Posts Tagged ‘Golf Lingo’

Golf Lingo #13 (What is the Origin of the Term "Tee")

Feb 25th
2011

The term “Tee” is believed to be a backformation from the Old Scottish “teaz” (substantive and verb) taken as a plural and “tie” (verb), but its origin is unknown. The oldest mention of the word in its current form dates back to 1744 in Articles & Laws in Playing at Golf, but the earlier form Teaz appears as early as 1673 in the Wedderburn’s Vocabulary giving Latin equivalents for golfing terms, where Statutem (support or prop) is suggested as an equivalent for Teaz.

Golf tees are generally used for the first stroke of each hole, and the area from which this first stroke is hit is informally also known as a tee (officially, teeing ground). Before this, to elevate the ball for a drive the golf ball was teed up on a little heap of sand that was provided in boxes; this explains the historical name “tee boxes” and why that before the advent of the wooden tee the word “tee” was used to refer to the cone or mound of sand that fulfilled the same function. The development of the tee was the last major change to the rules of golf.

A popular alternative to lift the ball off the turf was the disposable tee cup, a ring of cardboard that was sold in perforated booklets; the golfer had to tear off one of these along the perforation and shape it by rolling it between the fingers. Celluloid tees and other wooden or rubber gadgets also existed to help form a sand tee. But wait, there’s more

Golf Lingo #12 (How Did “Caddie” Enter the Golf Lexicon?)

Feb 9th
2011

Caddies have been a part of the game for centuries, the term caddie has been around even longer than golf, and the role of caddies has evolved considerably over the years. The term “caddie” is derived from the French word ‘le cadet’, that used to be commonly applied to describe ‘the boy’ or the youngest member of a family. The word ‘cadet’ appears in English from 1610 and the word ‘caddie’ or ‘cadie’ following shortly thereafter in 1634. Adopting French terms was not unusual for the Scots. For example they adopted the term “Gardez-vous!” as ‘gardyloo’.

A theory promoted by many is that French military cadets carried the golf clubs for French royalty, upon which the practice came to Scotland in the 1500s. The term “cadet” came with it, changing over to “caddy” in the Scottish sense. The first named caddie was Andrew Dickson, who later became an Edinburgh clubmaker, who caddied for the Duke of York as a boy in 1681 in the Duke’s golf match on Leith Links.

In 18th century Scotland, caddies were regarded as general-purpose errand boys looking for odd jobs in Scottish towns and villages, particularly for delivering water. It wasn’t until the mid 1800s that the role began to involve routinely carrying golf clubs. Back in those days, not all players had bags, thus the clubs were carried in bundles.

Caddying is no longer tailored to those looking for odd jobs, but rather, to those looking to make a living. A Caddie nowadays is not someone that just carries golf clubs, they offer advice on club selection and game strategy. For most PGA Tour caddies this is a full-time, and well paid, job on average they are on the tour 35 to 40 weeks per year, which does not allow much time for additional employment.

Steve Lee of the Professional Tour Caddies of America (PTCA) said he believes first and foremost the pros look for a compatible personality. “When the proper `chemistry’ exists, a good caddie can be a great asset to a professional golfer,” said Lee, the organization’s business and marketing manager. “This is why players in the top 50 or so do not often change their caddies.”

Golf Lingo #11 (New Golf Lingo)

Feb 1st
2011

Some new lingo to use when you’re out on the course, very funny and some of those may even catch on! You can surprise your friends while playing!

A “Rock Hudson” – a putt that looked straight, but wasn’t.

A “Saddam Hussein” – from one bunker into another.

A “Yasser Arafat” – butt ugly and in the sand.

A “John Kennedy Jr.” – didn’t quite make it over the water.

A “Rodney King” – over-clubbed.

An “OJ.”– got away with one.

A “Princess Grace” – should have used a driver.

A “Princess Di” – shouldn’t have used the driver.

A “Jay Leno” – steadily fading

A “Condom” – safe, but didn’t feel very good.

A “Brazilian” – shaved the hole.

A “Margaret Thatcher” a little to the right.

A “Sandinista” Way to the left and out of bounds.

