Common Golf Terms Explained: Part 3

Common Golf Terms Explained: Part 3

We’ve made it to Part 3 of our series giving explanations of common golf terms. This is the last part of the series so thanks for making it this far with us! Get caught up on the first 2 installments of the series below:

In this final part, we’re going over types of shots and technical terms.

Terms For Types of Golf Shots

Draw and Hook

draw golf shot
Draw Shot Ball Flight

A draw or hook is a shot shape where the golf ball moves from right to left in the air, for right-handed golfers. Note: a draw doesn’t have as much movement in the shot as a hook does.

These shots tend to go farther because there is less spin put on the golf ball. Expect more carry and rollout when hitting these shots.

Fade and Slice

fade golf shot golf terms
Fade Ball Flight

Hitting a fade or slice moves the ball in the opposite direction as a draw. For right-handed golfers, the shot moves left to right. A slice will move much farther from left to right compared to a fade as well.

Fades put more spin on the ball so they generally won’t travel as far as a straight shot or draw. Fades will also stop much quicker due to the added spin.

Thin and Fat Shots

Have you ever hit all golf ball with no divot or struck the ground before hitting the golf ball? Those shots are called “thin” and “fat” respectively.

Thin shots happen when a golfer hits only the golf ball and not any turf. The shots launch low and have very little spin. Lower spin also means the fly much farther than expected.

Fat shots aren’t any fun either. The swing bottoms out before the golf ball, causing the club to strike more ground than a golf ball. When that happens, shots don’t travel very far, dribbling down the fairway.

Technical Terms

Lie Angle

Lie Angle

Every golf club has a certain lie angle. It’s the angle the shaft makes with the ground when the club is lying flat on the ground. This angle can be adjusted if the club is striking the ground more on the heel or the toe.

When the heel hits the ground first, the toe of the club moves faster, causing a draw shot. The toe hitting the ground first causes the heel to move faster, resulting in a fade shot.

Upright Lie Angle

Clubs with a lie angle higher than standard have an upright lie angle. Bending a club’s lie angle upright raises the toe of the club up. You want to bend a club upright if the toe is hitting the ground first, causing more fades.

Flat Lie Angle

A flat lie angle is when the lie angle is lower than the standard. If the heel of the club is hitting the ground first and you’re hitting more draws, you should adjust the lie angle flat. The adjustment lowers the toe of the club closer to the ground at impact, straightening out the golf shot.

Strong and Weak Lofts

You’ve likely heard a club’s loft described as “strong” or “weak” as it relates to standard on irons. The standard loft for a particular iron model tends to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Know that these terms are used when compared to that manufacturers “standard” when making them.

Strong lofts mean the clubs have less loft than standard. Less loft produces lower ball flight and spin, generally resulting in longer shots.

Clubs with weak lofts will have more loft than standard, sending shots higher with more spin. These shots tend to travel less distance as well.

Center of Gravity (CG)

The center of gravity (CG) is the point on the clubhead that’s the center of the head’s weight. This point controls ball flight and spin. Having the CG low and back, as in longer length clubs, will launch the ball higher with more spin for stopping power. Moving the CG forward lowers launch and spin.

This video from Dr. Alan Hocknel at Callaway Golf does a great job of explaining CG further.

Moment of Inertia (MOI)

Moment of Inertia (MOI) is a common term when talking about forgiveness. Simply put, MOI is the measurement of the clubhead’s resistance to twisting at impact. The higher the MOI, the less twisting the head does when contacting the golf ball. The ball is more likely to travel in the direction of the clubface, making the club more forgiving.

Common Golf Terms Series Wrap Up

We hope you learned more about these common golf terms throughout this series. Remember to check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them.

Got a term you want to know more about we didn’t cover? Leave a comment below or reach out to our PGA Professionals. We’re happy to help out.


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