Golf Blog Feature

Average Golf Score Analysis - Where Do You Rank?

So, you want to know how good you really are? Are you interested in the average golf score and how you measure up to the competition? Do you want to know if the guy at work who brags about being a "scratch golfer" can really be that good (real scratch players are very, very rare)? Well we've compiled a great deal of information regarding golf scores, so take some time to read through our analysis and by the end you should have a pretty good idea where you stand.

Now, before you go too far, if you don't have an official handicap taking the 2020 rule changes into account, go to our site at GroupChips and get a FREE handicap estimate. It's an unofficial handicap estimate, but if you don't have access to an official World Handicap System index, it's a FREE way to measure your game. A handicap is a great way to get a real measure of your playing ability. Once you know your handicap, you can take a look at this USGA handicap analysis and see where you rank. Less than 2% of all players are really scratch (handicaps of 0 to plus)!

Stats on Average Golf Scores

  • About 25 million people play golf (on the course) annually in the USA*
  • These 25 million players account for 440 million rounds annually*
  • Average score estimates from multiple sources range between 95-100 for 18 holes - more on this below
  • Based on the USGA analysis of handicaps, only about 1/3 of golfers have handicaps of 10 or less - meaning 2/3 of all players cannot break 90 regularly
  • Adherence to rules (or not) adds a lot of variability to average golf score estimates
*National Golf Foundation

So let's unpack this information and see what we can really glean about the average golf score. If you took a look at the stats above, it's clear that the great majority of players are not going to break 90 on a regulation golf course. This means if you are a players who can regularly shoot in the 80s at a par 72 golf course, you are among the top third of all players. You will beat 7 out of 10 players on the same course, playing by the rules. Now I mention rules not to accuse players of cheating, but we all know that a lot of players take liberties, and the only true way to compare is having players all abiding by the same standards, otherwise comparisons are worthless.

ReachTheGreen.com Average Score Chart

Based on all of the information we have, and our experience in the game, we've put together the following chart to help you gauge yourself against the golf community. We've assumed a regulation, par 72 golf course playing at 6,700 yards in length and a moderate slope of 120. The course rating for this example is 71. So this is not a crazy difficult course, yet a good challenge.

Your Average Score Estimated Handicap % of Players
75 or less 4 or less 7.5%
76 to 80 7 or less 17%
81 to 85 11 or less 36%
86 to 90 16 or less 64%
91 to 95 21 or less 83%
96 to 100 25 or less 92%
101 to 105 30 or less 97%
106 to 110 35 or less 100%

Track Your Golf Scores & Stats

If you really want to know how you rank as a player, you must keep track of your scores (at a minimum). Not only does it give you real information about your golf scores, it can help you improve your game as well.

I like the "The Round File" booklet I show here, because not only can you track scores, you can track some very important statistics. And honestly, unless you have PGA Tour aspirations, this is plenty of info to track. If you know how many fairways you hit from the tee, how many greens you hit in regulation, and how many putts you take per hole, those three metrics alone can help you improve your game.

By knowing more about your strengths and weaknesses, you can practice with purpose and bring down your average golf score. As an example, if you find that you are wasting a lot of shots with 3 putts, spend more practice time on long lag putts and making 3 footers. Or if you rarely hit fairways, you can spend time at the range picking out specific targets and work on finding swing keys that help you drive the ball more on line.

Golf Scores & You

So what average score would make you happy? No matter where you rank against other players, you probably have a good idea of the scores that you deem satisfactory. Some players just love the game, and don't get too involved in the scores they shoot. It's true. I know some folks who just love to play and never seem to get upset about their scores. But the vast majority of players want better scores and are often unhappy when they card a score outside the high end of their acceptable range.

If you're someone who wants to lower your average score, I assure you that practice, and possibly instruction, are going to be requirements. You cannot short change improvement in golf. If you want to get better you have to work on your weaknesses. Maybe start by looking at your setup and ensuring that your grip isn't hurting your game. Read our article on the golf swing, and see if anything applies to your game. But no matter what, if you want to lower your scores, you have to practice and work at this game.

The Fastest Way to Lower Golf Scores

Having played this game at a high level (college golf) and watching players of all abilities play thousands of rounds, I can tell you the fastest way to lower your golf scores. Ready? Practice your putting and chipping! If you develop an above average short game, you will absolutely lower your average scores. And I believe everyone has the ability to be a better putter and chipper.

For 45 years I've been watching players hit the ball adequately, but take a million strokes around the greens and ruin any chance of good scores. Yet rarely do I see folks on the practice greens working on their short games. There is a lesson here, take it to heart and you can get better.

Best of luck to you, here's hoping your best golf is yet to come!