Golfers love to talk, especially those golfers who are less skilled and need to use their mouth to help them win a match on the course. Trash talking and the mental game in golf is a unique skill that some golfers have a specific talent. After caddying for 12 years, I learned a lot from many golfers, especially some of the best golf terms and phrases certain members would use to win a match or better yet win the club championship. Below highlights a few of my favorite golf terms and phrases that happened during matches. When you use these one-liners, is just as important as what you are saying.
- “Get is close” – When your opponent is about to hit a 10-foot putt to win or halve the hole, mention to them to “get is close”. The psychology of the person hitting the putt may change from making the putt to just trying to get it near the hole. This can be used at any point during the match. I have heard this golf phrases used often in matches and I say it frequently myself.
- “You’re really thinking about this tee shot” – I personally lost a club championship at my home course as a result of a competitor saying this to me. My competitor knew that a couple of years prior on the 15th hole, I hit a ball out of bounds to the right which cost me the club championship. He remembered this and said the phrase to me while walking up to the tee. Needless to say, I hit it OB again and lost the club championship to him by 1 shot. As a 16-year-old kid, I learned an important lesson to block out your competitors and stay away from them especially during important tee shots. As a competitor, if you know your opponent’s weakness or history, you can use this to your advantage.
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- “Wow, that wind is really blowing” – I witnessed this often when caddying at Longmeadow Country Club. The 16th hole at Longmeadow is a short, downhill par 3 and it was always tricky to understand where the wind was blowing. Often times one member would pull out a club which was less than needed, say “that wind is really helping” to me and subtly show off which club he planned to use for his tee shot. If the other member was teeing off first, they would see the lesser club, hear about this “helping wind” and let their ego take over. Right after the person hit it short, the member I caddied for would pull out a different club and hit it right on the green. The psychology of pulling out 1 club knowing you will use another can keep your competitors honest about looking at what club you may be using.
- “I’d give it to you if it was straight” – There are many players who compete that NEVER want to give you a putt even if you are only 2 ft away. One of the members at Oyster Harbors where I caddied was notorious for being very generous early in the round to his competition, but when it came down to the 16th, 17th, or 18th hole when the pressure was on the line, he would not give you a free putt and would always mention, “hey, I’d give it to you if it was straight”. Even though many 2 ft putts are dead straight, the psychology of the person putting thinks there may be a break in the putt and could tend to push or pull the putt as a result. Using this line toward the end of a match if critical.
- “That’s a long carry” – If you are playing against golfers who hit it long and have a big ego, encourage them to swing hard and make them think they may need to carry it far to reach across a dogleg hole. Just by stating that the shot is a long carry may make your opponent tend to swing hard and hit a poor tee shot.
- “Should I write you a ticket” – Many members at my course use the golf term “speeding” if your happened to tee off in front of the tee marker (which is illegal). There were some players who are notorious to putting the peg close to the tee markers edge and members would make them aware that they could be “speeding”. Even if you know your opponent is close to being near the front edge of the tee marker, throwing out this golf phrase may set them off their rhythm since they will be worried they would need to hit another tee shot and be assessed a penalty if they happened to have tee off ahead of the marker.
- “That OB on the left always sneaks up on me” – I think this golf phrase is a little dirty and what goes around comes around, but have heard it used many times from members trying to get their opponent to think about a hazard or out of bounds area on a tee shot. Instead of aiming it right down the middle your opponent may tend to aim a little further right to avoid the OB and end up in the rough. Reverse psychology is sneaky and some people cannot handle hearing the golf term Out of Bounds.
- “Wow, you are playing great, how many under are you?” – This is an under-rated line since you are actually providing a compliment, but subtly getting your opponent to think about his or her score at the same time. When you opponent starts to think about how good they are playing, the mind can get going in a different direction like thinking about a course record and bad things could potentially happen. Most competitors do not like to think about their score, especially when they are playing well. Obviously this line can only be used when you are down in a match and your competitor is playing well. Using this on the 15th hole is the perfect time since there are only a few holes left and you could be running out of chances to make a comeback.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article, can personally use some of the best golf terms and phrases in your next golf match or at least prepare you when your opponent is trying to use their mental game strength to win.