'Will The Teeing Ground Soon Be Referred To As The Starting Platform?’ - Why ‘All-Square’ Disappearing Doesn’t Sit Well With Me…

Some traditional golfing vernacular seems like it might have had its day

Is The Term All-Square Officially Dead?
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are a lot of terms in golf that divide opinion. Bunker or trap? Flag or pin? Or even my new pet peeve the incessant use of the term “green complexes”!

Golf terminology can be confusing enough without multiple terms to describe the same thing. Watching the first morning's play at the 2023 Ryder Cup from Rome, another linguistic phenomenon seems to be sweeping the coverage.

The term “tied” appears to be being used exclusively now to describe a match that in my experience has always been referred to as “all-square”. 

It seems that I am not the only person to notice the change of description either. Ryder Cup legend and former captain Colin Montgomerie took to social media to express his dismay.

“Please a match is all square NOT tied. It is only a tied match when we are playing in the USA and this week we are not. Thank you.”

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Montgomerie posted these comments during last weeks Solheim Cup matches where the use of "tie" was once again prominent over the traditional "all-square"

Whilst Monty is clearly passionate about the traditional golfing terminology, it seems he might be technically incorrect based on the new publication of the Rules of Golf in 2019. The term “all-square” was officially replaced by “tied” although a hole can still be referred to as being “halved”.

What is the reasoning behind the change? Well, we can find no official explanation but it would seem that it may be an attempt to simplify the terminology and make what can be a very complicated game to follow, easier to understand for the casual fan.

Colin Montgomerie won the 2012 Ryder Cup as captain

Ryder Cup legend Colin Montgomerie clearly isn't impressed with the changes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For me, the change is an unnecessary one. Let’s face it, if you have the basic intelligence and motor skills to turn on your television and watch the coverage, you probably possess the tools to figure out that all square means level. Dumbing down terminology that has been embedded in our game for years feels like a shame.

What’s next? Will the teeing ground soon be referred to as the starting platform?! Will dogleg be changed to hole bend? Or could fringe be replaced by green transition?! I certainly hope not.

Joe Ferguson
Staff Writer


Joe has worked in the golf industry for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles. After a successful amateur career being involved in England squads at every age group, Joe completed his PGA degree qualification in 2014 as one of the top ten graduates in his training year and subsequently went on to become Head PGA Professional at Ryder Cup venue The Celtic Manor Resort. Equipment has always been a huge passion of Joe’s, and during his time at Celtic Manor, he headed up the National Fitting Centres for both Titleist and Taylormade.  He’s excited to bring his knowledge of hardware to Golf Monthly in the form of equipment reviews and buying advice. 

Joe lives in North Devon and still plays sporadically on the PGA West region circuit. His best round in recent years came earlier in 2023 where he managed a 9 under par 63 at Trevose GC in a Devon & Cornwall PGA Tournament.

Joe's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Ping G430 Max 10K 9 degree - Fujikura Ventus Red 6X 45.75"

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M2 Tour 2017, 13.5° - Mitsubishi Tensei 1K Pro White shaft 70TX

Irons: Callaway Apex CB 24'  3-11 - Project X LS 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade MG4 54 and 60 degree - Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts

Putter: Odyssey Toe Up #9

Ball: TaylorMade 2024 TP5x