How to Keep Score in Golf: A Guide for Beginners

It’s summer, the course rates are low, and you just got invited out to play a round of golf.

But like with any competitive sport, you need to be able to keep score!

If you’ve ever wondered how to keep score in golf, keep reading to find out everything from your scorecard to handicaps! By the time you finish reading, you’ll have the confidence you need to take on your friends in the summer heat.

The Scorecard

The first item you need to understand if you want to keep score is your scorecard.

When you look at it, it’s nothing more than a piece of paper that you and your golf buddies markup to keep track of who’s playing the best. You have the numbers that correspond to the number of holes on the card – this can be either nine or eighteen.

Below the hole numbers, you’ll typically see three rows that display the distance from the tee box to the hole. These will have different distances, with the champion’s tee nearest to the top being the furthest away and the ladies tee on the bottom being the closest.

As you scan down, you’ll see a row of numbers labeled as par. Par is simply the number of strokes a person takes that’s deemed appropriate for each hole.

Next, there’s the handicap for each hole. The important thing to remember with a golf handicap is the lower the number, the more challenging the hole. For example, if you see a handicap of one written, that means it’s the most challenging hole.

Golfing for beginners can be difficult, but if you’re ready to take the next step, you will want to calculate your handicap.

How to Keep Score in Golf

Now that you know how to read the scorecard, it’s to keep score accurately – and it’s pretty simple.

When you finish each hole, you record the number of shots you took from the tee box to your final putt. You do this for every hole, and the person with the lowest number wins!

There are a couple of ways you can track your strokes. The first is to record how many swings it took to finish each hole, and the most common method is to mark your swings compared to the par assigned.

For example, if a hole is a par three, you’re expected to complete it in three strokes. If you did, that means you finished the hole at “par,” and you can write the number zero.

If you completed the hole with four strokes, that would be a “bogey,” and you would write the number one as your score. This is because you had one stroke over par.

On the other hand, if you finished the hole in two strokes on a par three, that would qualify as a “birdie,” and you would mark that down as minus one.

If you’re a beginner, it can admittedly get confusing at first. Luckily, there are golf scorecard apps that you can use so you can focus on your swing rather than making sure you’re writing the correct score.

Your Next Game

Now that you know how to keep score in golf, you can make sure your friends aren’t marking up your score without your knowledge!

Get out there and enjoy your round!

If you enjoyed reading this article, check out some of our other recent posts for more helpful tips!

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