from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To scrape or strike the ground with a golf club behind the ball before hitting it.
  • intransitive verb To strike (the ground) with a golf club before hitting the ball.
  • intransitive verb To hit (a ball) in this manner.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To strike with the open hand or with anything flat; specifically, in golf, nearly the same as baff. See the extract.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb Scot. To scuff or shuffle along.
  • intransitive verb (Golf) To scrape the ground with the sole of the club, before striking the ball, in making a stroke.
  • transitive verb (Golf) To scrape (the club) on the ground, in a stroke, before hitting the ball; also, to make (a stroke) in that way.
  • noun A slight blow; a slap; a soft fall; also, the accompanying noise.
  • noun (Golf) The stroke made by one who sclaffs.
  • noun A thin, solid substance, esp. a thin shoe or slipper.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun golf a poor golf shot, during which the club hits the ground before it hits the ball
  • verb golf to perform such a shot

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a poor golf stroke in which the club head hits the ground before hitting the ball
  • verb strike (a golf ball) such that the ground is scraped first
  • verb strike (the ground) in making a sclaff


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Scots, to strike with a flat surface.]


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  • When, as often happens, this is done too suddenly, a sclaff is the result.

    The Complete Golfer Harry Vardon 1903

  • All I remember of the night was that it was flipping cold and Gifton Noel-Williams scored with the flukiest sclaff I have ever seen.

    Archive 2005-07-01 Kerron Cross 2005

  • In making his correction the man is very likely to overdo it and strike the sand before the ball, causing a sclaff, or, on the other hand, not to correct sufficiently when the only possible result would be a topped ball and probably a hopeless position in the hazard.

    The Complete Golfer Harry Vardon 1903

  • Still, Sutton may rue that sclaff as the game progresses ...

    BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition 2009


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  • "After witnessing Hamilton's confident win over Dundee Utd at the start of the week Craig Brewster would have been only too aware of the threat posed by the new boys, but it was a series of small errors culminating in a sclaffed ball by young defender Duff which set up Offiong for the opening goal on the stroke of half time."

    - 'Inverness CT v Hamilton - 16-08-08',

    August 23, 2008

  • In Scotland the golfers will quaff

    A dram before plying the staff,

    Then mar in their haze

    The luckless fairways

    With many a duff and a sclaff.

    December 2, 2016

  • Note that sclaff can be either a verb or a noun. Oddly the Word of the Day notification provides three definitions for its use as a verb only, yet all the examples supplied use it as a noun.

    December 2, 2016