Fore in Golf:
Origin and Meaning of the Golf Term Fore

Are you new to golf and wondering, what does fore in golf mean? Continue reading to learn what the golf term fore means and how to use it. 

What Does Fore Mean in Golf? 

Essentially, fore is a warning to everyone on the golf course that a ball has been hit and is coming their way instead of the intended area. Another way to define the golf term fore is by some synonyms such as “watch out” or “heads up”. It is used when a golfer hits a bad shot that goes so far offline that it could hit an unexpected golfer, or come close to them.

It is proper etiquette to yell fore when this happens, and to point in the direction it’s heading for those who are too far away to hear you. 

The History of Fore in Golf

There are some different theories on how the golf term fore came to be:

1. It is believed that the term “forecaddie” is how the term “fore” came to be. In the 1700’s and 1800’s “forecaddie” was someone who was hired by golf courses or golfers to keep track of where balls landed. Nowadays this position is called a spotter. A forecaddie would stand where they suspected the balls were going to land to save time looking for rogue balls, and balls wasted. When the golfer would strike the ball they would yell “forecaddie” so that they would know to keep an eye out for the oncoming ball. As golf developed more the term “forecaddie” was shortened to “fore” and is now used to warn golfers to “look out” because there’s a possibility that the ball is coming their way.

2. The second is from a military standpoint. When infantry advanced in formation in the 17th and 18th centuries, artillery batteries fired behind them shooting over their heads. An artilleryman about to fire would yell “beware before” so that the infantry would know to avoid the shells that would be raining down from the sky. Thus in golf, fore was used as a shortened term of “beware before”.

Why is Yelling Fore in Golf Important?

“Fore” may seem like just another word, but this one word can prevent serious injuries to other golfers. The average golf ball goes about 180 mph. Imagine getting hit by something coming at you that fast… it wouldn’t be pretty. Use proper etiquette and yell fore if your ball isn’t going in the right direction. 

What Should I Do If Someone Yells Fore?

When in the danger zone don’t turn towards the person yelling fore and look for the ball. If you do that, you may get hit in the face or other areas of your body. Instead, you will want to “duck and cover” by getting behind a tree, golf cart, golf bag, etc. You will then cover your head with your hands and arms. 

Now that you know the meaning of fore in golf, start practicing proper golf etiquette by yelling “fore” loudly for others to hear!