What Does Greens in Regulation Mean in Golf? – The Greens in Regulation Mystery Unveiled in 2023

5/5 - (19 votes)

Greens in regulation (GIR) is a term used to describe the number of times a golf player hits a green in regulation number of strokes or fewer. GIR is an essential statistic for golfers to track as it can provide insight into their overall game. It shows how well you hit your approach shots to the green.

A higher percentage of GIR in golf typically means that a golfer is hitting more accurate approach shots and giving themselves more opportunities for birdies or better.

In the following sections, I will dive deeper into the specifics of GIR and answer the question What does Greens in regulation Mean in Golf?

What Does Greens in Regulation Mean in Golf?

Many amateur golfers and recreational golfers have heard GIR or Green in Regulation used but might need to fully grasp its meaning. Simply put, greens hit in regulation (GIR) is a golf statistic that measures the number of times a golfer hits the ball onto the green in the regulation statistic of strokes or fewer.

What Does Greens in Regulation Mean in Golf 11
What Does Greens in Regulation Mean in Golf 9

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 a hole on the scorecard.

For example, if a golfer hits all 18 greens in regulation during a round of golf, they will have 18 opportunities to make birdie putts. On the other hand, if golfers miss many greens in regulation, they will have to rely on their short game to save par or make a bogey. 

Here are some additional key points to keep in mind about GIR:

  • GIR is only counted on par 3, 4 and 5. It is not calculated on par 6s or par 7s. Par 5 green – The player has to get the ball onto the dance floor with their third shot. The fringe does not count as green in regulation.
  • GIR does not consider the number of putts a golfer takes to complete the hole.
  • GIR is often used as a benchmark for professional golfers. The best golfers on the PGA Tour typically hit around 70% of greens in regulation, while amateurs typically hit about 30-40%.

By hitting accurate approach shots and achieving more GIR, golfers can give themselves more opportunities to score well and lower their handicaps. 

Why That Many Strokes for a GIR?

When I first started playing golf, I needed clarification about why hitting green in regulation (GIR) was such a big deal. Why should it matter if I hit the green in three or two shots as long as I eventually get there?

What Does Greens in Regulation Mean in Golf 12
Why that many Strokes for a GIR

When you gain the green in regulation, it means you’ve hit the ball onto the putting surface in the number of shots expected for the hole based on its par. 

Why does this matter? Because hitting the green in regulation gives you an excellent chance to create par. If you’re not on the green, you’re in the rough, a bunker, or another hazard. Getting out of those places and onto the green takes extra shots, which increases the number of strokes you need to make par.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re playing a par-4 hole. If you make the green in regulation and two-putt for par, you’ve taken four strokes to complete the spot. But if you miss a green and end up in a bunker, it might take you two shots to get out of it and onto the green.

Then you’ll need to two-putt from there to make par. That’s four shots to create par, the same number of shots as hitting the green in regulation and two-putting. 

So, making the green in regulation can save you a lot of strokes in the long run. It’s not just about switching the green in a certain number of shots; it’s about giving yourself the best chance to create par and avoid extra photos.

Read more:

What is an a Wedge?
Common abbreviations used in golf handicapping
Do Golf Courses Close When It Rains?
Can you play TopGolf in the rain?

Greens In Regulation and Recreational Golfers

In simple terms, GIR refers to the number of times a player hits the ball onto the green in the regulation stat of strokes. The term driving distance refers to the average distance achieved off of the tee on a par 4 or par 5.

What Does Greens in Regulation Mean in Golf 13
Greens In Regulation and Recreational Golfers

The term scoring average refers to the average number of strokes taken during a turn of golf. The regulation number of strokes is usually two for par-3s, three for par-4s, and four for par-5s.  So, if a player hits the ball onto the green in two shots on a par-3, they have achieved a GIR.

For recreational golf players, achieving a high GIR percentage can be challenging. Here are a few tips to help you improve your GIR:

  • Practice your approach shots: Hitting accurate shots is the key to achieving a high GIR percentage. Spend time consistently practicing your iron shots to hit the ball onto the green. The best way to increase your GIR number is to concentrate on your iron play. Improving your distance control and ball striking with your irons will help you whether your approach shot is from 50 yards out or 200 yards out. 
  • Choose the right club: Choosing the right golf club for your approach shot is crucial. Ensure you consider the distance to the green, the wind, and other factors affecting your image. 
  • Aim for the center of the green: When in doubt, aim for the center of the green. This will help you avoid hazards and increase your chances of making the green in regulation.

Next time you hit the course, keep track of your GIR and use it as a tool to improve your game.

What is A Good Greens in Regulation Percentage?

As a golf specialist, I can tell you that Greens in Regulation (GIR) is a crucial statistic in golf. It measures the number of times a golf player makes the green in regulation, meaning they reach the putting surface within the expected number of strokes for the hole.

What Does Greens in Regulation Mean in Golf 14
What is a Good Greens in Regulation Percentage

But what is a good GIR percentage? Well, it depends on the skill level of the golf player. Here are the average GIR percentages for different types of golf players:

Average Recreational Golfer

A 30-40% GIR percentage is suitable for the recreational golf player. This means they hit the green in regulation on 3-to 4 out of every ten holes. 

