Why Do Golfers Yell Fore?

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On any golf course around the world, it's common to hear the word "fore" being shouted at times. If you are an experienced golfer, hearing this word should prompt you to take quick action. If you are inexperienced, it's important to understand the word and its implications so that you can react accordingly.

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Why do Golfers Yell Fore?

Use of the term "fore" in the game of golf dates back to 1878, according to the Oxford Dictionary. The golf term is believed to come from the word "before," which is a synonym to "ahead." So what does fore mean? And why is it proper golf etiquette?

The term fore literally means, "look out ahead." Golfers use this term immediately following an errant shot as a way to give other golfers a heads up that a golf ball might be heading their way, hoping to provide enough time for them to seek safety and avoid serious injuries.

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When to Shout Fore

When playing golf, if you hit a tee shot, fairway shot or even a golf shot from the rough and the ball flies toward an adjacent fairway, shout "fore" loudly and clearly.

Shouting the word once usually suffices, although it's acceptable to shout it repeatedly if you see your shot sailing toward another group of golfers or a section of fans at a golf tournament. If you lose sight of your shot but know it was errant, yelling the term is suitable.

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During a round of golf, you might hear the word fore being yelled near you.

When you hear the word, your immediate reaction might be to look around for the incoming ball. The best reaction, however, as PGA Tour professional golfers would tell you, is to duck and shield your face. The incoming ball is more likely to miss you than hit you, but it's always best to protect yourself as quickly as possible, especially because you won't always know the direction from which the ball is coming.


Golf etiquette dictates that golfers should always yell "fore" upon hitting a wayward shot that carries the risk of hitting another golfer at a golf club.

As long as you yelled "fore," you did all you could to warn the other golfers about where the ball lands on your bad shot. Convey this message to them in as polite a manner as possible, and perhaps ride your golf cart over to them and apologize afterwards.