What Is A Good, Bad, and An Average Golf Score?

According to statistics from the National Golf Foundation, the average golfer carded 100 strokes in 18 holes. But the most popular handicap is between 10 and 14.9. Here’s the data about the percentage of golfers at each handicap from USGA

Handicap Index Ranges Number of Golfers Percentage of Golfers
<0.0 44,401 1.99%
0.0 to 4.9 190,973 8.55%
5.0 to 9.9 450,106 20.15%
10.0 to 14.9 596,978 26.72%
15.0 to 19.9 492,098 22.02%
20.0 to 24.9 268,440 12.01%
25 to 29.9 120,313 5.38%
30.0 to 34.9 45,762 2.05%
35 to 39.9 16,064 0.72%
40.0 to 44.9 5,556 0.25%
45.0 to 49.9 2,063 0.09%
50.0 to 54.0 1,537 0.07%

81% of females and 25% of all male golfers play off handicaps higher than 19. This means that a large percentage of amateur golfers post scores in around 100 regions, which is why the average score in golf is high.

However, when you consider handicaps, an average golf score is par or +3. For example, if you are playing off a 15 handicap and you card an 88 on a Par 72 course (+1), that would be considered an average score. Or if you’re playing off a 5 handicap and you card an 78 on a Par 72 course (+1), that would also be considered an average score.

An average 9-hole golf score with net in mind is anywhere between even par and +1. If you are a ten handicap, you should be looking to shoot no higher than 42 over nine holes. Once you subtract 5 from 42, you are left with 37. On nine holes with a par total of 36, that would leave you +1.

Any scores higher than that start to venture into bad golf scores.

What Is a Good Golf Score?


A typical PGA score for 18 holes this season stands at 71.25. Considering that most courses are Par 72, the average player shoots between even par and -1 for the round. Therefore, a good golf score is anywhere from -2 to -5. Anything lower than that is exceptional.

Now, we would be demoralized if we looked at those scores as amateur or beginner golfers. That is where your handicap comes into play. Once you have tallied up your scores at the end of the round. You will determine your Gross total.

Depending on your handicap and round, this figure could be eye-watering, but there is one thing left to do. Subtract your handicap from the Gross, giving you your Net score. That is the important one. Because it enables you to see how you performed relative to the total par of the course.

When wondering what is a good score in golf for 18 holes, if you shoot anywhere from -2 to -4, your handicap would be considered a good golf score. For example, if you play off of an 18 handicap and shoot 86 on a Par 72 course, that would mean you carded a Net score of 68, which is good.

For 9 holes, it is typically one or two under par if you want to know a good golf score. If the total par for the nine is 36, a good net score will be 34 or 35. For example, if your handicap is 22, you divide that by two and get 11. Therefore if you card a 45 over nine holes, you subtract 11 and are left with 34. It means you shot a net score of -2 for the nine and a good golf score.

What Is a Bad Golf Score?


For 18 holes, any net score over par may be considered bad. However, a +1 to +3 day on the course is not too bad.

Professional golfers can often shoot a few over par on day one and still come back to be in contention going into Sunday. Therefore, an undesirable golf game score is a net of +4 or more for 18 holes.

An example would be a 13 handicapper who shoots 92 on a Par 72. Once we have subtracted their handicap from the Gross, a net score of 79 remains. That is +7, the total par for the course. As a result, this would be a bad golf score.

For 9 holes, you need to divide your actual handicap by two to determine what you should be scoring. If you are an 18 handicapper, you must shoot a maximum of +9 to be net even for the nine. If the total par for the nine is 36, and you shoot 50, your net will be 41, which is +6 and is considered a bad golf score.

Since scores higher than +4 in a round of 18 are bad. It is safe to say that any net score of more than +2 in 9 holes is no good.

Read more: If you’re on a budget and considering a new golf club set, check out the best golf club sets under $500.

What Should I Be Scoring Over 18 Holes?

As I mentioned, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to golf game scores. You are competing against yourself, and your handicap will determine whether you are posting good, bad, or average golf scores. Many factors affect your average golf handicap and how good it can be, including age.

If we take an average golf score, the gross total will differ significantly depending on the player. Therefore, I have provided a rough guideline to give you an idea of the gross total scores you should be carding for average scores. For example, for a 20 handicap, the average score would be around 92.

Handicap Average Gross Score (Par 72)
0 – 5 72 – 77
6 – 10 78 – 82
11 – 15 83 – 87
16 – 20 88 – 92
21 – 30 93 – 102
31 – 40 103 – 112
41 – 54 113 – 126

Remember, if you have played to your handicap, your net score should be 72, and you can walk away from the course proud of your performance.

Average Golf Scores by Age

Age (years) Average golf score
7 – 12  150 – 180
12 – 20   90 – 180
20 – 30    80 – 90
30 – 70   91 – 94

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your Average Golf Score

You know most of it, but sometimes, some simple reminders are all you need to get your score down if you have fallen into bad habits.

1. Invest in a New Set of Clubs

Upgrading your irons is one of the simplest ways to lower your score. Over time, your irons will wear out, so it may be time to work out how old they are. If they are several years old, it could be worth changing them up. Check out the prices on the most forgiving irons this year.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice

We know it’s obvious, but you are much more likely to lower your score if you spend time at the driving range once weekly working on your faults rather than struggling with the same issues on the course. If time permits, keep practicing and working on those shots, adding an extra few numbers to your round to get some quick wins in the bank.

3. Have a Reliable Warm-up

Again, this is something obvious, but many golfers either go straight into the round or spend years practicing beforehand. Count on a warmup involving dynamic movements and some shots, including putts and chips.

Read more: How To Keep A Golf Score


Is 85 a Good Score in Golf?

Whether a golf score is good or not is handicap dependent, but a golfer with an average handicap index of 13 would be looking to hit an average gross score of 85 on a par 72. They could be pleased with the days they spent working out on the course.

What Is the Average Score for 18 Holes of Golf?

An average score is very much handicap driven. The average golf score is net even par to +3 for the round. For example, if you play off a 15 handicap and hit 88 on a par 72 course, that would be considered an average score across 18 holes.

What Is Tiger Woods’s Average Golf Score?

In 2022, Tiger Woods’s average golf score on the PGA Tour was 73.35. In 2000, Woods hit an average score of 68.17, the lowest in PGA Tour history, beating the previous record of 68.33.

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Jack was inspired by his Grandad Ron’s golfing and grew up playing this great game. Jack has a handicap index in the 30s and plays with the PING K15 driver and irons. Jack has written more than 40 articles on GolfSpan since 2022. Jack is always looking for ways to find the edge on the course to share with readers and played monthly at High Legh Golf Club near his home in Warrington, Cheshire. You can connect with Jack on X and LinkedIn.

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