Over the weekend, I barely missed a downhill putt, against the grain, that I hit just inside the left edge — didn’t give the hole away — but it still lipped out and left a 2-foot tester for my flat stick.

Over the weekend, I barely missed a downhill putt, against the grain, that I hit just inside the left edge — didn’t give the hole away — but it still lipped out and left a 2-foot tester for my flat stick.

Even if I can’t play golf very well, I like to talk a good game. Golfers know that their chosen sport has its own language, its distinct vocabulary, its secret way of speaking so tennis players won’t understand and they’ll think they’re missing out on something.

Spouses and friends who have to listen to their loved ones talk about rounds that they’ve just completed might also be a little unclear on the golf lexicon.

“I followed you when you were bragging about driving it ‘dead solid perfect’ the whole round — I figure that’s good — but you lost me when you started going on about leaving yourself an ‘uphill draw lie in the short grass.’ Which reminds me, our grass isn’t short enough because you golfed all day ...”

LEARNING THE LANGUAGE

I’ve spent a lot of time on golf courses over the last 40 or so years, and although the experience hasn’t honed any particularly noticeable golf skills it has given me an increasingly better understanding of what golf terms mean, to me, as opposed to a professional.

“I’m sitting up, so I’m going to hit an easy 7-iron over the pond, drawing it into the fat part of the green and letting it funnel down to the cup.” Translation: I’m going to be heading off to the drop zone in a few seconds after hitting behind the ball and dumping it into the drink.

But for an ever-so-short amount of time, I thought I knew what I was doing. Hopefully, everybody within earshot was deluded enough to figure I had a firm grasp on some sort of strategy. Even without a caddy making all those hand gestures and pulling appropriate clubs out of my bag and reading yardage notes out of a little notebook, I wasn’t already reaching for a replacement ball. So I must have had a pretty good idea of what the golf ball on the ground was going to do under ideal circumstances, such as if another golfer hit it. Only after thinking it all out did things go awry.

Not my problem. You all heard me. I knew what to do. Just didn’t do it this time. There must have been a time or two that I did. Or not.

NEVERTHELESS

I like to say those things anyway. When spoken before a still-technically-possible shot, good golf talk makes it sound as though I have a plan. If uttered with some fair amount of disdain following an errant shot, it’s a rather eloquent excuse.

If paired with an ever-so-slight pounding of the club head against the ground, your apparent understanding of the game — you are what you say — can make it appear as though the fault is obviously that of a short iron or long rough.

“I caught a flyer ...”

Personally, I’m buying that explanation. It’ll probably sound good to playing partners, too, if they’re new enough.