My alphabetical list of golf terms makes the turn to the back nine

Just to recap the A to M golf terms that I have described thus far: albatross, banana ball, chicken wing, duck hook, even par, ferrules, gooseneck, hacker, interlocking grip, jump, knock down shot, lag putt and mulligan.

Now it’s time to continue the list. My guess is that you will be familiar with all of these terms.

N — Nassau. The most common type of bet that golfers exercise while playing the game is known as a Nassau. Most of the guys I know will make small wagers on their playing abilities. In fact, the game can almost get a little boring if there is nothing on the line monetarily.

Actually a Nassau bet is three separate wagers. It involves winning the front nine, the back nine and finally the 18 as a whole. My traveling group plays a Nassau as well as other games such as skins and low net each week. Whether all the guys know the term Nassau or not is open to question. Most of us just refer to it as the front, back and totals.

O — Out of bounds. This is something that really doesn’t scare many golfers. No, seriously this seldom comes into play if, and it is a big IF, there is plenty of room to avoid it. Now put the OB to right of the fairway and a big body of water to the left and nerves will jangle a little on the tee.

The worst part of flirting with out of bounds is that you will lose a stroke if you are on the wrong side of the white stakes. Of course it gets somewhat worse if you lose your golf ball as well. And it may be even worse if you are playing a course you are not familiar with and crest a hill only to see your ball is in an area that you didn’t even know was out of bounds.

Trust me when I tell you that golfers do not like to hit a ball out of bounds.

P — Playing through. This is a common form of golf etiquette that sometimes gets ignored. It is appropriate for slower players to let faster players play through. It is not always possible as golf courses can be crowded, but if you are in a foursome for example that is holding up another, you should let them play through.

A couple of weeks ago this situation happened to me. We had two threesomes and a foursome playing Valley View, a beautiful course near Galion. I was in the foursome and we fell behind the two smaller groups even though my group played the front nine in an hour and a half.

By the time we made the turn, a foursome of golfers decided to cut in front of us. We waited on every shot as they never once considered letting us play through. It took us nearly twice as long to play the back nine because these golfers failed to follow golf etiquette. Don’t let this be you!

Q — Quit. There were actually no terms for the letter Q that I could find, so I inserted one that I have heard all my buddies use at one time or another.

The game of golf can be frustrating. We’ve all had some shots that we wonder how we could have hit it that badly. Put together several of those in the same round and you will hear this statement being made afterwards.

“I’m going to take two weeks off and then quit!”

R — Ranger. In addition to being Radar’s dog on M.A.S.H., a ranger in golf is a course official who ensures prompt play on a golf course. Some courses have rangers and some do not.

Most of your busiest courses employ them, but how seriously they enforce pace of play varies. Valley View does not have one. They could have used one a couple of weeks ago.

S — Shank. Before I give you the interesting definition I found for this common golf term, I must admit that I’m in trouble. The S word is not to be used on the golf course for as legend would tell you, mention it and you will have it happen. Writing about it may mean the same thing.

Now for that definition! While golfers find all sorts of ways to hit poor shots, the most damaging is the shank. For a right handed golfer a shank means the ball is going to squirt almost directly right of where you are aiming. Most of the time you just shake your head, not realizing how you just managed to hit that shot. The damaging part — other than the embarrassment — is that one shank tends to produce another. Shank too many and it could cause you to invoke the Q word!

Next week I will conclude my alphabetical list of golf terms.

Al Stephenson is The A-T’s golf columnist.

Read his blog at: