If there’s any one sport that is a game of inches, it has to be golf. Golf is a sport that’s simple to learn, but takes a lifetime to master.
Most people who try golf for the first time get hooked on making progress. It’s a game where you try and get better each day to improve your score.
Unlike other sports where you directly compete against other players, golf is a little different. The only player you need to focus on beating is yourself!
This is because the other competitors have zero effect on whether your end up with a low or high score.
In this article I’m going to explain exactly what it means to have a good and bad golf score.
What is the average golf score? An average golf score is 90 strokes for every 18 holes played. This score applies to an amateur golfer playing on a par 72 course. A good golf score is a maximum of 108 strokes, while a bad score is considered to be 120 strokes or higher.
Since golf is such a complex sport, there are many degrees of skill levels.
You have the professionals, once a year golfers, and many variations in between. What a good score is for an amateur player will be completely different for a professional.
Remember, it’s important not to compare your score to other players. Chances are, it took many years of practice to accomplish the scores they now get.
Golf Score Terms
Term What Is It
Hole In One Taking only 1 shot to get the ball in the hole.
Par A neutral score. (Taking 5 strokes to complete a par 5 hole)
Birdie 1 stroke less than the par.
Eagle 2 strokes less than the par.
Albatross 3 strokes less than the par.
Condor 4 strokes less than the par.
Bogey 1 stroke more than the par.
Double Bogey 2 strokes more than the par.
Triple Bogey 3 strokes more than the par.
What is the Average Score for 18 Holes
When it comes to golf courses, they come in 2 different sizes. You have a full sized golf 18 hole course and a shorter course consisting of only 9 holes.
Professional and intermediate players will always play on a 18 hole course. Each round on an 18 hole course stretches out at a longer distance. The extra fairway allows golfers to hit some long shots, and while really testing their skills.
The average score a golfer will make after 18 holes is 90 strokes. This means it will take 90 total hits of the ball to complete the full 18 rounds. This figure averages out to be 5 shots per hole.
What is the Average Score for 9 Holes
Sometimes you just want to play a quick round of 9 holes. Par 3 golf courses are perfect for a fast game of golf. I find 9 holes to be the perfect action packed golf match that leaves you wanting more.
Many amateurs and beginners will play their first game of golf on a par 3 course. These courses contain 9 holes and are much shorter than a full 18 hole course. This means each hole requires a maximum of only 3 shots to reach par.
At least 2 of the holes in a 9 hole course will offer a hole in one chance. All golfers look forward to scoring a hole in one; especially beginners.
Golf can be challenging for beginners, and they tend to get excited when they come across a par 3 hole. This is because scoring a hole in one is a chance for the amateur to feel like they’re an amazing golfer!
What is a Good Golf Score
A good score in golf is anything below 120 strokes. This figure is higher than the average, but we are just talking about a respectable score here.
For example if you picked up a set of golf clubs for the first time tomorrow, a score of 120 would be very good. As you continue to work on your golf game, it won’t take you long to improve and reach the average score of 90.
120 and lower means you’re scoring no more than 30% higher than the average golfer.
What is a Bad Golf Score
I would say a bad score in golf is anything in the 121+ stroke range. Remember if you’re currently at this level, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It just means you have some extra work to do.
A score of 121 means you’re taking at the minimum 30% more shots to complete a 18 hole course than the average golfer (90 strokes). I believe this skill level falls in the “bad golf score” range.
Average Golf Score (By Age)
Your golf score total is dependent on many factors. Your age, experience and handicap can all affect your expected average.
Age Average Score (18 holes)
7-10 Years Old 144-180
10-20 Years Old 89-180
20-30 Years Old 89-90
30-40 Years Old 91-92
40-50 Years Old 91-92
50-60 Years Old 91
60-70 Years Old 91
As you can see from the table above, there’s a clear disadvantage to children golfers. Kids score an average of 144 to 180 shots per 18 holes. This averages out to be 8 to 10 shots each hole, 5 more strokes than adult golfers.
This is obvious as children lack the strength and coordination skills golf requires.
