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

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


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

    The Complete Golfer

  • 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

  • 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


The word 'sclaff' may come from a Scots word meaning 'to strike with a flat surface'.