How Golf Scoring Works

golf scoring

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Unlike most sports, where the player with the highest score wins, golf has a separate scoring system. The lower score, or the fewest number of shots taken on the hole or during the round, determines success in golf.

Golf scoring is based on par. Par is a standard measurement of how well a skilled golfer should perform on each hole of a golf course. A golf course’s total par, which is commonly 70, 71, or 72, is calculated by adding the pars for each of its 18 holes, which are typically rated 3, 4, or 5.

Overall scoring

Every hole has a predetermined par. The number of shots regarded as an even score is known as par. For instance, a par-5 hole requires five strokes from the tee to the cup for the golfer to score par. Most 18-hole golf courses have a par score between 70 and 72, with the majority of the holes being par-4s. The final holes are either par 3s or par 5s.

Typically, stroke play, where each shot counts as one stroke, is used to determine the winner in golf events. The number of strokes under, even with, or above par is frequently used to describe a player’s score. On a par-72 course, a golfer who shoots a 65 is seven strokes ahead.

How does Golf Scoring Works?

  • The goal of golf is to use the fewest strokes necessary to get the ball into the hole.
  • When you keep score, either for yourself or your opponent, you are simply counting how many swings it takes that person to complete the move.
  • A stroke is any golf swing or attempts to hit the ball.
  • Your score for the hole is 5 if it takes you 5 strokes to put the ball in the first cup.
  • If you need four strokes to complete the following hole, your overall score after the first two holes is nine. After then, all you have to do is keep adding until you’ve completed all 18 holes.
  • On the scorecard, in the row or column where each hole is stated, you should record each of those scores. The player with the fewest strokes wins. It’s that easy!
  • Of course, there are some situations where you might need to add points to scores even if both parties precisely aim to play by the rules. Typically, these are referred to as penalty strokes.
  • The kind of scoring system you and your opponent use will have a big impact on the penalties, though.
Golf scoring

Golf Scores – Meaning of Golf Scoring Par

A golfer achieves a par score when they complete a hole in the specified number of strokes as stated in Section 1 of this article. For instance, a golfer must complete a par-4 hole in four shots to score par. Golfers can typically hit their tee shot onto the green on par-3 holes since they are shorter.

A par-5 hole, on the other hand, might necessitate three or four strokes to get to the green. In order to calculate a hole’s par, the U.S. Golf Association established the following yardage rules as of 2010: par 3, up to 250 yards (for men), up to 210 yards (for women); par 4, 251 yards to 470 yards (for men), 211 yards to 400 yards (for women); and par 5, 471 yards 401 yards to 590 yards (for males), to 690 yards (women).


A score of one stroke under par is known as a birdie.

While birdies can be made on any hole, they are most frequently made on par-4 and par-5 holes. Because the golfer must put the ball in the hole in two shots on a par-3 hole, the challenge is greater.


A golfer makes an eagle when they finish a hole in two shots less than par. Eagles typically appear on par-4 or par-5 holes.

Double Eagle

When a golfer completes a par-5 hole in two shots, it is known as a double eagle or albatross. A golfer would have to drive the ball off the tee and then hit it into the hole with their second stroke. A golf albatross is a prestigious accomplishment.


When a golfer sinks the ball on the tee shot, they have achieved a hole-in-one. Par-3 holes are where the hole-in-one occurs most frequently since many golfers can manage the distance from the tee to the green.

Golfers occasionally get a hole-in-one on a par-4 hole that is shorter (approximately 300 yards). An official hole-in-one is one that can be verified by a third party.


A score that is one shot over par is referred to as a bogey. Therefore, a score of two strokes over par is a double bogey, a score of three strokes over par is a triple bogey, and a score of four strokes over par is a quadruple bogey.

How Golf Scoring works


2-Over Par – A double-bogey is a score that is two strokes higher than the hole’s par. When you get into difficulties, for instance, and are unable to maneuver your way out of it, you make another bogey.


3-Over Par – A triple-bogey is when your score is three strokes over par.

For example, hitting into trouble off the tee and failing to recover from it will result in another bogie (or returning a ball that was extremely poorly hit after difficulties off the tee will result in yet another bogey).

Stableford Scoring

A golf score using the Stableford scoring system is calculated as the sum of net points for each hole:

  • Receive 2 points if the net score is equal to the par.
  • A bogey score of one over par earns one point.
  • A birdie earns 1 under par and 3 points.
  • Receive 4 points if shoot an eagle at two under par.

The strategy is often employed by seasoned players who want to lower their handicaps.

Golf Scores in Relation to Par – How Does Golf Work in Terms of Scoring?

Each and every golf scoring word is based on the par value. And “par” refers to the average number of strokes a professional golfer needs to finish each hole on the course. This indicates that each hole has a unique par rating. Par-3, Par-4, and Par-5 are the most typical ones.

The sum of an 18-hole golf course’s average pars is 72. You calculate your score with respect to par by adding the par scores for each of the 18 holes.

For instance, you shot 4-under par during your round of golf (with the total part of the course being 72),

Each and every golf scoring word is based on the par value. And “par” refers to the average number of strokes a professional golfer needs to finish each hole on the course. This indicates that each hole has a unique par rating. Par-3, Par-4, and Par-5 are the most typical ones. Therefore 72 – 4 = 68 is your score.

Alternatively, if you score two strokes above par (with the total part of the golf course being 70 this time), The result is 70 + 2 = 72

Why golf is the best sport

The Different Formats of Golf Scoring

These three forms are most frequently used when playing golf to keep score against other players or golfing partners.

1. Stroke Play

Stroke play is exactly what I’ve detailed in this article thus far; you record how many strokes you make per hole and then add up those strokes for each individual hole at the conclusion of your round. The winner is declared by the lowest score of the golfers.

2. Match Play

This one also keeps track of the number of strokes per hole, but the difference is that you contrast your total strokes for each hole with your opponent’s.

3. Stableford System

Stableford scoring is another well-liked golf scoring system that involves converting scores (in respect to par) into points. Thus, rather than total strokes, the final tally of points determines the winner.

What About Penalty Strokes in Golf?

The hole is won by the player who receives the lowest score for that particular hole. The match, game, or round of golf is won by the player who has completed the most holes at the conclusion.

Penalty strokes are frequently added to a golfer’s score, particularly for novices. If your shot goes out of bounds or into a water hazard, you will incur these strokes. When this happens, you must take another shot, adding a stroke to your score.

You must go back to your starting position for a re-hit if the golf ball is lost during play. Consequently, the score was increased by one stroke.

Professional play has a variety of restrictions that can apply to the inclusion of that extra stroke. Using your club to make contact with a bunker or hazard before the shot, discussing with another golfer whose club they used for the shot, etc.

Any score below par for the golf course qualifies as a “good” score when referring to PGA Tour athletes.

What Is a Good Score in Golf?

Anything under 120 strokes is considered a decent or “respectable” score among average or amateur golfers. On a regular 18-hole course, 90 strokes on the scorecard are acceptable as the average.


Golf has a very peculiar scoring system in comparison to most sports. Because in golf, a score of zero is regarded as the finest score. Simply put, that means there are getting to be fewer and fewer strokes or shots made for a given hole and for the full round of golf.

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