Low Handicap Golfer

For a low handicap golf player, a 60-70% GIR percentage is considered good. Low-handicap golf players usually hit about half of the greens in regulation throughout a turn of golf.

These golf players are reaching the green in regulation on 6-7 out of every ten holes, which is a significant improvement over the average golf player. But a solid tee ball will help a ton for the everyday golfer. 

PGA Tour Players

A GIR percentage of 70-75% for PGA Tour players is considered good. These golf players are making the green in regulation on 7-8 out of every ten green holes, a remarkable achievement.

If guys on the major tours can’t constantly get the golf ball on the green, recreational golf players won’t, either. That means that PGA Tour players average roughly 11 of 18 greens per round. These golf players are the best in the world and can make birdies and pars consistently. 

In conclusion, a good GIR percentage depends on the golf player’s handicap and skill level. For the average recreational golf player, hitting half the green in regulation on 3-4 holes is a solid achievement, while low handicap golf players should aim for 6-7 spots, and PGA Tour players should aim for 7-8 holes.

By improving your GIR percentage, you can give yourself more chances to score well and enjoy the game of golf even more. 

Tips for Hitting More Greens in Regulation

What Does Greens in Regulation Mean in Golf 15
Tips for Hitting More Greens in Regulation

Hit More Fairways

Hitting more fairways gives you a better chance of hitting more greens in regulation and sets you up for better approach shots. To hit more fairways, focus on your alignment and aim for the center of the fairway.

Use a club you feel comfortable hitting straight, and avoid hitting the ball too hard. Plus, club selection is much easier when you’re in the fairway. It usually means an easier next shot to the putting green by avoiding fairway bunkers and other trouble off the tee. 

Nail Your Pre-Shot Routine

A consistent pre-shot routine will help you stay focused and relaxed before hitting your shot. Start by selecting your club and visualizing your image. Take a few practice swings to get comfortable, and then step up to the ball. Take a deep breath and address the ball. Ensure your grip, stance, and alignment are correct before starting your swing. 

Know Your Distances For Your Second Shot

Take some time to practice hitting your irons at different distances and record your results. This will help you determine which club to use for your second shot and increase your chances of hitting the green. Another huge part of hitting more greens every round is knowing your distances for each golf club. 

Aim For The Fat Part of The Green

When aiming for the green, it’s essential to seek the fat part of the green. This area is where the green is most comprehensive and gives you the most room for error. Avoid aiming for the pin unless you’re confident you can hit it. Instead, aim for the center of the green and give yourself a good chance for a two-putt. 

Track Your Stats

Tracking your golf stats is a great way to measure your progress and identify areas for improvement. Keep track of fairway hits, every green in regulation, and putts per round.

This will help you see where to focus your practical golf and improve your overall game. Try playing a round of golf where you forget about scoring average and try to hit as many greens out of 18 as you can. 

By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to making more greens in regulation and improving your golf game.


What is a good percentage of green in regulation?

As a golf specialist, a good percentage of greens in regulation is typically around 70%. This means that out of 18 holes, a player should reach the green in regulation on 12. However, this can vary depending on the course difficulty and weather conditions. 

Who has the best greens in regulation on the PGA Tour?

Collin Morikawa is the player with the best greens in regulation percentage on the PGA Tour. As of September 27, 2023, his greens in regulation percentage is 74.6%. This is an impressive number considering the difficulty of the courses and the competition. 

What’s the PGA Tour record for greens hit?

Tiger Woods holds the PGA Tour record for greens hit in a single season. In 2000, he shot 75.2% of greens in regulation. This incredible feat shows just how dominant he was during that season. It’s worth noting that the record has stood for over 20 years and has yet to be broken.

In conclusion, understanding greens in regulation is crucial for any golf player looking to improve their game. It’s a statistic that measures the accuracy of a player’s approach shots and can be used to identify areas for improvement. 


Hopefully, with the above article by Stony Brook Golf NJ, you will get the answer to the question, “What do greens in regulation mean in golf?” Greens in Regulation is one of the most critical statistics in golf. It measures the number of times a player hits the green in regulation, which is hitting the green in the prescribed number of strokes or fewer. 

By hitting more greens in regulation, players can give themselves more birdie opportunities, leading to lower scores. Additionally, making more greens in regulation can help players avoid costly mistakes like bogeys.

To improve your GIR, you can work on your approach shots and accuracy with your irons. You can also practice your short game to get up and down more often, which can help you save strokes even if you are missing green.

In summary, by improving your GIR, you can give yourself more birdie opportunities and avoid costly mistakes. Keep working on your ball-striking and short game, and you’ll see your GIR improve quickly.

Read more:

Draw vs fade
Can you play Augusta National on a golf simulator? 
Dress code for golf driving range
Is a Golf Ball Hollow or Solid?

Hello, I'm Christopher Y. Newman, and I'm a passionate golfer with over 15 years of experience in the sport. Golf has been a part of my life since I was young, and I've dedicated myself to mastering the game. As an avid researcher, I stay up-to-date with the latest trends, techniques, and equipment in the industry. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced golfer, my expertise can help you improve your game and fully enjoy the sport. I provide useful tips, insights, and recommendations that can help you take your skills to the next level.

Leave a Comment