How to Keep Score in Golf: Learn the Basics


Golf is a popular game that can be a great, relaxing way to spend a day outside. However, though many play the game, Score in Golf can be a bit tricky. That is because, unlike other sports, you need to have the lowest score in order to win.

Golf is played on a course that is made up of individual holes. While the number of holes played can differ from game to game, most courses have 18 holes. The goal of each hole is to get your golf ball from the tee to the hole on the green in the lowest amount of tries. Then, you want to go through the entire course with the least amount of swings.

The Fundamentals of Golf Scoring

In golf, you try to finish your round with the least number of hits and then calculate your score. Golf scores are based on the number of tries, which depends on the “par” of a hole. For instance, if you are playing on a par 3, your goal is to get into the hole in three or fewer tries. On a Par 4, four or less, and so on and so forth.

If you get the ball in the hole in the same number of tries as the par, you get “par,” or 0 points. If you enter the hole in 1 less stroke than par (known as 1-under) you scored a Birdie, and if you get 2-under, you scored an Eagle. There is also the extremely rare chance that you finish a hole three shots under par. That is known as an Albatross.

On the other hand, if you take more than par to get into the hole, you gain points. One stroke over, such as four shots on a par 3, gets you a bogey, or +1. In the same vein, two shots over (+2) is a double-bogey, and three shots over (+3) is a triple-bogey, etc. While there is no maximum number of shots players can take on a hole, most people stop at eight shots on par 3 and ten shots on par 4 to keep the game moving.

When scoring golf, it is also important to understand penalties. Penalty shots give you points (which is bad) and penalize your score for hitting the ball where it shouldn’t go. Hitting the ball into the water costs a 1-stroke penalty, as does hitting it somewhere you cannot get it. In those cases, you take the penalty and drop a new ball close to the spot for your next stroke.

In that way, if you finish a par 3 in three hits but also hit into the water once, you would be one over par and get +1 for the hole.

Other Tips for How to Score Golf

Players keep track of their golf scores on a scorecard. You should write down scores after each hole because even veteran players can occasionally forget a shot when they aren’t keeping track.

Typically, you are responsible for keeping your opponent’s score, and they are in charge of keeping track of yours. It always helps to look over your opponent’s card to make sure you are both on the same page, and you should sign or initial the card after each hole and at the end of each round.  However, if you don’t want to mess with multiple cards, a group can designate one person to keep score for everyone.

When keeping score, it is important to know that every purposeful attempt at hitting the ball, successful or not, counts as a stroke. Just about every single swing is going to make contact with the ball. However, some golfers may miss, and that still counts a shot. On the flip side, if you take a practice swing and accidentally strike the ball, it does not count. You only record a stroke when the golfer is trying to hit the ball, whether they do or not.

The final part of scorekeeping is the handicap. Once you’ve played a certain number of rounds on one course, you will have a handicap for it. This takes previous scores into account and makes it so you know where you want to finish. The system is important because it calculates a net score from the number of strokes within a round and enables players of different skill levels to play against each other.

Tallying Up a Final Golf Score

Once you’ve finished the course, you look over the scorecard and add up your score from each hole to get your total. The player with the least amounts of points wins. It really is as simple as that.

Golf is a great game that can be a lot of fun. As long as you’re diligent about your score, know the values of different strokes, and understand handicaps, you will be ready to go out and play.


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