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What Is The Fringe In Golf? – Explained!

what is fringe in golf
what is fringe in golf

Golf is known to be a technical sport full of technical terms that you may not know the meaning of. One of those golf terms commonly mentioned on golf courses and TV broadcasts is the word “fringe”.

If you are reading this article, you may wonder: What exactly does the “fringe” mean in golf?

In this article, we will explain to you exactly what the “fringe” is in golf.

What Is The Fringe In Golf?

On a golf course, the fringe is the thin strip of turf that borders around the golfing green. The fringe separates the putting green from the fairway. In general, the turf height of the fringe is shorter than the fairway turf, and longer than the putting green turf. Synonyms for fringe include collar, apron & frog hair.

In the great game of golf, the term “fringe” is a word that is commonly mentioned on golf courses, especially near the putting green of golf holes.

In golf, the “fringe” is the thin section of turf that separates the fairway from the putting green.

Down below is an image illustrating exactly what a fringe is on a golf course:

what is a fringe in a golf course

The “fringe” is also referred to as the “collar”, the “apron”, and “frog hair”.

The turf height of the fringe lies somewhere between the turf height of the fairway and the putting green. This promotes better ball roll if the ball rolls from the fairway towards the putting green, as the turf height transition is smoother thanks to the fringe.

However, if you are close to the putting green, but not quite on it, you may consider chipping the golf ball onto the green rather than using a putter.

Chipping the golf ball can avoid the risk of not putting the ball hard enough to reach the putting green, as putting the ball would have it travel on 3 turf heights (fairway, fringe and putting green).

On the other hand, if your ball stops its motion exactly on the fringe, putting is often doable, as the ball will not roll long on turf higher than the putting green turf. However, you need to hit the ball a bit harder than normal because the fringe turf will slow the ball down more than the putting green turf will.

It is important to note that the fringe is not actually part of the putting green. You can usually clearly see the difference between the fringe and the putting green, as the fringe is only the “ring” shape of different colored turf wrapping around the green.

The fringe is visually a bit different than the putting green, notably because of the fact its turf height is higher than the turf height of the putting green.

An interesting rules element to note is that even if you use a putter to hit a ball from the fringe, it does not count as a putt. Instead, the swing counts as a stroke. This means you do not count this putter shot as a putt that could otherwise work towards one-putt, two-putt, or three-putt plays.

Ideally, you want to get past the fringe and onto the green before your par-making shot. For example, on a par 5 golf hole, getting the ball past the fringe and onto the green by stroke 4 or earlier is ideal. Doing this gives you 1 or more putts on the green to at least score par, which is a good score.

Origin Of The Term “Fringe”

Linguistic experts claim that the term “fringe” means “the border or outer edges of an area”. In a golf setting, the area” is the putting green. Therefore, in golf, the fringe is literally the border around the putting green.

Other etymologists also mention additional details about the synonyms of the term “fringe”, namely the “collar”, the “apron” and the “frog hair”.

The alternate term “collar” simply comes from the idea that the fringe is shaped like a collar around the putting green. In other words, the collar is like a ring around the putting green.

The fringe synonym “apron” similarly comes from the idea that the fringe roughly looks like an apron, when viewed from above. You can imagine the putting green being the cross section of someone’s neck, while the fringe hangs around it like an apron.

On the other hand, it is unclear exactly where the term “frog hair” comes from. However, linguistic historians believe the term “frog hair” emerged somewhere in the mid-20th century.

We here at Sports Ruby believe the term “Frog hair” comes from the 19th century expression “fine as frog’s hair”. When something is “fine as frog’s hair”, it means that it is extremely fine, delicate, and relatively small. If something is as fine as frog’s hair, it is extremely fine, because frog’s do not have hair.

Relative to the entire golf hole, the fringe in golf is but a tiny strip of turf whose size pales in comparison to the size of its surroundings.

The fringe is extremely small relative to the 600+ yards of a par 5 hole. Therefore, the fringe is extremely small and fine, as fine as frog’s hair, which is potentially why we call the fringe “frog hair”.

To get past the fringe quicker and with fewer strokes, you can read our guide to lower your golf score and become a better golfer: How To Improve Your Golf Score? – 9 Pro Tips.


There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly what the word “Fringe” means in golf.

Do you have any other words you wish to know more about? Do you call the fringe “fringe”, “apron”, “collar”, or “frog hair”? Let us know in the comments down below!

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