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What Is The Lip In Golf? – Explained!

what is the lip in golf

Golf is known to be a technical sport full of expressions and technical terms that you may not know the meaning of. One of those expressions sometimes thrown out in conversation and television broadcasts is the word “Lip”.

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

In this article, we will explain to you exactly what a Lip is in golf, along with some examples to solidify your comprehension.

What Is The Lip In Golf?

In golf, the lip is simply the edge of a hole cup. In other words, it is the edge of the plastic flag pole holder that is inserted in each golf hole. There is one cup lip for each golf hole present on a golf course.

In the great game of golf, the term “Lip” is a word that is common to hear. Most golfers have heard of the term “Lip” before, as Lips come up every day in every round of golf.

When you hear the word “Lip”, it will almost always be on the putting green, during short game golf play.

In golf, a Lip is the edge of a hole cup. In other words, in golf, the lip is the circular rim of the plastic flag holders that are inserted in each golf hole. There is one lip per golf hole since there is one hole cup per golf hole.

This means that on an 18-hole golf course, there are 18 golf hole cups and thus, 18 golf cup lips.

However, in some cases, the plastic cup holder does not extend all the way up to turf level. In such as case, the definition of a lip is a bit more blurred, as you may consider the lip to extend from the edge of the cup up to the top of the turf level.

A golf cup lip is very relevant because a ball is only officially holed once it goes deeper into the ground than the level of the lip. Fortunately, in 99.9% of cases, the golf ball will end up below the lip when it is shot in the hole.

You can see real-world examples of golf Lips, down below.

golf hole cup lip
Golf Hole Cup Lip Zone
golf hole cup lip with ball
Golf Hole Cup Lip Zone with Deeper Cup

In the images above, you can see that the Lip is the edge of the hole, whether the plastic cup extends to the top up to turf level or not.

During the 2020 pandemic, some golf courses have replaced traditional golf hole cups with elevated golf cups in order to eliminate the need for all players to pick up their balls from a common hole. With these elevated golf hole cups, the lip is actually above turf level.

You bounce your golf ball against the lip of these elevated cups and guess whether you would have made the putt or not. The golf ball never actually enters the hole when these elevated cups are present.

The term Lip’s origin is metaphor based. One can imagine that the hole cup extends upwards like a mouth would, so it makes sense why the edge are called lips. Our human lips are at the edge of our mouths, like golf lips are at the edge of hole cups that “eat” balls daily.

Golf cup lips are sometimes hated by golfers because the ball can roll along the lip and stay out of the hole when it looked like a guaranteed putt. Missing a putt by having the ball roll along the lip and stay out of the hole is called a lip-out.

If you would like to lower your golf score and improve your chances at always getting your ball in the hole past the lip, you can read our guide: How To Improve Your Golf Score? – 9 Pro Tips.


There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly what the term “Lip” means in golf. You also got to read about some real-world examples to further improve your understanding of the meaning of a Lip.

Do you have any other words you wish to know more about? Do you like the term lip to refer to the edge of the hole cup? Let us know in the comments down below!

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