If you have watched competition golf on TV or played the game, you will have heard the term ‘pin high’ being used frequently during commentary or by your playing partners once they have hit a shot to the green – but what does this mean?
Pin high means the ball has landed level with the hole on the green and is lying left or right of the flag. This indicates that the player has achieved the exact distance on their shot to reach the same depth on the green as the hole but is slightly off in the direction.
Getting the golf ball pin high is a good indicator of both direction and distance control so let’s take a closer look at this turn of phrase so the next time you hear it being used, you’ll know exactly what it means!
Pin High Vs. Flag High – Exactly The Same Thing?
The flagstick is there to show the exact position of the hole on the green, and in golf, the terms ‘pin’ and ‘flag’ both mean the same thing. The pin is another term for the flagstick and is often used by GPS devices to reference the hole position on the green.
Whether using the terms ‘pin-high’ or ‘flag-high’ in golf, they both describe a ball that has landed on the same line as the hole but is lying laterally, rather than short or long. You could also use the term ‘flagstick high’ or ‘hole high’ in the same breath.
Does The Golf Ball Have To Be On The Green To Be Pin High
To be hole high, the ball does not have to be on the green; it can often land on the fringes or even in a bunker that is positioned next to the green – the only consideration for a ball to be pin high is that it comes to rest in line with the hole but to either side of it.
Remember that the term pin high in golf indicates that the golfer has hit his shot the right DISTANCE, so if the golf flag was 150 yards away, and the ball lands pin high, this means that the golfer has played a precise 150-yard shot, but- the direction of the shot was not entirely online with the hole.
In golf, pin high refers to any shot that lands on the same line as the hole but finishes left or right of the flagstick. On approach, a golfer can hit a pin-high shot that lands off the green but is still lying level with the flagstick.
Where greens have water hazards next to them, golfers can also hit pin-high shots that land in the water, and even though they would take a penalty and have to replay it from the drop zone, the shot distance was still correct.
Pin-High And Correct Distance
Because golf courses place their flagsticks in different positions on the greens weekly, if not daily, the term pin-high does not indicate where on the green your ball may be lying, i.e., front, back, or middle.
The fact that the ball has come to rest pin-high only indicates that the shot depth in terms of the distance to the golf flag was correct. The other aspect to consider here is that high pin means that the ball has stopped on a lateral line with the hole.
If the ball hits pin-high and then rolled past the hole or spun back below the hole, that would not be termed a pin-high golf shot, only that it pitched to the same distance to the flag, but then rolled or spun further or shorter, respectively.
Landing pin high in golf means the golfer has played a good shot and achieved the correct distance, but then the ball has rolled forward due to momentum or spun away and came to rest away from the hole.
Are Pin High Shots Good In Golf
Any time your ball lands on the same line as the hole that is a good shot; it is a great shot! The purpose of the approach shot or tee shot on a par 3 is to get the golf ball as close to the flagstick as you can to present a scoring opportunity on that hole.
The more shots you can land pin high in golf, the better your scores will be, but this is far easier said than done. Remember that achieving a pin-high result will mean you will need to land the ball away from the hole and have it roll or spin and come to rest in line with it.
How To Hit More Pin High Shots
Getting your golf ball close to the hole on approach or tee shot is the goal of every player, but again, achieving this consistently is incredibly difficult, and not even the very best in the world can do it on every shot.
To achieve this, you would need to know the layout of the putting green and hole location and the best place to land the ball so that it can work with the contours of the green to feed down towards the hole.
This takes skill and accurate yardages, which is why many amateur players utilize GPS devices that not only give them precise distances to the hole but also provide other landing areas on the green as well as indications of the green slope so that players can gauge the best place to land the ball for the best result on the putting surface.
The pros may not use GPS devices other than for yardages and have the pace of the greens and know the slope and layout and hole placement so they can determine the best option for their approach shots to the hole on that specific day on each golf course.
The pin-high shot in golf is probably only second to the hole-in-one on a par three and holing the approach shot on par 4’s or par 5’s, and because of the skill (and sometimes luck) involved, they don’t occur that often.
Hitting a pin-high shot when playing is considered an excellent result, and so whatever you did to get the ball there you should make a note of it so you can do it again on the next hole!