Let’s be fair, golf is a difficult game. Players are asked to strike a small ball accurately and carry the ball from point A to point B traveling over 300 – 550 yards and get it to fall into a 3 inch by 3 inch hole. Keep in mind that along that route, a player will be faced with water and sand hazards, high grass and out-of-bounds markers, wind, rain, bugs and the occasional beer and cigar. With all these factors at play it’s no wonder why the frustration level for golf is notoriously high, and according to the National Golf Foundation data, over 2.7 million people quit playing over the 2000-2010 decade.
When it comes to scoring the trouble is that the word “par” is normally associated with “average” but in golf, this couldn’t be further from reality. In fact, it’s been reported that only one tenth of one percent of all golfers ever shoot a round at par! So now as a beginning golfer you may be asking yourself, how can I establish a baseline and what really is a good golf score for beginners?
Let’s explore that in more detail…
Scoring for Young Beginners
For youngsters, some say that age 6 is the best time to become serious about the game (can you think of anything you were serious about when you were six years old?). Regardless, it is at that age that most muscle memory and coordination is learned and even more importantly, concentration is exhibited for the first time.
But youngsters physically cannot hit the ball as far as an adult so it’s normal for even the most talented individuals to take is may take 6-7 strokes (or more) to reach the green and add on another 2.5 putts per hole (some 2 and some 3) bringing the beginning golfer’s score to around 170.
Baseline scoring potential should be loosely based on a youth’s maximum club distance. For example, if he/she is able to hit the ball 150 off the tee and can theoretically reach the green in 4 strokes, then adding 2 putts on each hole would mean that the child could essentially shoot a 108 – basically on par with what most adult beginners shoot. Distance is important for youngsters because they haven’t developed the muscles to power through the ball. But it is possible for them to play the game at an advanced level. After all, at age 8, Tiger Woods won the 9-10 year old boys event at the Junior World Golf Championship.
Scoring for Adult Beginners
Adult beginners who are in decent physical condition, can swing a golf club and make contact, and have a shred of athletic ability can usually shoot around 100 within the first few weeks of learning the game. According to National Golf Foundation data, 45% of all golfers average more than 100 strokes per round. With that said, it is believed that a 108 is considered to be a good score for a beginner golfer, which equates to double bogey on each hole of a par 72 course.
Most beginner golfers will play the “Rule of 5” when trying to improve their score. That is, if you average a 5 on every hole then you will shoot 90 on a par 72 which makes you a bogey golfer (18 over). This may take some time, effort, practice, frustration, and lots of consistent play, but essentially you’re only improving your game by 1 stroke per hole from the 108 example above.
If you love the game and want to improve at it, you’re going to need to buckle down and get serious. If you are a beginner or are teaching your youngster the game, start here and follow along with our golf instructional articles for tips on developing the right habits early. Muscle memory by Wikipedia definition is the practice of consolidating a specific motor task into memory though repetition. Basically, the more you swing properly, the better you will get.
Using 108 as an average score for the “brand new” golfer, scoring in the mid 90’s is certainly attainable with the right practice and repetition over a short period of time. So don’t get discouraged by those triple digit scores. Just keep at it and you’ll be playing and enjoying the game as it was meant to be done!