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ScottRempel

Rules for pin placement?

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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.
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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'
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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.
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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?
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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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The pictures don't do these any justice.  Every pin was on a slope this day.  It was part of the "Tough Man Tournament".  It was a two man best ball tournament with every pin in a crazy spot, usually on a slope, and usually only about 24-48 inches off the edge of the fringe  - usually well protected too...    

Too much fun, but....   crazy hole locations!!!

Tough-Day-2015-a1.jpg

Tough_Man_Pin_Placement-_Bide_A_Wee.jpg

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I copied this from an article a few years back.  For the life of me I cannot remember where I got it. 

All PGA events are governed by the standard Rules of Golf, as published by the United States Golf Association. While rules don't specify precisely where a hole must be placed, the USGA does offer guidance in its Handicap Manual. By the strict letter of the law, therefore, a hole may be placed anywhere on the green. But tournament and golf course officials who must decide where to place the holes can look to Rule 15-3 of the Manual for the USGA's in-depth recommendations regarding pin placement.

Pin Placement Defined

Hole location may be physically moved around the green quite easily using a hole-cutting tool. The tool extracts a cylindrical chunk of grass and dirt from the green. The cylinder is placed into the former hole’s location, and the cup that lined the old hole is positioned in the new spot. During PGA tournaments, hole locations are typically changed each round. This is commonly termed each day’s “pin placement.” The USGA, however, disapproves of this term, listing “pin” as one of the top 10 misused golf terms, according to a 2009 article on the USGA website. The organization prefers “hole location” to “pin placement.”

Factors Affecting Hole Location

According to Rule 15-3, the most important factor when deciding where to place a hole is “good judgment in deciding what will give fair results.” The USGA also admonishes tournament officials not to be "tricky" when choosing hole locations. Toward those objectives, Rule 15-3 advises officials to examine the green’s design and to consider the type of approach shot required. Officials should consider the length of the likely approach shot and should allow sufficient putting distance around the hole. For example, the hole will typically be placed farther from the edge of the green when the expected approach shot requires a long iron rather than a more lofted club, according to PGA official Mickey Bradley. Weather conditions also are factored in. For example, greens will hold an approach better when they’re wet.

More specifically, Rule 15-3(ii) recommends that holes should be placed "at least four paces from any edge of the putting green," and even farther if there's a sand trap near the edge or if the area surrounding the green's edge slopes downward.

Physical Qualities of the Green

The USGA suggests that at least a 2-foot radius surrounding the hole “should be as nearly level as possible and of uniform grade.” The hole shouldn’t be placed on a steep slope on which a missed putt from above the hole will roll a long distance past the cup. “A player above the hole should be able to stop the ball at the hole,” according to Rule 15-3(iii). Additionally, the hole shouldn’t be located on a former hole’s spot until the old location has healed completely.

Balance

Rule 15-3(vi) recommends that officials use a balanced selection of hole locations "for the entire course with respect to left, right, central, front and back positions." For example, when setting the hole locations for the back nine during the 2007 Nissan Open, tournament official John Mutch set four on the left side of the green, four on the right and one in the center. Officials also change some hole locations between rounds to force golfers to hit a different shot into the green.

“We try not to have the players hit the same shot or even use the same club,” said tournament official Robby Ware, discussing hole locations for the 2009 Players Championship.

The USGA also advises tournament officials to maintain a consistent degree of difficulty throughout the event. Rule 15-3(vii) rejects the idea of making a course progressively more difficult each day, calling such a plan "fallacious."

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30 minutes ago, RickK said:

I copied this from an article a few years back.  For the life of me I cannot remember where I got it. 

All PGA events are governed by the standard Rules of Golf, as published by the United States Golf Association. While rules don't specify precisely where a hole must be placed, the USGA does offer guidance in its Handicap Manual. By the strict letter of the law, therefore, a hole may be placed anywhere on the green. But tournament and golf course officials who must decide where to place the holes can look to Rule 15-3 of the Manual for the USGA's in-depth recommendations regarding pin placement.

