NCG's Golf Glossary: What are greens in regulation?

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Don't know your dormies from your doglegs? NCG's Golf Glossary

Once upon a time, and it seems quite long ago now, strokes gained putting was not the be all and end all of statistics.

You could go through an entire television broadcast without someone referring to how many shots a player was making on the field with flat-stick in hand.

But how did we manage before that? How did we know who was hot and who was not?

Enter greens in regulation.

Word of the week: Greens in regulation

This remains a popular way to rate a round, especially for us amateurs. Basically, a golfer earns a GIR by hitting the green in one stroke on a par 3, two on a par 4 and three on a par 5.

The ball must be on the green to count as GIR. One coach once told me that he counted being on the fringe as a bone fide GIR but it’s not.

As the PGA Tour themselves say: “If any portion of the ball is touching the putting surface after the GIR stroke” then it counts as a green in regulation.

Pro File

How many GIR do you think a professional hits in a tour round? They are so good, it must be nearly every one. Right?

Wrong. The record on the PGA Tour is Tiger Woods, who managed 75.15% GIR in 2000. Remember that year? It was when he enjoyed one of the greatest seasons of all time.

Even that can’t compare to Justin Rose, who was hitting four out of every five greens when he managed 80.8% on the European Tour in 2012.

greens in regulation

Hitting 14/18 greens in regulation is considered an exceptional round and no golfer has ever managed to hit every green in the required strokes during a 72-hole competition since statistics were first recorded in 1980.

Peter Jacobsen, in 1995, and Jerry Kelly, a year later, are the nearest to achieving a full house with 69.

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