How to Score a Golf Game

By Steve Silverman

Keeping score in golf is a big responsibility. Not only do you have to keep track of your own score for 18 holes, but you have to do it for your other playing partners as well. This can be tricky because you may not see every shot your playing partners take or you may think he took five shots on a hole, while he says he took five. You have to resolve all disputes in a gentlemanly fashion.


Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Write down every player's name on your scorecard along with their handicap index. The handicap index is a number issued by the United State Golf Association (USGA) to every golfer who turns in 10 scores during a golf season. That handicap index will get deducted from the player's gross (final) score to determine their net score.
Step 2
Write down each player's score on a hole-by-hole basis. You should try to keep track of your playing partners' shots during a given hole. After the hole, check with them to make sure your total and their total agrees. If it does not, go over how you arrived at your total and let him show you where you are wrong. If you realize you are incorrect, go with the player's score. If not, go with your total.
Step 3
Let each player know where they stand as the round progresses. Add up each player's total at the end of nine holes, the halfway point in their round. There should not be any surprises because you have been apprising players of the score you have been writing down on each hole.
Step 4
Keep track of the number of putts each player takes on each hole. As you write down the score for each hole on the scorecard, write down the number of putts taken in the upper corner of the score box. This will let players know how they have performed hitting the ball tee to green and how they have putted. A player can look at these numbers after a round of golf and learn what they need to work on most in their game.
Step 5
Subtract the handicap index number from each player's score at the end of the round to determine a winner. If player A shot 92 for his 18-hole round of golf and his handicap is 14, his net score is 78. Player B shot an 88 and his handicap is 12 for a net of 76. Player C shot an 85 with a handicap of 6 for a 79. Player D shot a 94 with a handicap of 19 for a 75. Player D may have shot the highest gross score, but he won the round because his net score was the best of his foursome.

Tips & Warnings

Keep a pleasant and friendly attitude when keeping score in golf but take the job seriously and keep an accurate scorecard.

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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