11 British Open Terms You Need To Know
The real meaning behind the phrases associated with golf's oldest major championship
July 11, 2013
"The Open Championship"
This is the official name of the tournament. Although calling it the British Open makes sense to help differentiate it from the U.S. Open, many golf purists bristle when they hear that.
"Links Golf Course"
The term describes courses built on land linking the coast to good farmland. In other words, these types of golf courses only originated because there was farmland that was otherwise useless. Yep, golf is kind of like an adopted mistake baby.
"Outward and Inward"
A layout common in links golf in which nine holes go out away from the clubhouse and the other nine come back in. Not very creative, but again, these course designers were working with bad farmland.
Those annoying little streams that cut through the course and seem to serve as magnets to golf balls. None is more famous than the Barry Burn at Carnoustie, which Jean van de Velde made himself familiar with during the 1999 British Open. When you hit into one of these narrow waterways it's especially frustrating because it's not exactly like finding a huge lake.
Hills of sand that are all over links golf courses. Sometimes, they're the only things that frame a links golf hole and remind a golfer he's not just knocking a ball around an abandoned sheep pasture. Dunes are often covered in gnarly fescue and they come in all shapes and sizes. Kind of like. . .
You know how you hate hitting into normal bunkers? Well, these are much, much worse.
In a land where they pride themselves on playing in tough conditions, anything less than a gale-force wind is considered a "breeze." The Scots don't even notice a "breeze," unless golf balls start moving on the green before you even hit them. The same can be said of their "drizzle," which in America, would shut most courses down for the day.
Often employed by football teams without a good quarterback, it's also used by golfers at links courses to take advantage of firm terrain and help avoid the "breeze." Approach shots are often run up onto greens, there are plenty of bump-and-runs around the greens and sometimes you'll even see players putting with putters or hybrids (Think: Todd Hamilton, left) from insane distances down the fairway. Fun!
This the term for the rotation of courses that traditionally host the Open Championship. The rota is pretty set between The Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal St. George's, Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Royal Birkdale, Turnberry, Royal Liverpool, Muirfield, and Royal Troon. Have trouble telling them apart? We've got you covered with this crash course.
A special Scottish sausage dish that contains the liver, heart and lungs of a sheep. Why do you need to know this? Because TV announcers will inevitably refer to it on a daily basis.
A glass of Scotch whiskey. Apparently, if you drink enough "drams," even haggis will go down smooth.