How to Complete Golf Scorecards

Updated April 17, 2017

You have enough to worry about just hitting the golf ball. But filling out your scorecard doesn't have to be difficult.

Open your scorecard and take a close look. You will see a grid of open columns. Here is where the golf players write their names. Choose the first open line and write your name. If there are more players, their names will follow on the next lines in order. There is only room for four names. If there are more than four players in your group, they will need to add their names to a second scorecard.

Golf scorecards vary from one golf course to another, but there are a few aspects of the card that remain the same. Every card will have boxes for 18 holes of golf, and each box will correspond to the hole number. Find hole No. 1 and the corresponding box.

You will notice that you are given additional information for each hole. For example, golf courses have different tee positions. Your scorecard will have the yardage (the number of yards from the tee to the cup) for each tee at each hole.This information will not affect how you will fill in your score. It's available to let you know the distance of the hole. You may also be given a hole handicap. This number reflects the difficulty level of the hole, with the number "1" as the most difficult hole of the course. This is helpful information but also will not affect how you mark your scorecard.

Every scorecard will have a number next to the hole number. You'll notice that the column is marked "Par." The par number is the number of strokes that an average golfer takes on that hole. So, if you hit four strokes and the par for the hole is "4," you have hit par for that hole. You will write the number 4 in the box.

For each hole, write the corresponding number of strokes. If the par for a hole is "4" and you make the cup in three strokes, you have a "birdie" or 1 stroke under par. You can circle that score on your scorecard. For every stroke under par, circle the score. Many golfers don't bother with this marking system, but if you ever see a score circled, you'll know what it means.

Make a square around your score for a hole if you hit a "bogie" or 1 over par. For every stroke you hit over par, put a square around the score.

At the end of nine holes, add up your scores and place the number in the box. The card may have the word "Out" over this box. You'll notice that the par score for the first nine holes will be given. It is almost always 36.

When you have finished play on the next set of nine holes, add up these scores also and place the number in the corresponding box. It may be marked "In." Next, total both the front nine holes and the back nine holes. Place this score in the box marked "Total." A par score is usually 72.


Your scorecard will usually have an image of the layout of each hole. Use these diagrams, along with the handicap rating and par score, to help you determine how to play each hole.


If you are playing in a tournament, remember to sign your scorecard to make your score official.

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About the Author

Cathy C. Hall is a freelance writer and humor columnist. When she’s not writing funny essays for publications like Modern Senior Living, she writes articles for websites like WOW! Women on Writing. Sometimes she just makes up wild stories; she's currently making up a young adult novel. Hall received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in broadcast journalism from Valdosta State University, graduating magna cum laude.