Guide to Understanding Golf Scores

Another aspect of golf that may be confusing to some is the way the scores are calculated. For hockey, soccer, football, basketball, baseball, and any other sport one can think of, the score adds to the total every time the team or player scores. However, in golf, it works in reverse. Every time a golfer finishes well, the score is deducted from his or her overall score. This is why you might notice a player like Jordan Spieth who won the Masters had a score of around -16. What's the deal with the negative score? If you've never watched golf before, and you see a -5 at the top of the leader board, with a +2 at the bottom, your head might be ready to explode. How are they calculating the score!?

It all starts with a blank canvas of expectation called a par. This is the measure by which all golfers on a course are judged. And if a player goes over par, he or she has points added to their total, which is a bad thing. Whereas if the player shoots under par, then he or she has points subtracted from their total, which is the right direction they want to go in. It all starts out with a 0 on the first of the 18 holes in the first round. And every time a player shoots over or under par, they receive + or - points. Understanding the scoring system and what it means will assist you in making informed wagers, particularly during live betting on golf.

Golf Scores Explained

Once you grasp the basics, you start to understand how the golf score is tabulated and it's really easy to keep up with. Let's pull Joe out of retirement and say he's teeing off on hole one, which is a par 4. This means, basically, that he's expected to get the ball from the tee into the hole on the green within four strokes. So, he managed to get the ball into the hole in only three strokes, leaving one on the board and one away from par. Because he did better than par (hence the phrase, par for the course), Joe has earned a point, and this point is deducted from his 0. So, going into the second hole, Joe's score is now -1. Now, on hole 2, let's say it's a par 3 and Joe ends up not making the ball into hole until taking five shots. He went over par by two strokes here, which means that two is added to his score. -1 + 2 = +1. The points are added or subtracted for a golfer after every hole they play. And on any hole Joe makes par, his score remains unchanged.

Watch the Birdie..and Eagle, and Bogeys

Other than par, you might hear other phrases. Let's say it's a par 4 but Joe makes it in 3. This is called a birdie because the shot came in 1 under par. Now, let's say the next time Joe gets a par 4, it takes him 5 shots. This is called a bogey, which is one over par. If Joe shot 2 under par, this would be an eagle, and 3 under par, which is very rare, would be a double eagle. Contrarily, if Joe takes six shots to make a par 4, then he went to over par is this is called a double bogey. The only other score to be aware of is the hole in one, which happens on the first shot and then awards the player all the par points. So, if it's a par 5, and it only took one stroke, you get the remaining par points for -4.

Once you understand these basic golf scores, it's very easy to keep up with the action and to see why the scores read the way they read. This will impact your decisions for those of you engaged in legal golf betting online.