Is Golf Measured In Feet, Metres or Yards?

If you watch different golf tournaments on television, you might ask, “Is Golf Measured in Feet, Metres or Yards?” Even when using golf simulators, you will need to adjust the settings to reflect your preferred measurement.

A check of many golf courses around the world revealed that some countries use the Imperial system while others use meters or a combination of both. People in 209 of the world’s 245 countries play golf and there is no rule mandating a specific measurement system for the sport. The best thing to do is always verify the measurement system in use whenever you play in a foreign country.



The US, UK, Canada, Japan, and Korea, all use the yardage system and hosts more than 60% of the world’s 38,864 golf courses. It is, therefore, safe to say, that more courses use yards than meters.




Why Are Golf Holes Even Measured Differently?

During the early days, golf course employees dug holes to approximate sizes using trowels. Golf holes were naturally, not equally sized. However, in 1829, The Royal Musselburgh Golf Club invented the first hole-cutter that dug precise 4.25-inch holes. In 1891, Golf’s then governing organization, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A), issued a new rule handbook that decreed 4.25 inches as the standard size of all golf holes. Today, all golf courses, including those that use metric, still use holes measuring 4.25 inches in diameter.



Which Countries Measure Golf Courses In Yards And Which In Metres?

I am yet to find a document that surveyed which golf courses use yards or meters. However, an internet search came out with different golfers talking about what they know and some emphatically declare that the UK and the United States use yards but the rest of the world are into the metric system. I am not sure how true it is because my experiences and individual country searches showed otherwise. Here is what I found so far:



Some of the countries that use meters on their golf courses

Australia 1,628
Germany 1,050
France 804
Sweden 662
Scotland 614
Spain 497
Ireland 494
Denmark 346
Netherlands 330
Italy 321

Some of the countries that use yards in their golf courses

United States 16,752
Canada 2,633
Japan 3,169
England 2,270
Scotland 614
Korea 798
China 559
Ireland 494
Thailand 315

Other countries that I found to be using the yards to measure their golf courses include The Philippines, Venezuela, Columbia, and The Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.



How To Read The Measurements On A Golf Course?

In golf, each hole is measured in straight lines from a permanent marker in the teeing area to the center of the green. In Dogleg holes, a measurement is taken from the permanent marker towards the center of the pivot point in the fairway and the second is taken to the center of the green. The two measurements are added to come out with the total distance for the dogleg hole.

However, distances alone cannot be the sole basis in club selection. Downward slopes make the ball roll farther and upward sloping fairways have the opposite effect. Precision-conscious players will consider factors like precise slope, distance, and other factors in determining which club to use while most simply rely on instinct and/or experience in deciding which clubs to use. They say it is more fun that way.



What Types Of Distance Indicators Are There?

In golf, many distance indicators can be used in selecting the most appropriate clubs to use. Before choosing the first club, look at the distance listed in the scorecard and/or the distance marked at the teeing area. The stated number is the length from the permanent marker to the center of the putting green. In every new course that you play, always ask what answer applies here, “Is Golf Measured In Feet, Metres or Yards?

You might come across color-coded markers while walking in the fairway. Each of those markers represents a distance to the center of the green. There are also times when you see three numbers written in the markers. In those instances, the numbers represent the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green.
You might wonder, “Why can’t they simply write the distance to the hole”? Well, course managers oftentimes move the holes to different parts of the green to make the sport constantly challenging. It is, therefore, not practical to keep on revising the distance markers.



How To Use The Course Guide

Start by figuring out in this course, Is Golf Measured in Feet, Metres, or Yards?

Various distance indicators and measurements from the teeing area to the green are not sufficient to inputs for you to maximize your game. A seasoned caddy and/or a well-written course guide are must-reads before and during the game.

Golf courses come with course guides to help the golfers navigate, perfect, and enjoy their games. Those guides can be works of course employees, golf professionals, or by golf enthusiasts who have familiarized themselves with the course.

The best way to use a course guide is to familiarize yourself with every hole prior to a game, refer to it as you play, and mark various points with your performance so that you will have more references the next time you play the course.

A basic course guide will have all remaining distances to the green written on various points in the map. Other guides have varying degrees of added details from natural markers like a tall tree on the left representing the distance, to different obstacles, and even the direction of the breaks in the putting green.