Have you ever wondered what the letters “WD” mean when you see them next to a golfer’s name on a leaderboard? If you’re a golf enthusiast or just curious about the sport, it’s essential to know the terminology used in golf.

In this case, “WD” is an acronym that stands for “Withdrawal,” indicating that a golfer has withdrawn from the tournament before it begins or during play. There could be various reasons why a golfer might withdraw, but it’s crucial to understand this term’s meaning to follow the tournament’s progress accurately. So, let’s explore the significance of “WD” in golf and why it matters.

We understand that it can get confusing since there are many terms in golf, for instance, L, R, M, N, NL, etc. Hence, we are here to tell you what they mean. More importantly, we’ll be focusing on what does WD mean in golf. Why? Because there is a chance you will often come across this term.

So, keep reading to find out what each of these terms means.

What Do the Letters R, L, M, N, NL, And WD Mean After Your Handicap?

In golf, handicaps represent the golfer’s ability to play based on the scores of their previous rounds. It compares your performances with other golfers, and both men and women have a general handicap. So, for men, it is between 0-28, and, for women, between 0-36.

You will often see the letters L, R, M, N, NL, And WD being used after the handicap score of golfers, but what does that even mean?


L stands for local handicap; that is, a handicap above the USGA Handicap Index’s max limit. A handicap is revised more often than necessary. And a handicap is also based on the player’s disability to play.

An L identifies the local handicap as it is not an Index of Handicaps used locally only.


R stands for reduced handicap. A handicap has been automatically reduced due to exceptional tournament performance. This reduced handicap has to be reviewed by the Handicap Committee, which can decide to let the reduction run its course or even override or adjust it.


When you see M beside a handicap in golf, it means that the Handicap Committee has modified the handicap. They usually change it if they feel that a player’s handicap index does not reflect their potential, which can happen for quite a few reasons. However, they do allow their players to explain why this is happening before modifying it.


N is for the Nine-hole Handicap index. The nine-hole handicap is used for inter-club play, where the golfer plays against other players with nine-hole handicaps.


NL stands for a nine-hole handicap over the maximum nine-hole handicap index, which, for men, is 18.2, and for women, it is 20.2.

What Does WD Mean in Golf?

what does wd mean in golf

As with previous terms, WD is another term you will often hear in golf. But what exactly does it even mean?

WD indicates that a player’s handicap has been withdrawn or that the player has withdrawn from the tournament. Usually, players withdraw from tournaments due to a lot of reasons; these can be personal issues or even issues related to the tournament itself.

Why Would a Player Withdraw from A Tournament?

wd in golf

Regardless of the issue, withdrawing from an event is seen as unfavourable. Golfers can face issues in the future related to their careers due to withdrawals. It is because withdrawing can cause problems for the tournament sponsors, hosts, or even the other players.

So, why would a player choose to withdraw from a tournament? Well, some reasons are impossible to ignore, some of them being:

Medical Injury

Medical injuries are one of the main reasons why players decide to leave. A lot of the time, golfers’ backs give out while playing, just as Tiger Woods did during one of his matches. Other than that, players sometimes twist their ankles or hurt their wrists while playing.

Sometimes players decide to play through their injury if it is nothing too severe. However, frequently they will have to sit out for the match or even the entire season if the damage is terrible.


Although golf might seem easy to play, it is physically taxing. It is even more so the case if the player is sick. Since many movements are involved in the game, players inevitably have to sit out if they are ill.

Relative Emergency

A crucial valid reason a player can decide to leave is family emergencies. Whether it is a family death or a child’s birth, tournaments recognize them as real emergencies and allow players to leave.

Problems With the Golf Game

The worst reason any golfer can give to leave a game is that they are having issues with it. Most people believe it is the player’s responsibility to play a game even if they struggle to keep the scores low.

However, ever so often, there will be a player or two who will leave the game after having high scores. So, this is when the audience starts questioning the real reason why the player left, even if it is because they injured themselves.

Why Is It a Problem When Golfers WD From an Event?

Since golfers work alone and not for a team, whether they want to keep playing or withdraw is entirely up to the golfer. But, it is still unfair when they withdraw as it still affects sponsors and other people; for instance:

 Sponsors And Hosts

Sponsors and hosts of a golf championship have the event planned a certain way. They plan which players will play with each other and how they will advertise the event. However, if a player drops out can seriously ruin the plans.

Think about it, if a tournament brings in famous players to gain attention from people, and all of the prominent players withdraw, how would it affect the sponsors? They would lose a vast audience. Moreover, even the brands these players represent would be left with no one to advertise for them.

The People

Most of the audience goes to tournaments to root for specific players. They often buy tickets months before the tournament and wait patiently for the events to arrive. So, you can imagine their disappointment when they discover their favorite player is withdrawing from the match. 

Moreover, since spectators are how companies and manufacturers attract customers and earn a profit, they will also be at a loss. Thus, if spectators are disappointed, they will be reluctant to support the events in the future, thus causing losses to both the players and the companies.

Other Golfers

Since golf is a competitive sport, many players do not cut tournaments. The limited number of spots is disappointing to a lot of people as they do not get to showcase their potential despite being exceptional players.

So, when a player has the opportunity to withdraw after the first round of play, it is unfair to other players. Someone who wanted to play could have taken the spot instead of the player who withdrew.

Are PGA Tour Golfers Allowed to Withdraw from A Tournament?

Despite the PGA Tours being a significant tournament, golfers can withdraw from the game. However, they do have to show a valid reason. They are ultimately allowed to go if they want to leave due to an injury, emergency, or illness.

But players are not allowed to leave just because they want to since leaving brings up several problems for the PGA. Not only that, but it is also not allowed because it is unfair to the other players and the effect it has on the pairings of the next day.

Do Players That WD From a Golf Tournament Get Paid?

Unfortunately, players who withdraw from a game do not receive payment. 

After a tournament ends, the money for the event is distributed to all the players who completed the event. However, those who do not complete the event do not get paid. It is why golfers try to finish an event’s holes, even if that means playing through a minor injury.

After all, no one wants to give up on hundreds of thousands of dollars after getting to a certain point in the game.

Did Tiger Woods WD?

If you are a golfer who feels terrible about leaving a game, do not worry; even someone as famous as Tiger Woods has withdrawn from several tournaments.

Since Woods is such a go-getter, his body has been strained over the years, and he has had several knees, back, and leg injuries. Hence, he has left matches if he feels unprepared to play. He believes that playing while injured can cause other players and sponsors to suffer.


What Does JWD Mean in Golf?

In golf, JWD means Justified Withdrawal. It is used in American Junior Golf Association Tournaments (AJGA). So, this is when a golfer comes to withdraw with a legitimate reason for withdrawal. These can be anything from injuries to family emergencies.

What Does WD Mean in Golf Leaderboard?

WD is the short form for withdrawal. It means that a participating player withdrew in the middle of the tournament for a justified and personal reason.

What Does W Mean on a Golf Club?

W is an acronym that club makers use for a type of club called the “pitching wedge” or just “wedge.” It would be best if you did not confuse this with WD or an AW club.

What Does AW on a Golf Club Mean?

AW is an acronym for a golf club called the “approach wedge.” The club is between the pitching wedge and the sand wedge and is sometimes called a “gap wedge” or GW.


We hope that we were able to help you understand what does WD mean in golf as a golf enthusiast. You will know all the accurate terminology when you are playing or watching a golf match. So, go ahead and enjoy your game!

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