How to Keep Score in Golf: Complete Guide For Beginners

By Chris Moore •  Updated on 02/15/22

If you’re new to golf, one of the first things you need to learn is how to keep score. This can seem daunting at first, but it’s actually quite simple.

In this blog post, we will go over the basics of how to keep score in golf. By understanding how to keep track of your score, you’ll be able to play the game much more effectively and improve your overall golfing experience!

How do you keep score in golf?

Keeping your score in golf is pretty simple, you’ll want to count a stroke for each time you swing the club with the intention of hitting the ball.

There are also penalties if you hit the ball out of bounds or into the water, these happen over time and if you’re playing by the rules, you should count these penalties accordingly.

At the end of each hole, you’ll add up your strokes and write that number down on the scorecard. The goal is to have the lowest score at the end of the round, which you can get by adding each of the holes scores together to see what you scored!

When you’re playing in a group, one person should be keeping score for the entire foursome.

But if you like to keep tallies on your drives in regulation, greens in regulation, and putts per hole, you’ll want to keep your own scorecard so you can track those metrics.

What are the different golf scoring formats?

There are three common formats that most golfers use in tournaments, or casual play.

They will either start with traditional tee times, or a shotgun start format to speed up the pace drastically.

Stroke Play

In stroke play, the golfer with the least amount of strokes throughout the entire round is declared the winner.

Match Play

In match play, you’re competing on each hole for the lowest score. Whoever in your group has the lowest score on a specific hole wins that hole. After the round, whoever won the most holes is declared the winner.

Stableford System

In Stableford scoring, your score is calculated in comparison to par using their system. Whoever has the most points at the end of the round is declared the winner.

Final thoughts

That’s everything you need to know about how to keep score in golf. By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to properly track your progress and see where you can improve your game.

Now that you know how to keep score, it’s time to get out on the course and start practicing!

Chris Moore

Hi, I'm Chris Moore and I'm the guy behind As an avid golfer since 2010, I decided to create this blog to share everything I've learned over the years. Whether it's golf equipment, swing tips, or anything in-between, I want to make sure you have everything you need to become a better golfer.