Why shout “come on” in golf?

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The origin of the term “front” in golf is uncertain, but it is commonly used to warn others on the course. Possible explanations include its use in seafaring, military, or Scottish gunnery practices, or its development from the forecaddie. It is called when a ball goes off target, and anyone hearing it should look out for incoming balls to avoid injury.

There are a variety of explanations for why golfers yell “front” when they hit a golf ball. While no one is exactly sure where the term came from, it is now a commonly used way of warning other people on the golf course. Some experts suggest that the term has been used for hundreds of years, since at least the 18th or 19th century.
One possible explanation for the term is that it is understood as the seafaring term for “front.” On a ship, sailors don’t say “fore” and “behind,” but rather “forward” and “stern.” Shouting this term in golf is a way of warning those in front of you to look out, so this explanation definitely makes sense.

Another explanation is military in nature. During the time golf was catching on in the UK, artillery such as cannon was a mainstay of battle. Since infantry traditionally marches in front of artillery, marksmen would shout warnings before firing by saying “beware first”. Since the infantrymen would need as much time as possible to take cover and take cover, the term was shortened. Eventually, this may have been used on the golf course, to warn those in advance of incoming golf balls.

Other suggestions for the term include various corruptions of the word “before,” as in the theory above. An interesting suggestion concerns a port city called Leith in Scotland, where a defensive fort was built just above the local golf course, the famous Leith Links. During gunnery practice, some experts suggest that gunners would have shouted “forward” as a warning to the golfers below, which may explain how the term moved from a military usage to a golf phrase.

According to some expert sources, such as the British Golf Museum, the term may even have developed from an early member of the golf team, the forecaddie. This man was accused of running past the golf party to mark where the golf balls landed. It is suggested that either the golfers shout a warning to their precaddie when they were about to shoot, or that the preecaddie shouts to warn anyone ahead in the path of the oncoming players.

“Forward” is usually called when a ball has strayed from its intended path. It is not typically used every time a golfer shoots, just when he feels the shot will go off target. Anyone on a golf course who hears someone calling should look for any incoming golf balls. Being hit by a golf ball can cause bruising, concussion, or possibly even brain or bone injury, if the ball travels fast enough.

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