Golf Scoring System For Beginners

The Golf Beginner’s Guide To Scoring

When marking your score, there are several golf scoring formats played in the USA. These are the most prevalent, as well as an explanation of how they work.

Stroke

One of the simplest golf scoring formats. Simply play each hole of golf and then mark the total number of shots taken. At the end of a round, your gross score (ie all shots) is added up and your handicap is deducted to calculate your net score. The player who completes the round with the fewest net hits is the winner.

stableford

This is a basic points-based system and the most common of the golf scoring formats in Australia. Instead of aiming for the lowest total/net score (as in stroke play, above), a golfer aims to accumulate the most total points in a round. Points are granted on each hole according on your score.

Golf Scoring point system is like this:

  • Double bogey or higher = No points (aka “wipe”)
  • Bogey = 1 point
  • Pair= 2 points
  • Little bird = 3 points
  • Eagle=4 points
  • Albatross=5 points

Let’s say you’re a scratch golfer (ie 0 handicap). If you score a par on every hole, you’ll end up with 36 points. (For example, 2 points for each hole x 18 holes = 36 points.). If you had scored 16 pairs and had two birdies, your total would be 38 points, etc.

What about players with Handicaps?

As part of the World Handicap System, on almost every course in the world, each hole is rated from 1 to 18 for difficulty. The most difficult hole is ranked number 1, while the easiest hole is ranked 18, etc. The ranking is called the hole index and they are listed on the scorecard (sometimes called the hole handicap index).

This is where it gets interesting: the scorecard index determines how many strokes a player takes on the hole, depending on his handicap. These hits are like “extra shots” that give you a better chance of scoring points.

Example:

Suppose a player has a GolfLink handicap of 5. Therefore, they will get a shot at the 5 most difficult holes, as indicated on the course scorecard (again, each course has the 18 holes “indexed” from 1 (more difficult) to 18 (easier).

The player approaches the first hole of the day (let’s say it’s a par 4) and sees that he has a rating of 3 (ie the third hardest hole on the course). He or she thus receives a hit in the hole. Let’s say this player puts 5 shots. However, in Stableford, since the player takes a stroke at the hole, his “net” score is 4 (ie 5 strokes minus the handicap stroke). As a result, they have a “nett even” and receive two points.

On the score card, the player marks “5” for the score (ie actual hits) and marks 2 in the points column.

If in that same hole the player had made 6 shots, then he would score 6 in points and 1 in points. However, if they had taken 4 shots (gross par), they would score 4 for score and 3 for points (net birdie).

The scores are added up and the player with the best (highest) Stableford score is the winner.

Golf Scoring  Par (or VS Par)

Par is similar to Stableford Scoring above in that it uses the hole indices to determine if you have a shot on a hole. However, there are only three possible outcomes for a hole:

  • Win (also called “plus”, scored as +)
  • Half (also called a “push”, scored 0)
  • Lose (also called “minus”, scored as -)

The stroke rate on the scorecard (see Stableford, above) determines how many strokes a player takes on the hole depending on his handicap. A hole is won, lost, or halved, depending on the stroke score of it.

Example:

Suppose a player has a GolfLink handicap of 5. Therefore, they will get a shot at the 5 most difficult holes, as indicated on the course scorecard (again, each course has the 18 holes “indexed” from 1 (more difficult) to 18 (easier).

The player approaches the first hole of the day (let’s say it’s a par 4) and sees that he has a rating of 3 (ie the third hardest hole on the course). He or she thus receives a hit in the hole. Let’s say this player puts 5 shots. In the Par format, since the player takes one stroke at the hole, his “net” score is 4 (ie 5 strokes minus the handicap stroke). Thus, they have made a “net pair”, which gives the player a 0 (ie half or tie).

On the score card, the player marks “5” for the score (ie actual hits) and marks 0 in the points column.

If, on that same hole, the player had taken 6 shots, then he would score 6, and a minus (-) in points. However, if they had taken 4 shots (gross par), they would score 4, and a plus (+) for points (net birdie).

Read Also: How To Become a Golf Pro?

Golf Scoring Final Thoughts

Finally, be sure to clarify the point system before playing if you’re using the modded version. This way, you and the guys won’t have post-round arguments on the 19th hole.

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