What Is The Average Golf Score?

Golf, a game of precision and patience, often leaves players curious about the elusive “average score.” So, what is the average golf score?

Simply put, while the typical recreational golfer scores around 91 on a par 72 course, the number can vary widely—from as low as 85 to as high as 130, depending on various factors like age, experience, and frequency of play. Intrigued?

Dive in for a comprehensive breakdown of these numbers and what they truly signify in the world of golf.

A Glimpse into the World of Golf Scoring

As one delves into the nuanced world of golf, understanding the scoring system is fundamental.

Much like any sport, golf has its unique set of rules, terminologies, and benchmarks.

From the foundational concept of “par” to the disparities in scores between professionals and weekend enthusiasts, grasping these details can greatly enhance one's appreciation of the game.

Let's get into the nitty-gritty.

Explaining the basics: What is par, and why does it matter?

Golf courses are made up of a series of holes, each with a set number of strokes that a skilled golfer should ideally take to complete – this number is what we call “par.”

So, when you hear someone say, “This is a par-3 hole,” it implies that a proficient golfer should ideally take three strokes to get the ball from the tee into the hole.

But why is par such a big deal? Well, for starters:

  1. Benchmarking Performance: Par offers golfers a standard to measure against. Scoring a “birdie” means you've completed a hole in one stroke less than par, while a “bogey” is one stroke more.
  2. Strategy & Planning: Knowing the par for a hole can help golfers strategize. For instance, on a par-5 hole, they might opt to take two longer shots to get closer to the green and then a more precise short game to aim for the hole.
  3. Evolving Skills: As players progress, consistently matching or beating par can be a sign of improvement. It's an achievable target for most and provides motivation to keep refining one's skills.

The difference between professional scores and recreational scores

Watching the pros effortlessly navigate a golf course, you might wonder why your score doesn't match up.

The gulf between professional and recreational scores often boils down to a few key factors:

  1. Training & Experience: Professionals spend countless hours honing their skills, practicing every nuance of the game—from long drives to delicate putts.
  2. Equipment: Pro golfers have access to top-tier equipment, meticulously selected to suit their playstyle. This gives them an edge in terms of precision, control, and adaptability.
  3. Course Knowledge: Pros often familiarize themselves with every nook and cranny of a course before a tournament. This means they're better prepared for its challenges and can strategize more effectively.
  4. Mental Game: Golf is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. Professionals are trained to maintain focus, manage stress, and adapt to changing conditions and pressures.
  5. Physical Fitness: A golfer's physical condition plays a significant role in their performance. Pro golfers often undergo rigorous fitness regimens to ensure they're in peak shape.

Factors Influencing the Average Golf Score

While the allure of golf lies in its simplicity—getting that little ball into the hole—achieving a desirable score is influenced by a tapestry of factors.

From the hours spent practicing to age-related nuances, myriad elements shape a golfer's performance on the green.

Let's unpack these elements to see just how each one plays its role in determining that final number on the scorecard.

Experience & Skill Level: From beginners to seasoned players

Experience is often the most distinguishable factor influencing a golfer's score.

  1. Beginners: Those new to the game are still getting acquainted with the basics—from grip to stance and swing techniques. Their scores might be higher due to inconsistencies in shot distance and direction.
  2. Intermediate Players: With more rounds under their belt, these players have a better understanding of the game's intricacies. They might have a few tricks up their sleeves, leading to improved scores.
  3. Seasoned Players: With years of play, seasoned players develop a deep connection with the game. Their ability to read the course, adjust to conditions, and execute shots is refined, generally leading to lower scores.

Age and its role in the game: How age can influence the score

Age, while just a number, brings with it certain physical and mental shifts.

  1. Youth & Vigor: Younger players often possess the strength to make long drives. However, their lack of experience might mean they're less strategic in their play.
  2. Prime Years: Players in their 30s and 40s often strike a balance between physical prowess and accumulated golf wisdom. They might be in their scoring prime.
  3. Senior Golfers: While they might not have the same physical strength as their younger counterparts, senior players have a wealth of experience. Their game leans more on strategy, precision, and patience.

Frequency of play: Occasional players vs. regulars

How often you play can make a significant difference.

  1. Occasional Players: Those hitting the course once in a blue moon might struggle with consistency, leading to fluctuating scores.
  2. Regulars: Players who tee off weekly or even multiple times a week maintain their rhythm, leading to more stable and potentially improved scores.

The significance of handicaps in golf scoring

For many, the term “handicap” might seem out of place in a sport.

But in golf, it's a beautiful system that levels the playing field.

  1. Purpose of Handicap: It's designed to allow players of differing skill levels to compete on an even footing. It represents the number of strokes a player might receive to “level the playing field.”
  2. Calculating Handicap: It's generally calculated using the best scores from recent rounds. This means it's dynamic, adjusting as you improve or face challenges.
  3. Impact on Average Score: A player with a handicap of 15 will have 15 strokes deducted from their total score, potentially bringing down their average. This system encourages improvement and offers a fair measure of skill.