Pin Placement Defined

Hole location may be physically moved around the green quite easily using a hole-cutting tool. The tool extracts a cylindrical chunk of grass and dirt from the green. The cylinder is placed into the former hole’s location, and the cup that lined the old hole is positioned in the new spot. During PGA tournaments, hole locations are typically changed each round. This is commonly termed each day’s “pin placement.” The USGA, however, disapproves of this term, listing “pin” as one of the top 10 misused golf terms, according to a 2009 article on the USGA website. The organization prefers “hole location” to “pin placement.”

Factors Affecting Hole Location

According to Rule 15-3, the most important factor when deciding where to place a hole is “good judgment in deciding what will give fair results.” The USGA also admonishes tournament officials not to be "tricky" when choosing hole locations. Toward those objectives, Rule 15-3 advises officials to examine the green’s design and to consider the type of approach shot required. Officials should consider the length of the likely approach shot and should allow sufficient putting distance around the hole. For example, the hole will typically be placed farther from the edge of the green when the expected approach shot requires a long iron rather than a more lofted club, according to PGA official Mickey Bradley. Weather conditions also are factored in. For example, greens will hold an approach better when they’re wet.

More specifically, Rule 15-3(ii) recommends that holes should be placed "at least four paces from any edge of the putting green," and even farther if there's a sand trap near the edge or if the area surrounding the green's edge slopes downward.

Physical Qualities of the Green

The USGA suggests that at least a 2-foot radius surrounding the hole “should be as nearly level as possible and of uniform grade.” The hole shouldn’t be placed on a steep slope on which a missed putt from above the hole will roll a long distance past the cup. “A player above the hole should be able to stop the ball at the hole,” according to Rule 15-3(iii). Additionally, the hole shouldn’t be located on a former hole’s spot until the old location has healed completely.

Balance

Rule 15-3(vi) recommends that officials use a balanced selection of hole locations "for the entire course with respect to left, right, central, front and back positions." For example, when setting the hole locations for the back nine during the 2007 Nissan Open, tournament official John Mutch set four on the left side of the green, four on the right and one in the center. Officials also change some hole locations between rounds to force golfers to hit a different shot into the green.

“We try not to have the players hit the same shot or even use the same club,” said tournament official Robby Ware, discussing hole locations for the 2009 Players Championship.

The USGA also advises tournament officials to maintain a consistent degree of difficulty throughout the event. Rule 15-3(vii) rejects the idea of making a course progressively more difficult each day, calling such a plan "fallacious."

Rule 15 is Substituted Ball; Wrong Ball. Nothing referred to in this "article" is contained in the Rules of Golf.

The USGA document How to Conduct a Competition is the only guidance currently available which tells us about hole locations.

There could well be some PGA Tour guidance for the travelling circus, but it doesn't qualify as a Rule and is only applicable to the TV reality shows.

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13 hours ago, Asheville said:

Rule 15 is Substituted Ball; Wrong Ball. Nothing referred to in this "article" is contained in the Rules of Golf.

The USGA document How to Conduct a Competition is the only guidance currently available which tells us about hole locations.

There could well be some PGA Tour guidance for the travelling circus, but it doesn't qualify as a Rule and is only applicable to the TV reality shows.

The rule referred to is from the publication How to Conduct a Competition, not from the Rules of Golf.

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Extract from the USGA and R&A publications 'Guidance on Running a Competition'

There must be enough putting green surface between the hole and the front and the sides of the green to accommodate the required shot. For example, if the hole requires a long iron or wood shot to the green, the hole should be positioned deeper in the green and farther from its sides than would be the case if the hole requires a short pitch shot.
In any case, it is recommended that generally the hole be positioned at least four paces from any edge of the green. If a bunker is close to the edge, or if the ground slopes away from the edge, the distance should be greater, especially if the shot is more than a pitch.
Consideration should be given to allowing fair opportunity for recovery after a reasonably good
shot that just misses the green. On the other hand, the penalty for failure is something the player must take into account in deciding whether or not to attack a particular hole position. Much will depend upon the standard of the players.


An area of two to three feet around the hole should be as level as possible. Effort should be
made to ensure that holes are not positioned within three paces of a very severe slope or ridge
or of a recently used hole. If the design of the green dictates that the hole be positioned on a
slope, the hole should be cut vertically, not with the slope. A player putting from above the hole
should be able to stop the ball near the hole.

 

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