Glossary Of Golf Terms

Scratch's Glossary Of Golf Terms
Term (alphabetical) Definition
Ball Speed Speed at which the ball leaves the club's face after impact. Higher speeds impart more spin and are associated with greater carry and total distance. Professional golfers can achieve ball speeds approaching 200 MPH.
Bounce Measurement in degrees of the angle from the front edge of a club's sole to the point that actually rests on the ground at address. The middle or rear of many soles is lower than the front edge. Bounce is most commonly applied to wedges. More bounce will keep the club from digging too deeply into turf or sand.
Camber Describes the curvature of the sole of a golf club, both front-to-back and side-to-side. Curvier clubs tend to move more smoothly across the turf, making them more playable than less or uncambered clubs.
Carry Distance

The distance the ball travels through the air after being struck, before touching back down to earth.


Made from a harder steel than forged irons . The metal is poured into a pre shaped mold, cooled and then separated. Usually recommended for higher handicap players

Cavity Back

Clubhead with a hollowed-out back and thin middle of the face, with the weight distributed around the perimter on the back creating thicker edges and a larger sweetspot. Considered game improvement irons and designed with mid-to-high handicappers in mind, but still played by some scratch golfers and professionals. Typically cast instead of forged.

Center Of Gravity (CG,COG) The point of the clubhead that represents the intersection of all possible balance points of the clubhead. Defined across three dimensions based on the clubhead's vertical and horizontal centers of gravity as well as a point between the clubface and back of the clubhead. Contributes to a club's trajectory and accuracy.
Coefficient Of Restitution (COR) Describes the ability of a clubface to rebound the ball. Commonly known as the "trampoline effect" that can add distance to a drive as a result of an extra bounce off the clubface. The USGA has established an upper limit on this attribute, and clubs must conform to this standard to be allowed in sanctioned events.
Crown Top surface of a clubhead. Generally used to describe drivers, fairway woods and some hybrids.
Discretionary Weight Adjustable weight that gives a golfer the ability to increase or decrease the heaviness of a clubhead.
Forged They are made of softer steel and impart greater feel and feedback for accomplished players. The process consists of hammering and shaping the clubhead, then cooling, grounding and polishing it into its final shape. Usually recommended for lower handicap players.
Forgiveness The overall ability of a club to lessen the effects of poor contact and bad swings, based on a variety of design elements such as materials used, center of gravity and moment of inertia.
Handicap "Handicap" refers to a numerical representation of a golfer's playing ability. The lower a golfer's handicap, the better the golfer is.
Hosel The point where a shaft is fitted and secured into a clubhead.
Kick Point Kickpoint, also called flex point or bend point, is the point along a shaft's length at which it exhibits the greatest amount of bend. The lower the kickpoint, the higher the ball trajectory.
Launch Angle The angle at which the ball leaves the ground after being struck.
Launch Conditions Describes the combination of launch angle, ball speed and spin rate.
Launch Trajectories Launch angle plus direction. Influences how a ball will behave upon landing: rolling back towards the golfer, away from the golfer, or stopping quickly with little or no roll.
Loft The angle, in degrees, of the clubface. Higher lofts naturally produce higher trajectories, while lower lofts produce lower-flying, longer shots.
Moment Of Inertia (MOI) Describes the force required to set a golf club in motion. A lower MOI means less force is needed to complete a swing (rotation), while a higher MOI means the club requires more force. Directly influences a club's forgiveness by affecting how off-center contact or mishits are handled.
Perimeter Weighting Even distribution of club weight around the outside edges of the clubface, generally allowing more forgiveness for off-center hits. Often seen in game improvement irons.
Shaft Flex A rating of a golf club shaft's ability to bend during the golf swing. The faster the swing speed, the stiffer the flex should be.
Shot Dispersion Describes the final position of multiple golf balls hit from the same spot. Balls covering a large area are said to have a wide dispersion, while tightly clustered golf balls have a narrow dispersion.
Smash Factor Ball speed divided by club head speed. An optimal smash factor with a driver is said to be around 1.5.
Spin Rate A golf ball's spin rate refers to the speed it spins on an axis while in flight, measured in revolutions per minute (rpm). A high-spin ball will carry longer and roll less and can be easier to draw or fade.
Sweet Spot The point on a clubface that consistently generates the best contact with a ball. Typically located on or near the center of the clubface.
Swing Speed Speed at which a golfer swings a club. Specifically, how fast the clubhead is traveling at the moment it contacts the ball. Helps decide the optimal shaft flex for a golfer.