Explain the Slang: What Is 'Army Golf'?

If another golfer tells you that you're playing "army golf," is that a good thing or a bad thing? "Army golf" is a slang expression in golf that refers to a golfer who is spraying her shots in all directions, with no consistency. So you don't want to be an army golfer.

Ever have one of those rounds where you hit it left on one shot and right on the next? You feel like you're just going from the left rough to the right rough and back again? That's army golf.

Where does the term come from? Think of the marching cadence used in the Army and some other armed forces: "Left-right-left, left-right-left!" A golfer playing army golf is spraying her shots left-right-left ... left-right-left ...

As a slang term, "army golf" has been around a long time. But that doesn't mean everyone involved in golf is familiar with the term, which once led to an amusing situation involving two members of the Nicklaus-Palmer-Player Big 3.

Jack Nicklaus was once doing an interview with a newspaper reporter, who asked about the state of Nicklaus' golf game. Nicklaus started bellyaching about the recent state of his play, and explained to the reporter, "I'm playing Army golf."

But the reporter misunderstood. When the article appeared in the newspaper Nicklaus was misquoted. The reporter thought Nicklaus had said, "I'm playing Arnie golf."

Nicklaus had to call his friend Arnold Palmer and explain that, no, Nicklaus was not insulting Palmer by comparing the sorry state of his game to "Arnie golf." He had actually told the reporter he was playing "army golf." Jack and Arnie had a good laugh about that one.

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