A “German” – a hookenfucker

An “Adolf Hitler” – two shots in the bunker

A “Cuban” – needed one more revolution

A “James Joyce” – a putt that’s impossible to read.

A “Ted Kennedy” – goes in the water and jumps out.

An “Elton John” – a big bender that lips the rim

A “Pee Wee Herman” – too much wrist. But wait, there’s more

Golf Lingo #10 (What is the Origin of the Term “Sandbagger”?)

Jan 17th
2011

A sandbagger is a nasty species of golf vermin who lies about his true playing abilities – making himself seem worse than he is – in order to gain advantage in tournaments or bets.

We all know what a sand bag is, but how did bags of sand enter the golf lexicon?

First, the word doesn’t derive from the type of sand bags we’re all familiar with. It’s not the defensive sand bags – those used for flood control, lining foxholes, and so on – but the offensive sand bags that give us the word “sandbagger.”

Gangs and street toughs of the 19th century used sand bags as a weapon of choice. Take a sock or small bag, fill it with sand, wrap it tightly, and wail away on someone (well, don’t actually wail away on someone, but imagine that you are) and you’ll see how effective a weapon a small sand bag can be.

Gang members used such weapons to intimidate their foes or average citizens. To threaten and bully the populace.

This definition of sandbagger – a person who uses a sand bag as a weapon – can still be found in many dictionaries; it’s the first definition for the word in most older dictionaries. But wait, there’s more

Golf Lingo #10 (What is the Origin of the Term "Sandbagger"?)

Jan 17th
2011

A sandbagger is a nasty species of golf vermin who lies about his true playing abilities – making himself seem worse than he is – in order to gain advantage in tournaments or bets.

We all know what a sand bag is, but how did bags of sand enter the golf lexicon?

First, the word doesn’t derive from the type of sand bags we’re all familiar with. It’s not the defensive sand bags – those used for flood control, lining foxholes, and so on – but the offensive sand bags that give us the word “sandbagger.”

Gangs and street toughs of the 19th century used sand bags as a weapon of choice. Take a sock or small bag, fill it with sand, wrap it tightly, and wail away on someone (well, don’t actually wail away on someone, but imagine that you are) and you’ll see how effective a weapon a small sand bag can be.

Gang members used such weapons to intimidate their foes or average citizens. To threaten and bully the populace.

This definition of sandbagger – a person who uses a sand bag as a weapon – can still be found in many dictionaries; it’s the first definition for the word in most older dictionaries. But wait, there’s more

Golf Lingo #9 (How Did “Bogey” Enter the Golf Lexicon?)

Jan 5th
2011

You better watch out or the Bogey Man’s gonna get you! The Bogey Man must have been a golfer, because he lent his name to a golf score of 1-over par.

According to the USGA Museum, the “Bogey Man” was a character in a British song of the late 19th Century. He lived in the shadows and said in song, “I’m the Bogey Man, catch me if you can.”

The USGA writes that British golfers of the era began chasing the Bogey Man on the golf course, meaning chasing after the perfect score (catch me if you can).

An aside: Sure is strange how some words develop, isn’t it? Now back to the program …

Over time, the term “bogey score” came into usage – but it denoted a great score, not a poor one. In other words, it was interchangeable, at that time, with the word “par.”

In the early part of the 20th Century, however, par began to be applied to the ideal score of professional golfers, while bogey gradually became applied to recreational golfers. From there, it was a short leap to its current mean of a score of 1-over par.

As “par” became the accepted term for a good score on a hole, “bogey” was applied to the higher score recreational golfers might expect to achieve. (source)

Golf Lingo #9 (How Did "Bogey" Enter the Golf Lexicon?)

Jan 5th
2011

You better watch out or the Bogey Man’s gonna get you! The Bogey Man must have been a golfer, because he lent his name to a golf score of 1-over par.

According to the USGA Museum, the “Bogey Man” was a character in a British song of the late 19th Century. He lived in the shadows and said in song, “I’m the Bogey Man, catch me if you can.”

The USGA writes that British golfers of the era began chasing the Bogey Man on the golf course, meaning chasing after the perfect score (catch me if you can).

