“Beginners Guide To Golf Series” by My Golf Saver – Pt.2: Understanding the Golf Course for Beginners

In the second part of our beginners’ guide to golf, we’ve put together an explainer of golf course terms for beginners which will help explain the different types of holes, courses and hazards on the golf course.

If you’re a newcomer to the game of golf, you’re likely spending your time on the driving range or putting green building your confidence before making your very first trip to the course. It’s natural to feel a little apprehensive, but there are ways you can make yourself feel more confident and more assured before you step onto the tee box for the first time. Learning the lingo and understanding your surroundings is critical, so we’ve put together a list of golf course terms for beginners to help you out.

The Golf Course

Each golf course is designed differently and will bring its own experiences. Golf courses come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from Links, Parkland, Heathland, Championship/Stadium, Sandbelt and Par 3 courses. But, all have a tee box, fairways, rough and greens.

The Tee Box 

When you step onto a golf course for the first time, your first shot is going to be hit from an area called the tee box. Often shortened to just the tee, this area uses markers to indicate where you should play your shot from. Playing outside of these markers is a rule breach and results in a penalty stroke. 

Most holes will have more than one tee box, each at various distances away from the hole and marked with either black, white, yellow, blue or red colour markers. The black or white markers are where professionals will tee off from and are used in tournaments, yellow markers indicate where men play from and red markers indicate where women play from. Some golf courses will also use black and blue markers to show where men and women should play from for tournaments. The scorecard will list the distance for each hole based on the different markers.

The Fairway

Next up on our list is the fairway, which is the name given to the section of neatly maintained grass that runs from the tee box to the green. Hitting a ball from the tee onto the fairway is what you’re looking to do, as this will give you the best possible surface from which to hit your next shot to the green. 

The Rough

The rough is the outer section of grass surrounding the fairway. This is longer than the area around the fairway and makes shots much more difficult to hit from. On some courses, the grass is left to grow freely which means you could find yourself spending time looking for your ball in particularly long grass. The rough is one of those golf terms for beginners that can strike fear into the newcomer. It can make things extremely difficult, but sometimes the best approach is to chip your ball back onto the fairway rather than trying to go for distance.

The Green 

The green is the area of immaculately maintained grass where you’ll find the flag and the hole. On the green, you’ll use your putter to putt the ball into the hole. It is important to keep the green as pristine as possible by repairing pitch marks made by the golf ball.

Hazards on a Golf Course

To differentiate one course from the next, golf course designers add hazards to the course to increase the course difficulty. These hazards come in the form of bunkers, water, out-of-bounds, trees and buildings. 


These sand-filled traps can quickly derail a game and should be avoided at all costs. Bunkers are normally located near the green or in certain positions along the fairway. To get out of a bunker, you’re going to need a sand wedge, or another lofted club, to impact the sand, which kicks up sand and the ball, so watch your eyes and mouth!

Water Hazards

Water hazards are the ponds, lakes and rivers you’ll see on a course. While these are lovely to look at, they have a habit of being a golf ball magnet, particularly for beginners. Water hazards are marked with yellow stakes and going in one will result in a penalty stroke.

Out of Bounds

Hitting the ball outside of the established boundaries of the hole is called out of bounds. Hole boundaries are often marked by white lines, so keep a close eye out for them. Hitting the ball out of bounds means you have to play from the same place as your last shot and take a one-stroke penalty. 

Trees and buildings

Trees are a common feature at golf courses but some golf courses will feature buildings too. Designers like to make the courses as picturesque as possible and many have located golf courses around old ruins, castles or protected buildings.


We hope this list of golf course terms for beginners has been helpful. It can be intimidating heading out onto the golf course for the first time, but ensuring you know the lingo and surroundings can help allay your fears. Use this list of golf course terms for beginners to learn all you need to know before you hit the course and stay tuned for Part 3 on Lesson Essentials.