golf scorecard

How to Use a Golf Scorecard?

In this guide, we are going to explain how to use a golf scorecard. You’re going to learn all of the pieces of information that are found on a golf scorecard and what they mean. You’ll also learn why some golfers put circles and squares on their golf scorecard.

Let’s start off covering the beginner basics of golf scorecards.

Golf Scorecards Explained for Beginners

Where to Get a Golf Scorecard at a Golf Course?

A golf scorecard is provided to you at every golf course and can be found either on your golf cart’s steering wheel or inside the pro shop at the golf course. If you don’t see one already on the golf cart, then walk into the pro shop and ask for a score card at the front desk.

What Information is on a Golf Scorecard?

The golf score card has important information on it such as how far each hole is from different colors of tee sets. The holes will span across the scorecard horizontally, with one box for each hole number. Underneath the hole number box will be the different yardages for the different colored tees.

For example, red tees are usually women’s tees while gold tees are for seniors, white tees are for average men, and blue/black tees are for advanced players. Look at the color of tees and see a respective yardage total next to each color. Most golf courses range from 5,500 yards to 7,200 yards in total length.

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A golf scorecard will also contain the course rating which tells you the expected score a scratch golfer is expected to score.

For example, if you see a course rating of 71, then 71 is the expected score for a scratch handicap player, even if par for the course is 72. The higher the course rating, the more difficult the golf course.

A golf scorecard also contains a slope rating which is a difficulty score to compare golf courses that are more flat against those with lots of hills and valleys and slopes. Harder golf courses tend to have a higher slope rating on the scorecard.

How to Fill Out a Golf Scorecard?

Step 1: Write down names on the scorecard to the far left

The golf scorecard will have several rows on it to accommodate multiple golfers on one card. Write down your name and any other golfer’s names who are playing. Each name can go on its own separate row to track scores of each individual player separately.

Step 2: Write down your score under each hole column

You will write down your score after each hole, underneath the correct hole (column) on the scorecard. If you are playing with multiple people, each person gets their own row so you can track everyone’s scores individually on their own line on the card.

If you play with a golf handicap, make sure to write down your adjusted score if necessary. Learn more about adjusted scoring in our golf handicap article here.

Step 3: Track stats on the extra lines (rows)

If you are playing a solo golf round by yourself you can use these extra rows on the scorecard to track different golf statistics about your round.

For example, you can use one row to track putts. Write down how many putts it took you to finish the hole on each box under the correct hole. At the end, sum up your total putts for the round and see if you could achieve a score of 36 or lower for the 18 holes.

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You can also track how many fairways you hit by having separate rows for those stats as well. Each time you hit a fairway, put a check mark or a Y for “yes” and on fairway misses where you end up in the rough on your tee shot, place an X or a N for “no”.

Greens in regulation is another golf stat you can track on your scorecard. Every time you hit a green in regulation, place a checkmark or a Y to signify a success. Green in regulation is when you get onto the green in the correct number of strokes for the hole based on its par value. Subtract 2 from the par of the hole to calculate the expected number of strokes for a Green in regulation.

  • Par 5 = On the green in 3 strokes
  • Par 4 = On the green in 2 strokes
  • Par 3 = On the green in 1 stroke

We calculate greens in regulation by subtracting 2 from the par because this will leave you 2 putts to finish the hole and make par! On a par 5, if you take 3 strokes to make it to the green, then you have 2 putts left to still make your par. If you only need 1 putt, then you make a 4, and that’s a birdie on the scorecard!

Step 4: Total Your Score Up After 9 Holes & 18 Holes

When you complete the first 9 holes on the golf course, you’ll total up your score and write it down in the dedicated box for the first 9 total. This is usually marked with the words “In” or “Front 9”.

Once you complete holes 10-18 (known as the back 9), then total up the score for those 9 holes and mark the score down in the dedicated box. This is usually the box titled “Out” or “Back 9” on most scorecards.

Lastly, combine the two 9 hole scores together to get the total score for all 18 holes and mark this down in the dedicated total box.

Step 5: Sign Your Scorecard

If you’re playing in a competitive round of golf or a tournament, you’ll be asked to sign your scorecard after your round of golf is over. There is a signature box dedicated for this so make sure to find it on the scorecard and sign your name on the signature line.

Your signature is the official way that you are stating to the scoring officials that you have accurately recorded your scores and you are being honest about your scores.

Your playing partners may be asked to sign the scorecard as well.

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Step 6: Save Your Scorecards to Compare Your Improvement Over Time

Once you’ve completed your round of golf, you can save your scorecard and review it in the future when you wish to look back and compare your scores and stats. This is a great way to see improvement over time and build confidence.

You can also keep a collection of scorecards if you play different golf courses around the world and want to save the memories of these golf trips.

For example, I went on a golf trip to Arcadia Bluffs in Michigan and was lucky to have my first hole in one ever! When I hit a hole in one on Arcadia’s golf course, I made sure to save this scorecard so I could frame it up and have it hang on my wall in my office to serve as a fun memory for my hole in one round of golf.

Why Golfers Use Circles and Squares on a Scorecard?

If you watch golf on TV, you may notice them showing PGA Tour player’s scorecards during their round of golf and you’ll see some of the scores have circles around them or squares around them.

Using circles and squares on a golf scorecard is a visual way to signify different scores.

Circles are used on a scorecard to signify a birdie.

Squares are used on a scorecard to signify a bogey.

Final Thoughts on Golf Scorecards

Overall, golf scorecards are important tools to use on a golf course for looking up distances of each hole you’re playing as well as tracking your score so you don’t forget it. It can also be used to track additional statistics like fairways hit, greens hit, and total putts so you can learn tendencies in your game that need improved to help you score lower.

Thanks for reading today’s beginner’s guide on golf scorecards. Browse more articles on our blog here or checkout our golf practice plans to follow for lowering your golf scores.

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