How to Calculate a Golf Score

By James Gapinski

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Even though USA Today reported a slump in PGA Tour ticket and merchandise sales in 2009, the number of individuals actively playing the sport for recreation is holding steady. Additionally, MSNBC News reports that the number of women golfers has been increasing dramatically since 1997, representing great potential for continued growth and popularity. However, even as the game becomes more accessible, score calculation can be confusing for newer golfers. Luckily, the calculation process is not overly difficult if you follow the right steps.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy
  1. Subtract any stroke penalties from individual hole scores as the game is being played. This makes for easier calculation at the end of the entire round of golf. Other than subtracting penalties, do not perform any calculations on the hole scores during game play; if you mess with these raw scores ahead of time it will only lead to confusion later when the final score is calculated.
  2. Add up a player's raw scores for each hole (minus any penalties as recorded during the game). So, for example, if you played a nine-hole round of golf with individual hole scores of "2, 4, 3, 3, 2, 5, 3, 4 and 3," the total raw score would be "29."
  3. Add up individual totaled scores and divide by the number of players on a team if you're competing in groups. For example, individual raw totals of 27, 29 and 31 equal 87; divided by three, the team's average score is 29.
  4. Compare your individual score or the team's average score to the course's "par" to get a final, official score. Though the basic calculations involve raw numeric scores, the final score is not represented as a large, raw number; instead, golf scores are expressed in relation to the course's par. So, with an individual or group score of 29 and a course par of 30, the final score would be "1-under par."

About the Author

James Gapinski is a writer with numerous online contributions, including those featured on, and the Milwaukee City Edition of He is the recipient of the Burrows Award and the Angela Peckenpaugh Writing Award. Gapinski holds a Bachelor of Science in English with a writing emphasis from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.