What Is An Average Golf Score?

So many people refer to themselves as average golfers, but really what does average mean? Is average how you strike the golf ball, the distance the golf ball travels, your score, your short game?

For most, the average is going to be a reflection of the golf score. An average golf score does not need to be a handicap necessarily but instead what they would shoot for a typical round of golf on the course. 

There are some terms that you should know to help you understand the average golf score and how it will impact you as a player. In general, it is also just fascinating to compare yourself to what the average golf score is. Golf is an individual game where you play against the golf course, but it’s fun to be competitive as well. 

Here is everything you need to know about what an average golf score is. 

What Is An Average Golf Score For Men? 
What Is An Average Golf Score For Women?
What Is Considered A Bad Golf Score? 
Factors That Impact The Average Golf Score
What Is An Average Golf Handicap?
Golf Scoring Terminology

What Is An Average Golf Score For Men? 

An average golf score for men is between 92 and 95. Many golfers struggle to break 100, and that is quite common; however, when you balance out the higher handicappers and the lower handicappers, you will find an average score in the low 90s. 

Playing golf and shooting in the low 90s is considered respectable. Chances are you made a bogey on most of the holes and were able to probably throw in par or two for the holes where you made an extra mistake. 

Most bogey golfers can get around the course at a pretty good pace, and they can enjoy playing with golfers of almost any handicap. However, in order to honestly shoot in the low 90s, players need to practice and have a general understanding of all areas of the game. 

Most male golfers that first start out playing golf are going to shoot well over 100, sometimes even over 120. This is quite common, even though many people believe that golf is not all that hard. 

When you actually set out to play golf, you will quickly see how difficult the game is. 

What Is An Average Golf Score For Women? 

The average golf score for women golfers is slightly higher than it is for men. Women golfers tend to have an average of around 105 or so. This higher scoring average comes down to two primary reasons. 

The first is that women golfers don’t tend to hit the ball quite as far as male golfers, and it can impact the number of shots it takes to get to the hole. The second is that there are not as many good women players as there are men. 

For some reason, women don’t take over a large percentage of the golfing population, and because of that, many of the players are newer or high handicaps, and they end up bringing the overall average for women golfers up a little higher. 

There are still plenty of great women golfers out there; sometimes, their scores are just not relatively as low as the men. 

What Is Considered A Bad Golf Score? 

We have all been here 🙂

For new players, one of the greatest fears is shooting a bad score. Many people like to put a number on this, such as shooting over 110 is a bad golf score. However, this is much too limiting, and it does not paint an accurate picture. 

A bad golf score for a great player is 80. A bad golf score for a mid handicapper is 98. A bad golf score for a beginner is 130. As you can see, no set number is going to be a bad golf score. A bad golf score only happens when you feel like you did not play to your potential when you were out on the golf course. 

Factors That Impact The Average Golf Score

When someone tells you they shoot a 90, you really have no idea what this means unless you have some other details about the golf course, the conditions, the par, and more. A 90 at Pebble Beach is different than a 90 at your local links. There are many factors involved that you should understand to get a better handle on what a great golf score is. 


The slope of a golf course can actually be a very complicated formula to figure out, but luckily you won’t have to do too much math related to the slope. Essentially the slope is a numerical value that tells you how hard of a time a bogey golfer would have trying to play bogey golf on the course. The high slope will mean the golf course is quite difficult. 

Slope ratings are going to be between 55 and 155, and the average slope rating is 113. You can find these numbers on any golf scorecard, and they will quickly give you an indication of golf course difficulty. 


Where the slope rating gives us an idea of how challenging the course would be for a bogey golfer, the rating has everything to do with par. So essentially, if you see a slope rating of 71.5, you will know that an average scratch golfer would shoot around 71 or 72 on the golf course. 

If you play a course and the rating is 68, the course is much easier than a rating of 74. The rating of 74 shows that a par golfer would not even shoot par at the golf course. 


Some golf courses are par 72, but there are others that are 73, 71, 70. Some executive courses are even around 60. Therefore when someone says they shoot 90, you really don’t know how far over par they were. Think about this the next time you are surprised when someone says they played an excellent round. 


Golf course conditions have a significant impact on the score. If you are playing a course that is going wet, it will play much longer. Windy golf courses tend to be difficult to maneuver because you have to hit various golf shots, and they are subject to the wind. 

Golf course conditions can also be poor at some golf courses, and this causes problems with what you are able to shoot. Essentially the golf course can play differently from one day to the next, and that is just another reason why we love this crazy sport. 

What Is An Average Golf Handicap? 

Your golf handicap is a way to represent what your average golf score is. Each time you play a round of golf, you can enter your golf score, and it will calculate into your golf handicap. For a male golfer, an average handicap is going to be right around a 16. This will typically relate to a score of around 88-92. 

For a female golfer, the average handicap is 26, which will be like shooting 98-102. The average handicaps will vary from one golf course to the next, and that is why you can adjust handicaps when you are playing at a course away from your home course. 

Golf handicaps are a great way to allow players of different abilities to be able to play a round against each other. Because of the golf handicap system, a 25 and a five handicap can have a very fair match against each other. As long as both players have been properly keeping their scores and reporting on their rounds, the handicaps should work to produce a fair and fun match. 

Golf Scoring Terminology 

There are some words that you should know related to golf scoring. When you have a better understanding of golf scoring and all involved, you can talk about the game a bit more. Sometimes golf is more about understanding the terminology and being able to talk to other golfers, than it is about shooting low scores. Here are some terms that you should understand when learning about golf scoring. 

  • Par- each golf hole has a par; if a hole is a par 4 and you take 4 shots to get it in the hole, you will have made a par for that hole 
  • Birdie- a birdie is a score of one-under-par; on a par 4, this would mean that it took you 3 shots to get the ball in the hole 
  • Eagle- the eagle, is two under par; therefore getting an eagle would be like making a 3 on a par 5; the eagle is quite rare when compared to the par or birdie
  • Under Par- under par is any score that is below par; this can be used to refer to an entire round of golf or simply just one hole
  • Bogey- a bogey is a score of one over par; when you hear the term bogey golfer, this is typically a player that shoots one over par on each hole throughout their round 
  • Over Par- over par is any score that is more than the par; on a par 5, scoring a 6 would be considered over par 
  • Scratch- scratch golfers are those that can shoot par for the course, it is rare to become a scratch golfer, and you have to work quite hard to be this good at the game 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now understand what an average golf score is and where your game fits in. Make sure that you are careful not to compare yourself too much to other golfers. Golf is very much an individual sport, and all players are on their own journey. You need to learn to score what you are comfortable with and then improve those scores as you get more involved in the game. Some players will never break 80, and others will never break 100. Don’t get hung up on a perfect golf score; instead, try and do the very best you can each time you head out to the golf course. 

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Brittany Olizarowicz

Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf for more than 25 years. After a successful college golf career, Britt became a PGA member, membership director, and teaching professional. Her love for the game led her to a career of teaching golf and writing about the sport. Britt has two young children who have taken a liking to the sport, and they can all be found on the golf course several days a week.