of one stoke over par. 

What does the term Par mean? 

The dictionary meaning of Par is average. The word Par was being used in a golfing context as early as the 1890s. At that time it was often used interchangeably with Bogey. By the early 1900s however, Par came to be used to denote the ideal score for the best golfers. Par thus means the standard score in strokes for each hole of a given course.

What do Birdie, Eagle and Albatross mean?

As with a lot of golfing terms the exact origin of Birdie is not known. However, the term was definitely being popularly used by the early nineteenth century. Birdie was adapted from the phrase ‘bird of a shot’. It meant the ball ‘flew like a bird’ and was used to praise an excellent shot.

The terms Eagle and Albatross were on the same lines as Birdie, except these birds are more rare. The Eagle is used to describe a score two under par and the Albatross refers to three strokes under. Both are as rare to Golfing as the birds after which they are named.

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