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What Is a Bad Golf Score?

by Matt Crownover

    Golf is a difficult sport played by people of all skill levels. A bad golf score for one person might be a good score for another. It all depends on your handicap. For example, if you are a scratch golfer, a score of 85 would be considered bad for your skill level. On the other hand, if you are somebody who usually scores around 100, an 85 would be considered a good score.

    Average Score

    According to the National Golf Foundation, the average 18-hole score for the average golfer is about 100. This hasn't changed in several decades. The statistics are surprising to some golf experts, especially considering the technological improvements to clubs and balls. Drivers are bigger and designed to hit the ball longer, and putters are made to roll the ball more precisely. However, scores have remained the same.

    Why Scores Haven't Improved

    Even with the advancement in golf technology, scores still come down to the old saying, "Drive for show, putt for dough." According to a 2005 New York Times article, golfers tend to hit the ball farther off the tee, but they still lack the necessary skill within 50 yards of the hole. Your short game is responsible for your good scores and, usually, your bad scores.

    How to Break 100

    Since a score of 100 is considered an average score for an average golfer, you'll be considered an above-average golfer if you can consistently break 100. To do that you'll need to average a score of 5.5 for each hole. If you are sporadic off the tee, try swinging at 75 percent of usual to ensure you hit it straighter and avoid penalties. Take your time around the greens and don't give away any unnecessary shots. Scoring in double digits is very possible if you are patient and concentrate on each shot.

    Determine Your Handicap

    A good way to determine whether or not you posted a good or bad golf score is to figure out your handicap. To do that, you'll need to know your scores from at least your last five rounds. You'll also need to know the course rating and slope rating of those courses. The course rating on most 18-hole courses is usually right around 72, but it can vary. The slope rating is a measure of a golf course's difficulty for bogey golfers. Most courses make their slope ratings known on the scorecard. From there, use this formula to determine your handicap: (Your score minus course rating) times 113/slope rating = handicap.

    Eliminate Bad Scores

    Whether you are a scratch golfer or somebody who shoots over 100, you can eliminate your bad scores through lessons and practice. Work with teaching professionals and spend time at the driving range working on your game. As with everything, the more time you spend practicing, the better you'll get.

    About the Author

    Matt Crownover is the sports editor at the Lebanon Express in Lebanon, Ore. He primarily covers high school athletics and maintains the paper's online blog. Matt holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash.

    Photo Credits

    • Stuart Franklin/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images