The Dreaded Foozle in Golf

"Wow, you really foozled that one," is something no golfer ever wants to hear on the golf course. And most golfers probably haven't heard it — "foozle" has always been a golf slang term used more in some places than others, and it's not used anywhere today as much as it once was.

A "foozle," simply put, is a bad golf shot. If you "foozled" your shot, you blew it — you hit a poor shot. If you are "foozling" it around the golf course today, you are, alas, playing a bad round full of bad shots.

More golfers might be familiar with "foozle" as one-half of the name of the golf betting game Oozles and Foozles than as a standalone slang term.

But, as a slang term for bad shots, foozle goes back a long time in golf history. The Historical Dictionary of Golfing Terms (affiliate links in this post, commissions earned) cites uses of foozle going back to 1869 (which isn't necessarily the earliest usage, just the earliest citation in that reference book).

In his 1912 book How to Play Golf, Harry Vardon wrote that "the majority of golfers sow the seeds of a foozle in the first movement." And in his 1969 book The Greatest Game of All: My Life in Golf, Jack Nicklaus described an occasion when he suffered "a few more hooked tee shots and a couple of foozled short putts."

Moral of the definition: Avoid foozles. If you foozled it, you messed up.

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