golf scorecard
golf scorecard
September 6, 2022 - Golf GameBook

What Is A Golf Scorecard And How To Read It?

Every golfer keeps score in one way or another. However, many golf scorecards contain a lot of information that most beginners do not understand. What is a slope? What does HCP mean? How are stableford points calculated? We decided to delve into the details of the traditional golf scorecard.

Often in golf we forget that every year a huge number of new people join this great sport. And the threshold to start playing golf is not very low. There is a strong implication that the first few sessions on the course are very frustrating. Hardly anyone will fall in love with golf on the range, but rather on the course, in beautiful surroundings with good friends.

There is also a lot more to getting started in golf. There is etiquette, a long list of rules, equipment purchases and becoming a member. And when you finally get out on the course, you’re presented with a scorecard. The first time you look at it, it’s rather confusing. That’s why we put together the most common terms found on a golf scorecard in one place and explained them in detail.

Read The Golf Scorecard More Fluently

Holes 1-18

The full-length golf course consists of 18 holes divided into front and back nines: holes 1-9 are played on the front nine and holes 10-18 on the back nine. It is also possible to play only one of the nines.

Par 3, Par 4 & Par 5

The par number indicates the number of strokes that should ideally be scored on the hole. So a par 3 will be cleared in three strokes, a par 4 in four and a par 5 in five. In general, the course consists of four par 3 holes, eight par 4 holes and four par 5 holes.

White, Yellow, Blue & Red

The different colors refer to the tee boxes. Also, numbers are commonly used to indicate the tee box as well as the total length of the course. Usually the course is shortest on the red tee and longest on the white tee. The tee box can be chosen freely. On most of the courses, men play on yellow or white tees and women on red or blue tees. There may be other country or club-specific norms for the choice of tee-box, for example based on age or handicap.

HCP or Handicap 1-18

HCP or handicap refers to a player’s own handicap. But each hole on a golf course also has a handicap rating, which is used to rank the holes in order of difficulty. A hole with a handicap of 1 is ranked as the most difficult hole on the course. Similarly, a hole with a handicap of 18 is considered the easiest.

golf scorecard


All courses in the world have their own slope rating. This also indicates the difficulty level of the course and, in relation to this, the player’s might have a higher or lower playing handicap on different courses.

On paper, the slope rating can make a difference between two similar courses based on the individual characteristics of the course. On some courses, the fairways are wide, the hazard zones are relatively few, and the greens are flatter in shape. Then on another courses, the fairways are remarkably narrow, with many bunkers and water hazards around the greens with very steep slopes.

Stableford Points

Stableford points are related to the stableford game format, but also to handicap. They are awarded for each hole as follows: 1 point for a bogey, 2 points for a par, 3 points for a birdie, 4 points for an eagle and 5 points for an albatross. If handicaps are used the points are awarded for different holes according to their difficulty.

Generally speaking, a person with a handicap of 7, for example, will shoot about 7 over par in a round of 18 holes. These “extra” strokes are distributed over the holes in such a way that the player is expected to bogey the 7 most difficult holes in the course and make par on the remaining 11 holes. Some might use a saying that a bogey on the 7 most difficult holes is the player’s “own par”. In this case, a double bogey on these holes would still give the player one point, a bogey 2 points, etc.

In the handicap calculation, rounds with 36 or more stableford points will lower the handicap. Rounds with 35 or fewer points will increase the handicap. 

Still sound complicated? Golf GameBook has made it so easy that players don’t have to worry about doing any extra math.

Golf GameBook Is A User-Friendly And Digital Golf Scorecard

As you may know, the Golf GameBook story started back in 2007. That’s when the idea of digitalizing the golf scorecard was born. That’s the path we’ve been on ever since, and while today you’ll find a huge number of different features in Golf GameBook, the golf scorecard is still its soul, around which everything else is built in a way.

As a Golf GameBook user, for example, you don’t have to worry about calculating your stableford points or figuring out which holes you get “extra strokes” – Golf GameBook does it all for you, allowing you to focus on what’s important and have fun on the course. Which is the purpose of Golf GameBook: Making the game more fun!

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