Golf has some pretty strange terms that are even confusing for golfers. One of those terms is "through the green."
The term "through the green" is really only used in the Rules of Golf, and it describes a specific area of the golf course. Under the Rules of Golf, "through the green" is defined as any area on the golf course, excluding four areas: tee boxes and greens on the hole being played, hazards and bunkers. The USGA and R&A have used "through the green" to create separate areas of the golf course where rules are applied in specific ways. However "through the green" has long been a confusing term, so the USGA and R&A have changed it.
The area on a golf course known as "through the green" is now called the "general area."
Why make the change?
The Rules of Golf now call "general area" what was once "through the green" in an effort to be consistent with another change in terminology. Water hazards are now called "penalty areas," as the USGA and R&A wanted to give courses and tournament operators the option to declare more parts of the golf course as places where golfers can take relief if needed. So, if the USGA and R&A were going to create "penalty areas," then why not be consistent and rename "through the green" as the "general area"?
The "general area" term reflects the reality that most shots in golf are played from this part of the course.
Under the 2019 Rules of Golf, then, there are five areas of the golf course: the general area, penalty areas, bunkers, teeing ground and putting greens.