Golf Speak: An Excellent Butcherer of the English Language

“If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur.” – Doug Larson


Sports, although vastly entertaining, is ruining the English language. Take any English proficient foreigner, place them in front of a televised game in America, and be prepared to interpret half of the broadcast. Given enough time and exposure, broadcasters will leave their individual, indelible marks on our language. Many of those become common idioms within our daily speech. “Full court press”, “hail mary”, and “keep your eye on the ball” are examples of phrases, originating from sports, which have made it into our daily speech.

Then, along comes televised golf, and like technology, with it’s ever evolving terminology, and perhaps Mrs. Lawrence, when she’s seriously annoyed with me, I’m often left thinking…”huh?”.


Golf broadcasters seem intent upon inventing an entirely new sentence structure. Watch a tournament or listen to a broadcast and you’re sure to hear things like:

“He’s an excellent driver of the ball.” – But he can’t drive a cart worth a damn and that’s why they all walk the course.

“She’s an extraordinary putter of the ball”. – It’s golf, what else would she be putting?

He’s a capable player of the bunkers”. – Bunkers. The newest musical instrument.

“She’s an excellent reader of the greens.” – Yes because War and Peace is too long of a read over 18 holes.

And my new, all time favorite, heard just this past weekend during the PGA Championship: “He’s an excellent swinger of the club”. – Actually best that Faldo mentioned the “club” here. Otherwise TMI.

Imagine if we incorporated this new form of speech into other sports.

Hank Aaron: “An excellent homerun hitter of the ball.”

Bob Gibson: “An excellent pitcher of the ball.”

Tom Brady: “A great deflator of the balls”. (That’s right, I said it!)

Or, better yet, into our everyday, ordinary lives.

“That Joe Schmo. He’s an excellent presenter of the Power Point.”

“My meal was superb. The chef is a fantastic cooker of the food.”

Mrs. Lawrence to me- “You are an extraordinary annoyer of my nerves”.

Golf is difficult enough. What with all the “swing planes”, “target lines”, “proper grips” and “no, you can’t punch that guy who hit into you” stuff. You get the point. It’s time to take a stand.  I urge all of you language aficionados to call, write, email and otherwise harass networks broadcasting golf tournaments. It’s time to stop them from being ruiners of English.

And if you actually make contact with anyone at TNT, tell them they missed the best opportunity ever. But allow me to say it:

John Daly: An excellent thrower of the 6 iron into the lake”.


PS – I use a program called Grammarly as a real-time editor on these pages. It just threw up a bit.


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