The Local Knowlege

Courses & Travel

Seven cliches people use to describe golf courses, and what they really mean

By Sam Weinman

People who write about golf courses deserve more credit than they get. Sure, it sounds great: You play a bunch of courses, you take notes, you offer your opinion -- hopefully based on something more than just how you played.

Still, it's a challenging topic to write about in any meaningful way. To have a better sense of what we mean, just think about all the conversations about courses you've had with other golfers, and how often you still really haven't learned anything about them afterward.

With that in mind, below are the seven most frequently-used golf course cliches -- and the true meaning behind them.

1. "It's right there in front of you." We get it -- the golf course is straightforward, no surprises. But it could also be a subtle way of hinting that the maintenance staff has stopped tending to the bunkers. 

2. "It's pure golf." Pack a sandwich. This golf course doesn't have a snack bar.

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3. "You've got to use every club in the bag." This is the way people praise the diversity of a golf course's challenges. Does it mean the golf course is any good? No clue.

4. "You've got to golf your ball." You don't hear this one as much anymore, which is a shame because it's so inanely vague -- when does a ball not need to be golfed? -- it's at least good for a chuckle.

5. "It's one of the finest courses of its kind." A fallback euphemism for an overextended course designer who spent a total of 15 minutes on the property before its grand opening. What he's saying is of all the overpriced daily-fee courses awkwardly wedged between a highway and a sewage treatment center, this one is the best.

6. "You've got to know where to miss it." Tour pros and average golfers both trot this one out often -- their way of saying it's taken them years of painstaking study to discover you don't want to hit your ball into one of the ponds.

7. "It really suits my eye." Or sometimes, "It sets up well for my game." Either way, this is a person’s way of telling you that through some remarkable confluence of events, he once played the front nine of this course in even par, and it's now his favorite course in the world.

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