What is the definition of Pitch-and-Putt in Golf?

Pitch-and-putt is a variant of golf with a focus on short game skills, such as putting and pitching. This more accessible and faster-paced form of golf is played on smaller, shorter courses, making it an excellent way for players of all skill levels to practice their game, particularly their short-range shots and precision, in a casual environment.

In a typical pitch-and-putt course, the holes are considerably shorter – often up to 90 meters (100 yards) – and require just 2-3 clubs for play. This type of course first originated in Ireland during the early 20th century and has since expanded to different countries, attracting golf enthusiasts seeking to hone their skills or simply enjoy a quick, fun round of golf.

Key Takeaways

  • Pitch-and-putt is a golf variant focusing on short game skills and precision.
  • Courses feature shorter holes and require fewer clubs, making it accessible to all skill levels.
  • It originated in Ireland and has grown in popularity across multiple countries.

Understanding Pitch-and-Putt

Essence of the Game

Pitch-and-putt is a variant of golf that focuses on the short game, consisting of pitching and putting. The holes in pitch-and-putt courses are typically shorter, with hole lengths up to 90 meters (100 yards), and players tend to use only 2-3 clubs during the game. This format of golf provides a more accessible and faster-paced experience suitable for players of all skill levels, and serves as an excellent way to improve one’s golfing skills in a casual setting.

Game Difference

The primary difference between pitch-and-putt and traditional golf lies in the length and difficulty of the holes. On pitch-and-putt courses, the holes have a maximum length of around 100 yards, whereas full-size golf courses feature lengthier holes with par-3, par-4, and par-5s. Due to the shortened yardage on pitch-and-putt courses, players can leave their iron sets at home and focus on practicing their wedge game and putting techniques.

Pitch-and-putt originated and was developed in Ireland during the early 20th century, and has since expanded to various countries, making it a popular amateur sport around the world. The game’s primary objective is to hit the initial pitch towards the hole, land the ball on the green, and then putt it in for a birdie or par. The length of each hole depends on the course designer, but the focus remains on honing short game skills for players at any level.

Tools and Equipment

Golf Balls

In pitch-and-putt golf, players use standard golf balls. It’s essential to choose a ball that suits the player’s skill level and preferences, as different types of golf balls offer varying levels of control and spin. Experienced players may opt for golf balls with higher spin to provide better control around the greens, while beginners might benefit from balls that offer low spin and more distance.

Golf Clubs

Unlike traditional golf, pitch-and-putt courses require just 2-3 clubs to play. The focus is on the short game, so players typically use wedges and putters in their arsenal. A common club combination includes:

  • Wedge: A pitching wedge or sand wedge is essential for getting the ball airborne and hitting accurate shots onto the green. These clubs have high degrees of loft, which help to elevate the ball and generate the necessary trajectory for shorter hole distances.
  • Putter: A putter is used for making the final strokes on the green to get the ball into the hole. Putters come in various designs and head shapes, providing players with options to match their putting style and personal preferences.

Pitch-and-putt players often use lightweight golf bags or carry just the necessary clubs without a bag for convenience. This minimalist approach simplifies the game, allowing players to focus on refining their short-game skills and enjoying a more accessible and faster-paced version of golf.

Course Features

Hole Distances

Pitch-and-putt golf courses are designed with shorter holes, typically with distances up to 90 meters (100 yards). This emphasizes the importance of precision in the short game, including putting and pitching. Players usually require just two or three clubs in their game, with one of them being a putter.

Course Layout

The layout of a pitch-and-putt course is generally more compact compared to a traditional full-length 18-hole golf course. This makes it an accessible and faster-paced option for both beginners and experienced players seeking to improve their short game skills. The total course length should not exceed 1200 meters.

Green Complexity

While pitch-and-putt courses may have shorter hole distances, they often feature complex greens to challenge the golfer’s accuracy and control. The greens may include undulations, slopes, and hazards, similar to those found in a regular golf course. These elements encourage players to refine their approach and become more adept at reading the green’s nuances.

Rules and Regulations

Pitch-and-putt is a variant of golf played on a smaller scale, focusing on the short game aspects, including putting and pitching. It is a more accessible and faster-paced form of traditional golf and is suitable for players of all skill levels.


In pitch-and-putt, scoring follows the same principles as regular golf. Players aim to complete each hole with the fewest number of strokes possible. The total number of strokes is then tallied at the end of the game to determine the final score.

Stroke Limit

Unlike traditional golf, pitch-and-putt courses often establish a maximum stroke limit for each hole. This encourages faster play and helps keep the game accessible for beginners. The stroke limit varies depending on the course, but a common rule is a maximum of six shots per hole. If a player exceeds the stroke limit, they must move on to the next hole without sinking the ball.

Skills Needed


Putting is an essential skill in pitch-and-putt, as it requires precise control of the golf ball’s speed and direction on the green. Developing a consistent putting stroke will help players perform better on these shortened courses. To improve putting skills, focus on maintaining a smooth, pendulum-like motion, ensuring the clubface is square to the target line at impact, and practicing distance control.


Another important skill in pitch-and-putt golf is chipping, as the majority of shots will be played at close distances to the green. Chipping involves using a wedge or short iron to lift the ball slightly into the air while maintaining a low trajectory, allowing it to land softly on the green and roll towards the hole. To become proficient at chipping, players should practice different types of shots, such as:

  • Bump and run: Using a club with lesser loft, like a 7-iron or 8-iron, to produce a lower trajectory and more roll-out after landing on the green.
  • Pitching wedge shots: Utilizing a pitching wedge for slightly longer chips that require more elevation and backspin to stop the ball close to the hole.
  • Lob shots: Mastering the use of a sand or lob wedge for high-lofted shots that need to stop quickly on the green, especially when facing a hazard or difficult pin position.

By perfecting these putting and chipping skills, players will be better equipped to excel in the game of pitch-and-putt golf.

Popularity and Tournaments

Playing Locally

Pitch-and-putt is a popular amateur sport derived from golf, with hole lengths typically up to 90 meters (100 yards) and players using only 2-3 clubs. This format has gained considerable attention as it enables golf enthusiasts to practice their short game skills and is suitable for players of all skill levels. Thanks to its accessibility and less time-consuming nature, pitch-and-putt courses can often be found by searching for “pitch and putt golf courses near me,” suggesting that multiple courses are within driving range of most homes.

International Events

Apart from local courses, pitch-and-putt has made its mark in international events and organized tournaments. These events offer both recreational and competitive experiences for golfers while providing a rapid and engaging spectator sport. The game’s fast pace allows for large fields to play 54 or even 72 holes in a single day, ensuring non-stop action for the fans and opportunities for competitors to showcase their skills on a global stage.

In conclusion, pitch-and-putt caters to a wide audience, from casual golfers looking for a fun way to hone their skills to professional players seeking to shine in international events. The sport’s simplicity and accessibility make it an excellent choice for those looking to dive into the world of golf.