What Is Up And Down In Golf? | Learn The Rules Of The Game

What Is Up And Down In Golf

Golf is one of the most popular sports, with a considerable following. Players of all levels and ages can enjoy it, from weekend warriors to professional golfers. But, one question that often arises is What is Up and Down in Golf?

Understanding “Up” in Golf

In golf, “up” is a term that refers to the number of strokes it takes you to get the ball into the cup. If you hit your tee shot on a par four hole and your second shot lands on the green, you “gain” two strokes. You are hitting your drive into a hazard and taking a penalty stroke. It means you’ve added one more stroke than your original shot. 

Understanding “Down” in Golf

So, “down” refers to how many strokes you take to get the ball into the cup after your first stroke. If you hit your tee shot on a par four hole and your second shot lands in the cup, you “go down” two strokes. 

Scoring in Match Play

The number of strokes taken on each hole is irrelevant in match play. All that matters is whether you are “up” or “down” about your opponent. For example, if you hit a bogey and your opponent hits a par on the same hole, you are “trailing” by one.

Scoring in Stroke Play

The number of strokes taken on each hole is essential in stroke play—the player with the lowest score at the end of the round wins. If you take four strokes to get your ball in the cup and your opponent takes five, you “lead” one stroke on that hole. 

Standard Golf Terms Related to “Up” and “Down”

Many other terms in golf have to do with being “up” or “down.” These include: going down the stretch, making up strokes, even par, being ahead by one stroke (or “up by one”), and so on. Understanding What is Up and Down in Golf and these standard terms can help you better understand how scoring works in golf. 

Psychological Impact of “Up” and “Down”

The psychological impact of “up” and “down” in golf can be significant. Knowing you have a lower score than your opponent can be motivating. But, being down by many strokes can lead to frustration and giving up. It is important to remember that the game of golf is as much mental as it is physical.

Etiquette and Sportsmanship in Match Play

Remember that the goal is not to beat your opponent when playing match play. Instead, aim to have a fun and competitive round of golf. Be respectful of your opponent’s plays during the round. Always maintain good sportsmanship. Shake hands after each hole and offer friendly words of encouragement. Be mindful of your behavior on the course. 

Golf Strategy for Staying “Up”

It is essential to have a strategy for staying “up” during the round. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Take advantage of opportunities that come up. If your driving could be better, focus on hitting accurate iron shots. Or, work on getting up and down from around the green. Proper course management and playing to your strengths can help you stay “up” in the round.

Golf Strategy for Coming “Back” When “Down”

Having a strategy for staying “up” in the round is crucial. Equally important is having a plan for returning when you are “down.” Consider taking aggressive lines off the tee and playing more around the greens. Also, focus on making quality contact with your club every time. Keeping your head up and staying positive is critical to returning from being “down.” 

Adapting Game Plan Based on “Up” and “Down” Situations

It is important to remember that every course and player is different. As such, you should base your game plan for staying “up” or coming “back” when you are “down” on the individual situation. If you are ahead, avoid risky shots; play more aggressively if you need to catch up. Focus on accuracy over power when required. Knowing when to adjust your game plan can make all the difference in a round of golf. 

Rules and Penalties Related to “Up” and “Down”

Like any sport, golf has its own set of rules and regulations. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the rules and penalties for being “Up and in golf’’ or “down” in golf. Understand the different types of strokes, like penalty strokes and lost balls. Knowing when you are subject to a penalty is crucial. Understanding how it applies to your score ensures proper gameplay. 

Practicing Scenarios: “Up” and “Down” Drills

One of the best ways to improve your understanding of “up” and “down” in golf is through practice. It can include hitting different shots on the range or playing a round with friends. You can also try practicing scenarios where you are either up or down about your opponent. For example, if you are down by one stroke, practice making birdies to make up the difference. These drills can help you become more comfortable with “up” and “down” situations on the course. 

Applying “Up” and “Down” Concepts in Team Golf

“up” and “down” can also apply to team golf. In a team game, you calculate the score for each hole by taking the total number of strokes taken by the four players on your team. Then, you subtract the best three scores. One player could be up or down about their teammates on any given hole. Understanding how “up” and “down” works in a team game can help you play more effectively as a unit. 


What does it mean in golf to get up and down?

Simply put, it means to take two or fewer strokes on a hole after missing the green in regulation. They can involve hitting a chip shot close to the pin and making the putt for par. 

What is a good up and down?

Good up and down is when you can make par or better after missing the green in regulation. This skill can lower your overall score and give you an edge over opponents. It’s highly beneficial in golf. 

What is an excellent up-and-down percentage?

A good up-and-down percentage is above 50%. On average, you can make two strokes or less on a hole after missing the green in regulation and being able to get up and down with consistency. It can help lower your score and improve your chances of winning. 

What does two down mean in golf?

In golf, being “2 down” refers to a situation in match play where a golfer is two holes behind their opponent. They would imply that the opponent has won two more holes than the golfer in the game. 


The concepts of “up” and “down” are essential to understanding the game of golf. Whether in match play or stroke play, being aware of being up or down helps you make better decisions on the course. Understanding What is Up and Down in Golf and your position is crucial. Understanding golf terms enhances your game. Developing strategies for staying “up” or coming back when “down.” Practice scenarios will improve your golfing skills. With practice, you can learn to apply the concepts in any situation to maximize your score. 

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