What Does ‘Pin High’ Mean in Golf?

Welcome to our golf blog, where we explore the fascinating world of this remarkable sport and all its nuances.

I’m sure that many beginners get confused about many golf terms when exploring the golf world. “Pin high” is a typical example.

So, we’re here to shed some light on a term that you may have come across during your golfing adventures: “Pin High.”

But wait, before giving you the explanation about “what does pin high mean”, it’s better to make it clear for some beginners who haven’t known about the “pin”.

What Is A Pin In Golf?

Though the USGA lists “pin” as one of the golf terms that misused golf terms, “pin” became popular and used by many golfers. Instead of “pin”, USGA prefers using “flagstick” or “hole location”, which means “pin” has the same meaning as these terms in unofficial play.

“Pin” relates to the terminology used to describe the pole with the flag that indicates the location of the hole. Technically, this pole is called the “flagstick.”

However, golfers commonly refer to it as the “pin,” a term not found in the official rules of golf as we mentioned.

What Does ‘Pin High’ Mean In Golf?

what does pin high mean
What Does ‘Pin High’ Mean In Golf?

So, what does “pin high” mean in golf?

In theory, golfers could also use the proper terminology of “flag high” or “flagstick high,” but these terms never gained acceptance.

When playing golf, the term “pin high” is used to describe a shot that lands near the flagstick or pin at approximately the same elevation as the green.

Hitting a shot that is ‘pin high’ in golf can be viewed as a positive achievement for many reasons. It signifies that the golfer has achieved sufficient distance with their swing, but their accuracy was just slightly off target.

What Is Pin Low In Golf?

A pin low shot is an attempt to hit the flagstick, but lands short of it. This can occur when a golfer misjudges the distance required for a successful shot or executes their swing with less power than needed. It requires careful adjustment of the aim and power of the shot to ensure that it reaches the target. Pin low shots usually require higher precision and accuracy than pin high shots.

Why It Is Called Pin High?

On a golf course, being pin high is often misunderstood. It has no connection to the height of your shots. Instead, it signifies the skill of hitting your approach shot precisely to land level with the flagstick or pin. This attention to detail ensures accuracy and raises the excitement of the game.

This slang term is commonly used among golfers and is just one of many that add character to the sport. As we discussed earlier, being pin high can have both positive and negative implications on your game.

What Happens If You Hit A Pin In Golf?

Hitting the pin can have its advantages and disadvantages.

While hitting the pin can stop the ball from flying over the back of the green, it can also result in ricocheting off the putting surface, causing frustration.

Nonetheless, having the pin in can act as a back stop and visually make the hole look bigger, which can be useful for chipping shots.

As a professional golfer, it’s important to stay focused and not let the presence of the pin distract you from hitting your shot accurately. Regardless of whether you hit the pin or not, the rule is simple: play the ball from where it ends up.

Pin High Or Pin Low?

Golfers are often faced with a difficult decision when approaching the green. The layout of the green and position of the hole location can greatly impact their strategy.

While pin high is typically preferred, pin low may actually be an advantage in certain situations. This is particularly true when facing an uphill putt. The slower speed and decreased break makes it easier for golfers to sink the ball into the hole.

For professionals, making the right decision based on the slope and distance of the green can make all the difference in their final score.

Hole High Vs Pin High

Despite their different names, pin high & hole high mean exactly the same thing – a shot that has travelled a distance that matches the location of the pin or hole. This phrase is frequently used by golfers as a confirmation of their shot distance and position.

Should You Remove The Pin When Putting?

what does pin high mean
Should You Remove The Pin When Putting?

The question of whether or not to leave the pin in while putting has been a hot topic in the golf world since the USGA changed its rules in 2019.

While the option to leave the pin in has been introduced in order to speed up the pace of play, research by Golf Digest suggests that the benefits of leaving the flagstick in may be minimal. In fact, their analysis indicates that PGA Tour players would only benefit from leaving the pin in on an incredibly small percentage of all putts: just 0.0033%.

While some pros and experts advocate for leaving the flagstick in the hole, others prefer to putt with an unobstructed view of the green.

Interestingly, according to the USGA, there is no competitive advantage to be gained by either method. As with many aspects of golf, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and what works best for each individual player.

To improve your game, try experimenting with both methods and see which one helps you achieve a lower handicap and closer to achieving scratch golfer status.

Final Thoughts

Pin high is a common phrase used by golfers to describe an approach shot that has been hit the correct distance from the flagstick or pin. While this distance can have both advantages and disadvantages, it’s important for players to stay focused and make their own judgement of what works best in each situation.

Whether you choose to leave the pin in or take it out while putting is ultimately up to you, but what’s most important is that you remain consistent and comfortable with whichever decision you make.

In the end, practice makes perfect: so keep hitting the links and find a technique that works for your game.  With enough persistence, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a lower handicap and becoming an even more skilled golfer.


  • 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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