If you enjoy the game of golf, you’re likely familiar with the parlance of the sport. But have you ever considered how these phrases entered the golfing lexicon? The stories of origin for many of these terms are both interesting and amusing – read on for trivia you can employ during your next trip around the greens.


Yes, the “Bogey Man” is involved. This term comes from Scotland, though specific origin stories vary. Some say that Major Charles Wellman remarked that a player was “a regular Bogey man,” while others credit Scottish slang for goblins or devils. Regardless, the Scots can lay claim to the idea.

Definition: A score of one over par.


In the 19th century, the term “bird” was the equivalent of “cool” or “excellent” – golf scholars believe this is where the term came from. An Atlantic City, New Jersey course claims that the term originated there in 1903.

Definition: A score of one under par.


American in origin, this play on Birdie essentially raised the stakes. If a good score of one-under was a bird, a great score of two-under had to be a more prestigious bird. The Scottish Golf History website posits that the Americans simply inserted their national bird here.

Definition: A score of two under par.


This “double eagle” synonym is simply a continuation of the aviary theme of good scores. The albatross is rare, as is a three under par.

Definition: A score of three under par.


200 years ago, golf balls were quite pricey, so an assistant called a “forecaddie” worked in front of a golfer and retrieved errant shots. Eventually, the word’s etymology diverged – the assistant simply became a caddie and the warning call became “fore!”

Definition: A warning, usually shouted, that a ball is going in an unexpected direction.

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Golf Trivia Credit: Scottish Golf History