How Do You Keep Score In Golf?

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Golf is a sport where some people are confused by how to score in golf or what par is. Par is the number of strokes for an experienced golfer to complete a hole. So, for example, if you hit your ball at par 4, that means that it will take you 4 strokes to finish the hole.

How Do You Keep Score In Golf

Learning how to keep score in golf on the surface is easy.  At the completion of each hole you write you score on your scorecard.  But there are so many different ways to get to that score.

This article will explore the different ways to keep score in golf.

Stroke Play Scoring

The score in golf that is most common and easiest to understand for a full round of 18 holes is stroke play. The golfer plays one ball from the teeing ground until the hole is complete in this scoring type. A shot counts as a stroke, and each completed hole (in order) is counted as a stroke with the total of all strokes taken during the round given as the score.

For example, if you complete eight holes with five shots ((5+5+5+4+4+3+2+3)+1), then your score for that round would be 32 strokes.  Which can also be scored against par by using abbreviations like + for over par, – for under par and E for even par.

Two-Ball Alternate Shot Scoring

This scoring type is similar to stroke play in that each golfer plays their ball the entire round. However, two shots are counted for each completed hole (in order). If you miss a shot, your partner will hit and vice versa until the hole is complete. The score for this type of game is the total number of shots for both players combined.

keeping score in golf game

For example, if you take 14 strokes and your partner takes 17, then the score for that round would be 31 (14+17).

Four-Ball Better Ball Scoring

This scoring type is similar to stroke play, with the minor exception that each golfer plays their ball the entire round. The score for this game is determined by adding up all individual scores and dividing them by the number of players. For example, if you take 14 strokes and your partner takes 17, your score would be 49 ((14×2)+17)/2.

This scoring type is similar to stroke play, with the small exception that each golfer plays their ball the entire round. The score for this game is determined by adding up all individual scores and subtracting them from the lowest score. For example, if you take 14 strokes and your partner takes 17, your score would be 3 ((14-17+17-14).

Match Play Scoring

This scoring type is the most complicated, with various formats that you can use.

For example, three-ball match play is when two partners (teams) compete against each other. The score for this game is determined by subtracting the lower score of the two teams from the higher score of the two teams and then adding this number to one point for winning in match play.

understanding golf scores

For example, if you take 13 shots and your partner takes 16, the score for that round would be 3+1=4 (13-16+1).

Greensome is another format of match play where two partners compete against two different opponents, with one team playing against both teams. The score is determined by subtracting the lower score of the team from their opponents from the higher score of both teams. This number is then added to two points for winning in match play.

For example, if you take 14 shots and your partner takes 16, your score would be 2+2=4 (14-16+2).

Four-Ball Better Ball Stableford Scoring

This scoring type is similar to match play, with the small exception that each golfer plays their ball the entire round.

For this game, points are given for each hole using a predetermined number of strokes taken at each hole based on par for the course. Points are then multiplied by the number of holes won plus one point for winning in match play. For example, if you take eight strokes on a par 4, 4 points are awarded ((8-4+1).

Match Play Stableford Scoring

This scoring type is similar to match play, with the small exception that each golfer plays their ball the entire round.

The score for this game is similar to Better Ball Stableford, where points are given for each hole based on a predetermined number of strokes taken at each hole by par for the course; however, instead of multiplying these points by the number of holes won plus one point for winning in matchplay, you divide them by two.

For example, if you take eight strokes on a par 4, 2 points are awarded ((8-4+1).

What Type of Score Should I Keep?

If you want to keep track of your scores, then it is recommended that you play stroke play rather than match play or Stableford formats, as they require significantly more time and effort to do so.

For those who play in a league or tournament where different types of scoring are used (which will be the case for most), you might want to keep track of several different scores for each round. Keeping only one score will require less effort, but it may lead to inaccurate personal statistics or make figuring out handicaps difficult.

For example, if you are playing in a tournament where match play is the format, I recommend keeping both strokes and match play scores for each round. Each score has its advantages and disadvantages; however, it would be best to play stroke play when different scoring types are used if you want to keep track of your scores accurately.

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