What Is a Good Golf Score?

Brad Carey21 Apr 2022

Millions of people all around the world enjoy and partake in golf. As a result of the game's accessibility, it has become a favorite pastime for many people. So even if you start by going to the driving range, it's easy to get started. While on the practice range, most golfers don't concentrate on their score until they go out onto the course and see how they compare to the rest of the pack. They then focus on ways to improve their score.

How To Score in Golf

In golf, unlike many other sports, the winner is determined by the golfer with the lowest score, which might be a puzzle to those inexperienced with the game.  The goal is to get your ball into the hole on each green as quickly as possible.

Keeping Track of Every Swing

Strokes are the simplest unit of measurement in golf. Each time you take a swing at the golf ball in an attempt to strike it, you have taken a stroke. Take note of every stroke you make. Once you've rolled the ball into the cup on each hole, keep track of how many strokes you used on that particular hole. That's your hole-in-one for this particular round.

For instance, if it took you six swings to get the ball into the hole on the first hole, your score is 6. If you score a 4 on the second hole, you'll have a total of 10 after two holes and so forth. For each hole, you record your score in the appropriate row or column on the scorecard.  As soon as you've finished the course, tally up all of your hole scores. That will be your final score.

Other factors come into play, such as the fact that every beginner, as well as every golfer of any rank, will have to take penalty strokes.   To put it another way, your golf score is the total number of times you've hit the ball around the track.

Using Par to Score

"2-under par" or "4-over par" are examples of a golf score given with respect to par or in relation to par.  The term "par" refers to the number of strokes a skilled golfer is estimated to take to complete a hole or the entire golf course. There is a par rating for each hole on the course. 

To be 2-over par on a hole that has a par of 4, you must shoot 6 on it. If the second hole is a par-5, and you score a 4, you'll be 1-under par for the tournament. Even par, or "level par," is a term used to describe a score of 4 on a par-4 hole.  The same is true for a golfer's total round of golf score. Getting a score of 98 on a par-72 course puts you 26 strokes over par for the round.

A "birdie" is a score of 1-under par; a "bogey," is a score of 1-over par.

Keeping Score in Golf

It's not hard to keep track of your golf score. Every time you finish a hole, you record the number of shots you took to do it. Add your individual hole scores together at the end of the round to get your overall score for the 18 holes.

A good golfer is set to complete each hole within a certain number of shots, referred to as the "par." Single-hole scores are also referred to as "under" and "over" par. Taking five strokes on a par four, for example, is one shot over par or a "bogey." A "double bogey" requires six shots. A "birdie" is a score that is one stroke better than the required score. An "eagle" is a score of two strokes better than par. To avoid bogeys, double bogeys, and worse, the goal is to score pars, birdies, and eagles.

The USGA has a process in place called Equitable Stroke Control to help limit the effects of disaster holes for handicapping reasons. Your handicap determines how many points you can score on each hole, and they should be changed after the round.

Tips for Keeping Score

  • Keeping track of how many shots you took throughout a hole will save you time at the end of the round.
  • Keep track of your score at the end of each hole to avoid forgetting it.
  • There are a variety of apps as well as other tools that help you keep track of your score.

Average Golf Score by Age

For each 18-hole round of golf, the average score is 90 strokes. On a 72-par course, an amateur golfer is expected to score this way.  A good golf score is 108 strokes or less, whereas a bad score is 120 strokes or more.

Here are the average score for 18 holes, grouped by age:

  • For those aged 7-10 years, the average score is 144-180
  • For those aged 10-20 years, the average score is 89-180
  • For those aged 20-30 years, the average score is 89-90
  • For those aged 30-50 years, the average score is 91-92
  • For those aged 50-70 years, the average score is 91
  • For those aged over 70 years, the average score is 93-94

What Is the Lowest Score in Golf?

The lowest recorded score in Golf is 55 and there have been at least 4 rounds of 55 documented in history.

  • The First 55: The first 55 was carded in 1935 on the 6,419-yard, par-72 Montebello Park course in Montebello, California, by a golfer called E.F. Staugaard.
  • Homero Blancas’ 55: Homero Blancas posted the second recorded score of 55. For more than two decades, Blancas was a professional golfer who competed on the PGA Tour in the 1960s, and later on the Champions Tour. It was 1962 and Blancas was an amateur when he shot a round of 55 at the Premier Invitational tournament in Longview, Texas.
  • Steve Gilley's 55: Steve Gilley completed the third documented 55 on May 17, 2004, in the Lynwood Golf & Country Club course near Martinsville, Va. Gilley was a professional golfer, however, he was playing with two childhood friends when he shot a 55. There were only 5,959 yards on the Lynwood course, despite it being a par-71 layout.
  • The Last and Most Impressive 55: Rhein Gibson, a young Australian pro, blasted the fourth recorded 55. This took place at Edmond, Oklahoma's River Oaks Golf Club on May 12, 2012. At 6,850 yards, Gibson's course had a par of 71 and a full 18 holes.

It's vital to remember that every golfer has both good and bad rounds on the course, and a decent score is below 90. Investing time in the driving range is important if you want to improve your golf score. But keep in mind that the scoring shouldn't deter you from enjoying a round of golf.

Brad Carey

Brad Carey

An avid golfer, brad loves a round of 18 on a Sunday. After getting involved in the technical side of golf, he thought he'd share his insights with others.

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