One of the first thing you learn in golf isn’t necessarily about the swing itself. Instead, it might be a sound that might actually save your life or the life of other golfers. Anybody who’s ever played golf has heard the word “FORE” and immediately hid behind a tree, ducked behind a golf cart or put their hands over their head as if they were about to receive a right hook from Mike Tyson. This golf term means that a ball is coming near you or your group and it’s warning to get out of the way. However, have you ever wondered why we shout fore and not watch out, get out of the way, heads up or any other warning term?

Yelling Fore in Golf

Let’s take a quick look at the history of golf to learn more about one of the most well known golf terms. The word “fore” indicates that something is ahead or in front of you. If you look back to when golf was invented, in the 1700s-1800s, caddies were a key part of the game. It’s not like today where most golfers take carts and caddies are mostly used for professional tournaments or bucked list course. Back in the day, caddies would not only carry bags but also help spot where a ball landed to avoid losing it. Since golf courses weren’t as well maintained as today, and golf balls were very pricey, this was a crucial part of their job. Sometimes they would even have forecaddies whose sole job was to locate golf balls off the tee. A forecaddie would walk ahead of the group and get into position to locate each tee shot. As players would hit toward them, they would yell “forecaddie” to let them know they were in danger of being stuck. Overtime golfers and caddies shortened the word to “FORE”. Now it is a term that every single golfer knows (or should know).

When to Yell Fore

Anytime you hit a shot near a player or a group of golfers, yell fore - very loudly. Of course, it might interrupt someone on a nearby hole but it’s totally worth it. We can guarantee you that nothing makes golfers more angry than someone who nearly hits them and doesn’t give them a warning. Also, if your ball is heading towards a fellow player, you must also yell fore, no matter how far it lands from them. You’re definitely better safe than sorry. It’s also common to shout “fore left” or “fore right”, depending on the direction of the shot, to give the golfer a heads-up of who could potentially be in danger.

What to Do When You Hear “FORE”

If you hear “Fore”, typically your first instinct is to move quickly. It’s best to always cover your head and try to get behind cover to avoid an incoming ball. This could also mean diving in the golf cart, getting behind a group of trees, or other objects to avoid an errant shot. It’s always best to duck, turn your head away, and protect your head above all else. If you get hit by a golf ball anywhere other than your head it’ll sting for a bit but it’s not the end of the world. However, if the ball hits your head, it can ruin your round very quickly.

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