What Is A Good Golf Score (18 Holes, 9 Holes)

What Is A Good Golf Score? (18 Holes, 9 Holes)

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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.

What is a good golf score these days?

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, you will learn about how the definition of a good score changes by a range of factors, including the number of holes in a course, the player’s handicap, and the course conditions.

Towards the end, you’ll find the two most effective ways to reduce your score quickly. But first, let’s look at good golf scores for different experience tiers.

Golf Score By Experience

Golf Score By Experience

Golfers can have decades of experience or virtually no history of golfing. So, the standard of a “good score” has to take into account the level at which a golfer plays.

In this section, we will go over the average score of golfers with certain levels of experience. Knowing the averages for different experience tiers can help you self-assess whether your score is good or not.

  • Fresh Golfer – 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. 
  • One month of experience – 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. 
  • Six months of experience – 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. 
  • One year of experience – 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. 
  • Three years of experience – 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.

What’s considered a “good score” depends on the golfer’s experience. Any score between 70 and 110 can be regarded as good, depending on how long one has been golfing.

Even the USGA acknowledges the variation in score averages for golfers with different levels of experience. That’s why it recognizes and regulates golf handicaps.

Golf Handicap: What Is It, And How Does It Affect Your Score?

Golf Handicap What Is It, And How Does It Affect Your Score

A golf handicap is an acknowledgment of the difficulty a golfer has in achieving the same level of performance as the median golfer. It measures the number of shots a player can deduct from their score for each hole.

If a golfer’s handicap index allows him to deduct two shots from each hole in the ten most challenging holes in a course, then they have a total score deduction allowance of 20 shots.

Such a golfer might have finished with a score of 100 shots, but his net score would be 80. The definition of a “good score” for a player goes up by the number of shots allowed by their handicap.

Once you factor a player’s handicap/skill level into their overall score, you can come to a uniform standard for a good score.

What Is A Good Golf Score?

What Is A Good Golf Score

Anything below 80 is a good score for an average golfer on an average golf course, taking into account a player’s handicap.

A player with a total handicap allowance of 10 shots can score 90 and deduct 10 reaching the 80-shot score.

Once you factor in the skill level of the golfers with the help of the handicap system, the only variations that can change score expectations are course-related. And these variations begin with the number of holes.

Full golf courses have 18 holes, while executive or short courses have nine holes. Since score refers to the number of shots taken to complete a round, its value changes with the number of holes in a course.

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.

Golf Handicap: Is It Fair?

Golf Handicap Is It Fair

To a sportsman with a highly competitive spirit, a golf handicap might seem unfair. However, it is as fair as the sport can be to people of different experience levels.

If you have three years of golfing experience and your friend is just getting started, how would you ever play on equal grounds?

You could say that they can gain experience as well. But when they’ll have three years of experience, you’ll have six years of it.

Without a handicap system, new golfers cannot even play with golfers who have one year of experience because of the obvious upper hand of the experienced player. And without playing, the newcomer cannot even improve.

The potential for golf to be exclusive and guarded is pretty high. To an outsider, it is an eccentric sport. And without the help of an equalizing mechanism, it can seem even more unreachable.

That said, the handicap system can be abused for a few games. But a seemingly high-handicapped golfer cannot keep constantly outperforming everyone without warranting a change in their handicap score.

The formula for calculating a player’s handicap takes into account their previous scores. Golfing associations actively monitor and regulate handicap tiers and step in when there seems to be an obvious sign of abuse.

Most golfers believe that the handicap system is fair, and over half the male golfers and nearly 80% of the female ones use it to adjust their own scores. The golfing community, in general, is happy with the equalizing effect of the handicap system.

In theory, a golfer with two to three years of golfing experience can compete with Jon Rahm or Scottie Scheffler with a handicap score allowance.

Do Pro Golfers Have Handicaps?

Do Pro Golfers Have Handicaps

Pro golfers don’t play with handicaps in the professional game ranging from the tour to the majors. There is no concept of handicap in professional golf because pros are meant to close the gaps in their abilities with practice, not deduction.

That said, you can apply the handicap formula to the score of a professional and determine what their handicap would be if they were playing a casual game.

Most of them have a handicap index of +5.4. In contrast, the most common handicap index among non-professional male golfers is +13.9.

Since professional golfers don’t use their handicap indices for score deduction, their standard for good performance is relatively uniform.

No matter how many years a golfer has been playing professionally, he has to outperform the most experienced golfers he is competing with.

Pro Golfer Scores (Best And Worst)

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.

How To Reduce Your Score On The Course

How To Reduce Your Score On The Course

As you can see, professional golfers with an average score of 88 per round can become record holders at the end of a tournament, and those shooting 58 in a round are considered exceptional.

So if your golf score is below 90, you should be really proud of yourself. And if it is over 100, then you can try to lower it by 5 to 10 shots so your score can be considered great for a casual golfer.

Getting fitted for equipment and golfing daily with the help of a simulator are two of the most effective ways to take 5 to 8 points off your average score.

Recap: Good Golf Scores for Amateur Golfers, Pro Golfers (and Everything in Between)

Final Thoughts

In amateur golf, a good score is generally below 100, and in professional golf, it is under 70. The 70-to-100 territory is good for intermediates who have enough experience to outperform casual golfers but not enough to play on par with the pros.

Regardless of what your score is, you should try to improve it with practice and strategic thinking. But you shouldn’t focus so much on your score that you end up having a bad time.