When the USGA made significant changes to golf’s rules a few years back, it also overhauled some of the sport’s language. It was an effort to make things simpler, but golf fans haven’t embraced the changes—especially during match play.
No longer is it correct to say you “halved” a hole, or that an even match is “all square.” Instead, you simply “tied” the hole and the match is tied. Boring, right? I don’t care if they mean the same thing, tied and all square are not, well, all square. All square wins that match by as much as Tiger Woods beat Stephen Ames that time.
Also gone is the great term “dormy,” which denotes when a golfer is leading by as many holes as there are remaining in the match. Although, most golfers got that one wrong because they thought it referred to the person losing . . . Which kind of proved the USGA’s point that these were more confusing . . . Nevertheless (Are we even allowed to say “nevertheless” anymore? And when did golf’s governing body become the language police?), it is was a cool term.
Anyway, we loved all the golf-specific terms and it’s too bad the sport’s vernacular has been watered down during broadcasts. But there’s one term the USGA didn’t specifically address. And it’s an absolute banger.
Thanks to James Woods on Twitter (no, not that James Woods) for sharing an old glossary of golf terms, which was then further shared by Golf Digest’s John Huggan, a staunch defender of classic golf terms. The ones we mentioned are in there, but another jumped out: Foozle. That’s right, foozle.
“Foozle. Any really bad stroke.” FOOZLE!
Dictionary.com defines “foozle” as a botched or bungled attempt at something, usually a shot in golf.” And Merriam-Webster confirms it’s, “a bungling golf stroke.” By the way, “bungle” is also a great term. We need to use that one more as well.
But back to FOOZLE, what word! Admittedly, that’s a new one to me. I found a 2007 Golf Digest article that reads, “Hitting a foozle off the first tee is one of the greatest fears known to humankind, along with snakes, public speaking and going on a hunting trip with Dick Cheney.” Amazing.
And it’s just so fun to say. FOOZLE! Nice FOOZLE, mate! Man, you really FOOZLED that shot on No. 5! That guy in the photo above is a total FOOZLE!
OK, not sure if I correctly used it in a sentence for that last example, but he looks like he just hit a FOOZLE. Besides, you get the point. FOOZLE is fantastic. And we encourage everyone to use it in their next round of golf. No matter what the USGA says.
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Editor’s Note: Aaron David Miller is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of “The End of G