verb: to scrape the ground instead of hitting the ball cleanly on a golf stroke
“Despite a bogey on his penultimate hole of the morning, where he sclaffed about in the sand and made things worse with three putts, it was a second consecutive 72 for the former Open champion.” — Paul Forsyth, Scotland on Sunday, April 13, 2003
“Good luck to him while he’s chasing his wee white ball on the golf course from one clump of bushes to another, sclaffing out of miniature beaches in pursuit of his unseen target hole several hundred yards away.” — Daily Record, July 7, 2012
Did you know?
There’s no dearth of names for bad shots on the golf course. The duffer can dub, slice, hook, top, pull, push, sky, shank, or sclaff a shot. “Sclaff” is a word at home—albeit not warmly welcomed—on the Scottish links. In Scots, “sclaff” originally referred to a slap with the palm of the hand and was likely of onomatopoeic origin. The similarity of the painful resonance of a sclaff to the disheartening thud of a golf club striking the ground behind a ball did not go unnoticed by grimacing golfers on the fairway. By the 19th century’s end, “sclaff” was being used as both a noun and verb for such a stroke.