What It Means to 'Get It Into the Clubhouse'

During a television broadcast once, Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo were discussing the 1987 British Open, won by Faldo and in which Azinger finished tied for second place. Azinger had a three-stroke lead with nine holes to play, and a one-stroke lead with two holes left. But, Faldo said of Azinger, "Somebody couldn't get it into the clubhouse."

What does "get it into the clubhouse" mean in golf? What was Faldo saying about what happened to Azinger on Azinger's last two holes? What happened to Azinger is that he blew his lead: He made bogeys on the last two holes, opening the door for Faldo's victory.

And that's the gist of "get it into the clubhouse" — when a golfer is still playing the golf course, and has a score that will or should win the tournament, and they maintain (or improve) that score until the end of the round, they have gotten it in the clubhouse. If in the same circumstance the golfer blows the lead, the failed to get it into the clubhouse.

In this case, the clubhouse is a stand-in for "finishing the round." When your round is over, where do you go? To the clubhouse. Another way of saying the same thing in the example above would have been for Faldo say that Azinger wasn't able to finish it off, wasn't able to finish off the victory.

On television, we might hear golf broadcasters saying things such as, to make a few examples, "Mickelson has a two-stroke lead, but he still has to get it into the clubhouse;" or, "Inbee Park is 4-under with two play, and if she gets that score into the clubhouse that might be good enough."

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