What Do Golfers Yell? [And What It Means]

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What do golfers yell? “Fore!” You must have heard golfers yelling this word upon hitting a ball. People who plan to step into the world of golf are often curious about what golfers yell and why. Yelling ‘Fore’ in golf upon hitting a shot is prescribed in golf etiquette to warn the other golfers about the risk of getting hit with the ball. 

A golfer assesses that the ball was not hit perfect and may deviate from the target. The moment they yell Fore, their job about warning others about the ball that might be heading towards them is done. Let’s discuss this further!

Why Do Golfers Yell “Fore”?

The Origin of the Word ‘Fore’

Golfers yell to warn the spectators of the ball heading towards them. The fact about how golfers started to use ‘Fore’ as a warning is not known. However, two theories are more prominent, so let’s take a look at both.

What does fore mean and why do players shout it out?

The first and the most accepted theory of the origin of the term ‘Fore’ is that it is an abbreviation of “Forecaddie,” that dates back to 1700 and 1800s. The golfers shout for the caddies who would stand ahead of the golfer and play the role of a tracker to mark the location of the balls during a tournament. 

In this context, a golfer would use this to tell the caddie to follow the ball well with their eyes to facilitate their search if it ends up out of the fairway. This speeds up the game, saving time spent in finding the ball.

Initially used to notify caddies, now the golfer shout ‘Fore’ to warn everyone ahead of the golfers who is at the risk of getting hit with the ball. Even if the ball is small, it can cause damage to others and can also be upsetting for the player. A fast ball can cause bruising, concussions, or other injuries. Therefore, consider it as rule of golf.

The second derivation is from the military phrase ‘Beware Before,’ used to warn soldiers on the front line to kneel to allow those behind them to fire. The transition from the military context to that of golf seems the most logical. 

With the sport originating from Scotland and the British, who always had many soldiers on missions worldwide, historians believe the military helped promote golf in their spare time. It is still funny to see that we use “Fire!” to direct a projectile at an enemy and “Fore!” when it goes to a friend.

Simply, without going into the derivations mentioned above, you can think of it as another word for ‘forward.’

Why do they yell 4 in golf?

Whatever the theory, it is only right to make others aware of the potential danger. The same goes for the spectators. And, it is not just the case with inexperienced players. Even professionals can hit bad shots. So, it is always better to be aware of where you are while watching a match.

Pro golfers yell the term according to the size of the gallery. They evaluate the spectators’ distance from the green or along the fairways and shout with the required intensity. 

It is always right to warn as bad shots are possible, even in the case of the best golfers. Sometimes golfers shout ‘fore right’ or ‘fore left,’ trying to give a direction of the threat so that people can assess the ball’s direction. However, a golfer must be attentive in such a case since their right and left are not the same as the spectators facing them.

An important point to remember is that a golfer does have to shout ‘Fore’ every time they hit the ball. It should be yelled if the ball deviates to the right or left of the intended path.  A golfer assesses the situation when they hit the ball and must shout if they feel it’s not hit perfectly.

What Happens if a Golfer Forgets to Shout ‘Fore’

Bryson DeChambeau is accused of not yelling upon hitting the ball to warn the spectators. However, this is not the first time. Many golfers are accused of their unconsciousness, and it’s not a trivial matter. 

What does fore mean in Scottish?

Not yelling ‘Fore’ to warn spectators of the danger of getting hit with the ball is considered a disrespect in golf. Bryson DeChambeau, an American golfer, has recently been accused of this in the US Open. The golfer, however, denied and argued that it was just to put him into a controversy. 

Many senior golfers, such as Rich Beem, the PGA Championship 2002 winner, were outraged at the golfer’s behavior and the risk he put the spectators into. Whatever the result of this accusation, one thing is clear that yelling ‘Fore’ in golf upon hitting a ball long is among the first things every golfer must remember.

What to Do if You Hear a Shout?

It depends on the awareness of the person standing ahead of the golfer about the situation. However, whatever the situation, everyone must take it as an important warning. 

Never look towards the call to save yourself from the approaching ball, as it can cause more damage. That is the last thing you want to do. When you hear the player yelling “Fore’, move back and take cover. While doing this, do not forget about the spectators standing behind you.

What Do Golfers Yell? Our Final Thoughts!

Now that you know what golfers yell and why do not forget to take cover whenever you hear a golfer shouting ‘fore’ in the field. Consider this as a rule of golf etiquette. 

You can miss a shot, heading the ball away from the target, but you must not forget to yell the term. This is the only right thing to do upon hitting a shot. Even if you’re a beginner and practice alone often, do not hesitate to loudly shout ‘Fore.’ It’s the best way to get used to the practice.

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