What is a Good Score in Golf?

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A good score in golf can be different for everyone, depending on their skill level, experience, and the difficulty of the course.

If you’re an amateur golfer, shooting below 120 strokes on an 18-hole course is generally considered respectable or good.

However, keep in mind that what’s considered a good score can vary among individuals and different levels of competition.

Professional golfers, for example, aim for much lower scores because of their advanced skills and training.

So, what’s considered a good score in golf really depends on your own goals and the specific context of the game.

Here’s a chart showcasing approximate score ranges for beginner, average, and professional golfers on a par-72 course:

Golfer LevelScore Range (18 Holes)
Beginner100-120 strokes
Average80-95 strokes
Professional70-75 strokes

Let’s break down the beginner, average, and professional scores step by step:

Good Beginner Score

A beginner golfer is just starting to learn and develop their skills in golf. Their focus is on understanding the basics of the game and gaining experience.

Beginner golfers typically score between 100 and 120 strokes on an 18-hole course. This means they take around 100 to 120 swings to get the golf ball into the hole for each round of play.

As beginners, they may struggle with consistency, accuracy, and distance. They are still learning how to control the ball and make clean shots.

Good Average Score

An average golfer has gained some experience and has a better understanding of the game. They have improved their technique and are working on consistency and accuracy.

Average golfers usually score between 80 and 95 strokes on an 18-hole course. This means they are getting closer to the hole with each swing and are more skilled in controlling the ball.

They have developed a better understanding of club selection, course management, and strategy. Average golfers are working on refining their skills to achieve more consistent results.

Good Professional Score

Professional golfers are highly skilled players who have dedicated a significant amount of time and effort to the game. They compete at a high level and often play in tournaments.

Professional golfers typically score between 70 and 75 strokes on an 18-hole course. This means they have exceptional control over their shots and consistently achieve low scores.

They have refined their swing technique, have a deep understanding of the game’s intricacies, and possess excellent physical and mental skills. Professionals often make a living from playing golf and compete against the best players in the world.

Defining a Good Score in Golf

Objective Measurement: Par and Its Implications

When discussing good scores in golf, it is essential to start with par—the benchmark for each hole on a course.

Par represents the number of strokes a highly skilled golfer should take to complete a hole. A score that matches par is typically considered a good score.

However, it’s important to remember that par is subjective and can vary from hole to hole, course to course. Transitioning from par to assessing a good score necessitates an examination of the individual golfer’s ability and performance.

Handicap System: A Personalized Evaluation

To better assess a golfer’s progress and competitiveness, the handicap system comes into play. The handicap index serves as a personalized evaluation that accounts for a player’s skill level. A lower handicap index indicates greater proficiency, and achieving a score below one’s handicap can be considered a good score. The handicap system allows golfers of different abilities to compete on an equal footing.

Here’s a breakdown of how the handicap system works for beginner, average, and professional golfers:

High Handicapper (Beginner Golfers)

As a high handicapper, you are still relatively new to the game or are in the process of improving your skills. Your handicap typically ranges from around 20 to 36. This higher handicap indicates that you may require additional strokes to adjust your scores and compete effectively against more experienced players.

Mid Handicapper (Average Golfers)

As a mid handicapper, you have developed a solid level of skill and consistency in your game. Your handicap usually falls between 12 and 20. You may have room for improvement in certain aspects of your game but can still achieve respectable scores.

For instance, if you shoot a round of 90 and your handicap is 16, your net score would be 90 – 16 = 74. The handicap adjustments help level the playing field by reflecting your skill level and providing a fair competition against players of varying abilities.

Low Handicapper (Professional Golfers)

As a low handicapper, you are an experienced and skilled golfer. You consistently achieve good scores and have honed your game over time. Your handicap typically ranges from 0 to around 10 or 12. This means that you do not require many handicap strokes to adjust your scores.

For example, if you shoot a round of 75 and your handicap is 4, your net score would be 75 – 4 = 71. Your handicap serves as a minimal adjustment to your score, reflecting your consistent ability to score well.

Contextual Factors Affecting Good Scores

Course Difficulty and Rating

The difficulty of a golf course significantly impacts scoring expectations. Course ratings and slopes provide an objective measure of a course’s difficulty, taking into account factors such as length, hazards, and overall design.

Higher-rated courses present more significant challenges, making it harder to achieve a good score. Understanding the influence of the course rating system is crucial in interpreting scoring outcomes accurately.

Weather Conditions: Mother Nature’s Influence

Weather conditions play a pivotal role in golf and can impact scoring outcomes. Factors such as wind, rain, and extreme temperatures can pose challenges or provide opportunities for golfers.

Adapting to different weather scenarios is an essential skill, and adjusting one’s strategy accordingly becomes necessary to achieve a good score.

Benchmarking Good Scores

Professional Golf: The Gold Standard

To establish a benchmark for good scores, professional golf tournaments offer valuable insights. Professional golfers consistently achieve scores below par, showcasing exceptional skill and precision.

Understanding scoring expectations in professional golf helps frame a reference point for what constitutes a truly outstanding performance.

Amateur and Recreational Golf: Setting Realistic Goals

While professional golf sets an admirable standard, it’s vital to acknowledge the differences between competitive and recreational play.

Recreational golfers, including amateurs, typically have higher scoring expectations than professionals. Factors such as skill level, experience, and individual goals come into play when determining what qualifies as a good score for these players.

Personal Perspectives on Good Scores

Age and Gender Considerations

Scoring expectations in golf can be influenced by age and gender, but it is important to debunk any myths or stereotypes.

The scoring gaps between age groups and genders can vary significantly, and it’s essential to recognize the unique contributions and abilities each golfer brings to the course. Personal progress and satisfaction should be prioritized over arbitrary comparisons.

Goals and Skill Level: Tailoring Expectations

Every golfer has unique aspirations and skill levels, making it crucial to align personal goals with realistic scoring expectations.

A good score should be viewed within the context of individual improvement and the journey towards enhancing one’s skills. Recognizing progress and celebrating personal milestones is an essential aspect of the golfing experience.

Conclusion: The Multifaceted Nature of Good Scores

In conclusion, what constitutes a good score in golf is subjective and can vary depending on factors such as skill level, experience, and the difficulty of the course. For amateur golfers, shooting below 120 strokes on an 18-hole course is often seen as respectable or good.

However, it’s essential to remember that everyone’s golf journey is unique, and improvement should be the primary focus.


Q1: What is Tiger Woods best and average score?

Tiger Woods’ best score in golf is a 61, achieved during the second round of the 1999 PGA Championship. His average score over his career is around 70.

Q2: Is it possible for a golfer to consistently achieve scores below par?

While professional golfers consistently achieve scores below par, it requires an extraordinary level of skill, practice, and dedication. For recreational golfers, achieving scores below par consistently may be challenging and rare.

Q3: Does the difficulty of the golf course affect what constitutes a good score?

Yes, the difficulty of a golf course significantly influences scoring expectations. Course ratings and slopes provide objective measures of difficulty, and good scores can vary depending on the course’s challenges.

Q4: Can weather conditions impact scoring outcomes?

Absolutely. Weather conditions such as wind, rain, and extreme temperatures can significantly influence scoring outcomes. Golfers must adapt their strategies and make necessary adjustments to achieve good scores in different weather scenarios.

Hannah Brotsky

Hi! I am Hannah, a golf enthusiast, have been perfecting my swing for over a decade, making long putts a breeze. Aside from playing, I am a professional golf writer, I try capture the nuances of the game and inspire others to embrace their love for golf. Follow me on Twitter.

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