What Is a Proxy Marker (Proximity Marker) in Golf?

A "proxy marker" or "proximity marker" in golf is a small marker or sign that can be staked into the ground to signify the position of the leader in a proxy contest.

So before going further, what is a proxy contest? A proxy contest is one of a group of familiar golf tournament add-ons or bonus pools such as closest to the pin, long drive, straightest drive, and so on. On a designated hole in a closest to the pin competition, for example, golfers attempt to get their tee shots as close to the hole as they can.

In such a contest, a proxy marker is what is used to keep track of which golfer is leading that closest to the pin content at any given point in the round. When the first group of golfers plays the hole, the one of them who hits closest to the hole takes the proxy marker and stakes it in the putting green at the spot his tee ball landed. There is typically a writing pad attached to the proxy marker, and the golfer writes his name.

As groups follow and play the hole, other golfers are very likely to beat the previous best efforts. If so, a golfer who improves the closest-to-the-pin position writes her name on the proxy marker and moves it from the previous location to the new spot.

At the end of the tournament or contest, when all golfers are finished, organizers retrieve the proxy marker. They measure its position to the hole, and that is the winning closest-to-the-pin distance. The last name written on the pad is the golfer who recorded that winning shot.

Proxy markers are used the same way for other proxy contests (long drive, straightest drive, etc.) that might be in play during a tournament or charity outing, corporate outing, etc.

Purpose-made proxy markers — basically, notepads attached to a wire frame that can easily be pushed into ground — are sold by some brick-and-mortar golf shops and many online pro shops. See proxy markers on Amazon for examples or to purchase (affiliate link).

Proxy markers are also called proxy signs, proximity markers, proximity stakes or proximity signs.

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