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Golf Article - How To Keep Score In The Game of Golf


Talk about eagles, birdies pars may make beginners scratch their heads, but keeping score in golf is really quite simple. It's a matter of counting your whacks – whether they actually connect with the ball or not. Every time you strike at the ball it's called a stroke, so you have to count the number of strokes it takes you to sink that little ball into the hole.

You do this for each section (hole) and at the end you add up the number of strokes. Unlike many other games, you are aiming to get around the course with the fewest strokes possible. Each hole is given a number called 'par' that represents the number of strokes you should need to get the ball into it. If the par is 4 and you have to hit the ball 5 times to get it in, then your score is one-over par. If by some miracle you only took 3 strokes to get it there your score is called 1-under.


Just to make things interesting, there are differing circumstances where things called penalty strokes apply. For instance, if you hit a ball out of the grounds or into an area like a water hazard where you cannot get at it, then that is considered a penalty shot and you must play a new ball from a specified location - with the first stroke for it being classed as your 2nd stroke for the hole.

If you actually sink your ball with just one stroke, it's called an ace, while a birdie is when you score one stroke under par for a hole. That illusive eagle is two strokes under par and a bogey is the score a fairly good golfer would be expected to make on a hole, allowing two putts. Another complication is the handicap. But this is not really hard to figure out. It is simply a number of strokes a player receives to adjust his score to a common level. The better the player, the smaller his handicap, while the best players have a handicap of zero. They are called 'scratch' players. A handicap allows a fair game of golf to be enjoyed by players of varying skill levels. Of course if you break the rules of play, you are likely to be hit with a penalty of two strokes.

It's important to know the difference between 'stroke play' and match play, because different penalties apply, depending on which you are playing. Stroke play is when you are competing against the course; match play is when you compete against one or more people. For instance, in stroke play, if you tee off from outside the teeing ground you'll incur a 2-stroke penalty. On the other hand, in 'match' play there will be no stroke penalty, but your opponent can cancel your shot and then you must replay it.


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