What Does Up and Down Mean in Golf?

In golf, “up and down” simply refers to a situation where a player misses the green with their approach shot and manages to get the ball into the hole in two more strokes. This typically involves a chip or pitch shot followed by a successful putt to secure the par. The ultimate goal of going up and down is to save par or make a bogey instead of a more significant score placing the golfer in a worse spot.

Mastering the Up and Down in key to golfers success rates, here are a few reasons why:

  • To Save Strokes: Going up and down saves valuable strokes on the scorecard. It can turn a potentially high score into a respectable one.
  • The Short Game: Many professional golfers credit their success to a strong short game. The ability to go up and down consistently can compensate for other areas of the game where you may fall behind.
  • Focus: Executing successful up and downs requires focus. It teaches golfers to handle pressure and adversity, essential traits for a well-rounded game or for a successful tournament.

How To Improve Up and Down Skills

  • Chipping and Putting Skills: Chipping and pitching are the foundation of a successful up and down. Practice these shots regularly, focusing on solid contact and distance control.
  • Assessing Golf Ball Lie: Before attempting an up and down, assess the lie of the ball and the condition of the green. Being able to understand the lie will help you select the appropriate shot and landing spot for a successful up and down.
  • Visualize The Shot: Visualization is a powerful tool in golf. Before hitting your chip or pitch shot, visualize the trajectory and roll of the ball.
  • Precise Putting: A successful up and down often requires a solid putt to finish the job. Work on your putting skills to become more confident with short-range putts. Practice distance control and aim to eliminate three-putts from your game.

Steps to Secure an Up and Down

  • Assess the situation: Observe the lie of your ball, the distance to the hole, the slope of the green, and any potential obstacles or hazards that might come into play.
  • Select the appropriate club: Use a club that will allow you to clear any obstacles and get the ball close to the hole.
  • Take a smooth swing: Execute a smooth and controlled swing, focusing on making clean contact with the ball.
  • Roll and Release: Aim to control the distance and direction of the roll to leave yourself a comfortable putt.
  • Putting Precision: Take your time to line up the putt and make a smooth stroke.

Is Scrambling the same as Up and Down?

Scrambling and up-and-down are related but not entirely the same. They both refer to situations where a player misses the green with their approach shot and needs to recover to save par or prevent making a higher score.


Scrambling refers to a golfer’s ability to make par or better on a hole despite missing the green in regulation. It encompasses all types of recovery shots, including chips, pitches, bunker shots, and even long putts that get the player close enough to the hole to make the subsequent putt successfully. Scrambling takes into account all the shots played from off the green until the ball is holed, regardless of the number of strokes taken.

Up and Down

Up-and-down, on the other hand, is a specific type of scrambling. It specifically refers to the situation when a golfer misses the green in regulation but manages to get the ball into the hole in two more strokes. This typically involves a chip or pitch shot followed by a successful putt.


  • Both involve recovery shots played from off the green.
  • The objective is to save strokes on the scorecard.
  • Important for improving overall scoring and reducing handicap.


  • Scrambling encompasses all recovery shots, including chips, pitches, bunker shots, and long putts. Up-and-down refers specifically to the two-shot sequence.
  • Scrambling measures success by making par or better despite missing the green. Up-and-down focuses on completing the hole in two shots after the missed green.


Ultimately, a good up and down is a combination of solid technique, course management, and mental resilience. Developing a strong short game through practice, experience, and a positive mindset will increase the likelihood of consistently achieving successful up and downs and lowering scores on the golf course.

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