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What Is The Correct Putting Tap-In Distance In Golf?

golf putting tap in distance
putting tap in distance

In the game of golf, many people complain that the pace of play is not quick enough, so they resort to rules such as putting tap-in distances for “gimme” putts. However, the acceptable maximum tap-in distance for putts varies from person to person.

Therefore, if you would like to play golf with a tap-in rules for putting, you may wonder: what is the correct putting tap-in distance in golf?

In this article, we will tell you exactly what the correct and acceptable putting tap-in distances are in golf.

What Is The Correct Putting Tap-In Distance In Golf?

In professional golf, “gimme putts” do not exist, meaning you need to attempt every single putt; there is no correct putting tap-in distance in pro golf. However, in casual golf rounds, you can agree with your group on an acceptable putting tap-in distance; many groups choose a 1 to 5 feet tap-in distance.

In the game of golf, a “Gimme putt” is known as a putt that you automatically successfully hit into the hole, without actually hitting the ball.

Basically, if the golf ball is very close to the hole, and your opponents agree that you would successfully hit the ball in the hole almost every time, you can decide to not putt the ball and assume you putted the ball in the hole.

In some cases, there is an acceptable “putting tap-in distance” that determines how close the ball needs to be to the hole to automatically result in a “Gimme putt”.

What do official PGA Tour rulings have to say about the putting tap-in distance in golf? The answer may surprise you. In fact, “Gimme putts” do not exist in the PGA Tour.

In general, professional golfers have to take every single putt possible. This means that officially, there is not concept of “acceptable putting tap-in distance”.

However, in casual golf, like with friends, it is a complete other story. The correct tap-in distance for putting can exist, although what this distance is can vary. The truth about putting tap-in distance in casual golf is that it is up to you and your group to agree on rules everyone is fine with.

In general, golfing groups in casual golf like to use a 1 to 5 feet tap-in distance, meaning the ball needs to be within 1-5 feet of the hole to count as a “gimme putt”.

How large this acceptable putting tap-in distance can also depend on the average skill level of the group you are playing with. Very good golfers tend to have a tap-in distance from 0 to 1 feet, while weak golfers may favor a tap-in distance that hovers around 5 to 10 feet instead.

Some bad or beginner golfers will consider their golf hole a tap-in after they crossed the threshold of a triple bogey.

Other golf groups play with the putter rule, and other with the putter grips rule. Basically, if the ball is closer to the hole than a putter’s length or a putter’s length grip away respectively from the hole, the putt is a “gimme putt”.

Some parties use the “if you have to ask, you have to putt” rule. In simple terms, this rule states that if you are not sure the ball is close enough to be a gimme putt, then you have to attempt the putt normally. This is not the most black-and-white rule, but it is fast and can work well between friends.

Why Use Gimme Putts And Tap-In Distances In Golf?

Gimme putts with a rough tap-in distance in golf can speed up the pace of play greatly by not performing certain putts that were likely to go in the hole had they been played. However, if golfers measure the distance between hole and ball down to the inch, they may end up wasting a lot of the time that they saved.

Gimme putts can be great to speed up the pace of play in a round of golf. If you know you will make a putt successfully, then why even spend minutes setting up and taking the stroke?

You can save a lot of time on every hole for every player in your group by using gimme putts.

Using different gimme putt acceptable tap-in distances for the different levels of players in your group can also serve as an immediate, real-time handicap system to balance out the playing field a little.

In addition, if the putting green is in terrible condition, players may use a gimme putt because they would easily putt the ball in regular conditions. However, terrible putting green conditions can be really rough and feel unfair. A golf ball should not be bumping left and right on a putting green.

However, players need to make sure they do not spend too much time measuring the distance between the ball and the hole too accurately. It is better to roughly determine the distance and quickly decide whether the ball is close enough, for the sake of pace of play.

A great way to use gimme putts without wasting time is to use the “if you have to ask, you have to putt” rule. This casual golf rule states that if you have to ask whether the putt you need to make can be a gimme putt, then it cannot, and you have to putt normally.

This rule avoids you taking out the measuring tape and physically measuring the distance between the ball and the hole. Instead, you can just intuitively eye the ball-to-hole distance and instantly decide whether it is a gimme putt.


There you go! After reading this article, you have discovered what acceptable putting tap-in distances for “gimme” putts are in golf, depending on the rules you play by.

What is your acceptable putting tap-in distance that you play by? Do you use putting tap-in distances, or do you find it more fair to make every single putt, regardless of distance to the hole? Let us know in the comments down below!

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