As the golfer gets older, the average stroke different is minimal. The difference between a 20 year old golfer and a 70 year old is only 4 strokes per game.
This is why you see many older men and women playing golf on the pro circuit. Experience and skill are easily the most important traits in a good golfer.
While it’s true that older pro players can compete on the same level as younger players, it’s still important for them start playing golf at a young age.
It can take years of practice to excel at the sport of golf. You have to learn the correct habits and playing techniques in order to play a professional level.
Taking in everything you need to become an excellent golf player is much easier at a young age. This is because your brain is more malleable when you’re young. Your neurons fire at a much faster rate, whilst neural pathways are formed quicker.
If you’re not looking to become the next Tiger Woods, don’t let this deter you. I believe golf is one of the best sports to get involved in at any age!
Not only does golf keep your body fit, it also sharpens your mind. Problem solving, and calculating external environmental factors is all part of the fun of golf!
Steady Progress Is the Key
If I can push one key point in this article it would have to be progress. While it’s human nature to want to run before you can walk, it’ll do you no good in golf.
Don’t compare yourself to other players who may have played golf longer than you. Don’t even compare your results to that annoying friend who can pick up any sport and do well quickly.
While it’s useful to know and understand the average scores I have discussed with you, only use it as a guide.
Many golfers tend to focus on reaching par. This is a completely wrong approach that’ll have you disappointed every single time. Instead, play your normal game and assess your results at the end of the 18 holes.
For example, if a course has a total par of 72, that means you would need to average 5 strokes per hole to reach par. But remember, if you’re a beginner this is a completely unrealistic result!
What does Above Par Mean in Golf
A good par score for a beginner is scoring a bogey on every single hole! This is also known as scoring above par.
In the case of a par 72 course, that means it would take you 6 shots to sink each hole. That would result in a total of 108 strokes for a standard 18 hole course.
108 is a far cry from the 90 strokes it takes to reach par, but it does show great promise.
Scoring a bogey on each hole may not seem like a result to celebrate, but it actually shows you have potential to go on to become a great golfer!
It’s true that nobody likes scoring a bogey. Bogey places a label on a golfer that screams “you suck”.
That’s at least how most golfers feel about bogeys. However please keep what I have said in mind. All you need to do to get better is focus on realistic results and progress.
What does Par Mean in Golf
Once you have mastered scoring the bogeys, you can then move on to the next level. This involves you trying to complete each hole in only 1 less stroke than before. If you can achieve 5 shots instead of 6, this is when you reach the level of a “good golf score”.
One tip is to always focus on one hole at a time. Dig even deeper and calculate exactly how you’ll achieve that one less stroke on each hole.
Reaching par is a big achievement. If you achieve par, you should pat yourself on the back for a job well done. However most golfers aren’t even pleased about scoring a par. Scoring a par is simply a relief and creates a feeling of neutrality.
What does Under Par Mean in Golf
What every golfer really wants to do is score no worse than a birdie! A birdie is scored when it takes you 1 stroke less than the par number for that particular hole.
Even more impressive is when a golfer is able to score 1 under par. This involves average a birdie on every single hole. This takes many years of practice and is not expected within the first 5 years of you starting golf.
I understand as golfer that you want to become the best golfer you possibly can be. In my experience, this is achievable by having realistic expectations.
As you now can see, the average score is only a ball park figure dependant on many factors. Your age, experience level and handicap will all influence the averages. It’s important to understand your current situation, and then match it to the expectations I’ve outlined here.
If you do feel like you’ve lost your golf swing and confidence, I can help. I have written another article that helps you regain your golf swing.
While the average golf score is 90 strokes per 18 holes, you may need to work towards this if you’re a beginner.
If you’ve been playing golf for 6 to 12 months regularly, then your results need to be better. Having some time on your side, you should be at the par or 1 under par level after 12 months of regular play.
Having said that, whatever your score may be, the key is to have fun out on the green. You have fun by making small and steady progress. This is done by focusing on one hole at a time!
Read More: What Is My Handicap