Golf…what a fickle game. I have written and talked before about my relationship with the game of golf. The game featuring a small ball and a big metal stick (accurate description from my mom) brings joy and so, so, soooo much frustration.

A round of golf is the equivalent to getting a haircut at a new barbershop: there is excitement about the potential, but also an immense amount of fear regarding how embarrassing it can end up.

Anyone who has played golf, and anyone who is friends with someone who plays golf, knows that everyone who has picked up the sticks has a multitude of catchphrases. Some are common and some are personal.

I am here to tell you my journey of golf course utterances. Let’s journey together through 18 virtual holes of spherical ball smashing as told through what I typically say on the links.

“Breakfast Ball”

This is the classic. Doesn’t matter if it’s 6 a.m. or 3 p.m., this will be brought up. A little bit of a warm-up swing is important. Knowing there is the safety net there just soothes the mind. HOWEVER, the utterance or agreement of a Breakfast Ball DOES NOT take away from the fear of teeing off in front of a gallery of lunch eaters. TERRIFYING.

“Hit The Ball, Sally”

I stole this one from my dad. Heard him utter it, and now I say it all too often.

This “Hit The Ball, Sally” phrase occurs on the green when putting. Speaking personally, yours truly is a fairly bad putter. I just aim for a two-putt every time, and that results in a hesitant stroke built out of fear of being too terrible to rebound from. I have a tendency to leave putts short, and its followed by a whispered (or loud) “Hit The Ball, Sally”.

Also, apologies to anyone named Sally.

Hole 3
“I’m Beaching”

The bunker.

You can catch me saying “I’m Beaching” after an approach shot is aimlessly placed into the sand next to the green. My head will hang and I will shake my head. I will just grab my measly short game weapons and attempt to psyche myself up to try and preform the next shot well.

Hole 4
“What Club Are You Using?”

Almost always asked on the tee box on a par three hole. This is a phrase that everyone has asked before. Every golfer gathers what the others in their group are doing, judges it against their own game, and makes the mental adjustments to what club gets selected.

I tend to ask this question when the par three test is tiered. Like an extremely elevated tee box or green. Judging those are difficult.

Hole 5
“That’s Playable”

Closely related to “I can find that”, “That’s Playable” is uttered on the tee box after a drive doesn’t go exactly where you want it to go. It may not be in the fairway, but it’s somewhere that a second shot can be hit from. Probably not the clearest path to the green…but you didn’t lose a golf ball.

Hole 6
“Thank You Golf Gods”

You ever wonder how a ball that is bee-lining for the bigfoot’s home in the woods suddenly reappears in play? There is only one answer: The Golf Gods.

I am not a religious person, but how else does a ball that seemingly had no reason to be hit again suddenly reveal himself? All you can do is simply thank the golf gods and consider yourself lucky to be graced by their humor at seeing you attempt to take advantage of the luck they bestowed upon you.

Hole 7
“Don’t Leave It Short”

The birdie putt. The dreaded, all-to-elusive, birdie putt. This gets said before every single one of those putts (which realistically happens only one to three times per round?). It is also always up by the inevitable “Well I didn’t leave it short.” after the putt is missed three feet past the hole.

Hole 8
“Fucking Three Putt”

Following up on the hole seven utterance, this “Fucking Three Putt” is screamed at oneself when writing down the bogey when a birdie was a legit possibility.

Every single good golfer says that putting is the most underrated part of the game and that if you don’t three-putt than you’ll be alright. The thing is, they are completely right. The best round of golf this year I only had one three putt and averaged less than two putting strokes per hole. With that being said, the worst round this season had me averaging over three and a half attempts with the short stick.

Hole 9

One of the few positive phrases I catch myself saying…but man oh man does it feel good what I say it.

This goes at hole number nine because I remember my most emphatic yelling of “NOW THAT IS WHAT I CALL GOLF!” and it happened on the ninth hole of the Jones Course. Literally played the hole perfectly, and got a birdie to cap off the best four hole stretch of golf I have ever played. What made it better is that the person I played with did the exact same thing. When golf is played the way its meant to be, it is beyond satisfying.

