The Definition of 'Carry' in Golf

Do you know the meaning of "carry" in a golf context? Golfers use phrases such as, "I need 150 yards of carry," or "you carried that bunker, no problem," or "what's the carry over that water"? Let's go into it to under the golf definition.

"Carry" can be used as a noun or a verb in its golf context, but either way its meaning stems from carry referring to the distance a golf shots travels or needs to travel to hit a target or to clear an obstacle or hazard.

As a verb, "carry" means to clear an obstacle on the golf course, or to hit a target. For example, "I carried the bunker, but just barely." Or, "it's 175 yards if you want to carry to the front of the green."

As a noun, "carry" refers to the distance your shots travel from the point of contact with the club to the point they hit the ground. All shots have a little roll to them, which along with carry makes up the full distance. Carry = distance your ball is in the air; roll = additional distance gained after hitting the ground. Carry + roll = total distance. Knowing your carry is important in order to decide whether to attempt to clear a water hazard, for example.

One can refer to that distance in the air using either the verb tense or noun tense: "I carry my 7-iron 150 yards," or "My 7-iron carry is 150 yards." A related term is "cover number." If you must hit the ball 150 yards to reach the front of the green, then 150 is your cover number. Also, if carrying the ball in the air is a requirment of the shot (such as to clear a body of water that fronts a green), then you are facing a "forced carry."

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