What Is A Cut In Golf?

If you are new to golf, you have undoubtedly come across an abundance of fresh terms. Some are easy enough to understand, but others are a little more tricky to figure out. One such term is a “cut.”

What Is A Cut In Golf?

For golfers and fans, the concept of a cut is something that is very familiar. However, it is completely unique to the game of golf so it’s pretty hard to guess it based on other sports.

If you want to learn more about golf and its various golfing terms, you’re in the right place. In today’s post, we are going to guide you through what a cut in golf is and why tournaments have cuts in the first place. By the end of this article, your golf knowledge will be better than ever before!

A Cut In Golf: What Is It?

As we mentioned, the concept of a cut in golf is unique to the sport. It essentially refers to when a group of players partaking in a tournament is drastically reduced(see also: Is There A Cut At The Masters?).

In modern-day golf tournaments, a cut is typically made after each player in the field has been able to complete two rounds (36 holes). On some occasions, however, this point can be pre-determined for a different time.

After the two rounds (or another specified point) have been completed, the field of players is cut. This is based on a cut rule that is determined beforehand.

Let’s take a look at some of the world’s largest golf tournaments as examples. The 36-hole cut rule applies to the top 65 players and ties on the PGA Tour, Korn Ferry Tour, and European Tour.

On the LPGA tour, however, the cut rule is applied to the best 70 players and ties. The Symetra Tour is up to the top 60 players and ties, so a little less. 

As you can see, there is no set-cut rule for all tournaments. Each tour has its own set of cut rules, but there are some exceptions at times.

One thing each tour has in common though is the fact that the cut rule is based on how many players are in a starting pool. But, this varies from one tour to the next. 

In top-level amateur tournaments, such as the US Amateur, the cut is always set to a precise number. This cut is specifically set to 64 players after two qualifying rounds. You may be wondering, what happens if more than 64 players qualify from their two rounds?

Well, if this occurs, a playoff takes place involving the worst-scoring golfers that qualified. This is to cut the group down to the exact cut, so the next stage of the tournament can go ahead. 

Why Do Golf Tournaments Have Cuts?

Many new golf fans ponder why golf tournaments have cuts and if they really need this rule. In reality, the cut is an important part of golf, and competitions have this rule for a few reasons.

One of the main reasons is field control. The majority of professional golf tournaments begin with over 100 players. These are generally grouped into threesomes during the first two rounds – this is usually known as the “qualifying rounds” – these are typically played off the first and 10th tees of the course.

What Is A Cut In Golf?

Because of these large numbers, the rounds of golf tend to be much slower. Continue with this many players and tournaments could go on for weeks!

However, after two rounds, which players are least likely to win or place well becomes much clearer when determining their opening scores.

When the field is cut down for the final few rounds of a tournament, the organizers can then keep the top players. These are the golfers that are considered to have the best chance of winning or at least, finishing the competition well. 

The cut not only cuts down the number of players, but it helps to cut round times. It also allows the best-performing golfers to avoid slowdowns caused by players who are performing badly.

Another main reason the cut is required in golf tournaments is to meet a specified format. Think of the US Amateur tournaments, as an example. This has a hybrid format, wherein stroke-play qualifying leads to a match-play tournament.

This is to determine an overall winner. So, because only 64 players can fit into the specific bracket size, the cut has to be exactly 64. 

Cut Shot Vs Cut In Golf: Differences 

You may have been a little confused when hearing the term cut in golf for the first time. This is because it can basically have two separate meanings. There is the cut (as discussed above) and the cut shot.

A cut in golf can also refer to a type of shot. This moves with a curved angle toward the intended target. The player’s aim is to hit the ball so it curves in a certain direction, for right-hand golfers, the ball should curve from left to right, and the opposite for left-handed players. 

A cut shot is very similar to a fade shot but differs in the fact that a cut shot tends to fly higher in the air. And, a cut shot features a less obvious curve than a slice shot. 

And, as we discussed above, a cut in golf can also refer to the elimination of certain players in the midst of a tournament. So, if you have ever heard someone say “they didn’t make the cut,” or “they missed the cut,” you now know where those sayings came from. 

In Summary

Although the term “cut” can apply to a type of shot in golf, it primarily refers to the elimination of a number of competitors in a golf tournament.

Some competitions may have more than one cut, and the number of players cut from a tour varies from one to another. 

One thing is for certain, though, the cut is an essential part of this great game. 

Garratt Shmidt
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