There are all sorts of interesting terms involved in the game of golf. Where did these come from?

Many of the terms center around 'par', or the amount of strokes one would expect on a given hole. If a hole is par 3, it means that most people should take 3 hits of the ball to get from the tee into the hole.

A "birdie" is when you get the ball into the hole one shot earlier than you were supposed to. On a Par 4 hole, this means you would have gotten your ball into the hole in 3 shots instead of 4. This term was first used in 1989. George Crump hit a shot that actually hit a flying bird. The next ball he hit almost got into the hole on a Par 4. Ab Smith and his brother William both told his friend George Crump that this shot was a "a bird". The next shot (i.e. one short) sunk the hole. This was at the Atlantic City Country Club. The term "birdie" soon caught on with the club, and then took hold from there.

As for "bogey" (pronounced as in Bogie and Bacall), this was from the British, where Bogie meant the actual par from the course, and came from a song about the Bogey Man. Then, as clubs and balls and skills got better, bogey became less than the actual par. The British disliked this and kept hold of the actual Bogey for a hole, that was the "normal in" instead of the new, modern in for that hole. The Americans then turned around and started calling one less than par the "bogey" for that hole.

Golf Terms

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