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Fairway Woods vs Hybrids – Differences and Similarities

Last Updated on January 12, 2024 by Matt Greene
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Fairway woods and hybrids perform the same purpose in your golf bag - to replace long irons. There are some big differences between them which you may not be aware of.

  1. Fairway woods and hybrids with the same number printed on the bottom are not the same club. 
  2. Hybrids and fairway woods with the same loft, do not go the same distance for most golfers. 
  3. Hybrids are more versatile than fairway woods around the course.

Let's get more in depth.

5 wood vs 3 hybrid

Differences between hybrids and fairway woods

If you're new to hybrids and fairway woods, you might think that a 3 hybrid is the same as a 3 wood or a 5 hybrid is the same as a 5 wood. They are different clubs however and they're different in two ways: shaft length and loft.

Fairway woods have longer shafts with bigger club heads than hybrids. They produce more spin and fly much higher in the air than a hybrid of the same loft which means the fairway wood lands softer with less rollout. 

Hybrids are a combination of a long iron and a fairway wood. Hybrids have smaller heads and shorter shafts than fairway woods. They produce lower ball flights and lower spin rates than fairway woods which means the ball will roll further after landing.  Hybrids usually have more weight in the heel of the club, like an iron does, so most hybrids will create a right to left ball flight.

Hybrids and woods are numbered in a different way

Fairway woods are named after the driver.

The driver is the number 1 wood. After the number 1 wood, follows the 3, 5, 7 and 9 wood. The higher the loft, the higher the number on the bottom of the fairway wood.

Hybrids are designed to replace irons so they are named after the iron they replace. 2 hybrid replaces 2 iron, 3 hybrid replaces a 3 iron etc. 

14-16 degrees
3 wood
17-18 degrees
2 hybrid
5 wood
19-20 degrees
3 hybrid
5 wood
21-23 degrees
4 hybrid
7 wood
24-26 degrees
5 hybrid
9 wood

Hybrids have shorter shafts

Hybrids and fairway woods both come standard with graphite shafts, but the fairway woods always have longer shafts than the hybrid equivalents. Sometimes the shorter shaft can make the club more accurate. The shorter shaft in almost all cases, except for scratch players, will mean a shorter shot than a longer shaft at the same loft. 

LoftHybridShaft lengthFairwayShaft length
14° to 16°-3 wood43 inches
17° to 18°2 hybrid41 inches5 wood42.5 inches
19° to 20°3 hybrid40.5 inches5 wood42.5 inches
21° to 23°4 hybrid40 inches7 wood42 inches
24° to 26°5 hybrid39.5 inches9 wood41.5 inches

Center of Gravity differences

The fairway wood club head is bigger and longer, to move the center of gravity further back from the club face. Moving the center of gravity (CoG) further back helps to elevate the golf ball when you hit the fairway wood off the ground without a tee.

The hybrid club head is much smaller so the center of gravity will be closer toward the club face. You can expect lower launch and less rollout from a hybrid when we compare a hybrid and fairway wood of the same loft.

center of gravity hybrid
 vs fairway

The difference in center of gravity may be the reason that a hybrid is easier to use and more versatile as a chipping club and as a rescue club from tough lies in the rough. 

Launch differences of hybrids and fairway woods

The fairway wood launches higher and the ball flies to a higher maximum height than a hybrid of the same loft.

The center of gravity causes the shaft to bend at impact more in a fairway wood, than in a hybrid. That bend helps to launch a fairway wood high when you're hitting it off the fairway. The hybrid launches much lower because the center of gravity is closer to the club face. Center of gravity closer to the club face means there is less shaft bend at impact, which means 

shaft bend hybrid vs fairway wood cog

Swing differences 

The fairway wood works best with a slightly sweeping swing. Fairway woods have large club heads with big soles that allow a skimming of the club, which launches the ball nice and high.

Hybrids work well with a downward strike like with an iron. Catching the ball on the lower part of the club face is forgiving, but the ball does not fly as far.

How do hybrids and fairway woods with the same loft compare?

From the data we have collected, we conclude that a hybrid will carry a shorter distance than a fairway wood with the same loft.

If we were to use the same length shaft, with the same loft, the carry distance would be identical but the total distance would be longer with a hybrid. The hybrid is a lower spinning, lower launching club which means you will get more rollout than a fairway wood, if we keep shaft length and loft the same. 

Fairway wood vs hybrid distance chart

In this table, we compare the carry distance of a 90mph driver swing speed:

3 wood (15°)195 yards
5 wood (18°)185 yards
2 hybrid (18°)180 yards
3 hybrid (20°)175 yards
7 wood (21°)176 yards
4 hybrid (22°)169 yards
9 wood (26°)165 yards
5 hybrid (25°)159 yards

Fairway woods vs hybrid comparisons

3 wood vs 3 hybrid difference

A 3 wood is a fairway wood with 15 degrees of loft while a 3 hybrid is a long iron replacement with 19-20 degrees of loft.

Not only is the loft different by 5 degrees, but the length of the shaft in a 3 wood is 43 inches while a 3 hybrid is only 41 inches. The 3 woods lower loft and extra length will produce a much longer shot than the 3 hybrid.

An example golfer with 90 mph swing speed will carry a 3 wood around 192 yards but a 3 hybrid around 170 yards. 

The actual hybrid equivalent of a 3 wood is a 1 hybrid because both 3 wood and 1 hybrid replace 1 iron in the golf bag.

Which hybrid replaces a 3 wood?

There is no hybrid that replaces a 3 wood. A 3 wood is around 15 degrees of loft and any hybrid of that loft will be too difficult to hit in comparison to a 3 wood. 

The old 1 iron was once the 3 wood equivalent but in modern day golf, the 3 wood is the only option in the 15 degree loft range. 

5 wood vs 5 hybrid difference

The 5 fairway wood has 17 to 19 degrees of loft but a 5 hybrid is made to replace a 5 iron with 24 or 25 degrees of loft.

The loft difference ranges from 5 to 8 degrees, and the length of the shaft in a 5 wood is 42 inches while a 3 hybrid is 40 inches. A 5 wood will produce a much longer shot due to the longer shaft and lower loft. 

A golfer with 90 mph swing speed will carry a 5 wood around 185 yards but a 5 hybrid around 156 yards.

5 wood and 3 hybrid

Differences: The 5-wood and 3-hybrid can be similar in carry distance for fast swing speeds, but with a longer shaft, the 5 wood will generally go further than a 3 hybrid for most average swing speed golfers. At a moderate swing speed, a 5 wood carries 185-190 yards while the 3 hybrid carries about 180-185 yards for male golfers.


5 wood loft: 16-19 degrees

3 hybrid loft: 19 degrees

Shaft Length

5 wood shaft length: 42 inches

3 hybrid shaft length: 40 inches

Draw bias

3 hybrids are made with offset to help to pull the ball toward the left side, preventing those big left-to-right shots.

5 woods usually have a neutral face but because of the higher loft between 16 and 19 degrees, it is easy to hit with less shot shape than lower lofted clubs. 

When to use hybrids vs fairway woods

In my experience, the fairway wood and hybrid are useful in a number of situations but the hybrid is more versatile.

Fairway woods

  • More accurate tee shot - 5 wood or 7 wood can ensure a shot in the fairway. 3 wood are not easy to hit and should be avoided.
  • Long approach shots or long par 3s
  • Higher spin, higher maximum shot height for soft landing with minimal rollout
  • Easiest to hit from the fairway or fluffed up lies in the rough
  • Lower dispersion due to higher spin rates means you can control the ball better


  • More accurate tee shots
  • Long approach shots and long par 3s
  • Punch shots out of the trees where you need to keep the ball low
  • Chipping around the green if you hit bad chips with your wedges
  • Lower launch, penetrating ball flight with more rollout due to lower spin
  • Easier to hit from tough lies in the rough than irons and fairway woods
  • More controllable due to shorter shaft but draw bias can increase dispersion


Mostly the choice to play a hybrid or a fairway wood comes down to preference of ball flight and the type of shot you need.

A fairway wood launches high and lands softly.

A hybrid launches lower and rolls out further.

If you like the look and feel of an iron, the hybrid may be best. If you like the look and feel of fairway woods, they will perform better for you. It all depends on what your goal is. Now you know the differences, you can make the best decisions on the course. 

Upright vs Flat Lie Angle (How It Affects Your Shot)

In the dynamic world of golf, every detail matters. From your grip to your swing, each element plays a pivotal role in determining your success on the course. Among these often-overlooked factors, the proper lie angle of your golf club can significantly influence the outcome of your shots. In this article, we'll look at how this seemingly minor adjustment to your golf clubs can have a major impact on your game.

