How to Read a Golf Score

By Matthew Fortuna

Adored by fans of all ages around the world, golf is among the only sports where score is counted backwards. In golf, unlike most sports, low numbers and negative numbers are awarded for good play, while higher numbers are for the game's losers. The golf score is recorded on a card that does more than simply add strokes and can be a complicated process for someone new to the game and the different scoring procedures.

Notice the different rows on a golf scorecard. There are rows for "Par" and for your number of strokes, as well as for the numbers of the 18 different holes.

Mark the score made on each hole in each of the 18 different columns by noting the number of strokes made on the hole.

Add the score for the entire round by adding the number of strokes made on each of the 18 holes and totaling them in the box at the end of the scorecard. Many professionals shoot around 65 strokes in a round, while most beginners can be as high as 125.

Look at the "Par" listed in the same column as each hole. These par numbers indicate the number of strokes that it should take to finish each hole, and can be either 3, 4 or 5.

Subtract the par number from the number of strokes you took to read the score for each hole. If the par number was 4 and you took 6 strokes, your score for the hole will be indicated as "+2."

Read your score for each hole, or for the entire round, by looking at either the number of strokes taken, or by computing the score over or under par for the hole or the entire course.

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