You will hear some crazy stuff at the golf course and not all of it will be curse words. Duck hooks, shanks, and chilly dips are just a few examples of the language of golf.
Why do golfers yell fore?
It seems like an odd thing to scream at the players around you.
Like most things in golf, the answer to “why do golfers yell fore?” is drenched in history and not everyone agrees with the origin of the phrase.
Below we explore the why, the when, and the what (as in, what should you do when you hear “FORE”).
Why Do Golfers Yell Fore?
The quick definition – it is a warning to you that a golf ball is heading in your direction. If you hear “FORE” you are in danger of getting hit.
Is it the best warning system? Not really. If you are on a crowded golf course it can be hard to discern where the “FORE” is coming from.
Did the group behind you hit into you or is it coming from another hole?
You may not know where it is coming from, but you know a ball might be flying in your direction.
Dos & Don’ts When You Hear “FORE”!
Why do golfers yell fore? This is a simple answer, but what you should do when you hear “FORE”? That is a bit more complicated.
You may think a golf ball is small, but it can hurt. We don’t want you to get injured on the golf course because of someone else’s poor golf shot.
Follow these rules to stay safe on the course.
Do: Cover Your Head
We are going to be honest with you. Getting hit anywhere with a golf ball hurts, but you do not want to take a shot to the head.
A golf ball can fracture your cheekbone, give you a black eye, or even cause a concussion.
Why do golfers yell fore? It is to give you a chance to protect yourself. Always cover your head to avoid a serious injury.
Don’t: Look At The Yell
This seems like common sense but is harder than you think. It is human nature when you hear a loud noise to look in the direction of the yell.
You must fight this urge and do the opposite. If you hear “FORE” turn away from the sound.
The worst-case scenario is to get hit in the face. Never look at the yell!
Do: Bend Over – Get Small
Why do golfers yell fore? By accident, you became the target of their shot. Do you want to be a large target or a small one?
Don’t make it easy on the golf ball. Bend over and get as small as possible.
Don’t: Be Curious
It can so hard. You know when you hear “FORE” that someone just hit a crazy and wild shot.
They might have hit a huge slice into the wrong hole. They might have hit a duck hook.
It can tempting to try to figure out what is going on, but don’t be curious. You know what curiosity did to the cat, right?
Your only goal should be to protect yourself. You can always ask them what happened after the round in the 19th hole.
Do: Scurry Behind a Tree Or A Golf Cart
Why do golfers yell fore? There is a golf ball flying in your direction. Typically, this means you have less than 5 seconds to react.
If possible, get behind something for protection. The most likely items on the golf course are a tree or a golf cart.
Keep in mind, you don’t have time to sprint 50 yards toward the woods, so this only applies if you are very close to an object.
It is considered poor etiquette to hide behind your buddy!
Don’t: Get Mad
It is a common emotional response. You hear “FORE”, a golf ball flies past you, and you get angry.
Instead of getting mad, take a deep breath and consider what just happened. Why do golfers yell fore? It is a warning.
If the player was trying to hit you, they wouldn’t have warned you. Assume positive intent and assume the wild shot was an accident.
Avoid escalating a poor golf shot into an altercation or a fight. We all hit wild shots sometimes.
The History Of Why Golfers Yell Fore
We have talked about the reason for yelling “FORE” and how you should react when you hear it, but we haven’t answered, “why do golfers yell fore?”.
I mean, they could yell “Heads Up”, “Duck”, or “Look Out”. Why do golfers yell “FORE”?
Oddly, you can find different explanations, but we believe it comes from the term forecaddie. Let us explain.
We are sure you are familiar with the term caddie. This is a person that carries your golf bag and gives you advice prior to each shot.
PGA Tour players often use the same caddie for years, but the average player rarely gets to use one. If you get a chance, play with a caddie!
A forecaddie is a different type of caddie. They will go 300 yards ahead of you to watch your tee shot and find your golf ball.
They do not typically carry your bag and are often assigned to your entire foursome. One forecaddie will assist all four players.
Since a forecaddie is in front of your group and watching your tee shots, they are in danger of getting hit by your golf balls.
Originally, when you were about to tee off players would yell “forecaddie” as a warning to the caddie with the group. Over the years, it was simply shortened to “FORE”.
Now it is used anytime a golfer hits a shot that is heading toward another player.
If you watch professional golf on TV, you will hear it used quite regularly. You will notice they yell “FORE Right” or “FORE Left”.
The idea is to let the spectators know when they need to protect themselves. It is not uncommon for fans to get hit with golf balls while watching a tournament.
Quite often, the professional golfer will give the fan that is hit a token of appreciation as a way to apologize. A signed golf glove or golf ball.
To summarize, if you hear “FORE” on the golf course protect yourself!