What Is Lie Angle and How Do You Measure Lie Angle

In golf, the lie angle of a club refers to the angle formed between the sole of the clubhead and the shaft when the club is placed in a horizontal position on a flat surface. It is a crucial aspect of club fitting because it directly affects how the clubhead interacts with the ground at impact. The lie angle can be measured using specialized tools known as lie angle gauges. These gauges determine the angle at which the sole of the clubhead should be in contact with the ground for the golfer's specific swing.

lie angle

How To Check Your Lie Angle

Checking your lie angle is a fundamental step in club fitting. To do this, you can use impact tape or foot spray to mark the clubface, make a swing, and observe the mark's location on the clubface after the shot. If the mark is towards the heel (closer to the hosel), the lie angle may be too upright. Conversely, if the mark is towards the toe, the lie angle may be too flat. Additionally, professional club fitters use launch monitors and high-speed cameras to analyze ball flight and clubhead impact to determine the appropriate lie angle for a golfer's swing.

What is a lie board?

A lie board, also known as a lie angle board or lie angle tape, is a tool used in golf club fitting to determine and adjust the lie angle of irons or wedges. It is a flat, rigid board with a series of lines or markings on it. Golfers and club fitters use lie boards to assess whether the lie angle of a golf club is appropriate for the golfer's swing and posture.

Here's how a lie board works:

  1. Placing the Club: The golfer addresses the ball on the lie board as they would on the golf course, with the clubhead resting on the lie board's surface.
  2. Impact Mark: When the golfer makes a swing, the clubhead makes contact with the lie board. This contact leaves an impact mark or a pattern of marks on the sole of the club. The location and direction of these marks indicate how the clubhead is interacting with the ground at impact.
  3. Analysis: By examining the impact marks on the sole of the club, a club fitter can determine whether the lie angle needs adjustment. The ideal lie angle is one that results in a flat, even mark across the club's sole. If the marks show that the toe or heel of the club is making more contact with the lie board, adjustments may be needed.
  4. Adjustment: If necessary, the fitter can adjust the lie angle of the club by bending the club's hosel. This adjustment is made to ensure that the clubhead sits flush with the ground at impact, promoting a more accurate and consistent ball strike.

Lie boards are particularly useful when fitting irons because the lie angle can have a significant impact on shot direction and ball flight. By using lie boards, golfers and club fitters can fine-tune the lie angle of irons to match the golfer's swing mechanics and body posture, ultimately improving the golfer's accuracy and performance on the golf course.

Effect of A Flat vs. Upright Lie Angle On Your Shots

The lie angle of your club can have a profound effect on your shots. A flat lie angle tends to produce a lower ball flight, potentially leading to hooks for some golfers. On the other hand, an upright lie angle generally results in a higher ball flight, which can help counteract a hook tendency. It's essential to find the right balance to optimize your shots for distance, accuracy, and consistency.

loft lie chart golf

What Does It Mean To Be Too Upright?

Being too upright means that the clubhead is oriented too vertically when addressing the ball. This can cause the toe of the club to be off the ground, leading to the potential for hooks and inconsistent shots. Golfers who are too upright may struggle with directional control and may not achieve the desired ball flight characteristics.

Adjusting Your Lie Angle

Lie angle adjustments are typically made by bending the club's hosel. A club fitter can use a specialized bending machine to make these adjustments. For clubs with adjustable hosels, golfers can often make minor lie angle adjustments themselves. However, it's crucial to consult with a professional club fitter before attempting any changes to ensure the modifications are correct and will improve your game.

Lie angle chart

standard lie angle for golf clubs

Using A Lie Angle Adjustment To Help Improve Your Swing

A properly fitted lie angle can help you improve your swing mechanics and ball-striking consistency. By optimizing the lie angle, you can reduce the chance of slicing or hooking the ball and increase the likelihood of hitting straighter, more accurate shots. It's an essential component of club fitting that can lead to better performance and a more enjoyable golfing experience, helping you reach your full potential on the course.

Lie angle - Irons vs Woods

Lie Angle in Irons:

  1. Impact on Ball Flight: The lie angle of irons has a direct impact on the direction and trajectory of your shots. A correctly fitted lie angle in irons ensures that the sole of the club is in proper contact with the ground at impact, allowing you to strike the ball cleanly. An incorrect lie angle in irons can result in shots that veer off target and may not reach their intended distance.
  2. Consistency: In irons, lie angle consistency is critical throughout the set. As you progress from short irons to long irons, the lie angle may need to be adjusted slightly to maintain consistent ball flight and accuracy.
  3. Fitting Process: To determine the appropriate lie angle for your irons, club fitters often analyze your swing and ball flight using launch monitors or high-speed cameras. They may make adjustments to individual irons to ensure optimal performance.

Lie Angle in Woods (Drivers and Fairway Woods):

  1. Less Pronounced Impact: The lie angle in woods, particularly in drivers and fairway woods, has a less pronounced effect on shot direction and trajectory compared to irons. This is because you're generally hitting these clubs off a tee or a clean lie in the fairway.
  2. Ball Flight Adjustment: While lie angle in woods may not be as critical as in irons, it can still influence ball flight to some extent. For instance, a flatter lie angle in a driver might promote a slightly lower ball flight, which can be desirable for some golfers seeking more roll after landing.
  3. Static Lie Angle: Before the introduction of adjustable loft sleeves on woods, having the lie angle adjusted on your 3 wood or driver was tricky to do. Now a skilled club fitter can use the options available to them to find the optimum lie angle and loft for your swing. The right lie angle with a wood can help you to get the golf ball started on the right target line and hopefully influence the shot shape that you're trying to play. The wrong lie angle can mean the ball starts on the wrong line for your intended or natural shot shape.

Lie angle is important for both irons and woods, but it tends to have a more significant impact on the performance of irons due to the nature of the shots they are used for. Golfers should still pay attention to lie angle in their woods, especially when custom-fitting, to ensure that it complements their swing and desired ball flight characteristics. However, it's generally less variable and less adjustable in woods compared to irons.

Lie angle for shorter players

Shorter golfers, due to their lower stature, tend to have a more upright posture at address. This natural tendency in their normal playing position can lead to the heel of the club making contact with the ground first if the lie angle is too upright. As a result, shorter players may experience inconsistent ball striking and a tendency to pull or hook the ball.

To address this, a flatter lie angle is often recommended for shorter golfers. A flatter lie angle allows the clubhead to sit more level with the ground at impact, promoting cleaner and more consistent ball striking. It can also help reduce the likelihood of a hook, as it encourages a more neutral clubface angle at impact.

As always, it's crucial for golfers of all heights to undergo a proper club fitting process to determine the ideal lie angle based on their individual swing mechanics and body posture. This ensures that the lie angle is optimized to improve performance and ball flight characteristics. Thank you for pointing out the correction, and I appreciate your understanding.

Lie angle for taller players

Taller golfers indeed often benefit from an upright lie angle rather than a flatter one. Here's why:

Taller golfers typically have longer arms, which can lead to a more upright posture at address. This upright posture can cause the clubhead to sit more upright on the ground naturally. If a tall golfer were to use a flatter lie angle, it could result in the toe of the club making contact with the ground first, leading to inconsistent ball striking and a tendency to push or slice the ball.

Conversely, using an upright lie angle for taller golfers helps ensure that the clubhead makes proper contact with the ground at impact, promoting a more consistent and accurate ball strike. It can also help reduce the likelihood of a hook, as it encourages a more neutral clubface angle at impact.

So, for taller golfers, an upright lie angle can be a beneficial adjustment to help optimize their club's performance and ball flight characteristics. As always, it's essential to undergo a proper club fitting process, preferably with the assistance of a professional club fitter, to determine the ideal lie angle based on individual swing characteristics and body posture.

Cast vs Forged Clubs For Adjusting Lie Angle

Whether you have cast or forged clubs, you can typically adjust the lie angle to suit your swing characteristics and body posture. Both types of clubs can be bent to achieve the desired lie angle, but there are some differences to consider:

Cast Clubs:

  1. Material: Cast clubs are made by pouring molten metal into a mold. They are generally made from stainless steel or other alloys.
  2. Adjustability: Cast clubs are less malleable than forged clubs, meaning they may be more prone to breaking or cracking if bent too much. However, they can still be adjusted once.
  3. Bending Process: When adjusting the lie angle of cast clubs, it's important to work with a professional club fitter who has experience with cast materials. They will use specialized equipment to carefully bend the clubhead to achieve the desired lie angle.

Forged Clubs:

  1. Material: Forged clubs are made by shaping solid metal bars through heat and pressure. They are typically made from softer carbon steel or other metals.
  2. Adjustability: Forged clubs are more pliable and easier to adjust when compared to cast clubs. This allows for a wider range of lie angle adjustments.
  3. Bending Process: Forged clubs are well-suited for lie angle adjustments because of their malleability. A professional club fitter can precisely bend the clubhead to achieve the desired lie angle with less risk of damaging the club.

