What is a Good Golf Score for Beginning Golfers

In this quick guide, we will talk about good golf scores for beginners so you can put your mind at ease. I’m sure you’ve had many questions like:

  • What is a good golf score for 9 holes?
  • What’s the average golf score for 9 holes?
  • What golf score should a beginner shoot?
  • What is a good golf handicap for a beginner?
  • What is the average handicap for a beginner?
  • How to lower your golf handicap quickly?

We will cover golf scores for beginners, junior golfers, adult golfers, and senior golfers so feel free to skip to the section that applies to your age group.

But first, here are some quick answers..

What’s a good golf score for 9 holes?

45 (bogey golf) is good score for 9 holes so if you multiply it by 2, I would say 90 is good for 18 holes. Bogey golf is one step closer to par golf.

What golf score should a beginner shoot?

If you can break 90 as a beginner golfer, that’s a good golf score. Set 90 as your goal and try to achieve that score for 18 holes as quickly as possible. Then aim for breaking 80 in golf next.

What is a good golf handicap for beginners?

Breaking 90 in golf is difficult for beginner’s but a huge milestone. 90 would be 18 strokes over par so a handicap of 18 or lower would be a good handicap for a beginner.

The average handicap for a beginner is probably above 30. My handicap as a beginner was 50 but it quickly dropped below a 30 handicap as it only took me a few months to break 100 in golf.

How to lower your golf handicap quickly?

The reason I was able to lower my golf handicap quickly from 50+ to under 20 (bogey golf) was due to my practice schedule. I practiced golf 6 days per week and each day I spent several hours completing chipping drills and putting drills on the practice green.

Short game was key to helping me break 80 without having a great golf swing. This would be the approach you should take too. Work on your short game if you want to quickly lower your golf handicap.

Does Your Golf Score Matter as a Beginner?

Let’s be honest here. Golf is hard game. Hitting a small ball to a flag stick on the green is not easy!

And then once on the green trying to putt the ball into the hole is a challenge in itself as many golfers take 2 to 3 putts.

Along the way from tee to green you face challenges like out of bounds markers, water, sand, tall grass, trees, and other obstacles (here’s our guide on rules of golf).

In addition to physical barriers you also face mental barriers.

  • How far to hit the ball,
  • What club to use,
  • How will the wind affect the shot,
  • Will I slice or hook the golf ball,
  • Will I top or chunk the golf ball,
  • And many other thoughts racing through our minds in a matter of seconds

Many golfers will even put pressure on themselves to shoot a good golf score as if their life depends on it.

They’ll go as far as to cheat or lie about what score they got on a certain hole. Could it be out of embarrassment or is it their character deep down within being brought out by the sport of golf?

Overall, don’t get too worried if you’re not scoring very well on the golf course as a beginner. You’ve got lots of time to improve and we created these practice plans to help speed up your improvement and help you lower your golf handicap.

Why Compare Your Golf Score to Others?

In a dream world, I would tell you not to compare yourself to others in life and in golf.

There are so many different variables affecting everyone’s golf game and maybe you are one or two fixes away from shooting much lower golf scores than you are currently.

But I know you want a concrete answer to compare yourself against other golfer’s around the world.

In order to share my opinion of what a good golf score is, we need to establish three different categories of golfers.

The first group is young golfers and the second group is adult golfers. Plus we also cover the scoring habits of seniors if you’ve ever wondered what is a good golf score for seniors.

Let’s get started.

What is a Good Golf Score for Young Golfers?

Younger golfers get their own grouping because they are not fully developed yet in terms of size and muscle.

Consider an 8 year old trying to play a 400 yard par 4. It’s going to take him 6 to 7 shots to reach the green more than likely and then an additional 2 to 3 strokes putting, placing him at 8 to 10 shots.

If the 8 year old averages 8 strokes per hole for 18 holes, his score would be 144 and if averaging 10 strokes the score would be 180.

I think back to when I was 12 years old and I played golf once per summer at my grandparents. I remember scoring double and triple bogies on most holes, bringing my 18 hole total score to 120-130.

If you’re a young golfer (5 years old to 12 years old) and can break 100, then you are in the top percent of golfers your age. Otherwise I’d expect scores of 130 to 150 to be average because of the distance factor and not having the strength yet to reach the holes in the regulation number of strokes.

Middle school golfers (age 12-14) should be able to reach greens in regulation and therefore should be able to break 100. They’re in puberty stage, developing muscle and beginning to lift weights for the first time to increase strength. I would say a middle school average score would be around 100-110. If you can break 100, you’re in good shape for making your high school golf team in a few years as you continue to develop strength (distance) and improve your short game.

High school golfers I’m more familiar with having recently played competitive high school golf 4 years ago. To make varsity for most high schools you need to score in the 80’s and 70’s. For 9 hole matches most golfers on varsity ranged between 36 and 43.

