yell fore

Have you been recently getting involved in golf? Chances are, you have heard someone yell “fore” from halfway across the field. If you are new to golf, you might be wondering “why do golfers yell fore?” Check out our article to know more about these golfing terms.

Now you have probably wondered “why do golfers yell fore?” As a beginner, we understand how terms like these might be confusing. But you are not the only one who is not familiar with this common golf term.

Golf involves a lot of unique jargon that originated from different languages. So, you might have to get acquainted with a lot of terms to get fully involved in this game. And among these, “fore” is a particularly famous term for an important reason.

In this article, we will be discussing the meaning, origin, and many other things related to the term “fore”. So, if you want to know why do golfers yell fore, you will find all your answers here.

Why Do Golfers Yell Fore: The Simple Answer

why do golfers yell fore

In and of itself, the term “fore” indicates the meaning “in front.” It is originally a truncated version of some other word or phrase. The etymologists, however, cannot agree on which word or phrase this term has come from.

A shout of fore! is said to have originated as a warning to people in front of them that a ball was approaching. Golfers cry “Fore!” when they play a shot that is very inaccurate or so far off the mark that their flying golf ball might land dangerously close to or strike golfers on the course. Golfers frequently say “Fore!” together with the direction in which their ball is flying to make it more evident where the ball is going and to identify which individuals should be paying the most attention.

Before striking a ball, players usually shout “fore” to notify other players. It is a more concise and straightforward manner of telling someone to be cautious. And in golf, using this term can also be seen as a formal way of playing.

Almost every golfer understands the importance of yelling fore. If you are a rookie golfer, you already know that your shots do not always go as intended, so making sure you say “fore” and signal which way the ball is heading is critical to avoid injuring others. It is basic golfer etiquette to use this term, and it should be one of the top things that new golfers put their attention to.

Why Do Golfers Yell Fore: The Origin

To find out the answer to why do golfers yell fore, we must understand where this word came from. There are a few theories related to the origins of the word “fore”. But nobody knows the exact story behind this saying. We will look at the three most popular theories regarding the origin of “fore” and correlate their credulity in our time.

The Forecaddie Theory

This is the most widely believed theory of fore. The forecaddie in a group was someone who would stay out in front of a golfer and make sure he didn’t lose his ball while also keeping an eye out for balls that others had lost. This theory suggests that golfers used to play with a caddy in the early days of the sport. The very first known caddie was from Leith. There, a local named kid Andrew Dickson served as the Duke of York’s caddie in a 1681 match between Scottish and English golfers. Caddies used to run down a hole to chase golf balls hit by players. Although we do not get to see that in modern days anymore, golf balls were pricey in the past, and you couldn’t afford to lose too many of them. So, when a group of golfers was standing on the tee, they would call forecaddie or fore to indicate that they were about to hit a ball. Thus, “fore” was an acronym for forecaddie, a yelled notice to the ball spotter warning a ball was heading his way.

The John Knox Theory

There’s a Scottish anecdote credited to John Knox, a protestant reformist, and passionate writer. He advised people to “ware before” to move out of the line of friendly gunfire coming from behind them in the defences of his village. The story says that the phrase “Ware Before!” was eventually shortened to “Fore!”. The fact that one of Leith’s forts overlooked the Leith Links Golf Course in the 16th century adds support to the theory that golfers coined the word for their usage. Many modern historians, on the other hand, find this theory questionable.

The Military Theory

Another popular explanation is that the term “fore” originated from a military context. Golf was immensely popular throughout the 17th and 18th centuries in Britain, while there was also a war going on. At that time throughout this battle, Infantry lines marched while artillery units fired weapons from behind them, over their heads. The artillery personnel is believed to have yelled “beware before” to inform the infantrymen on the frontlines ahead of them to be cautious. So, when golfers misfired their shots and have to inform others, this phrase is thought to have carried over and been abbreviated to “fore.”

Why Do Golfers Yell Fore: How To React To This

golfers yell fore

Now that we know what fore is and where it likely originated from, we need to understand how to react when someone yells fore on a golf course. Fore is shouted due to errant shots, which can sometimes cause serious issues. So, your response should be quick and safe.

Now, errant shots are pretty common on golf courses, and you will hear Fore shout a lot, especially on courses with several side-by-side holes. Whether you are new to golf or not, your first instinct will likely be to look in the direction of the yell to see if any shots are heading your way. But no matter how curious you are, do not ever try to look at the shot when someone yells fore.

