This post was most recently updated on January 19th, 2022
A question often asked by many golfers is ‘what does the average golfer shoot?’ This answer depends on many different factors including skill level, gender and age to name a few. Some golfers play often and others don’t.
A tiny percentage of players are professionals who shoot extremely low as well as a high percentage of beginner golfers who cannot break 120. This article will explain different normal golf scores and focus on amateur players who play regularly.
What Is The Average Golf Score For 18 Holes
For the average amateur adult male, the average score is a 96. For a woman, the average score is shooting a 108.
Other websites have found and claim the national average golf score is around 100 strokes which is close between the 96 and 108 cited above.
What Is The Average Golf Score For 9 Holes
Depending on a golfer’s skill level, a more advanced player can shoot an average of around 40 strokes for nine holes with a less skilled player shooting 55-65. An average golfer would likely shoot between 45-55.
What Is A Good Score In Golf
Depending on their experience, any score can be good for a certain golfer.
A good score, for example, could be 115. If a golfer with no handicap who had only played a couple rounds their entire life went out and shot a 115, it would be a good score.
When you get your handicap, it becomes a lot easier to measure a ‘good golf score’ as you can measure your rounds against this barometer. Shooting below your handicap would usually be considered a good round for any golfer.
The average golf score for beginners will be a lot higher than an experienced golfer but the beginner might be happy if they made a few pars whereas the low-handicapper might be happy with a few birdies.
Most new golfers would be extremely pleased they could play “bogey golf” within a year. If a golfer shoots a 90 on a standard par 72 course that means they were playing “bogey golf” with an average of a bogey per hole.
Obviously many people who watch the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour see the professionals shooting mid 60s to mid 70s and want to emulate that. It is very difficult to shoot that low.
What Is A Bad Golf Score
A bad golf score can be a high score for a golfer who has a much lower handicap. For example, if a certain player had a seven handicap and expected to shoot 7-over (79 for a par-72 course) then went out and shot a 99, that would be a bad score.
A super high number can also be a bad score. If someone shot 130 it would generally be considered a bad score. That would mean on a par-72 course that the golfer finished 58 strokes over par.
Playing above your handicap in general could be considered a bad score by most golfers.
What Is The Average Golf Score By Age
According to a study conducted by mygolfspy.com, the average golf score varies significantly by age.
For golfers 20-30 years old, the average 18 hole golf score is 89.7.
In the 30-40 age range those golfers averaged a round of 91.7.
At 40-50 years old these golfers had an average score of 91.5 per round.
For golfers 50-60 as well as 60-70 the average score per round was a 91.0.
Average Female Golf Score: Is There A Difference?
As stated earlier, in a study done by Nancy Berkley with statistics from the National Golf foundation, the average female golf score per round is 108.
For women golfers who play occasionally, 35% of them shoot over 120.
19% of women golfers that consider themselves “core” golfers and go more than occasionally but wouldn’t consider themselves “avid” score over 120 strokes.
Only 9% of avid women golfers shoot over 120.
These numbers correlate with experience so the more experienced, the better the score in most cases.
Pro Golf Score Average
In order to assess this, we will take a snapshot of the current PGA standings.
Out of 221 golfers measured on the PGA Tour, scoring averages differ significantly. The golfer with the best and lowest scoring average at time of writing was Webb Simpson, with an average of 68.662 per round in 26 total rounds.
At the bottom of the list at 221st was Kevin Stadler, who has an average of 75.913 in 20 total rounds.
Right in the middle of the pack at rankings 110 and 111 were Tyler Duncan and Kevin Kisner who averaged 71.093 and 71.104. Duncan has 53 rounds recorded with Kisner coming in at 41.
This is of course at one point in time so the golfers names will change but the averages typically remain at these levels throughout history.
On the LPGA Tour, Japanese golfer Nasa Hataoka was the leader in scoring average. Out of eight rounds recorded, the pro has recorded an average of 67.875 strokes.
At the bottom of the rankings was American Natalie Gulbis with an average of 79.5 per round.
In the middle of the standings, there were two golfers tied at 75th and two tied at 77th. These women have scoring averages of 72.364 and 72.375.
Factors To Consider In Calculating Average Score
Different courses have different difficulties and characteristics. Some courses are extremely long while others are short. Ponds or bodies of water could pose problems on courses while at others there might not be any water.
Fairways might be hilly and cause awkward stances at one course while at another they might be flat. The same goes for tree-lined fairways or wide open courses.
One golfer might shoot low at a certain course but then high at a different course. Slope ratings and course ratings can help golfers understand better how to calculate average scores.
The course rating is the expected score for a scratch golfer (one who shoots par) at each set of tees. This can be found on the scorecard or online. On the left side of the scorecard next to the set of tee box colors a number is usually shown. Each tee will have a different course rating.
If the course rating is lower than the course’s par, a scratch golfer should shoot under par. If the rating is higher than the course’s actual par then a scratch golfer would be expected to shoot over par.
Since the majority of golfers are not scratch golfers, the slope rating gives an indication as to how a bogey golfer would shoot on a certain course in comparison to a scratch golfer’s score.
The slope rating signifies the slope of a line passing through a Y-axis and X-axis. The Y being the expected scores and the X being handicaps.
If the slope is 108 then an extra 1.08 strokes is expected for each 1 point of handicap difference. So if the rating was 113 an average golfer would lose to a scratch golfer by around 20 strokes.
Calculating an Average
If you and your golf buddies want to calculate the expected score for a golf course, here is a simple way to do it explained by golfweek.com using the course rating and slope rating.
If a course has a par of 72 and rating of 72 with a slope rating of 113, you would subtract an average player’s 100 strokes by 72 (scratch golfer expected score) which equals 28 strokes. That is the number of strokes a normal golfer would be expected to lose to a scratch golfer by.
It is calculated by multiplying the slope rating by .2477. If you multiplied 113 times .2477 you would get 27.99 which rounds up to 28.
If you add the 28 to the course rating of 72 then an average golfer should shoot 100.
The average golf scores vary from person to person based on many things such as experience, gender and age. Other factors such as course difficulty show that it’s not easy to just say that a certain score is a good or a bad one.
Now that you know different scoring averages and how to calculate expected averages be sure to comment on past experiences or current techniques below the article.
Lawrence Smelser is part of the Golfible editorial staff and is a freelance golf writer. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour and most recently the 2019 Masters. He holds a journalism Bachelor's degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas