is shouted as a warning during a golf
game when it appears possible that a golf ball
may hit other players or spectators. The mention of the term in an 1881
British Golf Museum indicates that the term was in use at least as early as that period. The term means "look ahead", and it is believed to come from the military "beware before", which was shouted when a battery fired behind friendly troops.
Other possible origins include the term being derived from the term "fore-caddy", a caddy waiting down range from the golfer to find where the ball lands. These caddies were often warned about oncoming golf balls by a shout "fore!". The Colonel Bogey March is based on the descending minor third which the original Colonel Bogey whistled instead of yelling Fore around 1914.
It may have also may have a contraction of the Gaelic cry Faugh a Ballach! (i.e. Clear the way!) which is still associated with the sport of road bowling which has features reminiscent of golf.
- Scott, James Sibbald David The British Army: Its Origin, Progress, and Equipment, 1868
- Windsor Magazine: An Illustrated Monthly for Men and Women Vol. 33, no. 192 (December 1910)