Know your scorecard – Part 1

golf cardI remember when I started playing golf that I didn’t want to keep score.  Not because I was hitting the ball so many times, but because I wasn’t sure how to keep score, and the scorecards intimidated me.  So in this post, we’ll first look at the basics of keeping your score. In subsequent posts we’ll look at how you actually count your strokes.

In this picture, I’ve highlighted the column for hole number 2.

Blue, White and Yellow indicates how many yards it is from the tee to the center of the green.  In this case, I’ve elected to play from the yellow tees, so my yardage is 285 yards.

The Handicap for the hole is a rating of its difficulty relative to the rest of the holes on the course, and is also used to help even the playing field for people who track their handicaps.  We’ll get into that in later posts.

Par is the pre-determined number of strokes that a scratch (or 0 handicap) golfer should require to complete a hole.  This is a person who’s so good they’re almost a pro.  For the rest of us, par is a great number to shoot for: as we improve our game, we do achieve par on more and more holes.

On each hole, I add up how many strokes it takes me to sink my ball, from tee-off to the last putt.  If you can’t keep score in your head, you might want to get a stroke counter- there are strings of beads, or even little hand-held units you click each time you hit the ball.

In the Out column, I add up my score, which is the total strokes for the front nine.  It’s called Out, because the first 9 holes are the outward bound, the last 9 holes are inward bound.  Historically, the first 9 holes moved “out” away from the clubhouse, and the last nine moved back in to the clubhouse.

I sign and date the card, and if I’ve played with someone else, I may get them to “attest” my score, which is validate that it’s correct.  On this portion of the scorecard, you can see that Jackie was the scorekeeper.

I’d encourage you to start keeping score – it’s an important part of the game and all golfers should be able to keep not only their own scores, but those of the entire foursome.  And if you’re determined to improve your game, it’s useful to keep your scores so you can compare your performance over time.