What Does AS Stand for in Golf?

Golf isn’t a complicated sport, but it does have a large terminology. Tees, greens, fairways, and bogeys are all part of a standard match; some golfers call it “the Esperanto of sports.” There are also many relevant abbreviations, from AS to USGA. But what does AS stand for in golf? Learn more about this abbreviation and its meaning.

AS, often stylized as A/S, is an acronym for “All square.” It labels a situation during a Match Play when the opposite sides (players or teams) who are competing against each other are tied or square. In 2019, the new version of Rules of Golf terminated the use of “All square” and introduced the term “tied” instead.

A man and a woman golfing on the course

What Does AS Stand for in Golf?

AS (can be seen as A/S in some places) stands for “All square.” This phrase is no longer in use since 2019, when the new Rules of Golf rulebook came out and into effect. “All square” was permanently replaced by the phrase “tied,” with the same meaning.

The term was used for as long as the game has existed, and fans and players alike could hear it anywhere. From The Players to the Colonial tournament, “All square” meant golfers or teams playing against each other were tied.

When Was the Phrase Invented?

“The Historical Dictionary of Golfing Terms” is a book by Peter Davies, in which he gathered the golfing vocabulary from the beginning of the game until the present day. In this book, he included “All Square” as part of the terminology.

However, the book was published in 1993, and the rules of golfing have changed since then. Still, it’s said in the book that AS or “All square” dates back to 1833 and perhaps even further back. It’s a phrase that’s been in the game for a long time; anyone that’s ever struggled to explain to a newbie what “All square” means won’t have those issues anymore.

A woman striking a ball and a man sitting in a cart watching

What Does “All Square” Mean?

AS or “All square” is (or better said – was) a phrase used in a Match Play type of game. In the Historical Dictionary, it’s defined as “standing even, both sides having won the same number of holes.”

It is believed that the term came from the universal meaning of being “square” with someone. For example, if you owe money to someone and settle that debt, you’re square with that person. There’s also the phrase “fair and square.”

Some commentators may use the phrase as a verb. For example, “Phil Mickelson must win the eighth hole to square his match with Tiger Woods.” or “Mickelson squared his match with Woods by winning the eighth hole.”

Why Doesn’t the USGA Use This Term Anymore?

In 2019, the United States Golf Association (USGA) and R&A Rules Limited (The R&A) changed the vocabulary in the Rules of Golf significantly. They claimed to have done that to modernize the terms, making them more accessible to wider audiences.

However, faithful golfing fans and anyone who’s ever had a golf club membership complained about these changes, calling them redundant and “dumbing down a great game.” People find this new format a sort of insult to intelligence, wondering why, and if it’s really hard for younger players to understand the vocabulary.

Here are some of the words the USGA and R&A changed and their meanings:

  • “All square” or “halve” is now “a tie” or “tied,”
  • “Status” is now “match score” or “score of the match,”
  • “Make a claim” has been changed to “ask for a ruling” or “request a ruling,”
  • “Dormie,” used for being ahead by as many holes as remain to be played, has been completely removed from the book.

It’s safe to say that the total removal of “dormie” sparked some heavy outrage on social media, naturally among golfing fans and lovers of the sport.

A beautiful course with obstacles and a ball near a hole

What Are the Different Types of Golf Scoring Formats?

When you’re at a country club, you don’t have to remember terms like “all square” or “halve.” But when you’re watching a tournament or any kind of golfing competition, these things will matter a lot.

In the table below, you can learn about the three different types of scoring formats and the tournaments they’re played at.

Scoring formatType of playTournaments played
Stroke playAccounting for each stroke used, but the final winner is the one with the lowest strokes.●      The US Open
●      PGA Championship
●      The Open Championship
●      Masters Tournament
●      Most European Tour events
Match playThis game type also accounts for each stroke used, but the lowest strokes win the hole; the most won holes win the match.●      Ryder Cup
●      Presidents Cup
●      WGC Match Play
●      Volvo World Match Play Championship
StablefordDeciding a winner is based on how well the player does against their handicap; it converts under, even, and over strokes into points. The winner is the player with the most points●      Investec Royal Swazi Open
●      American Century Championship
●      Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions

AS Stands for “All Square,” an Old Term in Golfing

Ever since two shepherds on the Scottish seaside went against each other in a game from which golf was created, the term “all square” was used to signify an even score. The most recent changes in golfing vocabulary have disappointed fans and professionals alike, and many don’t accept them as true.

If you’re trying to work on your handicap and golfing career with some old-school golfers, using “halve” or “all square” will get you on their good side. Just don’t get confused when reading the rulebook – it’s now “tied.” Also, condemn the elimination of “dormie” – they’ll help you any time if they hear you oppose that decision.