An aside: Sure is strange how some words develop, isn’t it? Now back to the program …

Over time, the term “bogey score” came into usage – but it denoted a great score, not a poor one. In other words, it was interchangeable, at that time, with the word “par.”

In the early part of the 20th Century, however, par began to be applied to the ideal score of professional golfers, while bogey gradually became applied to recreational golfers. From there, it was a short leap to its current mean of a score of 1-over par.

As “par” became the accepted term for a good score on a hole, “bogey” was applied to the higher score recreational golfers might expect to achieve. (source)

Golf Lingo #8 (Where Did the Word “Golf” Come From?)

Dec 27th
2010

Did the word “golf” originate as an acronym for “gentlemen only, ladies forbidden”? That’s a common old wives’ tale. Or, in this case, more likely an old husband’s tale.

No, “golf” is not an acronym for “gentlemen only, ladies forbidden.” If you’ve ever heard that, forget it immediately. Better yet, find the person who told you and let them know it’s not true.

Like most modern words, the word “golf” derives from older languages and dialects. In this case, the languages in question are medieval Dutch and old Scots.

The medieval Dutch word “kolf” or “kolve” meant “club.” It is believed that word passed to the Scots, whose old Scots dialect transformed the word into “golve,” “gowl” or “gouf.”

By the 16th Century, the word “golf” had emerged. (source)

Golf Lingo #7 (How Did the Terms “Birdie” and “Eagle” Acquire their Meanings?)

Dec 21st
2010

Which came first, the birdie or the eagle? The birdie, and the eagle followed and continued the feathered theme.

In American slang of the 19th Century, the term “bird” was applied to anything particularly great. “Bird” was the “cool” of the 1800s in the U.S.

So on the golf course, a great shot – one that led to an under-par score – came to be known as a “bird,” which was then transformed into “birdie.” The term birdie was in worldwide use by the 1910s, and it’s believed it debuted in the U.S. in 1899.

An “eagle” simply followed “birdie,” being added to the lexicon in keeping with the avian image of birdie. And “albatross” later came along for the same reason. (source)

Golf Lingo #6 (How Did the Word “Mulligan” Acquire Its Golf Meaning?)

Dec 16th
2010

“Mulligan,” in its golf sense, is a relatively new word, but was in common use on golf courses by at least the 1940s. And there are many, many stories about the birth of the golf term “mulligan” … and it’s quite possible that none of them are true.

Because nobody really knows how mulligan acquired its golf meaning (a mulligan, of course, is a “do-over” – hit a bad shot, take a mulligan and try again). All we have are … those stories. And we’ll tell a few of them here.

The USGA Museum offers several possible explanations. In one, a fellow by the name of David Mulligan frequented St. Lambert Country Club in Montreal, Quebec, during the 1920s. Mulligan let it rip off the tee one day, wasn’t happy with the results, re-teed, and hit again. According to the story, he called it a “correction shot,” but his partners thought a better name was needed and dubbed it a “mulligan.”

Perhaps because Mr. Mulligan was a prominent businessman – owning multiple hotels – the term was more likely to catch on. But that’s only if you believe this version. Which, alas, does not have any hard evidence to support it. (The USGA Web Site actually provides two other alternate versions of the David Mulligan story – the origins of “mulligan” are so mysterious that the same story winds up with three different versions!)

Another story cited by the USGA is of a John “Buddy” Mulligan, known for replaying poor shots at Essex Fells Country Clubs in N.J.

Another interesting theory is related by the Web site, StraightDope.com. Responding to a question about the origins of “mulligan” (a common Irish name and, remember, the Northeastern U.S. was heavily Irish in the early part of the 20th Century), StraightDope.com replied, “Another origin theory ties to the period when Irish-Americans were joining fancy country clubs and were derided as incompetent golfers. That would make the term basically an ethnic slur that caught on, like ‘Indian summer’ or ‘Dutch treat.’ ”

The “Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins” offers a more prosaic explanation. It postulates the word derives from saloons that, back in the day, would place a free bottle of booze on the bar for customers to dip into. That free bottle was called, according to the book, a Mulligan. The term was adapted to the golf course to denote a “freebie” to be used by golfers. (source)