Explaining the 'Foot Wedge' in Golf

Is there a person in your regular golf group who, when he thinks nobody is watching, like to, ahem, "improve" the lie of his ball bit by bumping it with his foot? Or even outright kicking his golf ball into a better spot? That golfer is using his "foot wedge."

"Foot wedge" is a golf slang term. A golfer who uses a foot wedge is prone to bumping or kicking his golf ball into a better looking lie on the golf course, or out from behind trouble to find an unobstructed line of flight.

If you want to sound fancy, or just give a nod to golf history, you can call it a "foot mashie" or "foot niblick" instead. Similar terms in the golf lexicon are "hand wedge" and "mouth wedge." (There is also a golf side game that goes by the Foot Wedges name.)

In the golf book, Let the Big Dog Eat: A Dictionary of the Secret Language of Golf (commissions earned), the author calls the foot wedge the "best club in the bag to speed up play." Alas, there is another term for golfers who use the foot wedge — cheaters.

Using one's foot to improve the lie of the golf ball is, obviously, against the Rules of Golf. Does your group care? Maybe your group of golf buddies never plays by the rules anyway. Maybe you even grant a certain number of uses of the foot wedge per golfer each round (the same way a group of golfers in a casual round might be granted by the group a certain number of mulligans to use).

It's up to your group how picky you want to be about the Rules of Golf. Just remember that if you are playing in a situation where the Rules need to be observed (e.g., a tournament, or a handicap round), then using a foot wedge is "illegal" and results in penalty.

And a golfer who uses the foot wedge in a surreptitious way — bumping his ball without the other golfers' knowledge, trying not to get caught — is probably going to earn a bad reputation with his fellow golfers.

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