'Get On in Two': The Golf Expression Explained

If you are a beginner in golf, or someone completely new to the game who watched a few minutes of a television broadcast, you might have heard he expression "get on in two." But did you understand what it means?

It's very simple: If you play your golf ball onto the putting surface with your second stroke on a hole, then you "got on in two." You were "on in two," with "on" referring to the putting green, and "two" meaning the number of strokes you played to reach that putting green.

The phrase "on in two" is very common in golf, and you might hear it on any hole, regardless of a given hole's length or par rating. But the term is most commonly heard on par-5 holes. Why? Let's answer that question, too.

Par-5 holes are the longest holes on the golf course, tee to green. The shortest holes, par-3 holes, are ones on which good golfers are expected to hit the green with their first stroke, their tee shot. On par-4 holes, which are longer than par-3 holes, a good golfer is expected to need two strokes to reach the green.

But on par-5 holes, the longest holes, a good golfer is expected to need three strokes to reach the green. But golfers who hit the ball far, or who just get lucky sometimes, might be able to "reach the green in two," or at least to "go for the green in two." The "two," of course, refers to the number of strokes.

So any time a golfer reaches a green on his second stroke, he can be said to be "on in two." But the expression is most commonly heard on par-5 holes because "getting on in two" on a par-5 is, for most golfers, a rare and special achievement.

"Getting on in two" on a par-5 hole also sets the golfer up for a very good score. Now the golfer can take two putts to make birdie. Or, if he needs just one putt, that's an eagle.

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