Golf Slang Explained

April 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Beginners Golf Tips

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with a golf fanatic and found yourself dumbfounded at the jargon that’s used? If you’ve answered a resounding YES, then you’re not alone.

There are hundreds of slang terms used to describe every aspect of the sport which makes it nearly impossible for a non-enthusiast to keep track of them and commit them to memory. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

To help you join in on those once confusing conversations, I have compiled some of the more interesting terms used and defined them in such a way that will hopefully make remembering them an easy task. That way you will understand what others are saying and may even be able to baffle the uninitiated yourself!

Let The Big Dog Eat

When I first came across this term I couldn’t wrap my head around it. It sounds incredibly comical and the number of “use this word in a sentence” examples I could come up with are numerous. The fact is though that the meaning of this term is quite simple.

The Big Dog, also known as the driver (#1 wood), has received its name because it is the largest club in the golf bag. If a player uses this club to tee, he or she is letting the big dog eat. Interestingly with further research I found that this phrase was made popular by the movie Tin Cup.

Oscar Brown

To my surprise, the term Oscar Brown does not refer to the friend you’re going to meet at the club house bar after the game. In fact, Oscar Brown is just a fun way of saying out of bounds. Any out of bounds ball is usually marked with white stakes or noted on the scorecard and is always un-playable regardless of whether or not it can be found.

If your ball is constantly out of bounds when you play golf, I say you go ahead and treat yourself to a drink at the club house bar with my good friend Oscar Brown.


I can’t wait to use this word during my next game of Scrabble. The sheer spelling of the word will surely get it contested. Contest away because it is in fact a word! Sclaff, of Scottish origination, means to scrape or strike the ground with a golf club behind the ball before hitting it.

An example would be “He sclaffed the ground with his club.” I know it’s not the best sentence but you get the gist of it.

So there you have it! These three terms are just the tip of the iceberg in the world of golf jargon but will hopefully help you get your two cents in next time the subject of golf is brought up.

Read and re-read these terms and before you know it, with pure confidence you will be able to say, “I let the big dog eat but ended up sclaffing the ground which caused me to Oscar Brown.”.

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