Closest To The Pin In Golf: Meaning, Rules & How It Work

Closest to the Pin is one of golf’s most exciting and strategic elements. It involves players attempting to hit their ball as close as possible to a designated hole on the course to gain points for themselves or their team. The player who hits it closest wins and receives a prize or recognition depending on the tournament rules. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what it means and how it works.

Read more: What is a Snowman in Golf? Meaning & Tips to Avoid

What Does Closest To The Pin Mean In Golf?

The term “Closest to the Pin” (CTP) holds a special significance, as it’s often used in charity and amateur golf tournaments. This term refers to a contest wherein golfers aim to strike their golf ball as close to the hole from their tee shot on a par-3 hole.

Typically, a marker or a flag is used to keep track of each player’s closest shot, which adds an intriguing element to the game.

Participants in this challenge are battling to achieve the “Closest to the Pin” title and demonstrate their ability to combine precision and power in their swing.

This captivating contest adds a fascinating layer to golf, making it even more enjoyable for players and spectators.


How Does Closest To The Pin Golf Work?

Typically, this game is played on par-3 holes, shorter holes where golfers are expected to reach the green in one shot.

To start the game, each player hits their ball from the tee box towards the target. The player whose ball lands closest to the target wins the round. In some cases, there may be multiple winners if two or more players have shots that land equally close to the Pin. Depending on the rules, the winner may receive a prize, such as a cash prize or a trophy.

Closest to the Pin can be played as a standalone game or as part of a larger tournament or outing. In some cases, players may have the opportunity to purchase mulligans, which allow them to hit additional shots in an attempt to improve their score. However, this can vary depending on the specific rules of the game or tournament.


What Are The Rules For The Closest To The Pin?

Closest To The Pin In Golf
Rules For The Closest To The Pin

The rules for a CTP contest are quite simple but can vary depending on the specific event or tournament. Here are some general rules:

  • Identify the target hole: The event organizers should clearly identify the target hole for the CTP contest, usually by selecting a par-3 hole on the course.
  • Determine the rules: The rules for the CTP contest should be clearly communicated to all participants. This includes the entry fee, the number of shots allowed, and any restrictions or requirements (such as using a certain club). Participants should also be made aware of any local rules in effect for the course or event.
  • Take turns hitting shots: Participants typically take turns hitting their shots from a designated tee box, and each shot is recorded by a scorer or official. The number of shots allowed per participant may vary, but typically each participant gets one shot.
  • Measure the distance: The distance from the flagstick to the closest shot is measured using a tape measure or laser rangefinder.
  • Declare the winner: Once all participants have taken their shots, the closest shot to the flagstick is declared the winner. In the event of a tie, the organizers may use a playoff format to determine the winner.

It’s important to note that the specific rules and format for a CTP contest can vary depending on the event or tournament. If you are participating in a CTP contest, be sure to read the rules carefully and ask any questions you may have before hitting your shot.


Tips For Making The Most Out Of This Game Mechanic

Closest to the Pin is a game of precision, and ensuring the ball lands as close to the Pin as possible is essential for success! Here are some tips for making the most out of the “closest to the pin” game mechanic in golf:

Choose your club wisely: Consider the distance, wind conditions, and other factors affecting your shot. Choosing the right club can increase your chances of hitting the ball close to the pin.

Focus on accuracy: In a closest-to-the-pin contest, accuracy is more important than distance. Aim for the center of the green and try to avoid hazards or bunkers that could ruin your shot.

Practice your short game: Hitting the ball close to the pin requires a solid short game, including putting, chipping, and pitching. Practice these shots regularly to improve your accuracy and distance control.

Read the green: Before hitting your shot, take a few moments to read the green and consider the slope and contour of the terrain. This can help you make more accurate shots and get the ball closer to the pin.

Stay relaxed: Nerves and tension can negatively affect your golf game, so try to stay relaxed and focused during a closest-to-the-pin contest. Take a few deep breaths, visualize a successful shot, and trust in your abilities.

Enjoy the experience: Remember that golf is a game and a CTP contest is a fun way to challenge yourself and enjoy the sport. Don’t get too caught up in winning or losing, and appreciate the opportunity to test your skills and compete with others.



Closest-to-the-pin golf is an exciting competition that requires strategy and skill. Players can increase their chances of success when playing this game by understanding how it works, developing strategies and practicing their aim and accuracy. It is an important part of golfing culture and provides an additional level of skill and strategy to the overall game of golf.



Does A Hole-In-One Win Closest To The Pin?

A hole-in-one can win the closest to the pin competition. 

What Is The Best Club To Use When Playing Closest To The Pin? 

The best type of club for accuracy would be a 9-iron or wedge, as they can better control and pinpoint where your ball will land. It’s also important to consider other factors, such as terrain and wind, when playing this game.

How Is The Winner Of Closest To The Pin Golf Determined? 

The winner is whoever lands their ball closest to the Pin. 





  • Alvin Daniel

    Hello everyone, I'm Alvin Daniel. I was born in the Philippines and came to the United States when I was 16 years old. I started playing golf at that age and have loved it ever since. I turned professional when I was 21 and have been working as a golf instructor and guide ever since. My goal is to help everyone know more about this great game of golf. And, hopefully, through my instruction, they can improve their skills and enjoy the game even more.

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