Our team went 19-2 my senior year because we had 5 guys who could shoot in the 70’s and low 80’s consistently. This beat most teams who had mostly guys who shot in the 80’s.

Therefore, I’d say in high school the average score is 85-90. If you’re below 85 you’re a pretty good golfer and if you’re above 90 then you’re likely a beginner. For a beginner, I’d expect you to shoot around 100 or more but a good score for a beginner would be 90-100.

Scoring a 90 is considered bogey golf because the average score would be 5 and the average par is 4. You’d finish 18 strokes over par 72 which is the same as bogeying every hole.

Good Golf Score for Young Golfers:

  • Under 12 Years Old – 120 would be a good golf score (150 for beginners)
  • 12 Years to 14 Years Old – 70’s & 80’s would be a good golf score (120 for beginners)
  • 15 to 18 Years Old – under par and par golf are good golf scores (90-100 for beginners)

Most young golfers are competing in tournaments locally, statewide, and nationally which is why I’m giving them lower scores than you may agree with. They have more hours to dedicate to practicing the game and a drive to make their high school team.

good golf score

What is a Good Golf Score for Adults?

For adults, the scoring will be different because you are fully grown and have sufficient strength to reach the greens in regulation. For example, on a par 4 you would be expected to reach the green in 2 strokes, leaving you 2 putts to make par.

The average adult male hits their driver around 220 yards, but we usually see golfers who score in the 70’s and 80’s hitting the ball much further. The best golfers in the world can hit 300-350 yard drives on average. The majority of good golfers will hit the ball 250-290 yards and beginners will fall somewhere between 210 yards and 270 yards.

Since adults can hit the ball far, it usually comes down to your short game skill. How well can you putt and chip? If you miss the green on your approach shot, can you still get your chip shot close and sink the putt to save your par?

According to National Golf Foundation data, 45% of all golfers average more than 100 strokes per round.  With that said, it is believed that a 108 is considered to be a good score for a beginner golfer, which equates to double bogey on each hole of a par 72 course.

If you’re a beginner and breaking 100 or even 90 then that’s very impressive as well. Only 10% of golfers worldwide ever reach scratch golf.

When I first started taking golf serious at age 16, I averaged 120+ for 18 holes. I quickly dropped down to bogey golf though within a few months of intense practice and averaged between 85-95 heading into winter.

What’s a Good Golf Score for Seniors?

A golf score in the 80’s would be considered a good golf score for senior players. Why so?

Senior golfers will start seeing their club distances decrease with time and they’ll fight the battle of having to move from regular tees up to the senior tee boxes.

Resource: Best Golf Drivers for Seniors

As club speed diminishes with age, seniors will be forced to hit more golf shots with their woods and hybrids to reach greens in regulation. I witnessed it firsthand playing alongside my grandfather and boy was he good at hitting hit hybrid clubs.

Most senior golfers can still score in the 80’s despite losing distance off their clubs, but the elite senior golfers can score in the 70’s. For example, the Champions Tour on TV features many golf pro’s who can still score in the 60’s for 18 holes even though they’re all 50+ years old.

Don’t let getting older discourage you. Your best golf years are ahead as you now have more time to play the sport and the ability to travel the world playing some of the best golf courses.

Our best tip is if you see your scores getting worse and you haven’t made the move to the senior tee boxes yet, then you probably should. It will make the game more fun again by giving yourself chances to make birdies and pars.

Types of Golfers

Amateur Golfers

Golfers who play for fun and not professionally for money. You automatically have amateur status as a golfer by default but once you play a tournament for money, you can possibly lose amateur status.

Most amateur golfers play the sport less frequently and therefore have average golf scores ranging from low 70’s up to 140+ for 18 holes. Skill development depends on many factors for amateur golfers.

Junior Golfers

Junior golf is for individuals who are between the ages 3 to 17. The AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) is a great starting point to learn more about resources and tournaments available to junior golfers.

Junior golfers have different handicaps than adult golfers. Scores can range from 30’s to 70’s for 9 holes and most junior golfers start from the women’s tees unless a golf course has specific tees for kid golfers.

College Golfers

As a junior golfer takes the game more serious and practices lots, it’s possible they could end up playing college golf on a scholarship.

College golfers are highly skilled golfers who can score in the 70’s and below. We created this practice plan called how to break 70 in golf designed for low handicap and low scoring golfers.

Professional Golfers

Pro golfers are the best in the world. They have climbed the ranks by winning tournaments as amateurs and college golfers. Many pro golfers had to go through qualifying school to get their PGA Tour cards.

These golfers play the highest rated difficulty golf courses and still are able to score par or better for 18 holes. Achieving the #1 ranking in professional golf is a huge accomplishment placing the pro golfer as the best in the world at the sport.

Tiger Woods held the best professional golfer title for many years before his injuries set him back. You can see a list of current world pro golf rankings here.

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