Counting your strokes

golf-ball-65646_1280On a recent post we looked at how to mark your score on the scorecard, but how do you count the strokes you take on a hole?

1 stroke for every time you hit the ball.

1 stroke for each penalty you incur.  That could be for a number of reasons, which we’ll explore in other posts, but the most common include:

  • Hitting a second ball from the tee because you know your first is long gone (known as a provisional). In this case, you’d be counting 1 stroke for the first shot, 1 stroke for the penalty, and 1 stroke for the second shot off the tee (yes a total of 3!).
  • Repositioning your ball more favorably due to an unplayable lie (it’s a good idea to remove it from the tree and put it on the ground!).
  • Repositioning your ball “in play” because it went out of bounds (don’t know why people don’t like you hitting from their back yard, but there you are!).
  • Dropping a new ball because you lost your original ball, or couldn’t reach it (not going into that pond in this outfit!).
  • Taking a “gimme” on the green.  A gimme isn’t a free stroke, it just means we’ll assume you would have got it in the hole, so we won’t make you do it. You still need to count the stroke (when I started golfing, I was impressed by how generous other golfers were – until I figured out that it wasn’t free).

Some people don’t bother keeping score – it’s too much trouble or too depressing!  But if you don’t, how will you ever know if you get better? So get out that pencil, mark up your scorecard and start celebrating every time your score is one or two strokes lower!