How Wide Is A Golf Hole? An Amazing History Explained

Have you ever wondered how wide is a golf hole? Do you struggle to make those final puts to land that Birdie?  We have all been there! You line up your shot perfectly, got a good roll and It looks good – except it kisses the edge and rolls on by. Suddenly, your scrambling to make par. Perhaps, you’re looking to create your own little putting green and want the exact measurements to be ready for when you are out on the course? Digging a few holes in the garden shouldn’t be a problem unless you make it too big or too small and then have to start all over again. I did this once and making the hole the wrong side had a detrimental impact on my game – this is probably why I am always high of the hole.


According to the rules of golf, the hole must be 4.25 inches in diameter, or 10.795cm to be exact. It dives 4 inches deep (10.16cm).  Today, the average golf ball is 1.68 inches approximately, 3 times smaller than the regulation hole.

how wide is a golf hole

How wide is a golf hole? A brief history

In essence, you should be able to fit just under 3 golf balls into the hole. So, if you have lined up the shot correctly, you shouldn’t be missing.


The question that I assume you’re now asking is why are they that size and who stipulated that it should be a rule?


Well, back in 1829, Musselburgh, Scotland, invented the first ‘hole-cutter’ which allowed for all holes to be cut in the same standardized size, so that each hole was fair. If you would like to see the very first, it is kept in a display at Royal Musselburgh’s clubhouse. Some theorize that the implement was invented using steel drainage piping found in the Musselburgh links. The tool works by inserting the tool into the ground, pulling up compacted earth before being used to fill in the previous hole to keep a smooth green surface.


However, It took a while for this particular size to catch-on around various golf clubs. Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A), the only known governing body for golf regulations at the time, decided to make it a ruling officially in 1891. The reasoning behind this exact measurement is not particularly clear throughout history; however, it is known that this is the sizing of the first hole cutter. Perhaps, they decided that the first-ever tool to cut a hole should make somewhat of a legacy.

How wide is a golf hole? Any controversy

A four-inch hole has not always won the favour of golfers around the world. In 2014, The Head of the PGA America called for the quadrupling of hole sizes to 15 inches. In a pilot scheme introduced to the US, the trialled changing in hole sizes was a last-ditch attempt to increase the number of participants, as membership in the US had declined by five million in the previous 10 years


In the 1930s, Gene Sarazen (one of the top players throughout the 1920s considered that the standardized hole should be changed to an eight-inch size. With this in mind, Jack Nicklaus was found to change hole sizes to his favoured eight inches for special Muirfield Golf Club events.


In more recent times, Sergio Garcia at the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club, 2012 commented that increasing the hole size will encourage beginners to take up the sport


However, these changes in size have not caught on, and the vast majority of golf courses will contain 4.25-inch holes. All tournaments that take place internationally, still keep the original sizing; and although calls for bigger holes have been presented; it is unlikely to change any time soon.

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