Why Do Golfers Yell Fore?

Many new golfers, along with several professional ones, have often wondered about the same question, which is why do golfers always yell ‘fore’? 

Why Do Golfers Yell Fore

In short, golfers shout fore to let other players know that they might be at risk of being hit by the ball.

Golfers should always shout fore if they don’t know where the ball will land or if there is a chance of the ball striking another player. 

We’ll cover why golfers yell fore in more detail in this post, including the history behind the term, when you should yell fore, and what to do if someone shouts fore towards you. 

Why Do Golfers Shout Fore When Playing Golf?

If you’re on a golf course and you hear someone shout fore, it’s a good idea to duck down and shield yourself from harm. 

This happens when the player has swung a shot that’s very off-course, so it won’t end up anywhere close to the intended target.

There’s more chance that the golf ball will strike another player in the head instead of landing near the hole.

In most cases, the golfer will point towards the area the ball is traveling to once they hit it. They will yell fore, then point. 

There may be occasions where you won’t hear the yell, which makes it even more important for the golfer to point.

Always be on high alert while playing golf or while watching other people play. If anyone is pointing towards you, move out of the way, fast.

When Do You Need To Shout Fore?

You don’t need to shout fore every time you take a swing, as this will be frustrating for anyone else playing on the course.

You only need to shout fore if you are shooting from the rough or the fairway, and if it looks like the ball may land near any other players.

If you are unsure about where the ball will land, or if you are worried that it may land a little too near any other players, it’s a good idea to shout fore.

Make sure you point in the direction the ball is traveling. It’s best to stay on the safe side when you’re playing golf, as there’s the risk of some nasty injuries occurring. 

What Should You Do If Someone Shouts Fore Towards You?

If you are playing on the green and find someone shouting fore and pointing toward you, don’t look up! 

Even though it seems like a natural reaction, this is the last thing that you want to do.

Balls can fall from the sky very quickly.

You won’t have enough time to move out of the way after looking up.

It’s best to cover your face and head at once. The idea is to crouch down into a small ball.

This will ensure that even if the ball hits you, it won’t hurt as much, or cause any dangerous injuries.

If the possibility arises, you can also defend yourself by using the golf cart as a shield.

This will involve moving fast, but if you can, the golf cart (see also: How Wide Is A Golf Cart? )may eventually protect you from hazardous injuries. 

History Of The Term Fore

why do golfers yell fore

Most golfers know to shout fore. This simple exclamation can keep all golfers safe on the golf course, particularly if you suspect that the ball may strike someone directly on the head.

A question here is why the term fore is used, instead of a simpler phrase, like heads up, or lookout

We still aren’t sure of the real history behind the word fore, but various theories explain why the word is used when playing golf. 

Remember that all of the following explanations are just theories, so you can decide for yourself which one sounds most plausible. 

Going Back To The Middle Ages

The first explanation is that the word fore was often used in the Middle Ages. During this time, the word fore was used as a prefix, meaning ahead. 

If you think about older language that you may have read in Shakespeare, words like foretold and foremost relate to the word ‘ahead’. 

With this in mind, this explains why people would shout fore to tell others that an object was flying ahead toward them. 

While this theory sounds credible, one of the issues with it is why the word fore wasn’t accompanied by a different word that told others that a ball was launching ahead, instead of a different object. 

Related To The Term ‘Forecaddie’

A different explanation is that the term fore came from the 1700s term, forecaddie. This name was given to people that would follow and track where the balls landed.

Forecaddies had the job of monitoring every golf ball and pointing to where the golf balls would land. 

Golfers would shout forecaddie to let the forecaddie know when they would strike a golf ball.

Soon enough, the caddie portion of the name was left out, just leaving the term fore behind. 

This may be one of the most logical theories that explain where the word fore originated, and it also gives a possible explanation for where the term caddie started from.

Scottish Beginnings

Another explanation, albeit less popular, is that the word fore began in Scotland, as this is where golfing first began. 

The writer and reformer, John Knox, was living in Scotland during the 15th century.

He often told people living nearby to ‘ware before’. This meant being cautious of friendly gunfire that may have been happening behind them. 

As time went on, the ‘ware before’ phrase may have become shorter to ‘fore’.

People may have used the latter term to let people know what was happening around them.

As fore was a warning term, it may be plausible that the word was used in the same manner when on the golf course. 

The Bottom Line

Golfers shout fore to let other players know that a ball is traveling towards them, often pointing in the direction that the ball is heading in. 

You don’t need to shout fore all the time, but only if there’s a risk of the ball striking another player. 

If you find that someone is shouting fore toward you, crouch into a ball and shield your face and head.

Golfing injuries can be very dangerous, so it’s best to be safe than sorry! 

Garratt Shmidt
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