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

  • noun A game played on a large outdoor course with a series of 9 or 18 holes spaced far apart, the object being to propel a small, hard ball with the use of various clubs into each hole with as few strokes as possible.
  • intransitive verb To play this game.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To play at golf.
  • noun A game played over an extensive stretch of ground in which holes about 4 inches in diameter are placed at distances from 100 to 500 yards apart.

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

  • noun Scot. A game played with a small ball and a bat or club crooked at the lower end. He who drives the ball into each of a series of small holes in the ground and brings it into the last hole with the fewest strokes is the winner.
  • intransitive verb To play at golf.

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

  • noun sports A ball game played by individuals competing against one another in which the object is to hit a ball into each of a series of (usually 18 or nine) holes in the minimum number of strokes.
  • noun The letter G in the ICAO spelling alphabet.
  • verb To play golf.

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

  • noun a game played on a large open course with 9 or 18 holes; the object is use as few strokes as possible in playing all the holes
  • verb play golf


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

[Middle English.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

The word is first known in English from the 15th century from Scots. Although the etymology is uncertain, the most likely origin is that it comes from the Middle Dutch colve or colf ("club").


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  • I agree seeing someone other than Caucasian in golf is a good thing.

    Lawmaker drops effort to honor Tiger Woods 2009

  • The word golf derives from the Dutch word kolf or kolve, meaning club.

    Getting a Handle on Golf 2008

  • '' I think he's a better player than I was, '' Nicklaus conceded after two days of playing with the man whose sole purpose in golf is to break his record of

    Woods leads, Nicklaus steals show at PGA 2000

  • Another reason history flourishes in golf is that the major championships return to familiar venues, reviving golden memories of momentous victories and, yes, unforgettable blunders.

    10 who made game greater 1999

  • Elite Peking University set off a debate over whether golf is appropriate for China, where most people still live in poverty, when it announced in August that it was building a practice green.

    Chinese College Requires Golf Courses for Business Majors | Impact Lab 2006

  • He drives what he calls a golf-cart car, a Prius, and he made The 11th Hour, a detailed documentary about our planet in crisis.

    British Blogs 2008

  • And a big congratulations also to Argentina's Angel Cabrera who last night clinched The Masters title in golf after a tense play-off in Augusta, Georgia.

    World Champions! Alan Smart 2009

  • Jonathan Weisman looks at what we can expect from what some are calling a "golf summit".

    Obama and Boehner Golf in Debt Talks' Shadow Carol E. Lee 2011

  • NEW YORK — Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is selling its 44.7% stake in Japanese golf-course operator Accordia Golf Co., in which the U.S. firm invested nearly a decade ago.

    Goldman To Sell Entire Stake In Accordia Golf Amy Or 2011

  • And a big congratulations also to Argentina's Angel Cabrera who last night clinched The Masters title in golf after a tense play-off in Augusta, Georgia.

    Archive 2009-04-01 Alan Smart 2009


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  • sometimes said to be derived as an acronym for 'gentlemen only, ladies forbidden', a very doubtful claim.

    February 14, 2007

  • "Flog" in reverse. Which is what the majority of golfers do! They flog the ground with their clubs and flog themselves as idiots for their errant ballflights or missing a tap-in putt.

    July 10, 2007

  • for sale. 74k on clock. 3 owners. tax and tested. 1400 ono..

    September 22, 2008

  • Flo, gin is a sin. I golf.

    October 18, 2008

  • I saw a good golf joke (and that is saying something!) here. (Thanks for the link, Pro!)

    A couple met at Hilton Head and fell in love. They were discussing how they would continue the relationship after their vacations were over. "It's only fair to warn you, Jody, I'm a golf nut. I live, eat, sleep and breathe golf."

    "Well, since you're being honest, so will I," she said. "I'm a hooker."

    "I see," said Bill as he thought for a moment. "Well, it's probably because you're not keeping your wrists straight when you hit the ball."

    November 17, 2008

  • Ha!

    November 17, 2008

  • Heehee!

