Golf is a sport that blends skill, strategy, and patience. One of the most common questions new players and enthusiasts ask is, “What is a good score in golf?” Understanding what constitutes a good score can help you set realistic goals, track your progress, and enjoy the game more fully.

Understanding Golf Scores

A golf score reflects the number of strokes a player takes to complete a round. Each hole on a course has a designated “par” score, which is the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to take. The total par for a course typically ranges from 70 to 72 strokes. Your score is compared against par to determine how well you’ve played.

Importance of Knowing Good Scores

Knowing what is considered a good score in golf helps you measure your improvement, set realistic goals, and understand where you stand relative to other players. It also provides motivation and direction for your practice and strategy.

What Is a Good Score in Golf?

The definition of a good score in golf varies depending on several factors, including the player’s skill level, the difficulty of the course, and playing conditions.


In general, a good score in golf is one that is close to or below the course’s par. For amateur players, consistently scoring under 100 strokes is considered a significant achievement. More experienced golfers aim for scores in the 80s or lower.


Par is the standard number of strokes set for each hole and the entire course. Achieving par means completing the course in the expected number of strokes. For example, if a course has a par of 72 and you finish in 72 strokes, you have played to par.

Average Scores

The average golf score for amateur players can vary widely:

  • Beginners: Often score between 100 and 120.
  • Intermediate Players: Typically score between 90 and 100.
  • Advanced Players: Aim for scores in the 70s or 80s.

Factors Influencing Golf Scores

Several factors influence what constitutes a good score in golf.

Skill Level

A player’s skill level is the most significant factor. Beginners and casual players typically have higher scores than experienced or professional golfers.

Course Difficulty

The difficulty of the golf course, including its length, terrain, and hazards, affects scoring. A course with a higher difficulty rating will generally result in higher scores.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions, such as wind, rain, and temperature, can significantly impact a player’s score. Adverse weather makes the game more challenging and can lead to higher scores.

Understanding Golf Handicaps

The golf handicap system allows players of different skill levels to compete fairly. It adjusts scores based on the difficulty of the course and the player’s ability.


A golf handicap is a numerical measure of a golfer’s potential ability. It is used to adjust a player’s score to enable fair competition with players of different skill levels.


Handicaps are calculated based on a player’s recent scores and the difficulty ratings of the courses they played. The lower the handicap, the better the player.

Role in Scoring

Handicaps level the playing field, allowing players of varying abilities to compete on equal terms. For example, a player with a handicap of 10 is expected to score 10 strokes above par on an average course.

Average Golf Scores by Skill Level

Knowing the average scores for different skill levels can help you gauge your progress and set realistic goals.


Beginners typically score between 100 and 120 strokes for 18 holes. Their main goal is often to reduce their score gradually as they improve their skills.

Intermediate Players

Intermediate players usually score between 90 and 100 strokes. They have developed more consistent swings and better course management skills.

Advanced Players

Advanced players aim for scores in the 70s or 80s. They have refined their techniques and can handle various course difficulties and conditions.

Breaking Down Golf Scores

Understanding the different terms used to describe golf scores can help you better analyze your game.

Birdies, Pars, Bogeys, and Others

  • Birdie: One stroke under par for a hole.
  • Par: The standard number of strokes for a hole.
  • Bogey: One stroke over par for a hole.
  • Double Bogey: Two strokes over par for a hole.
  • Eagle: Two strokes under par for a hole.
  • Albatross: Three strokes under par for a hole (very rare).

What Is a Good Score for Beginners?

For beginners, a good score is often more about improvement and enjoyment than meeting a specific number.


Beginners should focus on learning the basics of the game, understanding the rules, and developing a consistent swing. Scores between 100 and 120 are typical.

Improvement Tips

  • Practice Regularly: Consistent practice helps improve your skills.
  • Take Lessons: Professional instruction can accelerate your learning.
  • Focus on Short Game: Improving putting and chipping can significantly reduce your score.

What Is a Good Score for Intermediate Players?

Intermediate players should aim to refine their skills and reduce their scores further.


Scores between 90 and 100 are common for intermediate players. Achieving scores in the 80s is a good goal.


  • Consistency: Strive for more consistent shots and fewer mistakes.
  • Course Management: Improve your strategic approach to playing different holes.
  • Mental Game: Develop focus and resilience on the course.

What Is a Good Score for Advanced Players?

Advanced players aim for scores at or below par, often in the 70s.

Par and Below

Scoring at or below par is the hallmark of advanced players. They have honed their skills to a high level and can adapt to various conditions.

Professional Standards

Professional golfers typically score in the 60s and 70s. Competing at this level requires exceptional skill, strategy, and mental fortitude.

Course Rating and Slope Rating

Understanding course and slope ratings can help you better interpret scores and handicaps.


  • Course Rating: A measure of the difficulty of a course for a scratch golfer.
  • Slope Rating: A measure of the difficulty of a course for a bogey golfer compared to a scratch golfer.