Both cast and forged clubs can be adjusted for lie angle, but forged clubs are generally more accommodating to significant lie angle changes. If you're considering lie angle adjustments, it's advisable to consult with a professional club fitter who has experience with your specific club type and material. They can help you achieve the desired lie angle while minimizing the risk of damaging the club head.

Final thoughts on upright vs flat lie angles

Here are some final thoughts to consider when evaluating whether an upright or flat lie angle is right for you:

  1. Custom Fitting is Key: The most important aspect of choosing the right lie angle is undergoing a proper custom fitting. This process takes into account your unique swing mechanics, body posture, and ball flight tendencies to determine the ideal lie angle for your clubs. A professional club fitter can provide valuable insights and recommendations.
  2. Upright Lie Angle: Golfers who benefit from an upright lie angle often have taller stature, a more upright swing plane, or a tendency to slice the ball. Upright lie angles can help promote straighter shots and better contact with the turf for these individuals.
  3. Flat Lie Angle: Shorter golfers or those with a flatter swing plane may find that a flatter lie angle improves their ball striking consistency. It can help ensure that the clubhead sits flush with the ground at impact, reducing the likelihood of digging the clubhead into the turf.
  4. Individual Variation: The ideal lie angle is not one-size-fits-all. Each golfer is unique, and their lie angle requirements can vary. Even within a single golfer's set of clubs, different irons or wedges may require different lie angles to optimize performance.
  5. Adjustability: Many modern clubs, especially irons and wedges, offer some degree of adjustability in terms of lie angle. This can be useful for fine-tuning your clubs to match your evolving swing or posture.
  6. Professional Guidance: When in doubt, seek the guidance of a professional club fitter or golf instructor. They have the expertise and tools to determine the ideal lie angle adjustments for your specific needs.

So, the choice between upright and flat lie angles is highly individualized and dependent on various factors. What's most important is that your lie angles are tailored to enhance your ball striking, accuracy, and consistency on the golf course. A professional club fitting is the best way to ensure that your clubs are optimized for your unique swing, ultimately helping you play your best golf.

How To Read a Golf Scorecard For Beginners

Last Updated on December 19, 2023 by Matt Greene

Reading a golf score card can be intimidating for beginners, but it's actually a simple process once you understand the basics. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to read a golf scorecard for beginners and keep track of your golf scores.

  1. Course information: The first thing you'll see on a scorecard is information about the course, such as the name of the course, the par for that golf course, and the yardage that it plays from specific tees. Pay attention to the par of each hole, as this is the number of strokes an expert golfer should take to complete the hole.

  2. Hole information: Each hole will be listed on the scorecard, usually in numerical order. The length of the hole will be indicated in yards, and the par for the hole will be indicated as well. Different numbers are displayed for each tee box. For example in the U.K. the longest or competition tee boxes are white, the standard men's tee box is yellow and the shorter lady's tee box is red.

  3. Scoring: The most important part of the scorecard is the area where you record your scores for each hole. This will typically be a grid with spaces for your score, as well as spaces to record the number of putts you took on the hole.

  4. Strokes: In the score grid, record the number of strokes you took to complete each hole. For example, if you took three shots to get your ball in the hole on a par three, you would write "3" in the space provided for that hole.

  5. Putts: Record the number of putts you took on each hole in the space provided. This is important information for analyzing your game and identifying areas where you need to improve.

  6. Total score: At the bottom of the scorecard, you'll see a space to record your total score for the round. Add up the number of strokes you took on each hole to calculate your total score.

  7. Handicap: Some scorecards may also have a space to record your handicap. Your handicap is a number that reflects your skill level and is used to adjust your score for the round. If you don't have a handicap, leave this space blank.

Gross Score vs. Net Score

Gross score and net score are two terms commonly used in golf to refer to a player's score in a round of golf.

Gross score is the total number of strokes a player takes to complete a round of golf, without any adjustments for handicap. It is simply the number of strokes a player took to complete the round, including penalties and any additional strokes taken to get the ball in the hole.

Net score, on the other hand, is the gross score adjusted for the player's handicap. The player's handicap is subtracted from their gross score to determine their net score. The purpose of net scoring is to level the playing field for golfers of different skill levels. It allows golfers with higher handicaps to compete with golfers with lower handicaps on an equal basis.

For example, if a player has a gross score of 90 and a handicap of 18, their net score would be 72 (90-18=72). If another player has a gross score of 85 and a handicap of 10, their net score would be 75 (85-10=75). In this case, the player with the lower gross score actually has a higher net score because their handicap is lower.

In summary, gross score is the total number of strokes a player takes to complete a round of golf, while net score is the gross score adjusted for handicap. Gross score is used to determine the winner of a round or tournament, while net score is used to allow golfers of different skill levels to compete on an equal basis.

What Does Handicap Mean On a Golf Scorecard?

Handicap on a golf scorecard is a measure of a golfer's playing ability. It is a numerical value that represents the number of strokes a golfer is expected to take to complete a round of golf, based on their previous scores and the difficulty of the course.

The handicap system is designed to allow golfers of different skill levels to compete on an even playing field. A golfer with a lower handicap is considered to be a better player than a golfer with a higher handicap. For example, a golfer with a handicap of 10 is expected to shoot 10 strokes over par, while a golfer with a handicap of 20 is expected to shoot 20 strokes over par.

On a golf scorecard, a player's handicap is typically listed next to their name or initials. The course handicap, which is based on the difficulty of the course being played, is also listed on the scorecard. To determine the number of strokes a golfer receives for each hole, the course handicap is subtracted from the player's handicap, and the result is rounded to the nearest whole number.

For example, if a golfer has a handicap of 15 and the course handicap is 10, the golfer receives five strokes for the round (15 - 10 = 5). These strokes are then distributed among the holes based on their difficulty, with the strokes typically given on the hardest holes on the course.

What does stroke index mean on a golf scorecard?

Stroke index on a golf scorecard is a number that indicates the difficulty of each hole on the course, with the hardest hole having the highest stroke index number. The stroke index is used to help determine how many strokes a golfer receives as a handicap on each hole, which helps to even out the playing field between golfers of different skill levels.

The stroke index is typically listed on the scorecard next to the hole number and yardage. The number ranges from 1 to 18, with 1 being the hardest hole on the course and 18 being the easiest. For example, if the stroke index for a particular hole is 5, it means that it is the 5th hardest hole on the course.

The stroke index is used in conjunction with a golfer's handicap to determine the number of strokes they receive on each hole. The strokes are allocated to the holes with the highest stroke index first, with the golfer receiving one extra stroke for each stroke index number above their course handicap. For example, if a golfer has a course handicap of 12 and the stroke index for a particular hole is 14, the golfer would receive two extra strokes on that hole.

Understanding stroke index is important for golfers, as it helps them to plan their strategy for each hole and to understand how many strokes they will receive as a handicap. By using the stroke index to allocate strokes, the handicap system allows golfers of different skill levels to compete on a level playing field and enjoy the game of golf together.

What Does Course Rating Mean on a Score card?

Course rating on a golf scorecard is a number that represents the difficulty of a golf course for a scratch golfer. A scratch golfer is defined as a golfer who can play to a handicap of 0, meaning they can consistently shoot par or better on a course.

The course rating is determined by a team of trained raters who evaluate the course based on a number of factors, including the length of the holes, the difficulty of the terrain, the hazards, and the overall design of the course. The rating is expressed as a number with one decimal point, and it represents the number of strokes above or below par a scratch golfer is expected to shoot on the course.

For example, if a golf course has a course rating of 72.5, it means that a scratch golfer is expected to shoot 72.5 strokes on the course. If the course par is 72, this means that the course is slightly more difficult than average for a scratch golfer, as they are expected to shoot half a stroke over par on average.

The course rating is important for golfers because it helps them to understand the difficulty of a course and to compare their scores with other golfers who have played the same course. Golfers with a higher handicap than a scratch golfer will receive additional strokes based on the difference between their handicap and the course rating, which helps to level the playing field.

In summary, course rating on a golf scorecard is a measure of the difficulty of a golf course for a scratch golfer. It is determined by a team of trained raters and is used to calculate handicaps and to help golfers understand the difficulty of a course.

Local rules

Local rules on a golf scorecard are rules that are specific to a particular golf course or tournament. These rules may vary depending on the course or tournament, so it's important to read the local rules section of the scorecard carefully before you start your round.

Here are some examples of local rules that may be included on a golf scorecard:

  1. Out of bounds: This rule defines the areas of the course that are considered out of bounds, and the penalty for hitting a ball out of bounds.

  2. Water hazards: This rule defines the areas of the course that are considered water hazards, and the penalty for hitting a ball into a water hazard.

  3. Ground under repair: This rule defines areas of the course that are considered ground under repair, and the relief options available to players.

  4. Cart paths: This rule defines the areas of the course where golf carts must be used, and the penalty for driving a cart in areas where it's not allowed.

  5. Local rules for specific holes: Some golf courses may have unique local rules for certain holes. For example, a hole may have a mandatory drop zone or a requirement to use a specific tee.

