What Does Pin High Mean In Golf? (Explained!)

Last Updated on October 9, 2023 by Alex PT

Pin high in golf means that your golf ball has landed on the green level with the hole, but not necessarily close to the flagstick. It is a good thing because it means you hit the ball the correct distance, but your accuracy needs improvement.

What Does Pin High Mean In Golf?

The phrase “Pin High” may be a jargon heard amidst the green fairways and challenging terrain of a golf course. In broad sports parlance, it is specific to the game of golf. This article seeks to understand the meaning and significance of the term, “Pin High” in golf.

1. Definition:

“Pin High” is a term used when the golf ball, after being struck, lands level with the flagstick (often called the pin) on a par or a birdie attempt. The distance is measured horizontally, not vertically.

2. Determining Pin High:

A player’s golf ball is considered to be “Pin High” when it comes to rest at the same level as where the hole has been cut, regardless of its lateral distance. The landing could be left, right, or even past the hole on the green.

3. Significance of Pin High:

Adjusting for “Pin High” shots has potential benefits. It prevents landing short in hazards like bunkers, or landing long in areas strapped by rough terrain. Being “Pin High” also generally leaves a simpler putt length.

4. Strategy for Pin High:

A golfer aiming for a “Pin High” shot engages in careful calculation. They need to consider the club choice, wind speed and direction, the elevation of the green, and the characteristics of the specific hole.

5. The Misconception:

A common misconception is that “Pin High” applies only when the ball lands and stays on the green. In actuality, it can be off the green as well, but aligned the same level as the hole.

6. Utilizing ‘Pin High’ in Game Strategy:

Smart golf players often use their abilities to hit ‘Pin High’ as strategic tools in their game. By consistently landing their balls ‘Pin High’, they can simplify their putts and increase their chances of a lowered overall score.

Understanding the term “Pin High” and using it effectively in gameplay can make a significant difference in a player’s game. This seemingly simple golf vernacular represents much more than meets the eye, and mastering this can improve a player’s performance on the course.

Hitting The Golf Ball Pin High

Hitting The Golf Ball Pin High

Every green has various shapes and dimensions with a hole attached to the surface. The hole in golf is usually indicated by the pin or flagstick. Each golf course indicates the hole with a flagstick so that golfers can its precise location hundreds of yards away.

Every shot a golfer hits has two major components the target, direction, and distance. Golfers adopt the phrase “Pin High” to imply that a shot taken was well played in regards to distance. You can also say that a shot was high in pin if it was struck the right distance and missed the green either to the left or right.

Why Is It Called Pin High In Golf?

The phrase “Pin high” has absolutely nothing to do with height. However, in golf, the slang up and high is often linked with the concept of hitting the ball just as far to get to the hole or hitting the ball the right distance.

For example, if you heard the phrase “never up, never in” regarding putting. It means that for you to have a greater chance of your ball going into the hole then you must hit your putt as far enough.

Hence, in golf, the whole concept of height is closely associated with hitting the ball far enough, far enough to get to the hole.

Why Is It Called A Pin In Golf?

 A Pin In Golf

The flagstick in golf is another name for the pin. They mean the same thing and are used interchangeably. The pin is sometimes called the flagstick obviously for its appearance. When you view it from hundreds of yards away it appears so, the flagstick appears thin and tiny just like a pin.

Golf is a fun game and golfers always give nicknames for every object and thing. Different objects and almost everything have more than one nickname accrued to them. However, the phase pin has been used for a long time and come to be widely accepted and has become a prominent golfing language.

What Happens in Golf if You Hit The Pin?

Absolutely nothing. The only thing is that you’ll start playing the game from where it ends up.

Hitting the pin can be both good and bad depending on the situation. Hitting the pin can lead to a poor shot to just stop close to the hole (or something even going in) instead of just going over the pink and green. At other times, an almost perfect shot that should have hit the green can stop when it comes close to the hole.

Golfers sometimes call this good or bad luck that comes from hitting part a part of the course “the rub of the green.” It simply means that you take good and bad luck, shake it off, and continue with the game.

