NCG’s Golf Glossary: What is Bullarding?

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In the lexicon of golf, terms and phrases can range from the familiar to the downright obscure. One term that may elicit puzzled looks even from experienced golfers is “bullarding.” While it may not be a household term like “hole-in-one” or “birdie,” understanding what bullarding is can add another layer to your golf knowledge and perhaps even your strategy on the course. Let’s dive into this lesser-known term, its origins, and its application in the game of golf.

What is Bullarding?

“Bullarding” is a term used in golf to describe the act of deliberately hitting the ball into a hazard to gain a strategic advantage. The name likely has roots in various local dialects and idioms from regions where golf is popular. The act itself is a calculated risk, where a golfer deliberately aims for, say, a water hazard or a bunker, to set up a more favorable subsequent shot. It might sound counterintuitive at first, but in certain situations, taking the risk can pay off handsomely.

Why Would Someone Choose Bullarding?

The reasons for opting for a bullarding strategy can vary but are often rooted in course layout and individual skill set. For example, a golfer might choose this approach when:

  1. Narrow Fairways: Sometimes, the path to the hole is so fraught with obstacles that intentionally landing in a hazard provides a clearer subsequent shot.
  2. Wind Conditions: Strong winds can make traditional plays risky. In such cases, a water hazard might actually provide a “safe landing” compared to aiming for the green and missing wildly.
  3. Skill Level: A seasoned golfer may be confident enough in their sand play to intentionally land in a bunker, knowing they can recover skillfully on the next shot.

Risks and Rewards

Bullarding is not without its risks. It’s a high-stakes strategy that can backfire if not executed correctly. However, when done right, it can provide the player with a significant advantage, both in terms of positioning and mental game. Knowing when and how to employ this tactic can be the difference between an average round and a standout performance.


Is Bullarding Allowed in Professional Tournaments?

Yes, bullarding is allowed as it falls under the golfer’s right to choose his or her strategy, even if that involves deliberately aiming for a hazard.

Is Bullarding Considered Unethical?

No, it’s not considered unethical as long as it adheres to the Rules of Golf. It’s a legitimate strategy that can be used to gain an advantage, much like any other tactic in the sport.

Does Bullarding Require Special Skills?

Mastering the art of bullarding requires a good understanding of both your own capabilities and the specific challenges presented by the golf course. It’s a strategy best employed by seasoned players who can accurately predict outcomes.


Bullarding may not be a term you hear every day on the golf course, but understanding its nuances adds another dimension to the rich tapestry of golfing terminology. Whether you choose to adopt this high-risk, high-reward strategy or not, knowing what it is can deepen your understanding and appreciation of the multifaceted and endlessly fascinating game of golf.

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