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If you’re a golfer, you’ve undoubtedly yelled the word “Fore!” at some point in your life after hitting an errant shot. And if you haven’t, congratulations, you’re the greatest player ever to walk the planet. It’s either that, or you’re just incredibly inconsiderate.

And if you don’t play the game yourself but have watched the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, LIV Golf, or any other event, you’ve undoubtedly heard “Fore!” at some point as well. Because, yes, even the pros hit horrible shots from time to time. It’s certainly not as often as we weekend warriors, but it does happen.

For those unfamiliar with the term, “Fore!” should be yelled to alert other golfers that they could be in danger of being struck with a golf ball heading in their general direction.

So where exactly did this term come from?

Why do golfers yell “Fore!” after hitting a bad shot?

Tiger Woods reacts fore right at The Masters in 2022
Tiger Woods reacts fore right to his tee shot on the fifth hole during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2022 | Keyur Khamar/PGA Tour via Getty Images

Truth be told, the overall origin of the term “fore,” or at least its use in the golf world, is uncertain.

What we do know is that “fore” is a prefix meaning “ahead,” so one could almost say that yelling the term on a golf course is essentially someone saying, “Look out ahead!”

The more popular theory is that the term was derived from the word “forecaddie,” a word that originated in the 1700s to describe someone who joins a player (or a group of players) and tracks where each golf ball lands. As they’re typically ahead of the group in an area where they think the balls will land, they’re certainly in danger of being struck.

These types of caddies were often warned about balls heading in their direction by golfers yelling “fore-caddie,” which was shortened to the “Fore!” term we all know today.


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