These local rules are typically included on the scorecard to help ensure that all players understand the rules of the course and play the game fairly. Be sure to read and understand the local rules section of the scorecard before you start your round, and ask a course official if you have any questions or need clarification on any of the rules.

Golf Scorecard Symbols

Golf scorecards use a variety of symbols to represent different types of shots and penalties. Here are some common symbols you may see on a golf scorecard:

  1. Numbers: The most basic symbol on a scorecard is the number used to record your score for each hole.

  2. Dots: Some scorecards use dots to indicate the number of strokes taken on a hole. For example, a single dot may indicate a bogey, while two dots may indicate a double bogey.

  3. Circles: Circles are used to indicate the number of putts taken on a hole. For example, a circle with a "1" inside may indicate a one-putt.

  4. Squares: Squares are used to indicate penalties or special situations. For example, a square may indicate a penalty stroke or a provisional ball.

  5. Arrows: Arrows are used to indicate the direction of a shot. For example, an arrow pointing to the left may indicate a shot that went left of the fairway.

  6. Plus/Minus: Some scorecards use plus and minus signs to indicate whether a score was above or below par. For example, a score of 4 on a par 3 hole may be represented as "1+" to indicate that it was one stroke over par.

  7. Symbols for Local Rules: Some scorecards may use specific symbols to indicate local rules, such as out-of-bounds areas or ground under repair.

Understanding these symbols is important for accurately recording your score and understanding the scorecard's information. Be sure to review the legend or key on the scorecard to ensure you understand what each symbol represents.


Understanding how to read a golf scorecard is pretty handy for beginners. The scorecard contains important information about the course, including the par and yardage of each hole, and provides a space to record your scores and putts for each hole. Not being able to use a score card properly won't stop you playing golf, but it might make you look like a bit of a noob. I didn't get a golf scorecard explained to me until I was 5 years into the game and it didn't affect my golf game too much! 

Golf Cart Dimensions (Full info)

Last Updated on January 2, 2024 by Matt Greene

Owning your own golf cart would be pretty cool right? I've always been pretty envious of those guys I see at golf courses with a custom cart, mostly because they seem to go as fast as they like! This article will cover all of the basic questions around the size of golf carts, from how tall is a golf cart? to will a golf cart fit on a truck?

So if you're moving to a golf resort and want your own cart, or if you need one for mobility reasons, let's look at some golf cart dimensions and find the right golf cart for you.

Country club with golf carts

What Are The Dimensions Of A Golf Cart?

The average golf cart dimensions are 4 feet wide by 8 feet long by 5.5 feet high.

These dimensions are common to smaller golf carts that are commonly found for sale.

For a larger golf cart that seats up to six people, the dimensions rise to 4 feet wide by 11.5 feet long, and 5.5 feet tall.

Depending on the make and model of the golf cart in question, there will be a large difference in dimensions. Below we've covered some of the most popular brands brands, Yamaha and E-Z-GO and Club Car.

EZ Go Golf Cart Dimensions

E-Z-Go was founded in 1954 and has its headquarters in Augusta, Georgia, the home of the Masters. They are a major rival to golf cart company Club Car who are also based in Augusta.

Below are the dimensions for three of the company's common golf cart models:

E-Z-GO Freedom TXT:

Golf cart length: 5 feet (or 60 inches)

Width of golf cart: 3.9 feet (or 47 inches)

Golf cart height: 3.6 feet / 46.5 inches (without canopy). 5.6 feet / 67.5 inches (with canopy)


Golf cart length: 5 feet (or 60 inches)

Width of golf cart: 3.9 feet (or 47 inches)

Golf cart height: 3.8 feet / 45.7 inches (without canopy). 5.7 feet / 68.5 inches (with canopy)

E-Z-GO Hauler Pro Electric:

Golf cart length: 9.5 feet (or 115 inches)

Width of golf cart: 4.1 feet (or 49.4 inches)

Golf cart height: 3.6 feet / 46.5 inches (without canopy). 5.8 feet / 70.5 inches (with canopy)

Club Car golf cart dimensions

Club Car are based in Augusta Georgia and make some of the best carts. If you've ridden in a golf cart, you have more than likely used a Club Car cart at some point.

Club Car Tempo Fleet (Electric)

Golf cart length: 91.5 in. (232 cm)

Golf cart width: 48 in. (166.4 cm)

Golf cart height: 68.5 in. (174 cm)

Club Car Onward 2

Golf cart length: 92 in.

Golf cart width: 49 in.

Golf cart height: 71 in.

Yamaha Golf Cart Dimensions

Yamaha is one of the most famous golf cart brands in the world. Here are three models from the Japanese company with their dimensions. 

Yamaha Umax Two

Length: 10 feet (or 119.3 inches)

Width: 4.1 feet (or 49.3 inches)

Height: 6 feet (or 71.8 inches)

Yamaha Drive 2 Fleet:

Length: 7.8 feet (or 93.6 inches)

Width: 3.9 feet (or 47.3 inches)

Height: 5.8 feet (or 70.2 inches)

Yamaha Concierge 6:

Length: 13.4 feet (or 161.4 inches)

Width: 3.9 feet (or 47.2 inches)

Height: 6.2 feet (or 75.2 inches)

Golf Cart Trailer Dimensions

When purchasing a golf cart it is important to know how you're going to transport it around.

Many people choose to do so using a trailer. Most trailers that are 5 feet wide by 9 or 10 feet long will fit most carts.

Smaller trailers such as 5×8's should work fine as well. A 4×6 trailer is certainly pushing it though.

Will A Golf Cart Fit In The Back Of A Truck?

A full-size pickup truck with a four-foot wid truck bed should allow a cart to fit nicely.

Should the cart be a little longer or the truck be a standard size pickup, the owner of the truck can leave the tailgate down to increase the length. 

It is important to use a ramp to help load the golf cart. You can use one large ramp or two separate for the tires. For more info on tires for golf carts, you can check out our article, best golf cart tires. 

On average, golf carts weigh between 900 and 1100 pounds. It's not the easiest item to lift up. 

Some are lighter than others depending on the material it was made with and if they include a battery or not.

Golf Cart Basket Dimensions

The average dimensions for an E-Z-GO cart basket are 18.12″ x 10.25″ x 17.56″.

With these dimensions, it should be easy to fit a cooler with 12-18 cans in the back while keeping them cold and refreshing during a round of golf.

Depending on the size of the cans or the cooler, a person should not have a problem fitting closer to 24.

A heater is another critical golf cart component for the winter months and we have researched the best available in our buyer review.

You can read it here, best golf cart heater.

Golf Cart Parking Dimensions

Depending on how often and how you are going to use your golf cart, it is important to know if it meets standard parking space dimensions.

In the United Kingdom, a standard size for a parking bay is recommended at 2.4 (7.9 feet) meters wide by 4.8 meters (16 feet) long

In the United States, the minimum standards for width on a parking space is around 8.5 to 9 feet. Most spaces will be between 16 to 20 feet deep. That is the standard DOT recommended depth for normal perpendicular parking.

According to a standard EZ GO electric cart requires a parking space approximately 4 feet by 8 feet.

Final thoughts on golf car dimensions 

I hope that this article has given you the information you need be able to make an easier decision about purchasing a golf cart.

Having the right dimensions with the correct trailer or truck can work wonders when transporting your cart and take the stress away. After all, having you own cart should be about making life easier right? 

What is a Mid Handicapper in Golf?

Last Updated on February 4, 2024 by Matt Greene

Nearly half of all the golfers who keep a handicap, are mid handicappers. 

Let's take a quick look at what it takes to be a mid handicapper and what your game looks like compared to a mid handicapper, low handicapper and high handicapper. 

What is a Mid Handicapper?

A mid handicapper is a golfer who has a handicap index between 10 and 20. Because the handicap index considers only your best 8 differentials out of the last 20 rounds, a mid handicap is a reflection of your potential rather than your average score. 

Handicap index is a measure of a golfer's potential playing ability, with a lower number indicating a better player. 

Average golfer handicap

The average handicap in the USA for those who keep handicaps, is 14 .

What score does a mid handicapper shoot

The average 14 handicap golfer will shoot an average score of 90.  The average score does not reflect your handicap index though. Your handicap index is calculated using only your best 8 differentials out of your last 20 rounds.

The lower mid handicapper will shoot scores between 84 and 85 as a 9 handicapper. A higher mid handicapper will average scores between 93 and 95. We can estimate the score of a mid handicapper is between 84 and 95.

Type of mid handicap

Low to Mid Handicap

Lower mid handicaps have handicaps between 9 to 12. What is considered lower mid handicap is a golfer who scores between 80 and 90. Sometimes the lower mid handicapper breaks 80, but 9 our of 10 scores will be above 80.