Rule Change From Hitting The Pin While Putting

Pin While Putting

Before 2019, if during your play the ball struck the pin (irrespective of if it was lying on the green or in the hole) then you were entitled to a 2-stroke penalty.

This connotes that you have to remove the flagstick before putting your ball. More so, you can have someone helping out by holding your pin whilst you strike your putt if you want to see the hole and then remove it whilst the putt is on its way.

This rule led to a lot of awkward situations, where the pin might be stuck and the player can’t get it out the way before the ball reaches leading to a 2-stroke penalty for that player. Thankfully, this rule was revamped in 2009. Recently, there has been no penalty attached to hitting the pin but it’s still safer to stay off hitting the pin.

Would You Rather Be Pin High Or Pin Low?

In golf, whether you would rather be “pin high” or “pin low” depends on the situation and your putting skills. Let’s delve into the details of each:

  1. Pin High:
    • Definition: When your ball comes to rest at the same distance as the hole on the green.
    • Advantages:
      • Easier Putting: Being pin high generally results in a more manageable and makeable putt. You have a relatively short putt, which can increase your chances of sinking it in fewer strokes.
      • Reduced Risk: You reduce the risk of three-putting, which means you save strokes and maintain better control over your score.
    • Strategy: Aiming to be pin high is often a smart strategy, especially when the pin placement is challenging or when you want to minimize the chances of overshooting the hole.
  2. Pin Low:
    • Definition: When your ball goes beyond the hole on the green, typically by a few yards.
    • Advantages:
      • Downhill Putt: You might have a downhill putt when you’re pin low, which can help the ball roll more smoothly towards the hole, potentially making it easier to judge the speed.
      • Longer Putt: In some cases, a pin low position may result in a longer but straighter comeback putt, which can be more predictable than breaking putts.
    • Strategy: Opting for a pin low approach can be advantageous when you want to ensure that your ball won’t fall short of the hole. It’s a choice that may involve more confidence in your putting ability.

In conclusion, the preference between being pin high or pin low in golf depends on your skill level, the specific hole layout, and your confidence in your putting game. Generally, being pin high is favored for its higher chance of an easier putt and lower risk of three-putting. However, there are situations where being pin low might be a strategic choice, especially when you want to avoid leaving your ball short of the hole or when you’re comfortable with longer putts. Ultimately, golfers should assess each scenario and choose the approach that best suits their game plan and playing conditions.

Pin High vs. Hole High: Differences

AspectPin HighHole High
DefinitionBall stops at the same distance as the hole on the green.Ball goes beyond the hole, typically by a few yards.
ObjectiveAiming for precision in approach shots, ensuring an easier putt.May result in a longer putt back to the hole.
Putting AdvantageGenerally provides a more manageable and makeable putt.Often requires a downhill putt or longer comeback putt.
StrategyReduces the risk of three-putting and helps save strokes.Requires greater accuracy and judgment in approach shots.
Common Term UsageWidely used in golf to describe an ideal approach shot.Less frequently used, as it represents an overshooting scenario.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is There Any Penalty Attached With Hitting The Pin?

At present, there is no penalty associated with hitting the pin that’s because the rule has been changed in that regard. If you played golf before 2019, there was a rule of 2 stroke offense if you hit the pin.

What Is The Real Purpose Of The Pin?

The real purpose of the pin is to indicate the actual position on the hole from a hundred yards, thus enabling golfers to plan and measure the exact energy and precision it would take to get the ball into the hole. 

Is “Pin High” An Official Word In Golf?

Pin high is not an official language in golf. It was coined by golfers to indicate the exact distance that a ball stands from the flagstick or pin


The game of golf is filled with a lot of phases and slang that connote different activities. Golfers have coined both good and bad phases and slang to indicate good or bad luck, great or bad swing, and precise and awful shoot.

The pin high is a good thing as it indicates that the ball is located just in line with the pin but not close to the pin. Golfers aim to be pin high as it increases their chances of winning the game.



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