If you’re starting in golf, you’ll have a high attempt-to-hole ratio. This can be pretty discouraging, even though it is natural. Your score improves with time and experience. Knowing what is considered good for your experience level can motivate you to keep improving.
A good golf score for a fresh golfer is under 130. For a casual golfer with some experience, any score below 100 is considered good. Most amateur golfers aim for a score under 80, and pros aim for a score in the 60s.
In this article, we’ll talk about:
- How good golf scores change by experience
- the number of holes in a course
- the factors you should consider when determining a good score
- 3 most effective ways to reduce your score quickly
- a few examples of pro golfer scores for your reference
Let’s get started!
Average Golf Scores By Experience
As with any other sport, golfers can have decades of experience or virtually no history of playing.
So, the standard of a “good score” has to take into account the level at which a golfer plays!
Any score between 70 and 110 can be regarded as good, depending on how long one has been hitting the links.
Even the USGA acknowledges the variation in score averages for golfers with different levels of experience, which is why it recognizes and regulates golf handicaps.
|Skill Level||Good Score||Description|
|Beginner (No experience)||130||If you have no golfing experience and your score is around 130 for an 18-hole course, you can consider your performance exceptional for your context.|
|Intermediate (One month of experience)||100-110||Within one month of golfing, your score should be within the 100 to 110 range. If it is any lower, it is good for a beginner.|
|Advanced (Six months of experience)||90||With improvements in your swing and short game, you should be able to bring your score down to 90. A score below 90 is good for a golfer with half a year of golfing under his belt.|
|Expert (One year of experience)||80||A low average for a golfer with a year of experience is around 85 strokes. A score of below 80 is considered good in this context.|
|Professional (Three years of experience)||70-75||When golfers have three years of experience, they are expected to perform significantly better. A score of 80 would be considered average for a player with three years of golfing history. A good score for such a golfer would be in the low 70s.|
Golf Score by Number of Hole
Good Golf Score For 9 Holes
Any score below 40 is considered good on a short course after accounting for a player’s handicap. High-handicappers might rejoice at a score under 60, while mid-handicappers would celebrate a score below 50.
The score expectations would be higher on a short course with more challenging conditions. Ultimately, you have to refer to the par of each hole to determine what is a good score to aim for.
It is impossible to hole out at par throughout the course and still have poor performance.
Good Golf Score For 18 Holes
A good golf score for 18-hole courses is the same as a good score in general. That’s because 18 holes courses are standard in golf.
Accounting for handicaps, players with a score below 80 are considered to have performed well.
For low handicappers, the score has to hover close to 80, while high handicappers can reach the 80-shot score by deducting dozens of shots from their scorecard.
Factors to Consider When Determining a Good Score
What counts as a good score doesn’t just depend on your level of experience but on a host of other external factors as well.
When analyzing your own performance, the main factors to take into account are course difficulty, weather, swing, slope ratings, and handicap ratings.
1. Course difficulty
If you don’t get the score you expected of yourself, consider the difficulty of the course.
Longer courses and courses with many tight corners will typically take more strokes to complete.
Similarly, a hazardous course will tend to result in more penalty strokes. Some courses have a thicker rough, which also increases difficulty.
Weather can dramatically affect your score, primarily through wind and rain.
Strong and unpredictable winds can make it pretty difficult to get a feel for the path the ball will take and where it is going to land, and wet weather can also have an effect by decreasing friction on the ground – making the ball roll further away from its landing point.
One factor that you can’t (entirely) blame on Mother Nature is your swing!
If you suspect your swing is resulting in poor performance, consider the grip, stance, posture, alignment, backswing, downswing, impact, and follow-through.
Swing trainers and driving ranges are two great resources for practicing your swings and getting feedback on them, helping you perfect all of these factors.
4. Slope ratings
If you find that others around you are performing better on a course, the course may have a high slope rating.
A slope rating measures how difficult a course is for a bogey player compared to a scratch player, in contrast to a course rating which measures the difficulty of a course for a scratch player.
If you’re worried about your performance, you’re probably not a scratch player; as such, the slope rating is more informative for you.
A standard slope rating is 113 while the maximum slope rating is 155, with higher slope ratings representing increased difficulty.
5. Handicap ratings
A final factor to consider is the handicap rating, with the most advanced players having a lower handicap and novice players having a higher handicap.
The handicap rating is useful not only for seeing how you compare to other players but how your current performance compares to your past performance.
Tips for Improving Your Golf Score
If you have determined that your performance is being caused by your play rather than external conditions and you want to improve, there are some simple principles that can take you to the next level.
Three to keep in mind are to play conservatively, play comfortably, and play with understanding.
1. Playing conservatively: Stick to low-risk shots
If a shot goes wrong and you think you’re in trouble, it can be tempting to try to save yourself from going over par by pulling off an ambitious shot.
However, it is more realistic to stay calm and use a couple of careful shots to get out of such situations than to risk a double bogey or worse by messing up again.
2. Playing comfortably: Use the right clubs
Using the right clubs goes a long way!
While we obviously recommend using a set of high-quality clubs that is technically suitable for you as an individual player, we also recommend using clubs that you like as your mindset can have a huge impact on your performance.
We have written many guides to help people determine which sets are best for them.
3. Playing with understanding: Learn the physics
No, you don’t need to become a rocket scientist. However, smart players think about and understand how different kinds of clubs move and interact with the ball, weather conditions, and surfaces of the golf course.
For example, it doesn’t make much sense to play with the same technique on a windy day as you would on a calm day!
Spin, carry, roll, bounce, launch angle, and trajectory are some of the key concepts to develop an intuition for.
Pro Golfer Scores (Best And Worst)
Since professional golfers have no handicaps, their scores can be fairly placed against each other. The purpose of this section, though, isn’t to compare golfers. Instead, it is to showcase the breadth of scores in professional games.
- Stephan Jäger – Jäger has the privilege of attaining the lowest score in professional golf with a 58-shot score on a Par-70 course. He achieved this in the 2016 Ellie Mae Classic, with 12 birdies in the first round. The only other golfer to get a 58 score on a par-70 course is Jim Furyk, who achieved it in the 2016 Travelers Championship.
- Kevin Na – While Kevin Na doesn’t hold the record for the worst score in a single game of professional golf, he does have one of the worst scores for a single hole. In the 2011 Texas Open, he struggled with the 9th hole (par-4) and took 16 shots to hole out. His overall score was 80 upon finishing. He withdrew from the tournament.
- Brooks Koepka – Koepka achieved the lowest score in an entire tournament by shooting 264 in the 2018 PGA Championship.