NCG’s Golfing Glossary: What is a golden ferret?

News & Tour

Does this week's phrase give you a warm, furry feeling inside your trousers?

As me old Dad once said, there’s a whole world out there my lad, beyond our borders. It’s a world of golfers and golfing terms that may seem strange at first. But with a little practice, we’ll have you feeling right at home.
 
Here at National Club Golfer, we’re the publication for the everyday player and we’ve taken it upon ourselves to give you a step-by-step introduction to the wonderful world of the golfing lexicon.


Word of the week: Golden ferret

 

What I think it means:

 

In the grand scheme of things, Yorkshire has been somewhat of a passenger in the development of golf.

 

None of the game’s great advances happened in Yorkshire, despite the county featuring more fairways per capita than any other in the country, and there’s never been an Open winner who hails from White Rose country.


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Maybe if you spent less time practising paper, rock, scissors Danny…

 

Golf came to Yorkshire in 1887, when the Cleveland Golf Club was founded. But ferreting was here much earlier, it’s one of Yorkshire’s great pastimes, and I think some of the phraseology must have filtered into golf.

 

“Oh neya eur ferret ’as run up uz leg” is a common phrase heard in pubs and inns throughout Yorkshire, especially in places where ferret-legging was a popular sport among coal miners. I think it has somehow translated on to the golf course.


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Maybe it’s a putt that runs and bobbles, this way and that, along the ground before nestling into a hole (which is essentially what ferrets do)?

 

Dictionary definition:

 

’Holing out from a greenside bunker’


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You could say he ‘Rose to the occasion’

 

 

Origins:

 

The phrase is actually a joining of two separate golfing terms.

 

A ’ferret’ means to hole out from off the green for par or better, although you can’t use a putter to qualify for this.

 

Meanwhile, a ’golden sandy’ means holing out from a greenside bunker, and the word ferret has simply replaced the ending.

 

And a golden ferret may be a fortuitous happy ending after a disaster occurred one shot previously.
 

’Nitby’, I was reliably informed by a Swedish golf journalist whom I played with on a trip this year, stands for ’Not in the bunker yet’. That occurs when you’re faced with one of those tricky shots from a dodgy lie, with a bunker right in front of you. After you’ve scuffed the ball into the bunker, you’ll be hoping to be rescued by a golden ferret.

 

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Ferrets make notoriously poor superheroes

 

Use it in a sentence:

 

“I can’t believe it, a golden ferret!”

 
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‘Easy’

What this actually means:

 

For a couple of seconds there, you looked just like a professional.

We see it all the time with these pros on the TV, making sand saves with such regularity as to make it seem routine, and now you’ve achieved that illustrious level.

Congratulations, you’ve conquered bunkers – if only until you next find the sand, and take four shots to escape it.



 

Last week we took a trip to space discovered the meaning of the phrase ’Moon shots’. You can read all about it by clicking here.

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