Archive for the ‘Terminology’ Category

Terminology: Wolf

Posted by cjsharp1 on October 4, 2009 in Terminology 4 Comments

As I mentioned previously in the round at the Meadows Golf Club of Blue Island, we played a side game called “Wolf”. Here’s the description, thanks to’s Golf Section:

Wolf is a betting game or points game for a group of four players.Players rotate being the “Wolf.” The player designated as the “Wolf” gets to choose whether to play the hole 1 against 3 (himself against the other three players in the group) or 2 on 2.

And if the Wolf chooses to play 2 on 2, he must choose his partner immediately following that player’s drive. Example: Player A is the Wolf. Player B hits a bad drive. Player C hits a pretty good drive. If the Wolf wants C as a partner, he must claim his partner before Player D hits his tee ball.

The side with the lowest better ball score wins the hole. If it’s 2 on 2, then the winning side wins the bet. If it’s 1 on 3, the Wolf wins double or loses double.

There’s also Lone Wolf, in which the Wolf announces before anyone tees off – including himself – that he’s going it alone, 1 on 3. On a Lone Wolf hole, the Wolf wins triple or loses triple.

Also Known As: “Ship, Captain & Crew” or “Boss”

Of course, we didn’t involve money in this side game, since we all knew the money would have went to Mike (who also suggested playing the game). It was pretty fun to play, and kept things interesting throughout the round.

Terminology: Chicago

Posted by cjsharp1 on July 16, 2009 in Terminology 0 Comments

While searching around for “Chicago” and “golf” websites, I came across a tournament format: Chicago. Here’s the description from’s Golf Section:

Chicago is a golf game whose format is based on golfers beginning their rounds with negative points (compare to Quota). In Chicago, players start with a negative amount of points, based on handicaps, then add positive points during the round. The idea is to get from the negative to the positive, clearing your “hurdle” (the term used for your starting total of negative points) by as much as possible.Negative points begin at -39 for scratch golfers. A 1-handicapper starts with -38, a 2-handicapper with -37, and so on up to a 36-handicapper who starts with -3 points.

During the round, positive points are added on this basis:

• Bogeys are worth l point
• Pars are worth 2 points
• Birdies are worth 4 points
• Eagles are worth 8 points

Not everyone will be able to clear their hurdle, so the highest point total – whether that is 15 or -15 – wins.

Chicago can be a tournament format for individual stroke play, or a betting game among buddies. The winner might get a set amount agreed upon before the round, or the differential in final points can be used, with each point worth a set amount.

Also Known As: Thirty-Nines (or 39’s)

Terminology: best ball

Posted by cjsharp1 on March 15, 2009 in Terminology, The Game 0 Comments

My previous post defined the word “scramble”, which is a popular format for tournament golf play. At first thought, a “scramble” sounded very similar to “best ball”, another popular format. Let’s look at the definition of “best ball”, as provided by’s Golf section:

Definition: Along with the scramble, “best ball” is one of the most popular golf tournament formats.

Best ball can be played using 2-, 3- or 4-person teams. Each player on the team plays his or her own golf ball throughout the round, and on each hole the low score – or “best ball” – of the group serves as the team score. Player A gets a 5, B gets a 4, C gets a 6, D gets a 6, then the team score for that hole is 4, because the low score of the group was B’s 4.

Best ball is usually played as stroke play with the total score added up at the end of the round. It can be played as match play, but best-ball match play with more than 2-person teams results in a lot of halved holes.

When using 3- or 4-person teams, it’s almost imperitave to apply handicaps so that the weaker players will be able to contribute.

A 2-person best ball match play competition is also known as Four Ball.

“Best ball” can also refer to a competition in which a single player plays match play against a 2- or 3-person team playing best ball. That variation is good for a low-handicapper taking on a team of higher handicappers.

Terminology: scramble

Posted by cjsharp1 on March 15, 2009 in Terminology, The Game 0 Comments

In preparation for the new golf season, and to look ahead toward one of this season’s goals, let’s see exactly what a “golf scramble” is. Here is the definition from’s Golf section:

Definition: The Scramble is one of the primary forms of tournament play for golf associations, charity events and the like. A scramble is usually played with 4-person teams, but 2-person scrambles are popular, too. At a 2-person scramble, handicaps are usually applied; at a 4-person scramble, handicaps are usually not applied – unless it is an Ambrose-style scramble.

In a scramble, each player tees off on each hole. The best of the tee shots is selected and all players play their second shots from that spot. The best of the second shots is determined, then all play their third shots from that spot, and so on until the ball is holed.

When played as a foursome, teams are usually constructed with an A player, B player, C player and D player, with those players designated based on handicaps. The A player would the low-handicapper, the D player the high-handicapper.

A scramble might require A and B players to tee off from the back tees and C and D players from the middle tees; or A’s from the back, B’s and C’s from the middle and D’s from the front; or the tournament organizers might specify that all players play from the same set of tees.

Terminology: duffer

Posted by cjsharp1 on December 15, 2008 in Terminology 0 Comments

Now… there’s another word I’ve never heard of. If you listen to the introduction to the golf ball collector job on Dirty Jobs (see the last post), the show’s host, Mike Rowe, says “Thousands of duffers hook, slice, shank millions of perfectly good golf balls into lakes, streams, ponds and water hazards.” Once again, I turn to the Web to define the word “duffer”.

From the Golf section of

Definition: A bad golfer. Duffer is a derogatory term applied to poor players in general. Somewhat synonymous with “hacker” in that they both apply to poor players. But “duffer” is sometimes used to denote weaker players in general, while “hacker” is often applied to a single golfer as an insult. Hacker is a little bit stronger than duffer, in other words.

Also Known As: Hacker, weekend hacker

I may be a noob, but I think I can hold my own. Plus, “I’m a golf duffer” doesn’t sound as good as “I’m a golf noob”.

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