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Fore

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Definition: "Fore" - actually, fore! - is a word of warning yelled out by a golfer who has hit an errant shot. If your shot is in danger of hitting or landing very close to another player or group of players on the golf course (for instance, if you slice a ball into an adjoining fairway), you should yell "fore!" to warn players to watch out.

Yelling "fore!" is considered good etiquette, but it's not just a courtesy to other golfers, it can serve to prevent injury. After all, a golf ball striking a person can do serious damage.

Perhaps the most common usage of fore is when golfers hit the ball farther than expected, or when they play their stroke without realizing that there is a golfer up ahead who might be in danger. Next would be with hooks and slices on tight golf courses, where holes are close together and a curving shot might fly into or run into an adjoining fairway.

At professional tournaments, where holes are tightly lined by fans, it's common to hear tour pros yell "fore right" or "fore left," letting the fans known which direction the ball is traveling. That way, the fans on the left side or right side of the hole know to take cover.

Why is the term "fore" used for this purpose? What is the origin of the term's golf meaning? See see our FAQ entry, "Why do golfers yell "fore" to warn others of an errant shot?"

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