Hole 10
“Stupid Stanko”

The most classic of my phrases. Everyone who knows me knows I say “Stupid Stanko” all the time. I put this on the tenth hole because its around this time in a round when I start thinking I have things figured out…but a Stupid Stanko moment brings me back down to reality. I say this phrase all too often in this sport that is so hard, but sometimes its difficult to break the mold.

Hole 11
“Watch Out. I Don’t Know Where This Is Going.”

Picture me digging me feet into the sand, practicing a shitty sand swing and nervously staring at where I want the ball to go. Then picture me looking past the pin at my playing partner waiting on the green and saying “Watch Out. I Don’t Know Where This Is Going.” It is the most honest and true utterance among all those I have selected to include in this blog.

Hole 12
“I Don’t Know Where That Came From”

The holy shit shot. The one pulled out of a player’s back pocket that had no reason to ever be pulled off.

For me personally, this usually comes around the green when attempting to chip. When I can channel the illusive “El Diablo,” those are surely delightful moments. But truly, I do not know where those random spurts of soft touch come from.

Hole 13
“I Hate This Shot”

This phrase is really applicable to any shot, but there is one in particular. Throw me 60-75 yards from the pin with a nice, big, fat bunker in front of me and I break out into cold sweats. There are certain shots that people hate, whether it be a drive with trees overhanging or a 200 yard approach. For me, it is that in between pitch with the impending doom of the bunker shot.

Hole 14
“And That One Goes Straight?!”

To anyone who plays to their unorthodox ball flight…this one is for you.

Personally, I swing the golf club a lot like a baseball/softball bat, which lends to a fairly parabolic flight pattern. I know how to play to the swing and how to correct it (a little) once it gets too out of control.

However, there are the few times where I swing the club like it is meant to be. In those instances the ball goes straight, and when I am aiming 30 degrees to the right of my desired landing area…well that leads to some lost balls. That is where I often said in pronounced confusion, “And That One Goes Straight!?”

Hole 15
“Better To Be Lucky Than Good”

The shrug the shoulders shot. The one that looks like shit, but gets an amazing bounce and results in a preposterous chance for a good score.

The “Better To Be Lucky Than Good” often gets said by myself when there this a blind shot and the ball ends up landing in a solid spot. This saying can be in conjunction with the thanking of the golf gods; better to get a lucky bounce off the trees and be left short than having to re-tee.

Hole 16
“Where Is This Ball? I Know I Hit It In Play.”

Ahhh, the old case of the lost ball. Genuinely one of the most frustrating things that can happen on a golf course.

This phrase may be a little bit of a paraphrase of something that gets referenced or said (in some sort of way) every round. I do not hit it into the fairway all the time, and its in those cuts of rough that aren’t OB where golf balls go to die.

I think that this thief of the golf balls is related to the sock monster from all driers across the country.

Hole 17

“NOPE”: A phrase said after hitting just a terrible shot or putt. It’s bad as soon as you hit it. Like just bury head into your chest and take some steps forward because you know that you don’t want where it ended up. It’s the place the club down, lean on it, and give yourself a face palm moment of “Why do you I play this game?”

“Nope” CAN be said with a smile though. Just like a yelp from a puppy, it can be a quick-like phrase said through a smile. Knowing that you aren’t good at the game of golf makes it easier to laugh and smile while the low moments of your round are snowballing.

Hole 18
“Let’s Fucking Go!”

There is nothing better than ending a round on a high note. The ideal ending to a round is where this “Let’s Fucking Go” phrase is most satisfying. The 18 holes are over, but you want to go for another spin. You want to double-dip on all the emotions. You want to lick your fingers and save the dwindling satisfying taste of the slim successes.

But “Let’s Fucking Go” isn’t only limited to my own game or anyone’s own game. I use this more often than not cheering on my playing partners. When they hit a big shot or sink that birdie putt, this is my go-to sentence before a fist bump.

Now, let’s fucking go to a golf course and try and play this crazy game of golf.

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