How to keep score in golf: 7 different formats
Learning how to keep score in golf is fairly straight forward. At a very simplistic level, you simply add up the shots it takes you to finish each hole, at the end of the round you add up all of your shots throughout the whole round and that’s your gross score.
Each hole on the course is assigned a number of shots called ‘par’. You can get a 3-par, 4-par and 5-par hole.
Par-3: The golfer is expected to finish the hole in 3 shots (par). This is usually with 1 shot onto the green and 2 puts.
Par-4: The golfer is expected to finish the hole in 4 shots. Usually 1 drive, 1 shot into the green and 2 puts.
Par-5: Par-5’s are the longest holes on the course. The golfer has 3 shots to hit the green and 2 puts.
What is it called if I finish ‘under-par’ on any hole?
Just because a hole has been assigned a ‘par’ score, doesn’t mean that you have to score par. Ideally you would finish the hole ‘under-par’. After all, the golfer with the lowest score wins the round.
If you finish 1 under-par on any hole, for example, if you score a 2 on a par-3 or a 4 on a par-5, this is referred to as a ‘birdie‘.
If you finish 2 under-par on any hole, for example, if you score a 3 on a par-5, it is referred to as an ‘eagle‘.
1 shot on a par 3 is called a ‘hole-in-one‘.
2 shots on a par 5 is called an ‘albatross‘.
What about ‘over-par”
If you finish 1 shot over par, this is referred to as a ‘bogey‘. If you finish 2 shots over-par, this is called a ‘double bogey’. Then comes a ‘triple–bogey‘ and so on.
Tips for keeping an accurate score
1) Keep a mental note of your shots throughout each hole – count them as you hit each one.
2) Note down your score on your scorecard or paper as soon as the hole is over, so you don’t have to add them all up after the end of the round.
3) Try to use a pencil with a rubber, if you make a mistake and start crossing things out/ scribbling all over the scorecard it can become hard to read.
4) Use a mobile app or golf watch which can digitally keep score for you – Some apps even draw graphs and in depth analysis of how your scores are changing over time.
How to keep score in different forms of golf
Stroke play is your more traditional format of golf. Whoever scores the lowest score over the entire round wins the game. Most golf tournaments are stroke play, and they are sometimes referred as a ‘medal round’.
In stableford, players are awarded points on each hole which are correlated to the amount of strokes they take to complete the whole. Whoever scores the most points over the whole 18 holes wins the round.
The beauty of stableford, is that if you have a terrible hole, or lose a ball. You aren’t out of the game, you will just score zero and start the next hole with the chance to score high all over again.
The UK stableford points system is as follows:
|Number of points||Strokes over / under par|