When you arrive at the golf course you will get your golf gear ready, put on your shoes and then head into the Pro shop. This is where you will sign in, pay for your round and be given a scorecard.
If you are new to golf then you may be wondering how to score your golf game for the different types of competitions. In this post we will discuss how to complete a golf scorecard for a monthly medal and a stableford competition. This will not only give you a better understanding of the types of games but also how to score well out on the course.
Lets start with the scorecard itself. On your scorecard you will see the hole number from 1 to 18. This is obviously the holes you will play throughout your round. Just a note of caution. Many golf courses have more than eighteen holes on them. So check which two loops of nine holes you are playing and ensure you are marking the correct ones.
Next to the hole number will be the tees. These are usually blue, white, yellow and red. The blue tees are usually for tournament play by the professional golfers often seen at championship courses. The white tees are usually mens local competition tees, the monthly medal for example. The yellow tees are usually for mens general play and the red tees are for lady and junior golfers. Each tee will have the distance from the tee box to the centre of the green and the par for the hole. You will be told in the pro shop which tees you are playing off on the day. If in doubt, for a general rounds men use yellow tees and for competitions use white. Ladies and juniors are always off the reds.
The par for the hole is the number of shots that you should complete the hole. For example a par 3 hole should be completed in 3 shots, a par 4 in 4 shots and a par 5 in 5 shots.
Next you will see the stroke index or handicap for the hole. The course staff have decided which of the holes is the most difficult to play and which is the easiest. With stroke index 1 being the most difficult hole and stroke index 18 being the easiest hole to achieve par. The stroke index of the course is regularly checked against competition scores to ensure that this remains consistent.
Finally you will see places to write in scores, totals and the players name and handicap. It is your responsibility to ensure that your card is completed correctly. There are many sad stories of golf professionals handing in scorecards only to find that their playing partner has made a mistake and they have been disqualified. Don’t let this happen to you. Check your scorecard to ensure it is correct.
As you may have gathered by now your playing partner marks your card and you will mark theirs. Just before you all tee off swap your card ensuring that you have completed your name and handicap. You will then confirm your scores to each other at the end of each hole for you to record on the scorecard.
Now we know what all the numbers mean lets look at the different scoring games starting with medal play. This is the easiest game to score because you are just writing in your total strokes for the hole and your playing partners total strokes for the hole. When you have completed all 18 holes then simply add them up and deduct their handicap. For example if your playing partner shoots a total score of 90 and they play off an eighteen handicap then you would record a nett score of 72. This is considered the toughest game in golf because you have to return a score for each and every hole. Which means one bad hole where you lose a couple of balls could be a ‘card wrecker’ which could ruin your day.
The next game we will look at is stableford. This game scores each hole against the par for the hole. The easiest way to think about this is that you are playing the course and the course has already scored. If you score better than the hole, the same, or worse there are different points awarded. For example if you score a nett birdie then you get 3 points, a net par is 2 points and a net bogey is 1 point. Lets say I am an 18 handicapper which means I get a shot on each hole, and on the first hole I get a par. Because I get a shot for my handicap this is a net birdie and 3 points. On the next hole I get a bogey (one over par) again because I am an 18 handicapper I get a shot on each hole so this for me is a nett par which would be 2 points. At the end of the game add up all the points to see the final score. A score of 36 means you have played to your handicap. For beginner golfers this is a much easier game to play and we recommend that when you start scoring your rounds then use this stableford method. This is because you will definitely lose a ball or two per round and with this type of game you simply do not record a score for that hole. You can then clear your mind and concentrate on playing a good shot on the next hole.
Finally we did mention at the beginning of this post that understanding the scorecard can help you score well on the course. When you are new to golf and want to get your first handicap you will be asked to score three rounds of golf with an existing member who will mark your card. Usually when you first start playing your handicap will be over 18. This means that you will have more than 1 shot per hole. In these situations play the hole and use all of your shots. By that we mean if you are on the most difficult hole on the course, lets say a par 4, and you have two shots. Then you can play 4 shots easy shots to get to the green and then 2 putts for your nett par. Instead of reaching for the driver and slicing your tee shot out of bounds and finishing the hole with a 10 on the card and no score. Remember golf is as much about playing the game strategically as it is about the technicality of ball striking.
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The Golf Talk team