If the thought of swinging the club on the green has got you all hyped up, you may be ready to race out to the club. However, what will happen if you’re designated as the scorekeeper? You better take a few minutes and learn how to keep score in golf so that you can have fun and keep the game competitive.

The Designated Scorekeeper

The first rule in golf scoring is that each match will have a designated scorekeeper. If you’re just going to be hanging out with your friends on the green for a day of friendly competition and soaking up the sun, one of you will need to opt for being the scorekeeper. It’s much simpler for one person to keep a score than everybody keeping track of their own score throughout the entire course.

If you’re playing with a caddy, they will likely take care of scorekeeping. However, not everybody can afford to have a caddy, and some people just simply don’t want one. In these cases, it’s vital to understand at least the basics of golf scoring so that you know how each player is doing throughout the match.

Understanding Stroke Play Vs. Match Play

There are two methods for keeping score in golf. Most people are familiar with what is referred to as stroke play. This is where each stroke of the ball is carefully counted on every hole and added to the scorecard. Each course will provide you with a scorecard that has every hole and par pre-recorded.

For those who are unfamiliar, the par designated for each hole is the number of strokes it should take you to get the ball in the hole. With stroke play, you’ll count the total shots it takes for a player to get the ball in the hole and record it. At the end of the game, whoever has the lowest score wins.


Match play, on the other hand, doesn’t require any sort of stroke tallying. Rather, you’re playing one-on-one against another golfer. For each hole, you’ll determine who had the fewest strokes, and that person is determined the winner of the hole. In match play, you count the number of holes that you were up. The person with more holes at the end of the match wins.

Getting Familiar With The Lingo

When keeping score in golf stroke play, it’s common courtesy for each player to keep track of the number of strokes they took to get to the hole. Once they hit the ball in the hole, they will proceed to tell the scorekeeper what their stroke count was. While sometimes they may relay a number that can be easily written down, other times they may use golf lingo.

While there are a lot of terms included in golf lingo, we’re just going to focus specifically on the ones that are related to scorekeeping. First, we went over par above. If you hear a player say that they hit par, this means that their strokes are equal to the amount that is designated for the hole. You can easily reference the scorecard to identify what the par is for the hole that you’re on.

In the event that a player uses one extra stroke over par to get the ball into the hole, it’s referred to as a bogey. If they take two extra strokes over par, it’s referred to as a double bogey. While confusing at first, you’ll easily start to wrap your head around these terms in no time.

Just as there is golf lingo for being over par, there are terms for being below par. If a player shoots the ball in the hole in one less stroke than is required for par, it’s referred to as a birdie. If they are able to ring in at two strokes below the intended par for the hole, it’s called an eagle. Everybody wants to say they shot an eagle!

A Look At The Final Scores

Once you finish all of the holes on the course that you’re playing, it’s time to look over the final score. If you’re tracking match play, then it’s time to add up the holes to see who was up for the entirety of the match. Match play games are a great way to help players focus on beating their opponent instead of keeping track of their strokes.

In stroke play, the designated scorekeeper will need to add up everybody’s score. In standard golf courses, the total number of strokes ranges between 70 and 72. If a player ends a 72-par course with a total number of 74 strokes, then they are considered to have ended with 2 over par. A player ending the same course with a score of 70, would be considered to have ended the game 2 below par.

Once you understand how to keep score in golf, you can start to focus more on the game and your approach. If you’re interested in learning more about scorekeeping, improving your golf swing, or just general golfing knowledge, be sure to visit GolfClubsGuru.com.