How They Affect Scores

These ratings help standardize scores across different courses, allowing for fair comparisons and accurate handicap calculations.

How to Calculate Your Golf Handicap

Calculating your golf handicap can help you track your progress and compete fairly.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Record Scores: Track your scores over several rounds.
  2. Determine Differentials: Calculate the score differential for each round.
  3. Apply Handicap Formula: Use the official USGA formula to determine your handicap index.

Importance of Handicap

A handicap allows you to compete on an equal footing with golfers of different abilities, making the game more enjoyable and fair.

Tips to Improve Your Golf Score

Improving your golf score requires a combination of practice, strategy, and mental preparation.


Regular and focused practice is essential. Work on all aspects of your game, including driving, iron play, and the short game.


Develop a strategic approach to each hole. Consider factors like wind, hazards, and pin placement when planning your shots.


Using the right equipment, tailored to your skill level and playing style, can make a significant difference in your performance.

The Role of Practice in Achieving a Good Score

Effective practice is key to lowering your golf score.

Effective Practice Techniques

  • Variety: Mix up your practice sessions to cover all aspects of the game.
  • Repetition: Focus on repeating good habits and techniques.
  • Feedback: Use video analysis or a coach to get constructive feedback.


Regular practice helps build muscle memory and consistency in your swing, leading to better scores over time.

Mental Strategies for Better Golf Scores

The mental aspect of golf is crucial for achieving good scores.


Stay focused on each shot and avoid distractions. Develop a pre-shot routine to help maintain concentration.


Visualize successful shots and positive outcomes. This mental rehearsal can improve your confidence and performance.

Positive Thinking

Maintain a positive attitude, even when things don’t go as planned. Resilience and optimism can help you recover from mistakes.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Avoiding common mistakes can lead to better scores.

Swing Errors

  • Over-Swinging: Focus on control rather than power.
  • Poor Alignment: Ensure proper alignment and stance for each shot.

Course Management

  • Risky Shots: Avoid unnecessary risks and play within your capabilities.
  • Club Selection: Choose the right club for each shot based on distance and conditions.

The Importance of Course Management

Good course management can significantly lower your golf score.


Plan your shots based on the layout of the course and your strengths. Aim for safe targets and avoid hazards.

Shot Selection

Choose shots that you are confident in executing. Sometimes a conservative approach can yield better results than taking unnecessary risks.

How Weather Conditions Affect Golf Scores

Weather conditions can have a profound impact on your golf score.


Wind can affect the flight of the ball, making it crucial to adjust your aim and club selection.


Rain can soften the course, slowing down the greens and making fairways less predictable.


Temperature changes can affect ball distance and player endurance. Adjust your game accordingly.

Analyzing Professional Golf Scores

Examining professional golf scores can provide benchmarks and insights.

PGA Tour Averages

PGA Tour players typically score in the 60s and 70s. Their scores reflect a high level of skill and consistency.

Major Tournaments

Scores in major tournaments can vary, but top players often shoot under par, showcasing their ability to handle pressure and challenging courses.

Golf Scoring Systems Around the World

Different regions and tournaments use various scoring systems.

Stroke Play

Stroke play is the most common scoring system, where the total number of strokes is counted over one or more rounds.

Match Play

In match play, players compete hole-by-hole, with the winner being the one who wins the most holes.


Stableford scoring awards points based on the number of strokes taken at each hole, with the goal of achieving the highest point total.

Technology and Golf Scoring

Modern technology has made tracking and improving golf scores easier.


Numerous apps can track your scores, analyze your game, and provide detailed statistics.

GPS Devices

GPS devices help you understand course layouts and distances, aiding in better shot planning and execution.

Score Tracking Tools

Score tracking tools offer insights into your performance trends and areas for improvement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered a good score in golf? A good score varies by skill level. For beginners, under 100 is good; for intermediates, under 90; and for advanced players, shooting in the 70s is excellent.

How does a golf handicap work? A golf handicap measures a player’s potential and adjusts scores to allow fair competition among players of different skill levels.

What factors affect my golf score the most? Skill level, course difficulty, weather conditions, and mental focus are major factors affecting your golf score.

Can weather really impact my golf score? Yes, wind, rain, and temperature can all significantly affect how the ball flies and how you play.

How can I improve my golf score quickly? Focus on practice, particularly your short game, and work on course management and mental strategies.

What is a good score for a professional golfer? Professional golfers typically aim to shoot in the 60s or low 70s, depending on the course and conditions.


Understanding what constitutes a good score in golf helps you set realistic goals, track your progress, and enjoy the game more. Whether you’re a beginner aiming to break 100 or an advanced player striving for par, focusing on practice, strategy, and mental toughness will help you improve. Keep these tips and benchmarks in mind as you work towards achieving your best score in golf.

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