Scratch Golfer: Meaning & Becoming One Explained

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Golfers are the ultimate sports enthusiasts. They have a passion for this game that can be said to be unmatched by any other sport. With golfers ranging from all skill levels from beginners to scratch golfers, it is important to understand what a scratch golfer actually means as it is something that so many amateurs strive to achieve.

It is something that very few golfers ever achieve and can be referred to as the highest level of success in the game. It is also something that so many people fail to reach and have difficulty understanding why they have not been able to reach this level despite years of golfing experience.

In this blog post, we’ll explore a definition of a scratch golfer, answer the question what is a scratch golfer and explore how to improve your golf game.

What Is A Scratch Golfer?

When golfers refer to a scratch golfer they refer to a player who typically shoots at or better than par, giving them a zero handicap. On a standard golf course, par will be a score of 72 on a given golf course, so in general, you’re talking about someone who shoots 72 or better during a complete round on rated golf courses.

How Will A Scratch Golfer Perform During A Round Of Golf?

Now that we have covered our scratch golfer definition, there are several telltale signs that give away whether somebody plays off scratch.

Firstly off the tee, they will hit tee shots an average of at least 250 yards for a male scratch golfer and over 200 yards for a female scratch golfer. This is much more than the average golfer and can be easily identified by hitting long, straight drives with an effect of trajectory on the ball.

This gives them an advantage compared to golfers with a higher handicap. To add to this they will have advanced shot-making skills such as the ability to hit a draw and fade with the driver and a draw and fade with their irons. This is very hard to achieve for an amateur golfer, so it’s a dead giveaway of somebody who has more advanced skills and somebody who understands the basics of the golf swing.

A scratch golfer has an advantage throughout their game as they will be able to hit more greens in regulation than golfers with a mid to high handicap and on par 5s they have a much better chance of reaching a par 5 over 450 yard hole in two. This driver distance gives them an advantage over golfers with a higher handicap as they can outpower opponents easily.

Common golf scores that a scratch golfer will score include birdies, eagles and pars. Whereas an amateur golfer with a higher handicap might have more bogeys on their scorecard.

Additionally, with the ability to reach the green of a standard par 4 hole in two shots and advanced putting skills, they have a much higher likelihood of making birdies.

Handicap System

The golf handicap system is a way to measure golf success through golf scores. Under the golf handicap system, golfers are awarded a golf handicap which is essentially calculated by taking their average golf scores and comparing them against golf courses of different difficulties.

Golf handicapping acts as a barometer to measure the strengths and weaknesses of your golf game against other golfers. It gives an accurate reading of your skill level relative to “scratch” or those with a course handicap of zero, which is considered one of the hardest tasks in golf.

It can also act as a leveler when playing against a golfer with a much lower or higher handicap than you. This is because you will be allocated strokes based on your handicap to measure how many strokes you are expected to give or take from your opponent.

How Do You Become A Scratch Golfer?

becoming a scratch golfer

The journey to becoming a scratch golfer has many different paths including training and taking lessons. Below we will take a closer look at each step individually.


Taking the time to train your golf game will pay off, no matter what level you are at. It might be the difference between a scratch golf game and an average one. It is certainly something that a professional golfer invest hours upon hours into. A great way to start is to invest in training aids. There are many options for training aids out there that can help your game in a range of areas.

These include golf training gear which will work to improve your swing speed, training clubs that will help your accuracy, and putting mats that work to improve the consistency of your game around the green.

Golfers who play to a zero handicap are constantly working on their game and discovering ways that they can get an edge on the competition.

Golf Lessons

Another great way to speed up the process of improving your handicap and become a scratch golfer is to take lessons. Playing golf in the company of other like-minded people can be a lot of fun, but also it is easy to forget about improving your game in favour of having a good time.

Luckily lessons can help in this sense and will also fast-track your game improvement. You can either choose from an in-person lesson in your local golf club or if you are in a remote location, online golf lessons could be the best option for you.

No matter which option you go with, in the end, lessons in golf will help you in all areas of your game and take it to the next level.

Golf Equipment

Often beginners will play with old, outdated equipment that in the eyes of somebody more experienced can hold you back. A quick win is to learn more about your own game and what will benefit your style of play.

Then you can make the necessary changes and invest in the best golf equipment in order to improve your game in a particular area.


Something that amateur golfers often do is only play golf in the summer and sporadically. Regular golfers play in all weather conditions which in turn increases their chances of making better scores consistently. It is so easy to forget elements of your game if you don’t tee it up as much as possible.

If winter golf is an issue for you then you may prefer to choose in a setup for your house such as a home golf simulator. This way you will be able to play in all conditions and in the comfort of your own surroundings.

Track Progress

When playing golf with friends it can be easy to simply go with the flow and accept a higher score in comparison to when you play on your own. You will of course lose track of your goals this way. It is important to stay on top of your key game stats as this will ensure that you are on track in a number of areas.

Course Management

Another great quick win that often gets overlooked but a scratch golfer is an expert at is good old fashioned course management. Using a good strategy out on the course will help you in avoiding hazards, hitting more greens in the right spot and other in-game tactics that can help your score incrementally get better. It can save you alot of strokes during a round (GilroyDispatch).

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Scratch Golfers Play Golf?

Only 2% of golfers can be considered a scratch golfer who play to a golf course handicap of zero. As you can tell from this percentage, it is something that very few people in the world are actually able to achieve and can take years of disciplined training in order to achieve.
The percentage of women golfers playing off scratch is lower than the percentage of male golfers.

How Do Scratch Golfers And Professionals Differ?

It is normal for a scratch golfer to be around par or close to par if the course rating is slightly higher or lower. Compared to scratch golfers, professional golfers shoot several shots better on average.
You will find many PGA professionals who play off scratch. However, to make the PGA Tour you will need to be even better than this by several strokes (Golfwrx).


Now that we’ve answered the question, what is a scratch golfer you can tell that a scratch golfer is someone who can perform at a much higher level of golf that’s better than the average player. In fact most golfers are more likely to be considered bogey golfers. It is basic golf terminology that every golfer should be accustomed to if they are serious about improving their game.

If you’ve always wanted to be a scratch golfer but don’t know how to get closer to this you should follow some of the steps outlined above. From investing in a swing trainer to improve the fundamentals of your swing to investing in the right golf gear to set you up for success in your journey to becoming a scratch golfer in the long run, there are many ways in which you can improve your game in order to get closer to scratch golfing.