Perfect English, now available in French
French golf terminology
November 15, 2012
I’ve recently taken up golf. I know. I’m as surprised as you are, but I have to prepare myself for the day when my brittle bones will no longer be able to cope with football, and playing no sport is unthinkable. And as it turns out, it is a lot of fun and more inclusive than it used to be.
This being one of the very few sports I never had any interest in until last March, I am completely ignorant of its French vocabulary. So when my teammate asked me this weekend whether I knew what “divot” was in French, I was stumped (to use a sporting expression), and she told me that it was escalope. Isn’t that lovely? I tend to think that English is generally a more creative language, so I was all pleased that my old mother tongue came up with such a good term. Then I had a look at golf glossaries online and found another one: a virgule (comma) describes a ball that rolls around the edge of the hole before coming out. Do you want to hear another one? Ok then, a "Mulligan" is a second shot awarded after a first poor one: several theories explain this origin of this term, which has leaked into other sports, and designates a minor blunder that can be forgiven because the player is a beginner, or because it is very uncharacteristic.
Anyway, to go back to French golf terminology: it seems that most of the technical terms have been borrowed wholesale, and that very few French terms are actually used or have been specifically coined, so I may well aller directement du bunker au green pour putter un birdie en faisant attention à éviter les pitches. Or at least, I think this would be said, but never having played en français, I’m not entirely sure. Must plan a golfing weekend in France for CPD/research purposes…
Interesting. The only Mulligan story I had ever heard of was that first one about the "correction shot," but the others all have there merits, too. You know how it goes, the truth always lies somewhere in between.
Posted by EP on November 25, 2012 6:46 PM
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