Because when the golf ball is going to strike you, it will do so quickly. And before you will be able to monitor the shot, it will likely already hit you. This is particularly true when the shot is a drive. While it is rare to get struck by a golf ball while playing a round of golf on a Weekend, it does happen more frequently amid a group of spectators. But regardless of where you are playing golf, the chance of getting hit by a golf ball is always there. So, what do you do if you hear someone shout fore?

when golfers hear “fore” hollered from another fairway or tee box, they typically protect their heads by wrapping their hands around their heads, hoping to avoid being hit by the wayward shot. This is a good approach when you do not have a spot to hide behind. But when you hear fore, the smartest thing to do is kneel and make yourself as tiny as you can while blocking your head. It will be much better if you can get down behind your golf cart. It is also a good idea to hide behind a tree or any other blockade that can shield you from getting hit.

Why Do Golfers Yell Fore: The Significance Of The Marshals

In big tournaments, you will often notice that professional golf players are not yelling fore. Now we know that fore is yelled in case of a misplaced shot. The fact that you will probably not hear pro players saying fore, does not mean that they do not make mistakes. Everyone is prone to making mistakes, no matter how skilled they are. So, the reason professional golfers do not yell fore in competitions is that they have a Marshal with them.

At a tournament, marshals are assistants, aids, and helpers to the participants and spectators whose role is to ensure that everything runs well. They are usually present at professional tournaments, high-level amateur tournaments, or even a company excursion or charity tournament at a local course. During a game, marshals work alongside groundskeepers to manage the course and make modifications and repairs.

At large events, it is critical to limit the yelling to a bare minimum. This is why, instead of yelling fore, a staff member will wave a red flag to the right or left of the tee to indicate a mishit during a tournament. In big tournaments, these marshals are also on the fairways, signalling to the marshals farther down the course to warn the crowd about the mishit.

Since yelling anything will cause the other players to lose focus in the game, Marshals are set in place so that players do not have to yell fore during a mishit. However, if marshals aren’t accessible, will you very likely hear a player saying fore in case of a mishit?

Why Do Golfers Yell Fore: More To The Saying

Fore is a common saying, but you might also hear something before or after fore on a golf course. For the typical golfer or on a quiet golf course, simply screaming Fore will do just fine. But without much time to consider, a golfer may cry out a phrase other than fore after striking an incorrect shot that might endanger other players.

“Left,” “right,” “down,” or even a simple “watch out” can be used alongside fore or instead of it. A golfer might also shout fore and hoist his or her right or left arm to signal the crowd’s direction where the golf ball is headed.

Knowing these phrases and understanding them is crucial for your well-being on the golf course. Although the majority of course players will not have enough time to grasp a fore right or fore left to yell, whatever the phrase may be, just quickly cover your head and keep your head down if you hear anything that sounds like “fore.”

Other Popular Jargons In Golf

The terms in golf can make up a language in itself, and it is easy for beginners to get confused about these terms. Since you were not aware of the term “fore’, there are a lot of other popular terms in golf that you might not know about. In this article, we will be discussing a few more common jargon in golf. If the question “why do golfers yell fore?” came to your mind, these following golf terminologies might also give rise to some questions.

  • Eagle: In golf, an eagle is a total of two strokes below par on a hole. In other words, to the eagle is to shoot two strokes under par on any given hole.
  • Hole-In-One: A hole-in-one counts as the double of an eagle when it is reported. Most holes-in-one occur on par-3 holes. If a golfer makes a hole-in-one on the tee shot, he or she will score a 1, making the hole 2-under par.
  • Mulligan: A mulligan is a retake of a previously fired shot. This occurs when you are not happy or satisfied with your initial attempt. It is a rather regular occurrence among newcomers to golf.
  • Gilligan: A Gilligan is a Mulligan’s polar opposite in golf. When you consent to Gilligan’s in a match, your competitor has the opportunity to request you to hit a stroke again. This is usually a strong drive or a long putt that has been holed.
  • Birdie: A birdie is a golf phrase that refers to scoring one stroke under the hole’s stated par. For example, let’s say you’re playing a par-3 hole. To make a birdie, all you have to do is finish the hole in two strokes.

These are only a few of the many jargons used in golf. These are the particularly common ones. But we recommend checking out more golf terms for better play on the course.


Golf is a fairly old sport and most of the terms in golf date back hundreds of years. It might take you a while to get used to all the golf jargon that goes around in the golfing community, but once you get the hang of it, you will have quite the time enjoying this sport.

We hope our article helped you understand why do golfers yell fore. As a responsible player, you should abide by all the rules of the game and be cautious of other players’ safety, so knowing when to yell fore is essential in golf. To know more about this unique game, check out more from our website. Happy golfing!

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