Definitions: 'Back Door' and 'Back Door Putt'

The terms "back door" and "back door putt" refer to the back lip of the cup as you are putting toward the hole on the putting green. When a ball rolls toward the cup and falls in off the back edge, it went in the back door. The golfer who putted that ball just made a back-door putt.

Now, you might be wondering, how does a ball putted toward the hole manage to fall in on the opposite side, the far side, the back side of the hole? One of two ways:

  • Either the ball catches one of the side edges of the hole and spins around to the back before falling in, or
  • The ball is rolling fast, flies over the front rim of the cup, hits the back edge which serves as a backstop, and drops in.
Golfers hear these terms during television broadcasts of golf tournaments, or out on the golf course. When a golfer makes a putt after the ball falls in off the back edge of the putt, he might say, "I back-doored that one," or the other golfers in the group might say, "Nice back-door putt."

The left and right edges of the cup, by the way, are called the "side doors." You might think that the front of the cup, then, is called the "front door." But that term is almost never used. After all, when you roll the ball toward the cup you are rolling it with the hope that it rolls directly into the hole. Back-door putts, then, are not something a golfer plans for — which makes it nice when it happens.

The back door of the hole is sometimes also referred to as the "tradesman's entrance."

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