Keeping score in golf is fairly simple. After each hole, you record how many shots it took you to complete the hole. At the end of your round, add the scores from each individual hole and you'll get your gross score for the 18 holes.
Each hole has an assigned number of shots, called par, that a proficient golfer is expected to finish in. Holes can be a par 3, par 4 or par 5. For a par 3, the golfer is expected to complete the hole in three shots (par), theoretically by landing on the green from the tee and finishing in two putts. For a par 4, two shots are expected to reach the green and again, two putts to finish. Par 5s are the longest of holes, where a golfer is allotted three shots to reach the green and two putts to finish.
Golf also has names for scores below and above par on a single hole. For example, if you take five shots on a par 4, that’s one over par or a
“bogey.” Six shots is a
“double bogey.” A score of one stroke better than par (i.e. a 2 on a par 3) is a “birdie.” Beat par by two strokes and you’ve made an “eagle.” Obviously, the goal is to make pars, birdies and eagles while avoiding bogeys, double bogeys and worse.
For handicapping purposes, the USGA has in place a system referred to as Equitable Stroke Control which helps to minimize the effects of disaster holes. These should be adjusted after the round and your maximum score for each hole is based on your handicap.
Tips for Keeping Score:
1. Pay attention to how many shots you hit while playing a hole, so you won’t have to count them up after finishing.
2. Always write down your score as soon as you complete the hole to avoid forgetting.
3. Cell phone apps and other tools are available that help you keep score.