Scoring In Golf: How Does It Work? [2023]

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Scoring in golf is something that all new golfers want to ensure that they know the ins and outs of before they step out onto the golf course.

This can range from the different scores for each hole to the different scoring formats in golf and these can range from simple to more complex formats.

No matter which type of scoring in golf you want to know about you can be sure that this guide has you covered as we cover all of the details that you need to know to ensure that your golf scoring is 100% perfect.

What Is Scoring In Golf?

Scoring in golf involves counting the number of strokes that a particular hole takes to complete. The expected score is in relation to par for any particular hole with the most common being par 3, par 4 and par 5 holes.

Although many golfers play just for fun and don’t count their strokes or play in a competitive format. The vast majority of golfers do.

This means that scoring in golf is important and knowing all of the different types of scoring is imperative before trying to read a scorecard in golf. Not only can golf be scored per hole but also there are different types of golf formats that affect how golf scoring works as well from stroke play to match play.

Scoring ranges across different types of golfers too and can change depending on the difficulty of the golf course. However, the ultimate aim is to score your round in as few shots as possible.

Golf Scoring Average

The golf scoring average on the PGA Tour is roughly 69 for the top players thru to 71 for a solid PGA Tour golfer. (PGA Tour)

This remains consistent with the scoring average on the LPGA Tour too. (LPGA)

However, the golf scoring average changes when it comes to amateur golfers. This is especially true when it comes to determining average scoring for different ages in golf.

The Grint found that for the 20-30 age group an average golf score is 89 while an average golf score for a golfer over 70 is 93.

This means that an average golfer will score roughly 30% higher than a PGA or LPGA professional.

Golf Scoring Terms

common golf scoring terms

In this section we will explore of the common golf scoring terms that you will see on the golf course during a round or tournament play.

Hole In One

A hole in one is as the name suggests, when the ball goes into the hole in only one shot. This is most commonly found on a par 3 due to the length of this hole being the shortest. It is also possible for a hole in one to occur on a par 4 however and there have been several of instances of this happening on the PGA Tour.


An albatross occurs on par 5’s when a golfer gets the ball in in only two shots. Again, this is a rare occurrence and is a special occasion whenever it happens in professional golf.


More common than a hole in one and an albatross is an eagle and happens reasonably often for most professional golfers. Most eagles occur on a par 5 golf hole when a golfer gets the ball onto the green in two shots and then makes their first putt. However, it can also occur on a par if the golfer drives the ball onto the green and makes their putt or their approach shot lands in the hole.

An eagle will be a score of two under par for the hole.


A birdie can occur on any golf hole. Typically they come about by reaching the green in regulation and making the putt in one shot to make a birdie.

A birdie will be a score of one under par for the hole.


A par is the expected score for a given hole, which is determined by distance and difficulty of the hole. The Par for any particular hole will vary based on changes in clubs used or other factors that affect the difficulty level.


A bogey is a score of one over par. This is typically achieved by hitting the tee shot into a hazard or otherwise finding trouble off the tee.

Double Bogey

Two over par is what you would call a double bogey. They typically correspond to a double bogey on the scorecard, which can come about by hitting into trouble and then failing to get out of it and making another bogey or by returning an extremely poorly executed shot to the tee after finding trouble off the tee.

Triple Bogey

When you score three over par, you have made a triple bogey. This can be achieved by hitting into trouble off the tee, then failing to return from that trouble and making another bogey or by returning an extremely poorly executed shot after finding trouble off the tee that leads to yet another bogey.

In Summary

As you can tell golf scoring makes up a key component of the sport. However, there are a range of other golf terms and definitions, and rules to understand before you step out onto the golf course.

By understanding the number of strokes that you are taking out on the course you can set yourself up for success.