Definition of 'Above the Hole' in Golf

"Above the hole" is a golf term that fans of the game and newbies to the sport might hear on television broadcasts of tournaments, or while on their local golf course. What does it mean?

The simplest way to state it: "Above the hole" means that your golf ball is sitting in a position on the green such that your next putt is going to be downhill. So the term tells golfers something about the shape of the green (it slopes down from where your ball sits) as well as the position of your ball (literally above the hole, in a place where you'll be putting downhill).

As you can probably guess, "above the hole" is the opposite of "below the hole." Golfers try to avoid leaving themselves with downhill putts, and that means that when you are hitting an approach shot into the green or chipping from just off the green, ideally you won't leave your golf ball "above the hole."

Many of us aren't talented enough to worry about it, to be honest: from 150 yards out, we just hope to hit the green at all, no matter where the ball stops. But better golfers think about the position they want the ball to stop in when it stops on the green. They will check their GPS device or old-fashioned pin sheets to know how the green slopes, and that will impact their strategy in approaching the hole.

And for the best golfers, one consideration in that strategy is always to try to avoid leaving the golf ball "above the hole."

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