How Do You Keep Score in Golf?

By Steve Silverman

Keeping score in golf is relatively simple, but it requires diligence, honesty and a good memory. In most sports, the higher the number in the final score, the better the athlete has performed. In golf, it is just the opposite.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Step 1
Count the strokes it takes you to reach each hole and mark them on a scorecard that is given to you at the start of your match. In a typical round of golf, one person keeps the official score for all the members of his group, which usually consists of four golfers. However, even if you are not the scorekeeper, you should keep track of your score in case there are any disputes.
Step 2
Every time you swing at the ball, count it as a stroke. If you swing and miss, it counts as a stroke. In some matches, golfers are not allowed to take anything higher than a double bogey (2 above par) on any one hole. Therefore, if they are playing a par 5, the highest score that golfer can take is a 7 on that hole.
Step 3
Add your score and the scores of the other members of your foursome at the end of nine holes. Report the scores so that other members can check them against their own totals. If any member of the group has a disagreement, listen to their case. If you have missed a stroke or added one too many, you can change the score. But if you are unconvinced you have made a mistake, you should not change the score.
Step 4
Keep track of the number of putts you take on each hole. After writing the score you have taken for a particular hole, put a small number in the right corner of that score space to indicate the number of putts taken. For example, if you have taken a 6 on a par 5 and you needed two putts, you would write a 6 on the score sheet and then a small 2 above it.
Step 5
Add the scores and report them to the other members of your foursome. After they have been confirmed, hand the scorecard to the official scorekeeper of the tournament you are playing in.

Tips & Warnings

Report scores to your playing partners after each hole to avoid disputes.
If you have made a mistake, change the score. If you believe you are right, stick with your original decision and don't allow yourself to be intimidated or swayed into making a change.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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