The Origins of Golf Terminology – Yelling Fore

Golf is a beautiful sport to participate in; it is fun; it is entertaining and can even be played with the family. Golf is well known to be a sport for all people to play. Golf is also represented by those who are less able-bodied, providing a similar experience with the use of handicaps and other modifications of rules. One of the largest and most confusing aspects of golf remains to be the terminology of the game. No one understands the reason as to the terminology and what it was influenced by. The word ‘Fore’ is a word from the terminology used in golf. The word is used mainly only when the golf ball is hit and upon the completion of a stroke.

According to the English Dictionary, the first recorded proof of the use of ‘Fore’ was in 1878. The origin of this word was simple. It was used as a warning cry for those who remained in the golfing field after an individual had completed a stroke. This cry was used for those who were only in the way of the game were at risk of being hit by a golf ball. According to historians, the word ‘Fore’ was likely to have been derived from the word ‘Forecaddie.’ A Forecaddie or better known today as a ‘caddie’ is a very important person in the game of golf. They are individuals who follow the ball when hit to retrieve them if they went out of the game. Due to this, golf players would call out ‘Forecaddie’ while or immediately after their stroke, so that the Forecaddies can successfully follow the ball and mark them. However, as time progressed, golf players found that the name was too long, and so they shortened it, resulting in ‘Fore.’

Forecaddies
Forecaddies

Forecaddies

Forecaddies were first hired to stand at the destination of the ball and retrieve the ball. This is due to the immense price of golf balls. Players hired Forecaddies to find and save the balls, reducing costs, similar to behavior at that of tournaments today.  Forecaddies in the modern era are known just known as caddies. They are equipped with more protective technology, such as a golf cart with protective mesh as well as a helmet to protect their head as well. However, even though the word forecaddie changed and caddies are more equipped, the term Fore is still used, as a way to alert the caddies to the presence of the ball and its location.

Gunnery and Artillery

Another theory for the origin of ‘Fore’ is due to the term ‘Ware Before.’ Ware Before is a term used by artillery and gun members as an alarm to those who are standing in the field to duck and cover. The term acted similarly to ‘Fore.’ After countless hours of research on the origins of ‘Ware Before’ and how it may have influenced the term ‘Fore,’ historians found a possible connection between the golfers and the artillery members. The proof showed that in ancient golf clubs that golfers and artillery members well placed close to each other, which could have possibly resulted in the use of the term ‘Fore.’