Diving into the Numbers: Average Golf Scores by Source

Golf, a game steeped in tradition and technique, often finds enthusiasts engrossed in numbers.

Beyond the personal scorecards, understanding the average scores, especially when segmented by various criteria, offers intriguing insights into the game's dynamics.

Let's delve deeper into these averages and understand what they reveal about different golfer groups.

The typical recreational golfer: Scoring an average of 91 on a par 72 course

The allure of golf extends far beyond the professionals we watch on TV.

Thousands pick up the club every day as recreational golfers, each with their unique flair and pace.

When we aggregate the scores of these passionate players, an interesting figure emerges.

On a standard par 72 course, the typical score they card is around 91.

This score is emblematic of their dedication to the game despite not being full-time professionals.

It showcases their effort, the challenges they face, and the sweet moments of success when they manage to sink that challenging putt or achieve a drive that sails straight and true.

Age brackets and their scores

Golf transcends age. From the vibrant energy of youth to the seasoned strategies of senior players, each age bracket brings its nuances to the green.

For the spirited players in the 20-30 age group, their youthful vigor and perhaps the flexibility of their schedules allow them to average around 90 on a par 72 course.

Their scores mirror a blend of raw power, the zeal to experiment, and the beginnings of a strategy-oriented gameplay.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the senior golfers, those aged 60 and over.

With years of experience, possibly spanning decades, these players approach the game with a treasure trove of memories and lessons learned.

Their score, an average of 92 on a par 72, speaks of wisdom, patience, and the invaluable ability to read the course.

It's not just about power but playing smart, knowing when to take risks, and when to play it safe.

The Bigger Picture: Inclusion of Players with and Without Handicaps

In the expansive world of golf, scores aren't just numbers on a board; they're narratives of individual journeys, skills, and the ever-present golfing spirit.

This narrative is richer and more varied when we embrace the entire spectrum of golfers—both those with and without handicaps.

Let's embark on an exploration of these diverse scores and uncover the deeper implications behind them.

A look at scores over 100: Considering all players

Golf is an inclusive sport, welcoming enthusiasts from all walks of life, each arriving at the tee with varied expertise and backgrounds.

Some players glide through the fairways with ease, while others face challenges that might stretch their scores beyond the 100 mark.

These scores, often exceeding the century, capture the essence of golf for many—an ongoing quest for improvement, learning, and the joy of participation.

While a score over 100 might appear high to seasoned players, it's essential to recognize and appreciate the perseverance, heart, and dedication encapsulated in these numbers.

After all, golf is as much about the spirit of participation as it is about precision and technique.

The handicap factor: How those with handicaps average around 90 for 18 holes

Now, let's shift our focus to those who play with handicaps.

The handicap system in golf is a beautiful embodiment of fairness, allowing players of different skill levels to compete head-to-head in an even field.

This balancing act works wonders in evening out disparities and ensuring that every golfer gets a fair shot, no pun intended.

Players with handicaps have a score that gravitates around the 90 mark for 18 holes.

This figure is not merely a testament to their golfing acumen but also an ode to the handicap system's effectiveness.

It highlights how, when provided with an equitable platform, golfers can shine, surmount challenges, and post scores that reflect their true potential.

The Occasional Golfer: Not Every Weekend, but Still in the Game

Golf is a passion that doesn't always demand a daily dalliance.

For the occasional golfer, it's not about the frequency but the fervor, not the routine but the rapport with the game.

Dive with us into the world of these intermittent enthusiasts, who might not mark their presence every weekend but carry the spirit of the game with every swing they take.

Exploring the wide range: Scores from 85-130

Ah, the occasional golfer! You'll spot them soaking in the sun on a bright day, probably after a week's break or maybe even a month.

Their scores? As varied as their attendance.

Ranging anywhere from 85 to a staggering 130, these scores paint a vibrant picture.

At times, they might surprise you with a near-perfect swing, landing them a score closer to 85.

On other days, when the rust shows, they might hover around the 130 mark.

But here's the thing: each score is a celebration of their undying love for golf. It's not about perfection but participation, not mastery but the sheer joy of the moment.

Discussing the factors behind this vast range

Several factors contribute to this vast range of scores. One significant element is consistency.

Unlike regular players, occasional golfers don't have the luxury of refining their techniques every weekend.

This sporadic play means they're often recalibrating, adjusting, and relearning certain aspects of the game each time they step onto the green.

Equipment can also play a part. Without regular play, some golfers might not invest heavily in top-tier gear, leading to varied outcomes on the course.

Then there's the mental aspect. Golf is as much a mind game as it is physical.

Regular players often develop strategies, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and have better course management skills.

In contrast, the occasional golfer, while having a general sense of the game, might lack these refined tactics, leading to a broader range of scores.


In the vast greens of golf, scores are more than mere numbers; they're tales of dedication, passion, and the undying spirit of the game.

From seasoned pros to weekend warriors, each golfer's journey is unique, shaped by countless swings, trials, and triumphs.

No matter the frequency or the score, every golfer's love for the game remains a testament to its timeless allure.