Why Do They Shout Fore In Golf? [And Why You Should]

Ever wondered why golfers shout FORE when they’re playing golf?

Me to. Let’s have a look at why you hear this phrase at golf courses across the world.

why do golfers yell fore

Why Do They Say Fore In Golf?

What Does Fore Mean In Golf?

Golfers shout fore to warn other golfers of a ball flying towards their direction.

When one golfer hits a wayward shot and it’s heading for another hole or at another golfer, the person who hit the ball should shout fore to warn them to watch out.

A golf ball can travel at a serious speed and as a result, it can hurt a great deal if it hits a person. By shouting fore, it’s alerting fellow players of potential danger and giving them a chance to protect themselves or move out of the way.

The theory behind why “fore” is the term used by golfers has a few different origin stories as disputed by golf historians.

In the late 19th century, in Scotland where golf originated, the Scottish word “fore” was used as a warning message to warn people of potential incoming danger. The Old Scottish term actually meant “lookout ahead” which does make sense for the use in golf.

Another possible theory for the term is from the word “fore-caddie”. A fore-caddie was a caddie used for spotting golf balls on the golf course, waiting halfway up the fairway to assist players and caddies to find their golf balls and limit the number of lost balls.

Golfers would yell “fore-caddie” to let the fore-caddie know that a ball had been hit and was going in their direction. The term was later shortened to “fore’ to make it easier.

When To Shout Fore In Golf?

Whilst hitting an errant shot on the golf course, golfers should yell fore if their ball is travelling towards another golfer or group of golfers.

Even if the ball isn’t on someone else’s hole, shouting fore if the ball is travelling at other people is important for safety and is a courteous thing to do.

Shouting fore gives other golfers a heads up and a chance to get out of the way and protect themselves from the risk of a golf ball.

As well as shouting fore, it’s also a good idea to either shout “fore left” or “fore right”. This is proper golf etiquette as it indicates to others on the golf course which direction the golf ball is coming from.

What To Do When You Hear Fore?

When another golfer yells fore while out on the golf course, it usually means a bad shot is heading in your direction.

The first thing you should do is stop what you’re doing and protect yourself.

Usually, you’ll have a couple of seconds before the ball lands near you, so try and find something to hide behind such as a golf bag or golf cart. Make yourself as small as you can and cover your head with your hands.

As someone who has been hit by a golf ball, I can assure you that it hurts and is well worth getting out the way of.

Why You Really Should Yell Fore?

Getting hit by a golf really is quite painful. It can also be very dangerous to fellow golfers.

There’s been many stories of golfers getting hit in the eye and losing sight in the eye for life. Of course, having golf insurance is a good idea, but it hopefully shouldn’t ever get to that level if you can shout for every time there’s just a small chance of someone getting hit by your golf ball.

Yelling fore is always just part of the game of golf. If you choose not to yell fore, but your ball landed near another golfer, it’s very likely you will get a rather angry person standing next to your ball.

If you play golf, shouting fore is just a part of the game which should be used and accepted. Not just for health and safety, but also it’s just good etiquette.

Why Do Pro Golfers Not Yell Fore?

You won’t often hear pro golfers yell fore because they have a spotter or a person on the tee box who will point in the direction their ball is going.

After an errant shot, the golfer or the spotter will point either right or left to help indicate where the ball is heading. Sometimes, people in the crowd will also shout fore to let other people know.

Some golfers will always yell fore after a poor golf shot, but many won’t. The top professional golfers hit the ball a considerable distance and so those stood 350 yards away may not be able to hear a shout of fore from the tee.

I’ve always found it astonishing that the best in the game refuse to yell fore to worn spectators (who’ve paid good money to be there) of an incoming ball.

Not only is it very dangerous, but it also sets a pretty bad example for beginner golfers or those new to the game on how to act whilst playing golf.

As mentioned, golf balls can lead to serious injuries. One spectator even lost her eye during the 2018 Ryder Cup after a wide shot from Brooks Koepka.

Final Thoughts

The golf term fore has been used for many a year, helping warn other golfers of impending danger in the form of a 1.680-inch ball flying towards them.

You might not often hear it used on TV whilst watching professional tournaments on the PGA Tour, however, it’s a common phrase at every single course in the world and helps keep other golfers safe.

There’s nothing funny about getting hit by a golf ball, so remember to always shout fore on poor shots.


What is a warning cry in golf called?

The term “fore” is the warning cry in golf which helps to warn other golfers of potential danger and oncoming balls. It gives golfers the time to move out of the way or protect themselves from the threat of a travelling ball.

Where did the term fore come from?

A popular theory for where the term fore came from is it was a warning message from Old Scotland in the Middle Ages. It was then later used as a warning call to golfers when golf began to be popularised in 19th-century Scotland.

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

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