Here’s how many greens in regulation you should hit per round, based on handicap

A golf green with a red flagstick shot from behind.

You won't get better until you start hitting more greens in regulation. But what number should be your goal to hit per round?

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Welcome to Stuff Golfers Should Know, a series in which we reveal all kinds of useful golf (and life!) wisdom that is sure to make you the smartest, savviest and most prepared player in your foursome.


The best way to get better at golf is to find more fairways, hit more greens and make more putts, obviously, but that’s easier said than done.

One of the biggest things holding mid- and high-handicappers back is hitting more greens in regulation, mainly because it’s the key (usually) to stress-free two-putt pars and the occasional birdie. It’s also the best way to eliminate trouble. If mid- or high-handicappers are missing greens, that’s when problems can pile up. Bunker issues. Short-sided chips. Bladed chips. Chunked chips. You get the picture.

But we all need goals. So how many greens in regulation should amateurs strive to hit per round?

Tina Tombs, a former LPGA pro and a GOLF Top 100 Teacher, said a high-handicapper should set a goal at seven greens in regulation, while a lower handicap should strive for 10 per round.

Carol Preisinger, a Top 100 Teacher out of The Kiawah Island Club, put her number slightly higher (but we like lofty goals). She said a single-digit handicap should try and hit 13 greens in relegation, while high-handicaps should aim for 10.

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Both agree, however — and this is important — that the best way for amateurs to hit these goals is to play the correct tees.

“If they aren’t carrying 200 yards, they should play 6,000 or less, and they don’t do that,” Preisinger says. “Because when you play too far back you can have four or five penalty shots off the tee.”

In a recent issue of GOLF Magazine, Arccos, which has accumulated a trove of on-course data, shared how many greens in regulation its users hit over a certain time frame. Five handicaps average eight greens in regulation per round, while 10 handicaps average six GIR per round and 15 handicaps average four or five a round.

And, in case you were wondering, Cameron Smith is the current PGA Tour leader of greens in regulation by hitting 80.56 percent, and the Tour average is 68.20 percent, which is about 12.5 greens in regulation per round. Those two numbers might not be realistic for you, but now you know what might be.

Amateurs greens in regulation hit, according to Arccos

Greens in regulation averages by handicap.

Need help unriddling the greens at your home course? Pick up a custom Green Book from 8AM Golf affiliate GolfLogix.

Josh Berhow Editor

As’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at