Why Greens In Regulation Matter?

A golfer is observing its shot on the golf course

Learn about greens in regulation and how they can help you become a better golfer. Discover tips and strategies for improving GIR and tour statistics.

Golf is a sport that requires a combination of skill, strategy, and determination. One of the most important statistics in golf is greens in regulation (GIR).

By hitting the greens in the standard number of strokes or fewer, golfers can avoid difficult shots and ultimately lower their scores. This article will discuss what constitutes GIR, strategies to improve it, and GIR statistics on professional tours.

What is greens in regulation?

A “green in regulation,” known as GIR, is a statistic used in professional golf tours and by amateur and recreational golfers to evaluate their performance. It refers to hitting the ball onto the putting surface in two shots less than the par rating for the hole.

In golf, the par rating represents the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to take to complete a hole, considering its length and other factors.

For instance, a par four typically expects a scratch golfer to use two shots to reach the putting surface and then two putts to complete the hole. By subtracting two putts from the par rating, golfers can calculate their GIR for each hole.

To achieve a green in regulation (GIR), a golfer must successfully land their ball onto the putting green in

  • one stroke on a par 3
  • two or fewer strokes on a par 4
  • three or fewer strokes on a par 5
  • four or fewer strokes on a par 6

Why is GIR important?

Hitting a green in regulation in a specific number of strokes is considered a sign of skill and proficiency. It also reflects their ability to plan and execute shots, select the right club, and read the course. Here is why GIR is important:

  • GIR can help players identify strengths and weaknesses in their game and work on improving their approach shots and accuracy.
  • GIR is significant in tournament play, as it can impact a player’s chances of winning.
  • Missing the green can result in bogeys or worse, which can harm a player’s score and confidence.
  • The more greens a player hits in regulation, the more opportunities they have to make birdies and gain an advantage over their competitors.

GIR by handicap

Here is a table that shows the expected number of greens hit in regulation based on the handicap.

Handicap GIR per round
Tour average11.7 greens
+3 to +1 handicap 10-13 greens
0 to 2 handicap8-12 greens
3 to 6 handicap6-9 greens
6 to 9 handicap5-8 greens
9 to 12 handicap4-7 greens
12 to 18 handicap3-6 greens
24+ handicap0 to 2 greens 

How to hit more greens in golf?

Here are some tips to help you hitting greens in regulation in golf:

1. Focus on Par 3s

Par 3s are the shortest holes on the course, allowing you to tee the ball up and make clean contact with the ball, increasing your chance of hitting the green with your first shot. Limited club selection on par 3s reduces the complexity of the shot, making it easier for newer golfers to hit a green in regulation with a shorter club.

2. Aim for more fairways

Hit accurate tee shots to improve your chances of hitting the green in regulation on par 4s. Choose a club that gives you confidence and aims away from hazards like bunkers. The more fairways you hit, the higher your GIR percentage will be.

3. Increase your driving distance

Professional golfers have a distinct advantage over amateur golfers in terms of distance. For instance, on a par 5, tour players can hit the green in two shots because of their higher clubhead speed, giving them more yardage off the tee.

Amateurs, on the other hand, might need an extra shot to reach the green. This requires them to maintain accuracy and precision in controlling their trajectory and distance, which demands a higher level of skill.

How to track GIR?

Tracking GIR can be helpful in understanding a player’s accuracy and consistency on approach shots. Here are a few ways to track GIR:

Old school way

To track your Greens in Regulation (GIR), utilize one of the empty rows on your scorecard. Whenever you hit the green in regulation for a hole, put a checkmark in the corresponding box. If you did not hit the green in regulation, put an “X” instead. Once the round is over, add up the number of checkmarks to determine your GIR count.

Arccos Caddie

Arccos Caddie is a golf performance tracking system that uses sensors on your clubs to track your shots and provide insights into your game automatically. With Arccos Caddie, you can track your GIR stats and other important metrics like driving accuracy, putting performance, and more.

Golf clubs such as Cobra Radspeed irons, PING G425 Max driver, and fairway wood come with pre-installed Arccos Caddie sensors. So you can track your GIR right away.

Online Apps

There are many online apps available that allow golfers to track their greens in regulation stats. When looking for an app to track your GIR, consider features like ease of use, accuracy, and compatibility with your device.

PGA Tour greens in regulation leaders 2022-23

Here are the top 13 PGA Tour players with the highest Greens in Regulation (GIR) percentages in the 2022-23 season so far:

RankPlayerGIR Percentage
1Patrick Cantlay80.56%
2Spencer Levin79.17%
3Rickie Fowler76.98%
T4Akshay Bhatia76.39%
T4Collin Morikawa76.39%
T4Patrick Welch76.39%
T4Scott Gutschewski76.39%
T8Brian Harman75%
T8Jon Rahm75%
T8Shane Lowry75%
T8Sean O’Hair75%
T8 Takumi Kanaya75%

Who led the PGA Tour in greens in regulation last season?

In the 2022 PGA Tour season, Scottie Scheffler had the highest greens in regulation percentage (72.29%). It is understandable as to why Scheffler won four events and is currently the top-ranked player in the world.

How many greens are hit by the pro golfers during a round of golf?

It’s remarkable how frequently PGA Tour players hit greens in regulation compared to most of us. 

Since the PGA tour began tracking GIR in 1980, the lowest percentage to lead the tour was 70.34% by Justin Rose in 2012, while the highest was recently achieved by Patrick Cantlay in 2023 with 80.56%, surpassing Tiger Woods’ record of 75.15%. 

Even the worst golfer on the tour typically has a 60% GIR percentage over the course of a year. The following are the highest greens-in-regulation percentages ever recorded on the major tours:

  • PGA tour: 80.56%, Patrick Cantlay in 2023
  • LPGA Tour: 79.7%, Annika Sorenstam, 2002
  • European tour: 80.8-percent, Justin Rose, 2012

Does fringe count as a green in regulation?

The fringe is not considered part of the green in regulation. However, golfers are allowed to use their putter to play from the fringe area. It is recommended to avoid using a wedge or iron and instead opt for a putter while playing from the fringe to help achieve lower scores.

When is a golf ball considered on the green?

According to USGA, if any part of your ball touches the putting green, it is considered on the green. Even if part of the ball is on the fringe, as long as it is touching the green surface, it is still considered on the green.

What is a good percentage of greens in regulation?

The number of greens in regulation (GIR) that is considered good will vary based on an individual’s handicap and skill level. 

The average GIR for some amateur golfers may be relatively low, while others may hit between 6-9 greens in regulation. Highly skilled players, on the other hand, typically hit 10 or more greens in regulation per round.

What is the average PGA Tour greens in regulation percentage?

The average greens in regulation percentage on the PGA Tour is around 66%. Players usually may range from 60 to 70, with some professional golfers getting up to the 80.


GIR is a critical golf statistic that reveals a player’s accuracy and skill in executing approach shots. Hitting greens in regulation can enhance a player’s game while missing them can harm their score and confidence. Improving golf ball hits is essential for gaining a competitive edge, and utilizing tracking devices, and online apps can help golfers monitor and improve their GIR stats.

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