Mid Mid Handicap

Handicap 13 to 16 make up the mid mid handicap range. Average scores here are always above 80, sometimes below 90 with most scores around the 90 to 95 range.

Mid to High Handicap

What is considered a higher mid handicapper is a golfer who scores above 90. Rarely, this golfer will break 90. Average score in the higher mid handicap is between 92 and 100 and a handicap level of 17 to 18. 

How does a mid handicapper play on the course?

  • A mid handicapper hits around 3-4 greens in regulation per 18 holes.
  • Mid handicappers swing slightly faster with more confidence than a high handicapper.
  • Mid handicappers three-putt 2 or 3 times per round.
  • Mid handicap golfers remain mid handicap golfers because they struggle with 2 out of 3 aspects of the game every round: either 1) tee ball, 2) approach shots or 3) short game.  

Areas of focus for you if you are a mid handicapper to lower your scores into the 70s:

  1. Practice the game inside 100 yards 3 times as much time as the long game
  2. Become very good at putting inside 5 feet by practicing 1 foot putts only
  3. Hit a tee ball into a position from the tee that allows a second shot without penalty - very often not the driver
  4. Understand the true distance you hit the golf ball, not the 1 in 10 distance.

Mid handicap off the tee

Mid handicappers either rely on their driver because nothing else works off the tee, or the driver breaks their games.

You don't need to hit a driver if it kills your game. You can play to a mid handicap without a driver. I would not suggest a 3 wood either though! They often perform even worse than a driver. 

If you have issues with a driver, try a 5 wood or a mini driver. These 2 clubs will get the ball in play safely and that can save you 6 to 10 shots a round because no OB and no water balls.  

Get the ball in play to allow for a stress-free second shot. You will make golf so much more fun like that. 

Greens in Regulation for a mid handicapper

Mid handicappers hit only 3-5 greens per round - not bad at all. 

You can increase your GIR, by solving one of these two issues: either your drive flies to short or you place yourself in bad position off the tee to approach with comfort.


If you're out of range of your comfortable longest club, then you must lay back to your preferred pitch or approach shot. If you attempt to wreck the ball off the grass, thinking that you can add another 20 yards to your shot, you'll fudge it up. 

I guarantee, if you just get the ball close to your favorite distance if you're in trouble, you'll drop your score.

How do you position yourself better?

Understand the hole. If the hole looks tough, just add one to the par of the hole and change your strategy. 

If you can attack the hole, attack it. But never overpower a golf ball to 'try' attack it. Attack it well within the bounds of your ability. 

The approach shot distances are too long to allow for easy approach shots. Most often, mid handicap golfers will be hitting a 5 or 6 iron into the green and even a professional golfer only hits the green is 50% of the time with a 6 iron in hand. 

Getting up and down as a mid handicapper

Mid handicaps can slash their handicap by getting really good inside 100 yards. 

The average mid handicap player spends hours raking and smashing golf balls on the range with a driver but never touch the short game area. 

But you're not average are you? You're reading Golf Sidekick so how the hell can you be average? You are a baus.

Find out how to hit the partial wedge shot, how to chip, and how to get out of bunkers to truly become a great golfer. 

Mid handicapper Mental Game

Mid handicappers BIGGEST hurdle to better scoring is the mental game. It's purely about belief.

Mid handicap is where you're not a hacker anymore, but you're not lighting up the golf course. You're in limbo.

Biggest errors I help mid handicappers to correct that you can use now:

  • Stop and think for 10 seconds before your shot. 
  • Hit the club from the tee that will get you in play, no hazards, no penalty...even if that is a 6 iron on one hole.
  • Play back form the hole by imagining what your next shot will leave you into the hole. Try set up your favorite shots.
  • Play easy, stress free shots in the moment, whatever they are.
  • When you encounter a hero shot, understand: there are not hero shots, only stupid shot. Change your shot - you are not Tiger.
  • Wait for the rattle on your putts inside 10 feet. Don't even look up. Just wait for the sound of the ball hitting the bottom of the cup. 
  • Play to the fat. Always play to the fat side of the fairway, the fat side of the green, the fat side of the lay up. Don't take on narrow shots with trouble all around. You're not a pro. Chill my boy.
mid handicap golfer

Next steps

Players with a handicap between 10 and 20, shoot between 84 and 95 but can have the ability to break 80 on a very good day are mid handicappers.

You can learn more about breaking 80 in my guide or check out some irons for 10-15 handicappers, drivers for a 10 handicap, wedges for the average golfer and even some new golf balls for the intermediate golfer.

What is Pin High in Golf?

Last Updated on December 26, 2023 by Matt Greene

Have you ever been out on the course and hear you playing partners use the phrases “pin high” or “hole high.” Did you have any idea what they meant? If the answer is no, then this article is for you.

Hitting the pall “pin high” in golf means that you have hit your golf ball on or near the green level to the distance of the pin. It’s a positive thing to achieve in many ways as it means you hit the ball far enough but your accuracy wasn’t quite precise enough.

What is a pin in golf?

The “Pin” in pin high relates to a common term for the golf flag. The term pin comes from the flagstick’s thin appearance on the golf course.

The term “hole high” means exactly the same thing as pin high and can be used interchangeably.

What does pin high mean?

what is pin high in golf meaning

Let’s paint a picture in our minds my fellow golfers. You hit an approach shot to the putting green. You pull the golf ball left and it finishes just off the green. As you walk up to the green you see that you’ve hit the ball the right distance, it is pin high and level with the flag.

You will often hear the term pin high said by playing partners to encourage you out on the course. Sure you may have missed the green, but at least you’re pin high! Hitting the ball the correct distance is part of the golf puzzle and you should be happy you have this part right.

Pin high is also relevant to the green in regulation statistic. You could miss the green by two inches to the right side for example, be pin high but that wouldn’t count as a green in regulation. Golf is a strange game, don’t blame me I didn’t make the rules.

Hole high?

As the pin sits in the hole on the green, pin high and hole high mean exactly the same thing. 

What Happens If You Hit The Pin In Golf?

If you manage to hit this very small target, don’t worry! You just play the ball from where it ends up.

There are positives and negatives to hitting the pin. Sometimes you want the ball to hit the pin as it will stop it from going over the back of the green or take some of the speed out of it flight. there are times however, when you think you’ve hit the perfect shot, only for the ball to hit the flag and ricochet off the putting surface. You win some you lose some.

All I would say is that having the pin in can act as a back stop, however unlikely it is that you will hit it. I also find the pin is a good thing to line my chip shots up to and makes the hole look visually bigger.

Rule Change About Hitting The Pin While Putting

Before 2019, if you were putting the ball and it struck the flagstick (whether it was in the hole or laying on the green) then you were given a 2 shot penalty. In these days you would always remove the pin before you or your playing partners make their putts. You could also have someone “attend the flag” for you, which meant they held the stick while you were putting then removed it before the ball got to the hole.

This led to silly situations where the pin might get hit accidentally and the person holding it couldn’t get it out before the ball got there resulting in a 2 stroke penalty for the player! Strange sport.

This rule was changed by the R&A in 2019 so you can now putt with the flag in. I find this new rule helps to speed up the pace of play and helps with ready golf. Putting with the flag in is second nature and I actually find it helps me be more aggressive with my stroke as I know the flag is there to stop the ball.

As with all rules changes in golf, some like it and some don’t.

What is GIR in Golf? Green in Regulation Explained

Last Updated on December 26, 2023 by Matt Greene

Many amateur golfers and recreational golfers have heard GIR or Green in Regulation used but might not fully grasp its meaning. It's important to understand what is a GIR in golf so you can plan the holes during your round for lower scores. Let’s dive into this term and see how it could impact your own game.

Greens in Regulation Meaning

In golf, a player hits a green in regulation when their golf ball hits and remains on the putting surface of a hole in 2 shots less than the par of the hole on the scorecard. 

Par is the number of strokes a scratch player is expected to score on a given hole. The par rating is loosely linked to a hole’s length but their are other factors involved. For example, on a par four, an expert player is expected to take two shots to hit the putting surface, then two putts to get the ball into the hole.

With this definition of par set, we can now work out the green in regulation for each par rating. It’s simple subtraction based on the two putts we assume an expert player will take to get the ball into the hole once they’re on the putting surface.

  • Par 3 – An expert or professional player would be expected to hit the green with their tee (first) shot.
  • Par 4 – Our player must hit the green with their second shot.
  • Par 5 – The player has to get the ball onto the dance floor with their third shot. 

For the green in regulation stat to be met, the ball must remain on the putting surface. It cannot be on the fringe or in the greenside rough. This stat puts a premium on ball striking and accuracy.

If a golfer hits the par 4 green in ONE shot, or a par 5 in TWO shots, he is considered on the green in UNDER REGULATION. 

green in regulation explained in a chart

For high-handicappers, obtaining a GIR is a real achievement. As you get better at the game of golf, you will most likely see your GIR percentage improve over time. Tracking these stats can be done in a number of ways. The basic way is to mark a GIR on your scorecard and then add them up at the end of each round. The most common way for many golfers is to use a golf stat tracking app, either on your mobile phone or through a golf watch.

