Fore in golf featured Image

Fore in Golf

Whether you are a beginner or a professional golfer who has been playing for decades, there are certain terms like mulligan, flyer, or scramble that intrigue you. One of these terms is “Fore” and you might have heard a lot of golfers yelling this on the golf course. But what’s the meaning behind this term? And where did it originally come from? You will get all the answers to your questions in this article so keep reading!

What is Fore in Golf?

Basically, golfers yell “FORE” to alert other golfers about an incoming golf ball in their direction. This helps the golfers play freely as other golfers get out of the way.

The actual origin of the word “Fore” is very debatable but most likely dates back to the Middle Ages.

Where did Fore in Golf first originate from?

Yelling “fore” can keep everyone safe on the golf course and that is especially in a situation when your ball can hit someone’s head. But why FORE? Why not “watch out” or “heads up”?

Well, to find the real meaning behind this term we need to go back in time. There are multiple stories related to this term. So, let’s explore all of these potential theories and see which one sounds the most realistic.

Golfer Playing a Long shot

Middle Ages

According to the first story, the term fore was first introduced in the Middle Ages. At the time, fore was used as a prefix that meant “ahead”.

For example, if you read one of Shakespeares’s poetries or quotes, you may come across the terms “foretold” or “foremost”.  So, as the word “fore” is relating to something that is ahead, it’s no wonder why it is used to indicate a ball incoming your way today.


Another popular story about the word ‘fore’ is that it originated from “forecaddie”. Forecaddie is someone who keeps track of where the golf ball lands.

In the early days of golf, a forecaddie was in charge of watching the golf balls. Therefore, to call the forecaddie golfers would usually yell forecaddie. And then eventually the “caddie” Was dropped from the term, leaving just fore.

In my opinion, this story logically proves the origin of the term Fore.

Fore in Golf Originating from Scotland

The third most commonly heard story about the term ‘fore’ comes from Scotland. In the 15th century, there was a reformer and writer living in Scotland. His name was John Knox. He used to tell the people of his to “Ware before”. This essentially meant that the people should watch out for friendly gunfire that might happen behind them.

It is believed that the “Ware before” term may have been shortened to “Fore”. And since it was used as a warning, it’s no surprise that the term could also be used in a golfing setting.

Golfers are discussing before playing shot

What to do when another golfer yells Fore in your direction?

If you are on a golf course and you hear someone yelling “fore” at you, the last thing you want to do is to look up.

Although it may sound tempting to look at what is happening all you should do is move away from where you are standing. This is because golf balls land down at a very high speed. So, if there is a ball coming your way, you won’t have enough time to look at it and then move away.

And in case, you are not able to move fast enough then simply crouch down and shield your head and face. In addition, you can also use your golf cart to shield you. With the help of these strategies, you will not hurt yourself, even if the ball hits you.

One golfer is playing shot while Another Golfer shouting Fore in golf

Other strange yells in Golf

Mashed potatoes

Now, this may sound completely un-golf, but it started back in 2011 when tiger woods hit a stinger off the tee box.

According to the story, one of the fans who wanted his mother to be able to spot him on TV said that he would yell “Mashed potatoes”. When this actually happened on camera, it went viral online causing many more people to follow this at future tournaments.

Baba Booey

Another weirdly funny yell used in golf is “Baba Booey”. It seems, fans just like to let off some steam when they witness a great shot and have nothing to scream.

Basically, Baba Booey is the nickname of a Radio host “Howard Stern”. He got this name when he messed up the pronunciation of Baba Looey on a Live broadcast. Since then, this funny term is stuck with golfers.

Howard Stern
Howard Stern


While it’s true that forecaddies were a part of golf in its early days, you can still see them in some areas. You are more likely to come across a forecaddie at high-end courses or country clubs.

One of the very first rules of golf teaches young golfers to always yell “fore” when their shot could potentially hurt someone. This is taken very seriously in golf and some players take pretty great offense to someone who stays silent in such a situation.

So, it’s very important that you remember to yell “Fore” on the golf course, especially when there are seniors or juniors playing around you.

If you have ever been hit by a golf ball then it’s definitely painful. However, depending on how far you were hit and most importantly where, it can be a little less painful. Just keep your eyes and ears open on the golf course and watch out if you hear someone yelling “Fore”.

Similar Posts