Golf may seem like an easy game that does not have many rules. However, when beginners first learn the game, they get easily confused by the terms and rules. Now, what does up and down mean in golf? In simple terms, up and down is just a term referring to how players score in golf.

The term ‘up and down’ is a short game in golf where it takes only two strikes to put the ball into the hole. In other words, if it takes more than two strikes, the term is no longer referred to. The first strike, usually known as “chipping in”, means the ball is shot up onto the green. The second strike will put the ball down while on the green. This technique can be applied from anywhere on the field.

Golf players have an advantage if they use up and down in their games. They usually favor up and down because it saves a player’s par and keeps their momentum flowing, especially in short games. Par indicates the expected number of times a golf player will need to complete around. To understand more about what does up and down mean in golf, take a look at how they are played. 

How Is It Played?

Scoring up and down is not as easy it sounds. There needs to be a high accuracy rate for both shots. The up part relates to the shot from one green to another, usually nearing the scoring point.

The down part relates to the shot into the hole in one go. The second shot is usually taken with a putt, from where we get the phrase, “putt/putting the ball.”

What does up and down mean in golf? Or up and down from the green? Another term that golfers come across is “on/from the green”. There is no “green” or does not refer to the green field. It refers to the ball’s distance, usually shot for the up and down score, around 30 yards from the hole.

From anywhere the first shot is made, as long as it is from 30 yards away, and requires only two strikes, then it can be called an up and down.

Normally there are two methods to this. The first method requires the ball to chip in once and then put it in. The other way is to put in the ball both times. 

Ways To Score a Good Up and Down

When a beginner finally finds the answer to the question “what does up and down mean in golf?” they are to learn how to execute the perfect shots. Of course, they will acquire the skill with practice, but they will need to learn the right way from the beginning.

The ultimate way is to learn a variety of different shots that can help make the first stroke. These include:

Chip And Check

This is an effective method for short-distance games. It works best when a player wants to make a ball stop quickly. With this shop, the ball flies while staying low to the ground. It lands on the green and stops quickly because of its amazing backspin.

This shot must be practised constantly before using it and should be used only when necessary.

The Flop Shot

This is quite impressive as it works best in a field with little to no grass. It takes a big swing to shoot the ball high up in the air and come down close to the hole. As impressive as it looks, it can be quite difficult to execute. Because of that, you should only consider this option only when there aren’t any easier options available.

Bump And Run

Unlike other shots, this shot involves hitting the ball towards the slope. You have to make a precise shot in this case. Otherwise, you can’t make sure that the ball is going in the right direction. After making the right shot, gravity will do its work for you. Another point to remember while practising is that players need to keep in check their wrist movement. This is an essential thing to remember for making this shot.

Sand Wedge

You have to learn to make different types of shots with different wedges for performing up and down in golf. The choice of golf club really matters when it comes to making successful shots. A sand wedge is the best option for chipping and is often the best type of club for professional players when they have their balls stuck in bunkers.

Variables To Take Note Of

There are quite a number of variables that must be considered when making a good up and down shot. These include:

  1. The distance to the hole
  2. The lie of the ball, sometimes when a ball rests, any natural force of the wind could move the position, and players must accept that and swing from there
  3. The height and shape of the grass field or the firmness of the land
  4. A player’s skill in executing their swings
  5. Weather conditions, where the wind poses the most difficulty

For the first three variables, constant practice to control over their shots. Players’ skill and experience with a golf club will further affect their chances of winning up and down.

The Standing Position

People who are unable to get up and down are sometimes incapable of doing it. Because they have not placed themselves correctly.

Now, what to do if a player is trying to make a shot in an unfamiliar position? Well, they should not hesitate and heed the warning signals in their brain.

Some Techniques Beginners Can Incorporate In Their Practice

Check Surroundings

Before deciding on the energy and angle of your shot, check your surroundings, make a mental note of maps and topographical markers.

