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When you arrive at the club house

When you arrive at the club you are asked to sign in at the reception counter. Normally there's two registers, one for members, one for visitors.

After signing in, you get a card holder "Players Card" with a"Rakka-ki-" (locker key). At most clubs it will have a barcode on it, and you are assigned a number for the day. This is used like a charge card in the restaurant, snack bar and pro shop while you are at the club. With this system you wont need to use cash during the day. After the round present it to reception/front and settle your bill for the day.

It's common to bring a second set of clothes to change into after. So, when you arrive, make sure you get your bag from the handlers. If not it may end up with your golf bag strapped onto your golf cart.

When you go in the locker room, this is where it sometimes gets confusing. Just for courtesy sake, make sure you use the 'toire no surippa' (toilet slippers) in the toilet and the 'genkan no surippa' (entrance way slippers) in the entrance area but take off your 'genkan no surippa' when you go into the 'ofuro' (bath) area. There is nothing more shameful than wearing toilet slippers into the 'ofuro' area. 

The most confusing thing is when you return from golf and go to your locker. Don't get naked there, take your necessary clothes to the 'ofuro' area, grab a basket and change there.

Talk with caddie

Before start of play, the caddie will count the number of clubs in your bag and check with you to be sure her count is accurate. She will say "kurabu o kakunin.......".
This procedure will be repeated after play to ensure you still have all the clubs you began with, and often you are asked to sign a paper to confirm this.

In the bag

To ensure you get the right club, here's the Japanese for a regular set of clubs.

  • Driver: doraiba-
  • 3 W: su-poon
  • 4 W: ba-fi-
  • 5 W: go-ban wood
  • 7 W: nana-ban wood
  • 3 iron: sanban aian
  • 4 iron: yonban aian
  • 5 iron: goban aian
  • 6 iron: rokuban aian
  • 7 iron: nanaban aian
  • 8 iron: hachiban aian
  • 9 iron: kyu-ban aian
  • PW: pichingu
  • SW: sando
  • Putter: pata-


On Course Lingo

Naisu Sho = Nice Shot 
Don't be surprised if you hear Naisu Sho when your ball goes sailing into the woods. I am still a bit confused if this is sarcasm or an attempt to make you feel better or is it just a robotic response said after ever shot. When in doubt say Naisu Sho

Ikepocha = Water hazard 
When the ball lands in the water. Ike = pond, pocha = the unfortunate sound of your ball. POCHAAA! 

Zenshin Yonda (also 'Play Four') 
When you hit a ball out of bounds from a tee shot, and play one from halfway down the course (marked with yellow tee markers) as if it were your fourth shot. (sometimes third on par-3 holes) 

The Japanese version of Fore!, to be shouted when you hit a ball that goes in the direction of other people. Remember to shout Fah! Instead of Fore! (unless you were aiming at other foreigners). 

When you hit a shot that lands close to the hole's flag. 

When your ball is the length of the flag away from the hole. 

The best shot of the day (usually used to describe a tee shot). Literally, 'today number one.' 

Chippingu = Mahjong #7 tile = Duck hook 
If you look at a 7 tile in Mahjongg, it looks like a hook.

Yakuza golf = Putt from the Rough
Basically, you are not allowed to use a putter off the green. Matt Damon's derogatory use of Putt from the Rough, in the movie Good Will Hunting, towards legendary Sports columnist George Plimpton meant the character played by Plimpton was gay. I am assuming the Japanese associate Yakuza with macho. If you putt from the rough you are not a real man? Hey Scotland! What do you think of those apples? 

ONNA = Woman = Chicken putt
Of course, this is a term used only when you are playing with the best of friends. 

Tempura = Sky scraper = Angel raper. 
Lost in translation, one Japanese caddie called it an Angel F##K. Tempura and French fries rapidly float to the top of the deep oil fryer when they are cooked. To impress your Japanese players, you should say " Yoku ageteru ne!" Which literally means: "It rose up nicely". That is a good sign of tasty tempura. 

Zekkohcho = In the zone. 
Playing your best golf ever. 

Doubleru paa = Snowman = 8. 
I heard doubleru Paa used a few times. Unfortunately on my behalf.

Te no go ban wo tsukaeyo: 
If you are having troubles getting out of a bunker or repetitively fanning on a shot your opponent may say this as a joke or in utter frustration Use your hand as a five iron. Which means pick it up and throw it.

Jikan ga kakaru: It's taking too much time. There is nothing more frustrating when you are playing with someone who takes a hundred practice swings before each shot and takes forever to putt.

Types of Golfers

Gomma Kasu 
Sandbagger, cheater 

Snob - In Japanese hana means nose and takadaka means high 

Egotistical- A person who is always praising himself. 

Urusai ojisan
These guys are the worse to play with. They keep talking when you hit and demand silence when they hit and then they have the audacity to nitpick on every rule in the book. Urasai means noisy and Ojisan means grandfather or golden ager. 

Is also a stickler for the rules. 

Curses & Cheers

Is the common swear word in Japan. Basically like the F-word but it really means the sh.. Word. 

Frustrating- In English you would probably say " Man! I can't take this anymore. Nothing is going right for me today." 

 "Yo baby! Did that shot ever feel good. Ye haa!!! All right!"  What a shot! 


Kyo wa dame:
I suck today. Literal, Today is bad. 

Mada saisho: You usually say this if you hit a bad shot on your first drive. It basically means, it is only the first. Sorry no mulligans in Japan. 

Uchi ni kairitai: You would probably say this after a series of OB shots or triple bogeys or multiple shanks. It means I just want to go home. I want to quit. That's it! I give up. 

Club wo kaetai: I want to change my clubs for some better ones. Of course if you buy new clubs you will immediately cut 30 strokes off your game. Not! 

Club suteru: Throw away my clubs. Many clubs have ended up in trees and ponds as a convenient replacement for a dumpster.