Explanation of a Golf Scorecard


The purpose of a golf scorecard is to keep track of your score. However, there is much more to a golf scorecard than simply a row of boxes in which to write numbers. A golf scorecard contains a significant amount of information about the course you are playing as well.

The Holes

The top row of a golf scorecard shows the hole numbers. Beneath each hole number is long column that contains information about that hole. Information that is typically listed includes the yardage of the hole from various tee boxes, par for the hole and the men’s handicap and ladies’ handicap for the hole. In the column under each hole there is also a space where the players write in their scores for that hole.

Tee Boxes

Underneath the row marked holes, a number of rows are keyed by color. These colors vary depending on the course but always signify the different tee boxes, which are different areas at each hole where players can tee off. They are positioned at different distances from the pin and are designed for players different levels, such as juniors, ladies, men and professionals. Each colored row indicates the yardage from tee to pin for each hole from each type of tee box. The final column shows the total yardage of all the holes played at that level.

Course rating and slope rating

In the tee box row beside each level of tee box is a pair of values expressed like “72/10.”. The first value is the course rating, and represents the number of strokes a player who typically shoots par would take to finish the course. The second value is the course slope rating, which represents the number of strokes a bogey golfer, or a golfer who typically hits one over par each hole, would take to finish the course. The higher these values, the more difficult the course is.


One of the most important values on the golf scorecard is par. Par signifies how many strokes a scratch golfer would take to complete the hole. Holes typically range from par three to par five, and par for an entire 18-hole course is typically around 72.


The handicap row indicates the relative difficulty of each hole compared to the others. A hole marked 1 is the most difficult hole on the course, while a hole marked 6 is the sixth. The handicap value is different for ladies and men because they play from different tee boxes.


A golf scorecard for an 18-hole course is separated into two halves. The “out” half refers to the first nine holes and the “in” or back half refers to the final nine holes. The two halves are set up identically, except that the in half includes totals for both the in half alone along with the total for the round.

About this Author

Dave Abbass has been writing for four years. He began writing as a member of his high school newspaper and was editor-in-chief in his final year. He currently writes at the Xaverian Weekly, the newspaper of St Francis Xavier University, where he has been a senior reporter and sports editor.