    November 18, 2008

  • If anyone has a link to the Robin Williams stand-up routine on golf, please post it here. It's HI-larious!

    November 18, 2008

  • Golf, though it has many merits as a game, has few as a religion. -- ''Yashima, or, The Gorgeous West'' by R T Sherwood, 1931.

    December 24, 2008

  • I was going to leave this as a private note so as not to disturb other Wordizens, but I thought someone might find it interesting.

    "There is something deeply trivial about golf that is unseemly for Jews, who have traditionally been accustomed to taking themselves seriously. Whacking away at a little ball, hoping, at the end of four hours' effort, to arrive at the finish a stroke or two fewer than the previous time one wasted a morning at this game—no, no, no, I'm sorry, but this is all wrong for Jews. Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers didn't undergo pogroms and the struggle to evade conscription in the tsar's army to come to America for their descendants to put on peach-colored pants, spiked Nike shoes and chemises Lacoste to appear on the first tee promptly at 8 a.m. A Jew should be studying, thinking, working, making money, contemplating why God has put him through so many trials. A phrase like 'dogleg to the left' should never cross his lips. If Bernie Madoff's depredations will bring a few Jews in off the links, perhaps that is not entirely a bad thing."

    —Joseph Epstein, "'Uncle Bernie' and the Jews," Newsweek, January 19, 2009

    Full article is here.

    January 24, 2009

  • I'm not Jewish but I can't stand golf. I can see why some people might enjoy playing it - people of a plodding, anal cast of mind, and brown-nosing networkers - but the reason for its all-engolfing popularity evades me, and the very idea of golf as a spectator sport stupefies me utterly. Darts on the other hand, makes perfect sense to me.

    n.b. I don't think that kind of thing should ever be a private note, c_b. If you have similar spangles hidden beneath bushels, pray set about disinvisibilizing them.

    January 24, 2009

  • Being good at something and making tons of money ususally helps increase one's enjoyment of the activity. I can see why Tiger would like it.

    January 24, 2009

  • Of course, although the only reason he can make tons of money out of it is that millions of dopes pay to watch him swinging and (mostly) sauntering, live and on TV and buy the associated branded goods. I've even heard gold covered live on the radio, WTF!

    January 24, 2009

  • What do they cover the gold with, bray? Platinum?

    I tried to read a book of essays by Joseph Epstein once. But his smug, self-satisfied, pompous, mean-spirited, score-settling narcissism proved too much of a deterrent. He really is a nasty little man - the kind of guy who scores off others by commenting publicly about their physical attributes (e.g. ridiculing his former boss because he had difficulty passing the mandatory swim test at Columbia).

    I came away with a deep loathing for the little prick.

    January 24, 2009

  • Well, okay, he can be a little prick, but I hate golf, and I like this quote. :)

    yarb: thanks for that lovely monovocalic verb! I missed that one...

    January 24, 2009

  • indeed, the idea that golf is an acronym for 'gentlemen only, ladies forbidden'is a folk etymology. The most likley origin of the word is from the middle dutch verb, 'colf' meaning club.

    My neighbour told me golf was an acronym, and being a fan of Q.I. i wikied to see if he was right. :)

    February 5, 2009

  • Dontcry, the Robin Williams routine is viewable now.

    February 5, 2009

  • Whoever tagged this rhymeless presumably wasn't called Rolf.

    September 6, 2009

  • Don't cry rhymeless, cry wolf!

    September 6, 2009

  • That's my tag, and I'm sticking to it. Golf and wolf don't rhyme, and Rolf doesn't count, because... because it doesn't have a flag. No flag, no rhymic recognition. You can't have it! That's the rule that I've just made up. And I'm backing it up with this gun that was lent from the National Rifle Association...

    September 7, 2009

  • anyone care to transcribe this? how to hit a golfball (lol)

    November 8, 2010

  • "To move forward with violence." --Dr. Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary and Supplement, 1841. A game, Jamieson notes, that is played with a goif-baw.

    I hope this definition contributes to the discussion that appears in the thread of previous comments about this word.

    May 19, 2011

  • Balls of guttapercha!

    July 1, 2012