How to Read a Golf Scorecard – Golf Instructions For Beginners 2022 – Golf scorecards allow golfers to track their score as well as providing vital information about the course. The total score is based upon strokes and handicaps and compared to the other players to determine a winner. If you are tracking your own progress as a golfer, scorecards can also be useful as a non-competitive reference. Reading a scorecard can seem difficult with all the numbers and jargon but you’ll find it easy once you learn what everything means.

Method 1 – Understanding the Scorecard

Find the “hole” column which lists the holes from 1 to 18.

Typically, the first thing on a golf scorecard is the list of holes. Golf courses vary between 9 hole courses and 18 hole courses. Some scorecards will have a map of the course with each hole on the map having its number next to it.

Holes are typically played in order from 1 to 18. In some cases, like when the course is especially busy, players may start on the 10th and finish on the 9th hole. Players will start on the 10th hole and play from 10 to 18. After 18, players will then play from the 1st hole to the 9th hole to complete their round.

Identify the front and back 9 sections that split the course into 2 halves.

Full size or 18 hole courses are split into 2 9s, or 2 9 hole sections. Holes 1 to 9 are known as the front 9 and holes 10 to 18 are known as the back 9. After the 9th and 18th hole sections of the scorecard you will see the words “Out” and “In” respectively.

The 9th hole marks the end of the “Out” section which means playing away from the. clubhouse.

The 18th hole marks the end of the “In” section which means playing back toward the clubhouse.

Note the color names on the side which indicate each hole’s distance.

These colors represent the placement of the tee boxes on each hole. The numbers beside the color and beneath each hole denote the distance of that hole. Each color has a different meaning:

Black or gold tees are the furthest from the hole. These tees are usually only played from by professionals or very high standard amateurs. Most courses do not have black or gold tees.

Blue markers reflect the tee boxes for local competitions. These tees are normally used by very good amateur players. If a course doesn’t have black or gold tees, the blue tee boxes are the furthest from the hole.

White tees are the middle tees, most often used by golfers with middle to high handicaps.
Red tees are the shortest member’s tees. These tees are the closest to the fairway and make the course much shorter than the other tees.

Green tees are used by junior golfers or beginners.

Look for the handicap section which ranks the holes by difficulty.

Most scorecards also have a column which notes the handicap or index of each hole. These numbers range from 1-18 and note the difficulty of each hole. Index 1 is the hardest hole on the course and index 18 is the easiest.

Some cards also have a section for “women’s handicap.” Some holes may play differently for women and men and this is why some courses have separate sections.

The handicap of each hole rarely overlaps with a player’s handicap. Match-play is one area of golf where both handicap’s are relevant. In match-play players play each other in 1 vs. 1 situations. If Player A has a handicap of 2 and Player B has a handicap of 7, the difference is 5. Player B will then be allowed an extra shot on the 5 hardest holes, or the 5 holes with the lowest index. If Player A gets a 4 on one of these 5 holes and Player B gets a 5, they tie because of Player B’s handicap.

Spot the par information which states how many shots you should take.

Par means the expected number of strokes on a hole. For example, you should take 4 shots on a par 4 and 3 shots on a par 3. You can find the par information in the par row on the scorecard.

The average golf course is a par 72, which means that the pars of all the holes added together equals 72.

Par generally relates to length. Par 3s are the shortest holes on golf courses and par 5s are the longest holes.

The most common par on a course is a par 4.

If you look at the “Out” and “In” columns on the scorecard you will see the par for each set of 9 holes. A par 72 golf course will usually have 2 9 holes that are both par 36.

Method 2 – Marking the Scorecard – Golf Instructions For Beginners 2022

Write down the initials of everyone in your group.

You should never play with more than 3 other players during a round of golf. There will be spaces along the left side of the card for each player’s name.

Some scorecards might only give you room for an initial.

Note the score each player gets on each hole.

Write down the number of strokes each player took and not the number of shots they took versus par. If you played the 1st hole, a par 4, and got a 5, then write 5 in the box next to your name and below the 1st hole’s column.

When there’s a hole in 1, some players will mark it by writing a “1” with a circle around it to draw attention to it.

If you make a mistake, cross out the wrong number and write the correct score next to it. Sign your initials next to the corrected score to show it was you who corrected it and not somebody else trying to cheat.

Calculate everyone’s total at the end of the round.

The easiest way to do this is by adding 9 holes at a time. Add your score for the first 9 holes and mark your total in the relevant box in the “Out” column. Then do the same for the second 9 holes and mark your total in the “In” column. Then to find your total shots for the 18 holes, add the “In” and “Out” together.

If the course is a par 72 and you took 80 shots, you were 8 over par. If the course is a par 70 and you took 65 shots, you were 5 under par.

Mark each golfer’s score versus par in the total column.

Once you’ve calculated exactly how many shots each player took, find the difference between each player’s total and the par of the course.

If you took 77 shots on a par 72, you were 5 over par. Mark +5 in your section of the total column. If your friend took 68 shots on a par 72, they finished 4 under par. Mark -4 in their section of the total column.

Even par, taking exactly the amount of shots you should, can be marked with a 0 or an “E.”
Handicaps make things a little more tricky. If you have a -15 handicap and it takes you 85 shots to play a par 72, take 15 from 85. This leaves you with 70 shots on a par 72, or 2 under par. A player with a -3 handicap will take 3 from their total. If they take 72 shots on a par 72 course, they take 3 from 72 to give them 69, meaning they’ve shot 3 under par with their handicap.

Sign the “scorer” and “marker” sections at the end of the card.

This is especially important if you’re playing a competition. If you fail to mark your card you will be disqualified from the competition. If you have marked the card sign your name in the “marker” section. If someone else marked the card write your name in the “scorer” section of the card.

This step isn’t very important in a casual round but it’s good to get used to marking a scorecard properly.

Your handicap is essentially an allowance to help you. Better players have lower handicaps and less-skilled players have higher handicaps.



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