What’s Your Golf Score? Good, Bad & Average Explained

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Golf is an amazing game that is played and loved by millions of players. One of the reasons for its popularity is the fact that anyone can play it. So even if you just get started by going to the driving range, it is straightforward to get started.

However, once golfers progress from the practice range to the golf course, they start to think about their golf score, their level compared to others and whether they can lower it.

Without research, it can be hard to know the answer to this question. So what is a good golf score, what is a bad golf score, and what is an average golf score? That can depend on a wide range of factors that we will go into in full detail in this article. However, by the end of this guide, you will have a good understanding of what good, bad, and average golf scores mean to you personally. 

What is a Good Golf Score?

A good golf score for the average golfer would be 90 strokes or under for an 18 hole round of golf. However, a good score in golf is relative to each individual golfer and their skill level. This is because experience comes into play as a scratch golfer wouldn’t consider 90 (bogey golf) as a good score relative to par. In contrast, a beginner golfer would be likely to consider 90 strokes or below as a fantastic round.

Good Beginner Golf Score

As we have said above, every golfer will score differently and have different expectations when stepping onto the golf course. However, a good golf score for beginner golfers can be anything under 95-100 strokes.

Starting, there is a wide range of things that you can do to accelerate the improvement of your golf score. These range from taking some lessons to improve your golf swing basics to buying golf equipment aimed at those starting out. It is also worth taking the time to get to know different terms in golf and their meanings. Taking the time to get this right can help you to achieve a good golf score for a beginner without too much effort before focusing on other areas of your game to accelerate your progress towards being either a bogey golfer or even scratch golfer sooner. 

What is a Bad Golf Score?

A bad golf score will be relative to each individual, but overall a bad score can be considered over 115 strokes. The reason for this is that it is well over an average golf score of around 90 strokes. However, it is important to remember that everybody has bad days out on the golf course every now and then.

Overall though, it is important to keep working on your game, and if you do, then you will put yourself in a good position to improve your golf score as you will understand more about the good shots and bad shots that you hit.

Average Golf Score By Age For 9 & 18 Holes

Golfing is challenging for everyone, but knowing your expected score can help you feel better about playing and ensure that you know you are on the right track. There are many factors that contribute to how you score during a round—these range from your age and skill level.

Scoring in golf is difficult to understand but to give you an overview of some averages, a study was ran (National Golf Foundation). They discovered that 74% of golfers shoot over 90 on a standard par 72 course while 45% would fit into the over 100 strokes per round range. So this really does show that if you are breaking 90, you can consider your golf score reasonable, relatively speaking.

Average Score Factoring In Age Chart (9 & 18 holes)

18 Holes9 Holes
Under 1895-14047.5-70
> 609547.5

The above data showcases that the ages of 19 to 40 are the sweet spot for a better average golf score. Once the average golfer reaches the age of 60, they can be expected to lose a few shots without the loss being significant.

Junior golfers struggle most with scoring in golf as they are still getting to grips with the game, which can take them some time. They also have less strength at that age, so will struggle to generate the distance that adults do.

However, as you can see, golf has an appeal for the average golfer throughout their lifetime. This is because despite average golf scores dropping slightly as the average golfer gets older, they are still on average able to play competitively. This is a reason why there are so many professional tours such as the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, and then the Champions Tour for a senior player. In fact the average age on the PGA Tour is around 35 years, which is much higher than for other leading sports (Keiser University).

What Can Affect A Golf Score?

There is a range of factors that can affect a score. These range from the course difficulty, the weather conditions, and an individual’s golf handicap. We cover each of these factors in detail below.

Course Difficulty

Course difficulty such as the slope rating and course rating plays a major part in determining your score. A good player will prefer courses with higher slope ratings and course ratings as they offer good challenges to accommodate their more advanced skill level. However, beginners will prefer playing on golf courses with a lower course rating and slope rating as they are typically easier to play and score well on.

Weather Conditions

The weather conditions of a golf course on any given day can be very different from previous days. This is due mainly to the course heating up and playing fast during warm weather and getting wetter and playing slower as it cools down. This can affect how easy or difficult certain holes will be to play.

Another area where weather conditions in golf play an essential role includes the greens as they can affect the overall speed and quality.

Golf Handicap

Additionally, your golf handicap will also affect your golf score. By shooting the expected number of strokes during a round, you will know where you have had a good score, bad score, or average score compared to your expected skill level.

It is important to approach your golf handicap to expect that you might not always play to it as golf is a challenging sport to play consistently every day. Even PGA Tour professionals with extraordinarily high skill levels, such as Tiger Woods, don’t always have rounds go as they would hope.

How To Lower Your Scores?

From training on your golf game to choosing equipment that is suited to you, there is a range of areas that can help you lower your scores. Below is an overview of some things you can work on to improve your average score.

Golf Training

Spending time to practice your golf game every day can result in consistently better golf scores, which eventually lead to a lower golf handicap.

Using one of the many golf training aids available like a swing trainer, launch monitor, or practice green, you will be able to hone in on which elements of your golf game require improvement and apply better focus to your game as you strive to hit the ball better.

This can lead to more consistent scores as you play. Consistency is the key to a player lowering their average score.

Swing Fundamentals

Working on your fundamentals of the golf swing will allow you to have more faith in your swing whenever you hit the ball. This faith will also give you more confidence in your game when out on the course.

A proper stance, alignment, backswing, downswing, together to produce a good swing. Take time each day to work on your swing fundamentals and you will not only have more fun but lower scores as well.

Course Management

Amateur golfers often think that actively taking steps to improve their technique is the only way to improve their scoring average. However, managing the course plays a crucial role in better golf scoring. This goes for every level of golfer, no matter how good you are. Knowing your way around the course that you are playing is pivotal.

Golf Club Selection

Too often amateur golfers play with golf clubs that aren’t the best option for them. For example, what might be best for a beginner might not be good for an average golfer or low handicapper. This is something that needs to be figured out on a case-by-case basis in order to determine which golf clubs are the right fit.

If you are new to the sport, you might want to consider choosing the best golf equipment for your needs as a new golfer might choose something that is forgiving, whereas if you are more experienced, you might want to invest in gear that will stand the test of time and still offer a high level of performance.

In Summary: Good, Bad & Average Scores For 18 Holes

With a good golf score being below 90, it’s important to remember that each person has both great rounds and bad rounds on the course. If you’re interested in improving your scores or advancing your skillset, then spending plenty of time on the driving range with some training aids is a great way to start. Don’t let fear or anxiety keep you from trying something new, as there is no right or wrong regarding good golf scores, bad golf scores, or even an average score for players.