What is a green in regulation in golf? What does that term mean?
Golf Culture

What is a green in regulation in golf? What does that term mean?



One of the most commonly used statistics in golf in "green in regulation," which is often shortened to GIR. However, people watching golf, or even those playing golf, may not know what "green in regulation" means as it relates to golf performance.

What is a green in regulation in golf?

In golf, a player hits a green in regulation when their golf ball hits and remains on the putting surface of a hole in as many or fewer than the number of shots prescribed by the par of a hole.

Par is a measure of what an expert player is expected to score on a golf hole, and it's a measure largely based on the distance of a hole, with the expectation that a player will hit a green in regulation and then hole the ball with two putts.

Therefore, determining how many strokes a player has on each hole to hit the green in regulation is a subtraction problem.

  • If a hole is a par 3, and an expert player would be expected to take two putts from the green, the player has to hit and hold the green with their tee shot -- their first shot of the hole.
  • On a par 4, a player has to hit the green with their first or second shot to hit the green in regulation.
  • On a par 5, a player has to hit the green with their first, second or third shot to hit the green in regulation.

For a player to hit a green in regulation, the ball must remain on the putting surface in the number of strokes required or better. The ball cannot be on the fringe or near, but not on, the green for it to count.

Greens in regulation are an important stat, but by no means is it a tell-all stat. A player can hit a green in regulation and be far from the hole, leaving them a longer, more difficult path to the hole. A player can miss a green in regulation and still be close to their target, but they could leave themselves with a difficult shot from off the green to make par or better. However, if a player is hitting a lot of greens in regulation during the round, they are typically playing a comfortable round of golf that shows they are hitting their intended targets with frequency.

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