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How to Read Pin Sheets

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The Basic Pin Sheet
Basic Pin Sheet

A basic pin sheet where the dot on the green represents the location of the hole.

Courtesy of Oak Hills Country Club
The basic function of every pin sheet is the same: To tell the golfer where on the putting green the hole is located.

And the most basic way to do that is represented in the pin sheet above. These most basic pin sheets typically show all 18 greens, drawn to give the golfer an idea of each green's shape, with a simple dot to represent the location of the cup on each green.

Knowing where the hole is located gives the golfer an idea of how to approach each green; whether to aim for the front, back or middle of the green (affecting yardages and club selection). And whether the flagstick is positioned on one side or the other of the green might affect your shot selection or aiming point into the green.

Just that basic information might even impact your tee shot. Say you're playing a course you're familiar with. You're on No. 12. The pin sheet shows the hole located on the back right part of the green. You know that there's a bunker guarding the front right of the green, and that the back right part of the green is on a shelf. You know, in other words, that the best way to approach this hole location is from the left side of the fairway. So the pin sheet has just helped you decide on a line off the tee.

How do golf courses update these basic pin sheets? They typically have copies of their pin sheets that show only the shapes of the putting greens, with no hole locations yet marked. When the course superintendent sets the hole locations for the next day's play, he and/or one of the club pros takes a blank pin sheet and adds in the location of the cup on each hole. Then photocopies are made if that marking is done by hand, or copies are printed if it is done on a computer. Pretty simple.

A few notes about the specific illustration above: The large numbers to the left of each green are the hole numbers. The numbers below each hole number represent this particular course's pace of play requirement (not necessarily something you'll see on a typical pin sheet). Also note that at the back of each of the three greens above, there is another number. That number is the depth of the green, from front to back, in paces. The top green (No. 11) is 33 paces deep. (continue to next page)

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