[golf, gawlf; British also gof]
See more synonyms for golf on
  1. a game in which clubs with wooden or metal heads are used to hit a small, white ball into a number of holes, usually 9 or 18, in succession, situated at various distances over a course having natural or artificial obstacles, the object being to get the ball into each hole in as few strokes as possible.
  2. a word used in communications to represent the letter G.
verb (used without object)
  1. to play golf.

Origin of golf

1425–75; late Middle English; of uncertain origin
Related formsgolf·er, nounnon·golf·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for golf

Contemporary Examples of golf

Historical Examples of golf

  • Officers in khaki came and talked to them about golf and gymkhanas.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • Your mother, your uncle, one of your friends on the golf links?'

    Echoes of the War

    J. M. Barrie

  • From the swing at golf to the manner of lighting a match in the wind, this truism applies.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • I play tennis in summer—when there is anyone to play with me—and golf, after a fashion.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • As for the game of golf, my part of it, the least said the better.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for golf


    1. a game played on a large open course, the object of which is to hit a ball using clubs, with as few strokes as possible, into each of usually 18 holes
    2. (as modifier)a golf bag
  1. (intr) to play golf

Word Origin for golf

C15: perhaps from Middle Dutch colf club


  1. communications a code word for the letter g
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for golf

mid-15c., Scottish gouf, usually taken as an alteration of Middle Dutch colf, colve "stick, club, bat," from Proto-Germanic *kulth- (cf. Old Norse kolfr "clapper of a bell," German Kolben "mace, club"). The game is from 14c., the word is first mentioned (along with fut-bol) in a 1457 Scottish statute on forbidden games. Golf ball attested from 1540s. Despite what you read in an e-mail, "golf" is not an acronym .


c.1800, golf (n.). Related: Golfed; golfing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper