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How Do You Keep Score In Golf?

Have you ever found yourself wondering how the scoring system in golf works? Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or someone who’s new to the sport, understanding how to keep score is essential. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of golf scoring, providing you with all the information you need to keep track of your game. From strokes to handicaps, you’ll learn about the various elements that come into play and discover the strategies behind tallying your score. So, let’s tee off and dive into the world of golf scoring!

How Do You Keep Score In Golf?

6 Step Golf Lesson Needs Only 10 Minutes Per Day

Types of scoring system

When it comes to keeping score in golf, there are several different scoring systems to choose from. Each system offers a unique way to determine a winner and allows players to compete in various ways. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of scoring systems in golf.

Stroke play

Stroke play is one of the most common scoring systems in golf. In this system, each player’s total number of strokes is counted throughout the entire round. The player with the lowest score wins the game. This scoring system is straightforward and often used in professional tournaments.

To keep score in stroke play, each player keeps a scorecard where they record the number of strokes it takes to complete each hole. At the end of the round, the scores from each hole are added up to determine the final score.

Match play

Match play is a different scoring system that focuses on the outcome of each individual hole rather than the entire round. In match play, players compete against each other hole by hole. The player who wins the most holes wins the match.

To keep score in match play, players do not need to keep track of their total number of strokes. Instead, they only need to record whether they won, lost, or tied each hole. At the end of the round, the player with the most holes won is declared the winner of the match.

How Do You Keep Score In Golf?

6 Step Golf Lesson Needs Only 10 Minutes Per Day


Stableford is a points-based scoring system that rewards players based on their score relative to par. Instead of counting strokes, players are allocated points based on the number of strokes it takes to complete each hole. The player with the highest number of points at the end of the round wins the game.

In the Stableford scoring system, players earn points for achieving certain scores on each hole. For example, a birdie may be worth 2 points, while a par may be worth 1 point. The higher the points, the better the score.


Bogey is another scoring system that compares a player’s score to par. In this system, scores are relative to par, with par representing the expected number of strokes to complete a hole. A bogey is one stroke over par, while birdies and eagles represent one and two strokes under par, respectively.

To keep score using the bogey system, players simply need to record their score for each hole. By comparing their score to par, they can determine their overall performance.


Scramble is a team-based scoring system that allows multiple players to work together to achieve the best score possible. In this format, each player hits a shot, and the team then selects the best shot to play from. The process is repeated until the ball is holed.

To keep score in a scramble, each team keeps track of the number of strokes it takes to complete each hole. The team with the lowest score at the end of the round is declared the winner.

Scorecard basics

Regardless of the scoring system being used, scorecards play a crucial role in keeping track of scores during a golf game. They provide a neat and organized way for players to record their scores for each hole.

To complete a scorecard, players must indicate the number of strokes it took them to complete each hole. Additionally, any penalties incurred during the round should also be recorded on the scorecard. This can include hitting into hazards, going out of bounds, or other rule violations.


In golf, a handicap is a way to adjust for player ability to level the playing field. It allows golfers with different skill levels to compete against each other on an equal footing. Handicaps are calculated based on a player’s previous scores and represent the number of strokes they can deduct from their overall score.

By applying their handicap, players can calculate their net score, which is their gross score minus their handicap. This adjusted score allows players to compete fairly, even if they have different skill levels.

Calculating the net score

To determine the winner in competitions where handicaps are used, the net score is calculated by subtracting a player’s handicap from their gross score. The player with the lowest net score is declared the winner.

Calculating the net score is relatively straightforward. Once a player has recorded their gross score, they can subtract their handicap to arrive at their net score. This adjusted score provides a more accurate representation of a player’s performance.

Common terminology

In the world of golf, there are several terms used to describe different scores and achievements. Understanding these terms can enhance your golfing experience and help you communicate with others who are familiar with the game.

  • Par: Par represents the expected number of strokes to complete a hole. It is typically based on the length and difficulty of the hole and can range from 3 to 5 strokes.

  • Birdie: A birdie refers to completing a hole in one stroke under par. It is a desirable outcome and often celebrated by golfers.

  • Eagle: An eagle is achieved when a player completes a hole in two strokes under par. It is a rare and exceptional achievement.

  • Bogey: A bogey is when a player completes a hole in one stroke over par. It is a common score for many amateur golfers.

  • Double bogey: A double bogey occurs when a player completes a hole in two strokes over par. It is a higher score but still within an acceptable range for many players.

By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you can better understand the scores and achievements you encounter during a round of golf.

In conclusion, there are various scoring systems in golf, each with its own unique approach to determining a winner. From stroke play to match play, stableford, bogey, and scramble, each system offers different ways to keep score and compete. By understanding these different scoring systems and the associated terminology, you can fully enjoy the game of golf while keeping track of your scores in a friendly and accurate manner. Happy golfing!

6 Step Golf Lesson Needs Only 10 Minutes Per Day

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