What Is A Good Golf Score?

To most people “good” would at the very least mean better than average. So in order to work out what a good golf score is we need to know what an average golf score is. 

I think it’s also important to get an idea of what a good golf score is for different types of golfers. You can’t expect a beginner to shoot the same sorts of scores as a professional or even club golfers that have been playing for several years.

What Is A Good Golf Score this

What Is An Average Golf Score For An 18 Hole Round?

This depends on the standard of the players you are talking about. In the US the average handicaps for men are 14 and for women 27. Those handicaps are calculated using the best eight rounds out of the last twenty. That means these players are scoring 86 and 99 on average, assuming a par 72. Obviously, this excludes their worst rounds and also it excludes everyone who doesn’t have a handicap.

Across both genders then one would assume that for handicap players the average is nearer to 100 for all rounds played. If you then add in the golfers that don’t have handicaps then it is likely that the average score for 18 holes is in the region of 110-120.

The length and difficulty of the golf course would also have a great effect on the average scores. If everyone played on a 6000-yard par-68 golf course with no significant hazards then it is obvious that average scores would be a lot lower. Conversely, if everyone was playing a 7500-yard par-72 championship course with deep rough, tree-lined fairways and super slick greens then the averages would be much, much higher!

What Is An Average Golf Score For A 9-Hole Round?

Using the same logic would suggest that an average score across all golfers would be in the region of 55-60. This assumes we are talking about nine holes on a full-length golf course rather than a par-3 course.

What Is A Good Golf Score For Beginners?

If we are to assume that 120 is an average across all golfers then any beginner that can manage to beat that score should consider themselves to have done a good job.

The next obvious target for a beginner would be to regularly break 100 and eventually 90. This would equate to them playing to a handicap of approximately 28 or 18.

What Is A Good Score For Junior Golfers?

I would suggest not focusing on scoring too rigidly with juniors particularly when they start to play. Try to make the game as fun as possible to begin with rather than letting them get bogged down with slavish adherence to scoring every shot.

Once they start to get a feel for the game then you can start worrying about score while making sure you pick appropriate teeing areas for the distance they can hit the ball.

Similarly to adults a good score for a beginner might be 120 although you may find it difficult to get really young children to play 18 holes.

Juniors can progress very quickly and what was a good score for them at the start of the summer will seem like a terrible one by the end!

You can regularly find juniors even in their early teens with single-figure handicaps and plenty by the age of 15 or 16 can be playing to scratch or better. This would mean their average scores would be around par for the course.

What Is A Good Score For Lady Golfers?

According to the USGA figures, the average handicap for ladies is 27 so the average round for those players would be 99. However, the calculations for a handicap index exclude your worst rounds. 

This means that even for ladies with handicaps the average round is probably near 120 strokes. If you then add in ladies that don’t have handicaps you are probably looking at an average score of 130-140.

Given these figures, it’s fair to say that any lady that is regularly breaking 100  is shooting a good score. For lady beginners, anything around 120 shots for 18 holes could reasonably be considered good.

What Is A Good Score For Club Golfers?

Male club golfers with a handicap index would need to be shooting mid to low 80s or better in my opinion to be considered a “good” score. If the average handicap in the US is 14 then you need to be shooting no worse than around 14 over to consider it a good score.

Average HandicapMenWomen
Average handicaps in USA, England and Australia

In England and Australia, the averages for men are slightly higher so a “good” score is anything better than about 89.

What Is A Good Score For Professional Golfers?

There are two sorts of professional golfers, club professionals and touring professionals.

Club professionals may have turned pro with a handicap as high as 4 or 5. Many don’t spend much time playing golf or working on their game. This means they may struggle to even reproduce the scores they needed at the time they turned pro. So for many club professionals, a good score would be anything below 75.

Tour professionals don’t have any handicap limits but since their living depends on the quality of their golf they need to regularly shoot low scores.

The most lucrative professional tour is the PGA Tour based primarily in the United States. For the most recently completed season ending in 2021, the average score on the tour was 71.273 and the best scoring average over the season was Jon Rahm with 69.3.

At first glance, those scores don’t sound too impressive but the difficulty of the courses that they usually play on is significantly higher than your typical member’s course.

The scoring average on the European Tour (DP World Tour) was similar but the leading player on the LPGA managed to better her male counterparts with an average of 68.774. Although there were a few par-70 and par-71 courses used in their schedule.

What Is A Good Score On A Par-3 Course?

The total par for an 18-hole par-3 golf course is 54. Given that there are unlikely to be many holes of any significant length even relative novices shouldn’t need more than two shots to reach the green making 72 an achievable target and therefore anything better than that would be a good score.

For players with a handicap, I would suggest allowing yourself half your handicap if you are playing a par-3 course. So for an 18 handicapper that would mean a good score would be something below 63.

What Is A Good Golf Score: Conclusion

There are a wide variety of “good” golf scores. It depends on your age, gender and ability. It will also depend on the difficulty of the course you are playing and the weather conditions on the day. 

A man shooting 85 or less and a woman shooting 100 or less can consider themselves to be playing “good” golf.

If weather conditions are bad then just playing to your handicap is a good score!

Find out what a good handicap is and how long it will take you to get good at golf.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

Is a golf score of 70 good?

Given that a golf course will have a par between 68 and 72 I would suggest that a score of 70 is much better than good it would have to be considered excellent.

Shooting a score like that would be the preserve of single-figure handicappers or scratch players.

Is 80 a good golf score?

Since only around 25% of golfers can break 90 (National Golf Foundation) I would contend that 80 is a good score.

Regularly shooting these sorts of scores means you would have a single-figure handicap. Something that most golfers will never achieve.

Is 90 a good golf score?

For a beginner, I would consider it a great score. For a more experienced player then it would depend somewhat on their ability, age, gender and the difficulty of the course.

Shooting 90 roughly equates to a handicap of 18 which is just above average for a man and quite a bit better than average for a woman.

Is 100 a good golf score?

For a beginner, it would be considered a good score. A score of 100 is going to mean a handicap of around 28. This used to be the maximum handicap for a man (before the WHS) and is around the current average for a lady.

For a man, I would consider it an OK score and for a woman, it would probably be considered a good one.

What is my handicap if I shoot 100?

Assuming you are playing a par-72 course of a typical length and difficulty then you would probably have a handicap of around 28.

Is 86 a good golf score?

It’s certainly a pretty decent one. It would suggest you have a handicap of around 14 if you shoot that sort of score regularly. This would mean you are better than the average player who maintains a handicap index. Many, many golfers don’t bother to maintain an index and

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