If you hit a green in regulation, you have a better chance of making a birdie and if under regulation, an eagle

When is a golf ball considered on the green?

According to the USGA, Your ball is on the putting green. when any part of it: Touches the putting green. 

A little bit of the ball must touch the green. Then you can mark it and clean as normal on the putting green. Some of your ball can even be touching the fringe, but if it is also touching the green surface, you are considered on the green. 

Does fringe count as a green in regulation?

No, the fringe does not count as green in regulation. This does not mean you cannot use your putter to hit the ball. You should put the wedge or iron away and instead, putt the ball from the fringe for lower scores. Easy game!

What is a Good GIR Percentage?

A good green in regulation percentage is anything above 33% as an amateur which is 6 greens in regulation. Of course, GIR will depend on your handicap but any number of greens in regulation is good for most amateurs. A good GIR percentage for low handicappers is more than 50%.

How can I hit more greens in regulation?

Now that we know what this term means, how can we hit more greens in regulation? The PGA tour record is 69 out of 72 holes in a tournament, do you think you could match that?

Target par 3s

Par 3’s are the shortest holes on the golf course and present an opportunity to hit the green in regulation. You will be able to tee the ball up which will help you make clean contact with the golf ball and increase your chances on hitting the green with your first shot. Generally speaking, club selection on par 3s is limited so it reduces the complexity of the shot. Even a newer golfer could expect to hit a green in regulation with a shorter golf club in hand.

Get in play on par 4s

If you’re hitting your approach shots from the deep rough, you don’t have a realistic shot at hitting the green in regulation as an amateur golfer. Driving accuracy is key here. Most golfers choose the wrong club to hit from the tee box, so pick one which gives you confidence. You want your approach shot to give you the best chance on getting on the putting surface with your second shot. Remember to aim away from hazards like fairway bunkers. The more fairways hit the higher your GIR percentage will be.

Learn to hit it long! (strokes gained)

The big difference between amateur golfers and professional golfers is the distance they hit the golf ball. Hitting a par 5 green in regulation is much more achievable for pga tour players as they will be able to hit the green with their second stroke or be green side in two, leaving a short chip or approach shot into the green. Most amateur golfers will be hitting a longer club in the the green and will need to have good accuracy and distance control to hit the green in three shots.

By learning to hit the ball further, you are statistically increasing your chances of hitting greens in regulation BUT you must retain a high level of accuracy. Those who chance distance and only distance will sacrifice their short game and touch on the putting green.

Yes PGA tour pros like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy can bomb it way past the everyday golfer, but they balance this distance with supreme short game skill. This strokes gained approach has become very popular in recent times but I don’t think it applies to average golfers.

GIR by handicap - greens in regulation stats

The scratch player is expected to hit the greens in regulation according to the par on the scorecard. As we described above, 1 shot on a par 3, 2 shots on a par 4 and 5 shots on a par 5.

It's very very rare for even a pro golfer to hit all 18 greens in a round. Scratch golfers may hit a few less than a professional and mid handicappers to high handicappers are all much less than that.

Below is a table of expected GIR by handicap 

Greens in Regulation percentage by handicap level

  • 24+ handicap = 0 to 2 greens 
  • 18 to 24 handicap = 1 to 3 greens
  • 12 to 18 handicap = 3 to 6 greens
  • 9 to 12 handicap = 4 to 7 green
  • 6 to 9 handicap = 5 to 8 greens 
  • 3 to 6 handicap = 6 to 9 greens
  • 0 to 2 handicap = 8 to 12 greens
  • +3 to +1 handicap = 10 to 13 greens 
  • Tour average: 11.7 greens

Greens in regulation are definitely a goal for most golfers. Understand that if you hit more greens in regulation, you may take more putts because you will be two-putting more instead of chipping and one-putting. Missing greens in regulation and three putting can bring on more bogeys and double bogeys

Average GIR Percentage on the PGA Tour

The average GIR percentage on the PGA Tour is 65% according to the PGA Tour Stats section. In 2021, Cameron Percy was the best and he hit 72% of greens while Martin Trainer hit only 55% at the bottom of the rankings. 

PGA Tour Approach Shot Statistics (GIR Percentage) by distance of approach

Here we look at the green in regulation of PGA Tour pros from each distance taken from the PGA Tour Approach The Green Stats page:

200+ yards - 40% of greens. When pros hit the green from 200 or more yards, proximity to the hole is between 43 and 54 feet from the cup. This should give you hope! If you’re over 200 yards from the hole and hit the green, that's good because Tour Pros hit less than half!

175-200 yards - 53% of greens. Inside 200 yards, PGA Tour golfers hit just about half the greens with an average of 34 feet from the hole.

150-175 yards - 63% of greens. From 9 iron to 7 iron range, Tour pros hit another 1 out of 10 greens more the above and hit it a bit closer to the hole: 27 feet from the hole.

125-150 yards - 69% of greens. Despite this being GW to 9 iron range, pros hit it 23 feet away from the cup! This may sound surprising and it is. But it also means we should be less fussy when we do hit a green with our GW PW or 9 iron. Sometimes we get annoyed because we are not 6 feet from the hole!

100-125 yards - 74% of greens
. Average proximity to the hole is 20 feet with a sand wedge, gap wedge or pitching wedge.It is surprising to see pros hit only 3 out of 4 greens from here but the pins are put in the most difficult positions on the greens!

Less than 100 yards - 81% of greens. Pros hit the ball to about 17 feet from the short range inside their sand wedge zone. If you can attain 80% of greens every time you have a shot below 100 yards into the green, you will be an elite player!

How many greens in regulation to break 80?

To break 80, you only need 6 or 7 greens in regulation. According to Golf Sidekick Triple 6 Sub 80 System, you only need 6 greens in regulation, and 6 up and downs to break 80 easily.

how many greens in regulation to break 80?


Hitting greens in regulation for recreational golfers can be a way to lower your scores, but it’s not the only stat to focus on. You hit the green but be far from hole and if your putting isn’t up to scratch, then you might end up with a worse score than in if you hit it pin high onto the fringe. Bring down your putting average, hit more fairways and more GIR will become a reality.

Minimum Number of Clubs in a Golf Bag

Last Updated on December 26, 2023 by Matt Greene

If you are new to golf, you might not be sure about how many golf clubs you need to play golf or how many clubs are allowed. In this article we will give some clear advice on the minimum number of clubs in golf bag and the maximum amount of clubs you can use. Let’s dive in.

Rules of golf

The R&A (Royal and Ancient) one of golf’s governing bodies who govern the game of golf have set the maximum number of golf clubs a player can use in tournament play to 14. If you damage a club during a round of golf, you are not allowed to replace the damaged club. You must learn the rules and terminology to improve at this game.

Less than 14 clubs in a golf bag

It is perfectly fine to play golf with less than 14 clubs. Many recreational golfers prefer to carry fewer clubs and may actually benefit from less clubs to choose from. I have played some of my best golf with half a bag and my favorite club competition to play in is “3 clubs and a putter.”

The world record for number of rounds of golf in a day was achieved by a player using nothing other than a 7 iron! Sometimes less is more.

Can I add golf clubs

If you manage to start your round and realize that you’ve left one of your clubs in your or your playing partner’s car, you are allowed to add a club to your bag during a round, providing you don’t exceed the maximum number of 14. You also have to make sure that:

  1. That the act is not causing a delay in play
  2. That the clubs are not from another player

Try to be organised though. If you’re playing a golf tournament, have your golf equipment ready. Even if you’re just playing a casual round, it better for yourself and those you’re playing with if you’re ready to play.

More than 14 clubs in a golf bag

Oh no! You’ve started a competitive round and you realise that you’ve got more that 14 clubs in your bag. Even experienced golfers can do this, but the rules of golf are the rules.

So what type of punishment can you expect to receive?

Exceeding 14 clubs penalty

If you’ve exceed the number of clubs allowed in your bag, the punishment you will receive depends on the type of game you’re playing. In a match play situation, you’d get a hole deduction from your score for each hole you with too many golf clubs – up to two holes deduction. In stroke play, you’d be penalized two shots for every hole that you play with too many clubs – up to a maximum penalty of four strokes.

You used to get disqualified for breaking this rule, so make sure that you minimize the damage by declaring the extra clubs as soon as you can.

Why the limit on golf clubs?

Golfers are limited to 14 clubs to encourage creativity on the golf course and to speed up play. Anything more than 14 clubs would make your golf bag very heavy and also make the game even more expensive than it already is! Amateur golfers don’t need too many clubs to enjoy the game, so I think the limit helps golfers. Professional golfers might want more options in their bags, and more clubs to choose from, but again, creativity needs to be encouraged.

