What 'Yards to Cover' Means in Golf

Have you ever heard another golfer, or an announcer on a golf tournament broadcast, say something along the lines of "(Golfer X) needs 150 yards to cover"? Do you know what that expression means?

The "yards to cover" expression is mostly just a synonym for "carry." One of the golf meanings of "carry" is the yards required to reach your target or to clear a hazard.

Some broadcasters on golf telecasts and streams use the "yards to cover" expression to say the same thing. An announcer might tell the viewers that "a 150-yard shot will cover," or that the golfer "needs 150 yards to cover." They are simply relaying the required yardage for the golfer to get his or her golf ball into position after the ensuing shot.

Many times the "yards to cover" phrase is applied when a golfer is playing a shot over water, or over a bunker, or to any target that has dangerous territory (water, sand, brush, high rough, etc.) in-between it and the golfer. How many yards does the golfer have to hit the shot to carry all that trouble? That is the "yards to cover." (The specific number — say, the 150 in "150 yards to cover" — is called a golfer's cover number.)

Or, for another example, imagine a golfer playing to the front of a green that is 150 yards away. That golfer "needs a shot of 150 yards to cover the front of the green," one can say. But what if that green has a false front? Then the golfer needs to hit a shot a little deeper into the green to avoid that false front. So an announcer might say something like this instead: "It's 150 to the front of the green, but because of the false front he needs 155 yards to cover."

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