Wrapping up my alphabetical list of golf terms just for your pleasure

In the last few weeks I have compiled and shared an alphabetical list of golf terms. Many are common, some not well known and a few just downright bizarre.

Here are the ones we’ve discussed thus far. Albatross, banana ball, chicken wing, duck hook, even par, ferrules, gooseneck, hacker, interlocking grip, jump, knock down shot, lag putt, mulligan, Nassau, out of bounds, playing through, quit, ranger and shank.

Now for the final installment!

T — Trajectory. The path that your golf ball takes after you swat it is called the trajectory. Nearly every golfer has a preferred arc and that will be classified as low, medium or high.

I tend to hit the ball high. This is not necessarily by design as that would imply that I can control the height of my golf ball. I can’t. Whether it is my equipment, my swing path or just coincidence — high is how I normally hit it.

It is possible to try to alter that path and my best chance is when I’m trying to recover from a wild tee shot that has landed in a small forest. If I use a straight faced club my chances of punching out from under a tree are pretty good. Of course it doesn’t work all the time and a tree branch can send the ball off in a totally different trajectory!

U — Unplayable lie. When a golfer decides he cannot safely hit the ball — in some direction — without fear that something worse can ensue, he can declare the ball to be unplayable. He then drops to a safer spot with a one-stroke penalty.

Many of my friends have determined that any lie that my golf ball finds itself in is indeed unplayable. I have hit a number of shots that seem to prove them right!

V — Vardon grip. Harry Vardon was a British golf legend. He gripped his club with the little finger of the right hand between the index and middle finger of the left hand while overlapping those fingers. With this grip, the left thumb should fit in the lifeline of the right hand.

Vardon actually did not invent this grip as that distinction goes to amateur Johnny Laidlay. However Vardon was a bit more famous as his six British Open titles attest, and thus his name is still associated with what some simply call the overlap grip.

W — Worm burner. My goodness we have all hit these shots. The ball refuses to leave the ground and you feel like a baseball player that has just grounded out. Now don’t get me wrong. A worm burner does not necessarily mean a bad shot, but nobody tries to hit it that way.

Former Notre Dame Football coach Lou Holtz in describing his golf game suggested that “forward is good, forward in the air is better!” I hear you coach.

Seriously I don’t think I have ever struck a worm on the golf course, but I have scattered some birds and had a squirrel ducking once!

X — X-factor. Apparently this is a golf term though I didn’t quite understand the definition. The X-factor is the difference in the shoulder turn compared to the hip turn and is measured in degrees. Sure it is.

If you understand the X-factor in golf you have more knowledge than I do. You also probably have more game than me.

Y — Yips. This is something that you do not want to experience. When a golfer gets the yips he cannot pull the trigger on a shot. Usually the yips occur when putting and I have witnessed a guy with the ailment. It is not pretty.

Professional golfer Kevin Na experienced the affliction on the tee a few years ago. He wiggled and waggled, but could not swing the club. I actually saw him swing the club like a baseball bat some three feet away above the golf ball. By the way, the swing did NOT count.

This nervous condition is not fun for a golfer. I hope you never experience it.

Z — Zoysia. A very thick bladed grass with deep roots that is resistant to drought and extreme temperatures. This type of grass was found at the PGA Championship last week. It is NOT found in my yard. My grass did not care for the lack of rainfall we had last month and chose to pretty much die.

The weeds in my yard however, must be part zoysia!

This concludes an alphabetical list of golf terms. While I was concentrating on these terms, some outstanding golf was played on the PGA Tour. Next week we will look at Tiger’s surge, Koepka’s second major title of the year and another 59 — this one recorded despite a bogey.

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

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