Does a putter count in the 14 clubs?

Yes, the putter is a typical golf club found in a golf bag and is counted in the 14. Playing golf without a putter isn’t impossible, but it would make the game even harder.

beginner set of golf clubs

This is a beginner set of clubs which comes with everything you'd need to start playing golf as a beginner. 

What are the typical clubs found in a golf bag?

Most golfers will have a core of 12 clubs in their golf bag. These include:

  • Three woods or hybrids – driver, 3-wood, 5-wood or hybrids
  • Eight (8) irons or hybrids – 3-9 iron and pitching wedge or 2 hybrids and 6 irons
  • Putter

Some golfers may nor choose to add clubs to the 12 listed, but many will depending on their specific skills and requirements. I carry 4 wedges, a pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge as this is the area of my own bag where I need the most flexibility. Less experienced golfers may carry more fairway woods or hybrids to replace long irons which they find harder to hit.

Highly skilled golfers will usually switch clubs depending on the courses they play. For example during the Open, professional golfers will carry a driving iron and specialist wedges to play from tight lies and bunkers.

Beginner golf articles

Golf Scoring Terms and Meanings for Dummies

Last Updated on December 26, 2023 by Matt Greene

What is par?

Par is the standard that golfers try to achieve. It is important to note that par is a score which an expert golfer or professional golfer would be expected to make on that individual hole. Most golfers expected score on a hole could be anywhere from 1 to 3 shots over par depending on their golfing ability and experience.

How does par work?

Every hole on a course is given its own par rating which is defined loosely by the length of an individual hole. Typically, longer holes require more shots to complete, therefore the par for these holes is greater in comparison to holes with fewer yards. 

Is par a good score?

If you're making pars on the golf course, you are playing to a high standard. Professional golfers will make mostly pars when playing a complete round. Recreational golfers making pars regularly should be proud. A scratch golfer would be considered to be playing to a par score regularly.

How many strokes to score a par?

Most golf courses will consist of par 3, par 4 and par 5 holes. On a par four for example, an expert golfer is expected to score four shorts: hit two shots to reach the green, then take two putts to get the ball into the hole.

A scorecard would read like this for 3 pars in a row:

what is par on the scorecard in golf

What is par for 18 holes in golf?

Par over 18 holes is usually 72 strokes. Some course may be as much as par 74 or 73. There are executive courses which could be a lower par, from par 54 to par 69. Most professional level golf courses will have pars between 70 and 73.

What is par for 9 holes?

Half a round is usually the 18 hole par divided by any random 9 holes could have a par anywhere between 27 and 38.

What does par 72 mean?

Par 72 means that the 18 holes on that golf course should be playable by a scratch handicap in 72 strokes. 

Scoring relationship and par

If you have ever watched golf on the television, you will have heard the golf terms "level par", "even par", "under par" and "over par."

These are used to describe a player's scoring relationship relative to par. For example if a player plays the first hole of a golf course, (a par 4) in for shots, they would be level par or even par through one hole. If they then made a hole in one on the next par 3, (unlikely) they would be 2 under par.

Here's a link to more golfing terms.

What does under par mean in golf?

Under par means the golfer scores a number of strokes into the hole, less than the number stipulated on the scorecard. The names for these scores are birdie, eagle and albatross. 

On a par 4, that would be 3 or fewer strokes.

On a par 5, that would be 4 or fewer strokes.

On a par 3, that would be 2 or fewer strokes.

Over 9 holes, you can add up a score and be considered 'under par' if your total score is below the total number for par on that nine.

Over 18 holes, you add up your score and be considered 'under par' if your total score is below the total number for par on that course.

What is an eagle in golf?

Scoring an "eagle" means to get the ball in the hole in 2 strokes under par for that golf hole. It is a score which is usually made by expert or professional golfers.

How many shots do you need to score an eagle?

We know that an eagle corresponds to getting the ball into the hole in 2 under the par of that hole. Therefore to score an eagle, you would need to have the ball in the hole in:

One stroke on a par-3 hole

This is normally called a hole in one and is extremely rare! Pretty much a miracle golf shot. 

Two strokes on a par-4 hole is an eagle.

Usually a result of a holed approach shot or chip in. In golf terms this is still pretty rare but can happen on shorter holes. 

Three strokes on a par-5 hole is an eagle.

Most eagles are made this way. Hit the ball off the tee, second shot hits the putting green, hole the putt. 

What shape is used for an Eagle on a scorecard?

Two concentric circles are used to represent an eagle on a scorecard or a PGA Tour overlay.

eagle on a scorecard two concentric circles

Where does the term eagle come from?

The basis of the term eagle is linked with the other ornithological golfing term “birdie.” An eagle is a big rare bird or "big birdie" and is thus considered to be less common and better version of a "birdie." It's one of many golfing terms which we need to learn. 

Golfer making a golf swing

What’s better than an eagle in golf?

A double-eagle or albatross is better than an eagle. So albatross or double-eagle is 3-under par. And it’s supposed to be an even more infrequent or rarer occurrence in the game of golf, hence even more celebratory.

What is a double-eagle?

A double eagle (also known as an albatross) is a score of 3-under par on the hole, which, only when possible, is done on a par-4 hole and a par-5 hole.

A par-4 double eagle would require a hole-in-one. Double eagle can be made on a par-5 if you hold your second shot.

What is a birdie in golf?

A player makes a birdie when he uses one fewer strokes than the par of the hole.

Let's break this down using an example from the golf course. We are on a par 4 hole. The aim here is to get the ball into the cup in 4 shots, to make par. If you manage to get the ball into the hole in 3 shots, this would be 1 under par for that hole and called a birdie. If you were on a par 5 hole and took 4 strokes to hole out, this would also be a birdie. 

What is double bogey in golf?

A Double Bogey is a golfing term that refers to a player scoring two strokes more than the par of the particular hole that they are playing. It's one of the more common golf scoring terms and will be all too familiar to most recreational golfers!

Ideally, we want to avoid double bogey at all costs, but for most golfers it's an inevitable part of a round of golf. 

Here's a quick guide to make it super clear what scores make up a double bogey on holes with a different par rating:

  • A score of 5 is a double bogey in a par 3 hole
  • A score of 6 is a double bogey in a par 4 hole
  • A score of 7 is a double bogey in a par 5 hole

What shape is used for a double bogey?

On scorecards and on the overlays in the PGA Tour broadcasts, you'll see shapes around the numbers on the scoreboard. When you score a double bogey, you can draw a double square around the number to represent and make it easier to count the score up at the end. 

Is a double bogey good?

If you're a total beginner golfer, double bogey is actually a good score on the golf course. As you get better, you will try to eliminate double bogey as a score. For professional golfers, scores of bogey or double bogey are pretty disastrous for their score.

What's worse than a double bogey?

A triple bogey or quadruple bogey is worse than a double bogey. While double bogey is two over regulation par for a scratch golfer, a triple bogey is 3 over par while a quadruple bogey is 4 over. No one wants these!

Does everyone make double bogeys?

The simple answer is, yes! Even the best golfers will make double bogeys and worse throughout their golfing life so don't be too hard on yourself when you inevitably make one. the best thing you can do is put a bad score behind you and move onto the next hole. Who knows, your next shot could be your best shot.

Double bogey golf handicap

If you make double bogey on every hole, your handicap will be around 30. Your score will be 108 shots or 36 over par on a par 72 course. 

How the Handicap System Works WORLD GOLF HANDICAP SYSTEM

Last Updated on January 14, 2024 by Matt Greene

A handicap is something that we use to play stroke play or match play games against people of differing handicap levels.

There is a lot of confusion around what a handicap is and I hope to clear up how the golf handicap system works, specifically, how the World Handicap System works.

Knowing how the system works is the first step to understanding what your handicap means. It's not what you think it is. 

How to Calculate Golf Handicap Index - Golf Handicap Explained

There is a formula that the World Handicap System uses to get your handicap index.

The index that the handicap system gives you is not your average score, but a measure of your POTENTIAL. 

Golf Handicap Meaning

A golf handicap is a number assigned as a measurement of a golfer's potential that allows people of different ability to play against one another.

For example, in a strokeplay event, a zero handicap can play against an 18 handicap. After the round, the 18 handicap must subtract 18 shots and the scratch golfer must subtract zero shots. Then we equalize for handicap. 

But you first need a handicap index in the system

What is a Handicap index

Your Handicap Index is a portable number that represents your demonstrated golfing ability. It is based on your past scores relative to the difficulty of the course and tees played, as well as the playing conditions during each one of those rounds. -  USGA

Summarized that means your score minus the stroke and course rating and playing conditions factor. So in fact your score of 90 on a par 72 course could be a differential of 12 on a difficult course or 20 on an easy course, not necessarily 18 over par!

What is a Handicap Differential?

The golf handicap is calculated using a differential. Usually golfers think that a score of 90 would be 18 over par on a par 72 golf course. That is not necessarily true. 