Patience And Planning

Since making the chip shot requires a lot of effort to learn, keeping patience and planning short-term and long-term goals will help the player go a long way. It is always best to start small, make smaller chip shots, and gradually increase the distance.

maintaining a steady swinging speed


Do you want to know the key to mastering your up and down? It’s maintaining and controlling the chip of your distance close to the green. There needs to be constant practice to assert the right power and force. Only then, you can ensure that the ball stops at its targeted distance.

To practice this, you should try to get as many balls as you can. Get them out of the bunker without any set target distance first. This will help you focus on the pressure. Eventually, you’ll be able to get out of this tricky situation and have control.

Keeping Records

Players should also keep track of their progress to see how far they have achieved their goals. For instance, keeping track of the chip shot will further help the players understand their improvement. And so will the second shot and up and down.

Why Players Chose Up And Down

As you are now aware of what up and down in golf means, you can guess why players choose this technique. This ensures recovery from any bad shot made at first. The closer you go to the hole, the better your chances of recovering from a poor shot become. As a result, player must take short, distanced shots.

A bad short game is more difficult to overcome than a long round game. It leaves a greater impact on the score and the ability to win the game since there aren’t many chances one can take advantage of.

Sometimes what up and down in golf means that some players have the controlled and smart skills to overturn the bad game and complete it to success. It is a great method to turn the game around with simply two strikes or swings. In fact, professional players who miss a shot instantly understand the need to make an up and down to improve their scores.

Take Care Of Putting As Well

Up and down in golf means both chipping and putting in the golf ball. While as a beginner, a player must learn to control their chip, they also need to practice putting their ball in. This includes, again, a controlled pressure over their grip on the wedge or club.

Chipping in is to get as close as possible to the pin, but putting the ball is what will drive them to victory.

Some Of The Challenges Faced

The first challenge to clear is the question “what does up and down mean in golf?” Once that is cleared, golf players can take advantage of this to save their ball and score. On the other hand, many players have a different outlook regarding this technique.

Difficult For Beginners

Learning the technique can be quite strenuous and time-consuming. They are this close to scoring from the green but always miss the shot.

During The Game

Additionally, there can be challenges while carrying out the ups and down in golf. Even with a great chip shot, there can be quite a distance before putting down the ball. In that case, making a small one-foot or two-foot can save you the trouble of starting all over again.

In other cases, many golf players fail to accurately make the first shot, making it even more difficult to get the ball down the hole in their second shot.

While playing their round, players can find themselves in another difficult situation where they don’t have enough distance, but they need to use the up and down to secure the point. In that case, stopping the ball dead immediately is necessary during the first swing.

Here, the players’ control and experience will play an important role. Their strong grip over the club in order to avoid excessive force must be used. They can handle the club, so their palms are facing upward, and in that way, they have more control over that swing.

To make the shot, the player will have to position themselves in line with the ball and hole so they can strike a perfect, straight and targeted shot.

Difference Between Up And Down And Scrambling

Sometimes, the two are confused, but it all comes down to the distance at which the chip shot is made. Up and down in golf means that the distance from the hole must be around 130 to 150 yards. In the case of scrambling, the distance is limited to 30 yards.

Green in Regulation (GIR) indicates the number of pins/holes scored in regular intervals. Scrambling includes making the par without making the GIR, and up and down is to putt a ball when the GIR is missed. 

While it may not be the most appealing skill to show, it is important that even professional players must acquire it to win the game. Players actually prefer scrambling over up and down at times.

How Frequently Do Professional Players Get Up And Down?

Best professional players have shown a good 85 percent of securing the up and down compared to the 10 and 20 handicapped golf players who have 46 percent and 17 percent, respectively. This statistical data backs up how important and critical short games can get and how up and down can save them from losing.

Final Thoughts

Every shot is crucial, and with every opportunity, professional players consider up and down to lead them to their win.

The shorter the shot, the more crucial it becomes because, the closer to the hole a player is, the fewer the chances of recovering from a bad shot. As mentioned earlier, short, poor games are difficult to make up for and will probably have only one chance to get back on track. So, what does up and down in golf mean? It means ensuring and turning a player’s bad game into theirs to win.

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