Have you gotten into the habit of tracking your golf stats?

The game of golf involves a bit of math, and players use these numbers to take their golf game to the next level. Greens in regulation are one of the more important golf stats you should keep during your game.

If you’re interested in tracking greens in regulation and using that info to get better, we’ll show you how.

What does green in regulation mean?

Greens in regulation (GIR) is when a part of your ball touches the green, and the number of strokes you take is two less than the par.

image of greens in regulation calculator - AEC Info

Every golf hole has a defined number of strokes that players are supposed to hit the green when shooting a par round of golf. Getting to the green in regulation means you can two-putt and then make a par. The standard number of strokes for greens in regulation is:

  • 3 strokes for a par 5
  • 2 strokes for a par 4
  • 1 stroke for a par 3

How do you find green in regulation?

The interesting thing about greens in regulation is that even when a golf hole gets more difficult, the greens in regulation won’t change. For example, if you are playing a PGA Tour level course and your approach shots are suddenly longer and more challenging than you are used to, the greens in regulation still stay at 2 for a par 4, 1 for a 3, and 3 for a par 5.

The impact of this is that you get more critical with tee selection. Always choose a tee box appropriate for your skill level. This will allow you to get the ball on the greens in regulation. When you push yourself back too far, the chance of scoring low becomes difficult for the average golfer.

When you hit short irons into greens, the chance of getting the ball on the green is higher.

What is a good green in regulation percentage?

image of golf ball near hole - AEC Info

A good green in regulation percentage is around 33% for an amateur, but this only tells part of the story. Greens in regulation percentages will differ between amateur golfers and LPGA Tour or PGA Tour players. Let’s break down good greens in regulation percentage based on handicap and skill level.

Average recreational golfer

Any average golfer that can hit more than 1/3 of the greens in regulation will likely have a good round of golf. Hitting a green in regulation means you have good distance control and are choosing the right clubs.

Many amateur players, especially those with higher handicaps, have some unpredictability in their approach shots to the greens. Although they may have the distance necessary to get the golf ball there, shots traveling left and right off target make it harder to accomplish.

Low handicap golfer

Low-handicap golfers usually hit about half of the greens in regulation throughout a round of golf. These shots set up birdie putts making it easier for players to keep their handicap down.

Low handicap players know they must improve their tee-to-green percentage to become (and stay) scratch golfers.

PGA Tour players

image of man playing in PGA tour - AEC Info

Whether golfers are on the European Tour, PGA Tour, or LPGA Tour, you can track their greens in regulation percentage and know who is leading. As you might imagine, players with a good green in regulation number often get close to winning tournaments.

To have a realistic shot at making a birdie, hitting the green is your best chance.

Here are a few greens in regulation percentages for some of the best players in the game.

  • Scottie Scheffler (73.77): the overall leader in GIR is Scottie Scheffler. Hitting 3/4 of all greens says much about why his name is often at the top of the leaderboard.
  • Patrick Cantlay- Greens or Fringe In Reg (82.64): if you count the fringe as getting close enough to the green, which an everyday golfer probably should, Cantlay has an incredible stat running right now.
  • Camillo Villegas- Greens in Regulation 100-125 Yards (100%): from the 100 to 125-yard range, Camillo Villegas always gets on the green in regulation. With more advanced tracking, GIR percentages are tracked from various distances.
  • Trevor Cone- Greens In Regulation From Fairway (86.18%): hitting the green from the fairway is often a little easier than hitting it from the rough; Trevor Cone can do some pretty incredible things when his golf ball hits the fairway.

How many greens in regulation to break 80?

Breaking 80 and becoming a single-digit handicap is a common goal among golfers. To get to this level of golfing, you will need to hit at least half the greens during your round of golf. Golfers with handicaps in the single digits often hit more like 60% of greens.

Of course, you can have a great day on the course where you hit almost every green, but as all golfers know, the chance of making all those putts is quite slim.

Golf courses can be challenging, and sometimes greens are small, making it even harder to lower your average score and hit more greens.

Tips for hitting more greens in regulation

Since hitting greens in regulation will lower scores, it’s good to have some strategies or tips to accomplish this consistently. GIR is a stat that professional golfers will tell you is incredibly important.

  • Get your tee shot in the fairway

Difficult shots to the green are often in the rough or the sand trap. Scratch players work on their game from the tee and try to hit their drives in the fairway to avoid penalty shots and extra strokes. If you can hit your tee shots in the fairway, you will make lots of birdies.

Take some practice sessions where you work on determining the distance that you hit each golf club. Your game skills will improve significantly if you know how far each shot goes. In addition, when it comes to elevated greens or windy conditions, having a strong base on your distances will only help you succeed.

Use golf technology to help you. Know how far it is to clear the greenside bunker or how much room you have from the front to the back of the green; sometimes, this can be 10-20 yards.

  • Expert players have expert aim

Regardless of your handicap range, ensure you know how to aim correctly. Many golfers in the 15-19 handicap range struggle with their ability to aim the ball properly, and this causes a lot of missed greens.

  • Pay attention to course conditions and weather

Wind, rain, and even dry conditions will all impact your stock shot. If you want to hit a perfect shot into a green, you must pay attention to all the factors that will impact it. In addition, having a few different types of shots you can hit (i.e. punch, Stinger, flyer) gives you a better chance of making birdies and higher GIR percentages.

Final thoughts

Greens in regulation are one of the most important scoring parameters for increasing birdie changes. Sometimes golfers get so stuck on their swing or scoring that they forget the basics of the 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. Chances are you will have quite a good day if you can figure out how to get more accurate on your approaches to the green.