If the course is difficult, you will find that the system will tell you that you shot maybe 12 or 13 over par! That is the differential depending on hwich tee you played and what the playing conditions were like. 

Handicap Differential Formula

Handicap differential = (Adjusted Gross Score- course rating) X 113 / Course slope rating.

Course Rating indicates the difficulty of a course for a “par” or scratch golfer

Slope rating is a measure of the difficulty of the golf course. It takes into account the USGA par rating of the course and the expected score of a higher handicap golfer. The difference between the two multiplied by 5.381 is the mens slope rating for a golf course.

Best 8 out of last 20 differentials only

The last 20 rounds you play go toward your handicap.

The WHS counts your best 8 out of those 20. That is why they say, the handicap system is a measure of your POTENTIAL and not your average score over the 20 rounds. 

What is Score Differential in Golf?

What does differential mean in golf handicap? 

The DIFFERENTIAL is the difference between your score and the stroke rating and slope rating for that day on the golf course. This does not merely mean they count your strokes and minus par and that's your handicap.

These ratings can change depending on the tee, distance, flag positions, weather conditions, turf conditions...everything.

Here's an example of someone shooting a score of 80 six times in a row. Now with only 6 scores, the system counts the 2 best.

But more importantly, note how he shot 80 with different COURSE RATINGS and SLOPE RATINGS. These are measures of difficulty and so the differential ranges from 2.6 to 8.1.

He didn't even shoot 2.5 over par once, but that's his handicap index. 

Many golfers would say that 'he is an 8 handicap because 80 minus 72 is 8'  - very wrong.

Handicap Differential Example

Here is a table of handicap differential chart. With 6 straight rounds of 80, you would think the persons handicap index is 8.

But it is actually 2.5 because with only 2 scores in the system, the system will also subtract 1 off the final index to make sure he is not cheating. This is a complicated system wouldn't you agree?

Golf Handicap Chart - Index

The thing with a handicap is that because there are 20 scores, and only 8 counting at any one time, the other 12 mean nothing, until you start replacing your good scores with higher scores.

So it's easier to go DOWN in handicap than it is to go UP. 

A scratch handicapper can shoot a 90 or a few scores in the high 80's and it's not going to make a difference to his handicap, because his handicap will be calculated from the 8 best differentials. 

Here is an example of a 3.8 handicap index:

Notice how his lowest scores are 74, 75, 75, 76, 76, 77, 77, 78 but his average score is in the low 80s.

Only the best 8 differentials count and so he is a 3.8 handicap index.

handicap conversion chart

Golf Index vs Handicap

The handicap index is "a measurement of a player's potential ability on a course of standard playing difficulty,". The golfer uses the handicap index to calculate his handicap at a certain course on the day he plays, based on the difficulty/slope rating/stroke rating of that course. 

For example your HANDICAP INDEX could be 3.8 but at Bethpage Black, from the back tees, your PLAYING HANDICAP FOR THAT COURSE is actually 12 (TWELVE)!

handicap index chart

Golf Handicap Maximum Strokes per Hole

According to the World Handicap System, the maximum score you can make on a hole is the par of the hole plus your handicap for that hole plus 2 more shots.

Maximum Strokes per Hole = Par of the hole + 2 shots + the number of strokes allowed to you on the hole according to your course handicap.

If you are an 18 handicapper, you can make a maximum of triple bogey every hole. 

If you score a 10 on a par 5, your score in the handicap system will be an 8.

  • 18 handicap maximum score per hole is TRIPLE BOGEY = Par + 2 shots + 1 shot (handicap allowance every hole)
  • 36 handicap maximum score per hole is QUADRUPLE BOGEY  = Par + 2 shots + 2 shots (handicap allowance every hole)
  • Scratch golfer maximum score per hole is DOUBLE BOGEY = Par + 2 strokes + 0 strokes 

What is a 16 Handicap Golfers Average Score?

Average score of a 16 handicapper is around 90. The 16 handicapper will mostly shoot 90-95 with the occasional score below 80. Always remember that average scores are usually about 3-5 shots higher than the handicap index. 

What is a Good Handicap in Golf?

The world's average handicap is around 15 so a good handicap is anything below 10.

If your handicap is less than double digits, you will be in the top 15% of golfers in the world. Single figure golfers do not always shoot in the 70s but if your handicap is 9 or below, then you will touch the high 70s sometimes and mostly shoot low to mid 80s which is better than the majority of golfers on earth.

Average Golf Handicap of the World

The average world golf handicap is between 14 and 15. 

What is the Highest Golf Handicap (Maximum Handicap)?

The highest possible golf handicap in the World Handicap System is 54 and is usually the first handicap given to most beginner golfers.

Lowest Handicap in Golf

The lowest handicap is a plus-handicap in golf. This is when the golfer's handicap is below zero. Scratch is traditionally the goal to have as a low handicap golfer but the lowest handicaps in golf are between +1 and +8. This mean after the round, the golfer must actually ADD shots to their gross score.

If a +4 handicapper shoots a 71, he has to add 4 shots to his score, which means his NET score is actually a 75, to be able to compare to other golfers in the amateur field. 

Professionals do not use handicaps - only amateurs. 

What is Adjusted Gross Score in Golf?

An adjusted gross score in golf is a golfers full score, counting all the strokes, adjusted under the World Handicap System calculations for unfinished holes where you pick up, any holes you missed, or did not play under the Rules of Golf, or Maximum Hole Score/Net Double Bogey.

Gross Score vs Net Score

Your gross score is the total number of strokes you hit on every hole, from tee until you hit the ball in the hole. Your net score is the total strokes you hit for the day, minus the number of handicap strokes that you get according to the course handicap. or example, if you score an honest 85 and on the day, you have a Course Handicap of 11 then your GROSS score would be 85 and your NET SCORE would be 74.

GROSS SCORE (Total strokes you counted) minus COURSE HANDICAP = NET SCORE

What is a 17 Handicappers Average Score?

The average score of a 17 handicap golfer is 92. You can generally add 17 strokes to a par of 72. Then you add 3-5 strokes on top of that for the average score. 

12 Handicap Average Score

To play to a 12 handicap in golf, your average score is around 87. This will depend on the tees, slope rating and course rating.

What is a good golf handicap for a beginner golfer?

A good handicap for a beginner golfer is anything between 20 and 30. The maximum allowable handicap for a male golfer is 54 so if you can begin with a handicap lower than 30, you have a very good handicap for a beginner. 

If I shoot 100, what is my handicap?

If you shoot 100, your handicap is 22.

What is my handicap if I shoot 90?

Your golf handicap is 15 if you shoot 90 multiple times in a row. 

What is my golf handicap if I shoot 85?

Your golf handicap is 10 if you shoot 85 every round for at least 3 rounds. 

Average Score Chart of Every Handicap Index below 24

Average score

Golf Handicap Chart

Handicaps are distributed on a bell curve much like every other human ability. The golf handicap charts below show that most golfers are between 8 and 18 handicap. Lady golfers have higher handicap in general.

Golf Handicap Distribution Curve

golf handicap chart distribution

Percentage of Golfers By Handicap Chart

This chart shows the percentage of golfers by handicap level by gender.

What percentage of golfers are single digit handicap?

29% of golfers play to a single figure handicap according to the USGA. In a clubhouse of 100 people, 29 of the golfers will be a 9.9 handicap or lower.

What percentage of golfers are scratch?

3% of golfers are scratch. One out of 33 golfers is a scratch handicap which shows just how impressive that is. 

Is a scratch golfer good?

Scratch golfers are very good and average around 74 or 75 strokes from further back tees. But the one misconception is that they shoot level par every round with scores of 72. The fact is that scratch golfers are in the top 4% of handicap index, so they are very good compared to the average golfer. They still do not average level par scores. That is the realm of plus-handicap golfers. 

What is better than a scratch golfer?

A plus handicap golfer is better than scratch. Scratch golfers generally average a score of about 74 to 75. A plus handicap golfer is shooting below the stated rating of the course considering the slope rating. Their average score is between 70 and 73. Less than 2% of golfers are plus handicap.

Average golf handicap after 1 year

The average handicap for golfers who have played for one year is 27. One year is not a long time in golf and while some people will improve drastically by taking lessons or focusing on the game intensely, there are many more golfers who will take some time to improve enough to drop their handicap below 30. The game is difficult and no one should be discouraged by a number like handicap. 

Conclusion - Handicap index is a measure of potential

Now that you know how the handicap system works, you can understand that it's merely a measure of someone's potential. It is not an attack on your person or your character to have someone announce their handicap is lower than yours. 

Golf indexes are your potential and the handicap you have at a particular course on a particular day is based on the difficulty of the course. Your average score is not your handicap. If you want to lower your handicap, you should watch my channel and check out my articles on 10 to 15 handicap irons and 9 to 15 handicapper drivers.

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