7 October 2007


When you arrive at your course of choice, you are usually greeted by a barrage of bag handlers. It is wise to close all your zippers on your golf bag, so when the handlers get your bag out of your trunk you won't lose anything. In Japan image is almost everything so maybe give your car a once over before people you don't know go foraging through your stuff in NASCAR-like pit stop speed. It is always embarrassing when empty 7-11 coffee cans, Barbi dolls or soccer balls fall to the ground when you pop the trunk.

After that they will check to see if you have your name tag on your bag. If not they will give you one. I always write mine in Katakana to impress the caddies. When you get through the front door, go to the front desk and sign in. They will give you a "Rakka-ki" (locker key). Most clubs give you a leather like wallet with a key attached to it with a number on it. Inside is your score card. This is your charge card for the day. It is like you are a member of a private club.

Most of my Japanese buddies bring a second set of clothes to change into after. So, when you arrive, make sure you get your bag from the handlers. If not it may end up with your golf bag strapped onto your golf cart.

When you go in the locker room, this is where it sometimes gets confusing. Just for courtesy sake, make sure you use the toile no surippa (toilet slippers) in the toilet and the genkan no surippa (entrance way slippers) in the entrance area but take off your genkan no surippa when you go into the ofuro (bath) area. There is nothing more shameful than wearing toilet slippers into the ofuro area.
The most confusing thing is when you return from golf and go to your locker. Don't get naked there, take your necessary clothes to the ofuro area, grab a basket and change there. I don't get it. Naked thieves can steal your rakka-ki and run up a bill on bath towels.

Okay! So, you are dressed and ready to go.

Come here often?

If you do have a caddie she will count your clubs. "kurabu o kakunin........" When you finish she will count your clubs again to see if any are missing. In most cases the caddies are 40-60 year old women.The odd case you may get cute caddie that distracts you from your game.

Naisu Sho = Nice Shot
Don't be surprised if you hear Naisu Sho when your ball goes sailing into the woods. I am still a bit confused if this is sarcasm or an attempt to make you feel better or is it just a robotic response said after ever shot. When in doubt say Naisu Sho.

Ikepocha = Water hazard
When the ball lands in the water. Ike = pond, pocha = the unfortunate sound of your ball. POCHAAA!

Zenshin Yonda (also 'Play Four')
When you hit a ball out of bounds from a tee shot, and play one from halfway down the course (marked with yellow tee markers) as if it were your fourth shot. (sometimes third on par-3 holes)

The Japanese version of Fore!, to be shouted when you hit a ball that goes in the direction of other people. Remember to shout Fah! Instead of Fore! (unless you were aiming at other foreigners).

When you hit a shot that lands close to the hole's flag.

When your ball is the length of the flag away from the hole.

The best shot of the day (usually used to describe a tee shot). Literally, 'today number one.'

Chippingu = Mahjong #7 tile = Duck hook
If you look at a 7 tile in Mahjongg, it looks like a hook. Who comes up with these terms?

Yakuza golf = Putt from the Rough
Basically, you are not allowed to use a putter off the green. Matt Damon's derogatory use of Putt from the Rough, in the movie Good Will Hunting, towards legendary Sports columnist George Plimpton meant the character played by Plimpton was gay. I am assuming the Japanese associate Yakuza with macho. If you putt from the rough you are not a real man? Hey Scotland! What do you think of those apples?

ONNA = Woman = Chicken putt
Of course, this is a term used only when you are playing with the best of friends.

Tempura = Sky scraper = Angel raper.
Lost in translation, one Japanese caddie called it an Angel F##K. Tempura and French fries rapidly float to the top of the deep oil fryer when they are cooked. To impress your Japanese players, you should say " Yoku ageteru ne!" Which literally means: "It rose up nicely". That is a good sign of tasty tempura.

Zekkohcho = In the zone.
Playing your best golf ever.

Doubleru paa = Snowman = 8.
I heard doubleru Paa used a few times. Unfortunately on my behalf.

In the bag
To ensure you get the right club from your caddie, here's the Japanese for a regular set of clubs.

Have a great day of golf!

If you hear of any funny terms don't hesitate to write to let us know.

Willy Badger


Bennett Galloway

Willy Badger, 7 October 2007

About Willy
Willy has been living in Japan for 12 years. He is a "Daidogei" comic juggler living in Gunma, Japan. In 2008, Willy's mission is to introduce golfers to the beautiful Hot Springs & Outdoor Activities of Gunma. Recently, Willy became director of Sports Management Worldwide Japan, an athlete management company and online education University with offices in America, India and the U.K.

Check out Willy's sports blog The Rising Score!
Gunma C.C.

Previous Columns
  • Guilt and the Golf Game in Japan
  • The Bell Canadian Open
  • Curse of the Claret Jug

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