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Rules for pin placement?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Just curious if there are certain rules for pin placement on the greens, or if the course is technically free to put the cup anywhere it desires.
The reason I ask is that recently the pin position on a couple of the holes at my home course seemed very difficult...to the point of unfair. For a quick bit of background, some of the greens at my course are very undulated and they are very fast (at least relative to other courses around here).

Here is the situation that occurred on the one hole one day. A friend and I are out for a round and when we get to the 8th hole we find that the pin is at the back of the green, which slopes quite a bit from back to front, and to top it off there is a large depression on the right side of the green. The cup was placed right behind this depression. My friend is on the front right fringe and hits a great little bump and run shot that goes through the depression and gets to approx. 1' below the hole...perfect right? Nope, that damn ball came to a stop and then slowly started to roll backwards into the depression, stopping about 15' away. Now remember, there was no back spin involved here...this ball was already rolling out when it came to a stop.
I was also short but on the left side. I chipped slightly left of the pin to avoid the pull of the depression and ended up about 3 feet past the pin and about 6 feet away. Not the greatest spot as the putt was not going to be easy, but I knew all I could do was ease it towards the cup. I hit what I thought was a fair weight for the shot, just missed the cup as the ball died down (anything less and the putt may not have been possible), and then I got to watch my ball go down into the depression...15 feet away.

Basically, it seemed like it was hit the hole or you were screwed. The hole was not really in a place where the ball would stop. The pin should have been at least another foot back of the depression IMO. I have no issue with the difficult greens punishing you for hitting the wrong areas...but to be punished for hitting a shot that gets to a foot below the hole...just doesn't seem right.

What are your thoughts on this? I'm guessing there may not be a hard rule (although maybe for tournaments there is), but it almost seems like a case of etiquette or something. You'd think the super was having a bit of fun with us or something...probably sitting up in a tree with a camera laughing his ass off as we fumbled about to make double bogeys on a par 3.
post #2 of 10

Re: Rules for pin placement?

yea, as far as ik there are rules to where you can put a pin on a green, some spots at my home course on the greens are off limits for pins...i also remember seeing on tv a layout of a green with zones of where pins are or can be and a red zone where the pin position is deemed 'unfair'
post #3 of 10

Re: Rules for pin placement?

I don't know of any rules, except for common sense.

but I can tell you that your greens keeper didn't have a very good night.
post #4 of 10

Re: Rules for pin placement?

I always thought that the pin was not suppose to be on a slope, only on the flat areas of the green, but if that means right at the top or right at the bottom of the slope then that's ok. But what the hell do I know?
post #5 of 10

Re: Rules for pin placement?

Originally Posted by Garthmo View Post
I always thought that the pin was not suppose to be on a slope, only on the flat areas of the green, but if that means right at the top or right at the bottom of the slope then that's ok. But what the hell do I know?
I can vouch from experience that is definitely not true otherwise most if not all of the courses near me aren't setting pin locations right.
post #6 of 10

Re: Rules for pin placement?

Originally Posted by alf174 View Post
I can vouch from experience that is definitely not true otherwise most if not all of the courses near me aren't setting pin locations right.
Theres no such thing as a flat area on our greens.

but the way the GPS works, they have a set spot for distance to the pic, which changes where the pin goes, but it will sometimes say " 147 to front 145 to pin"
A little stumped there.


It's a good thing I don't ride in the cart all that often.
post #7 of 10

Re: Rules for pin placement?

I've seen pins placed on slopes before, for tournament set ups. I recall 5-putting one green and being thrilled about it. Usually I find most courses have at least one brutal pin placement each day.
post #8 of 10

Re: Rules for pin placement?

There are no rules for pin placement, and no "illegal" pins. The USGA does have recommendations for proper and fair placement, and most courses follow those guidelines. But if your course doesn't follow those recommendations there really isn't anything that you can do but put up with it... or play somewhere else.
post #9 of 10

Re: Rules for pin placement?

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
There are no rules for pin placement, and no "illegal" pins. The USGA does have recommendations for proper and fair placement, and most courses follow those guidelines. But if your course doesn't follow those recommendations there really isn't anything that you can do but put up with it... or play somewhere else.
I was always told that there was a rule about how close the pin could be to the edge of the green. 3' is what is stuck in my head.

I could only wish you couldn't put a hole on a slope, but that's not realistic. One day our guys decide to put the hole on the steepest part of the first freekin' green. The kind of slope where a miss would put the ball back 10' below the hole. It backed up the FIRST hole all day.

Being pretty good acquaintances with the GM, we bitched at him when we got back to the clubhouse. He admitted to letting the cart kids set the holes up that day. I'd bet that happens more often than not on a lot of courses.
post #10 of 10

Re: Rules for pin placement?

Originally Posted by firstcut View Post
I was always told that there was a rule about how close the pin could be to the edge of the green. 3' is what is stuck in my head.
The recommended minimum is 15 feet or 5 paces, but again it's only a recommendation. See this article on the USGA website for their word on it:

The Superintendent

Or this PDF has more detail:

Hole placement article
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