Average Golf Score Remains At 100

Its no surprise to anyone who regularly plays the game, but despite decades of scientific improvements in clubs and balls, the average golf score remains the same: around 100 for 18 holes.

The average 18-hole score for the average golfer remains at about 100, as it has for decades, according to the National Golf Foundation, an industry research-and-consulting service. Among more serious recreational golfers who register their scores with the U.S. Golf Association, the average handicap index, a scoring tool, has dropped 0.5 strokes since 2000. On the PGA Tour this year, the average score of players has risen, by 0.28 strokes, compared with 10 years ago.

In 1960, the average golf score was 100. Fifty years later, with all the innovations in clubs, balls and instruction, the average golf score is … still 100. In fact, only 20 percent of all golfers will ever (honestly) break that mark.

More bad news: Barring a major investment in time and money, you’re stuck with the swing you have. Tips from golf magazines, your buddies—even the occasional lesson from a pro—aren’t going to result in long term improvement. Studies have shown that most players never get better than they are five years into their golfing “career.”

However, this doesn’t mean that lower scores are out of reach. The Five Inch Course offers more than a hundred strategies for improving your golf score without improving your swing. By playing smarter, more strategic golf, even weekend hackers can dramatically improve their scores without improving their swings.g.




32 thoughts on “Average Golf Score Remains At 100”

  1. I’m fairly new to the game and have been trying to find out something…..what is the highest stroke count you can have on any given hole?  I was told that a triple bogey is the max, then again I was told there is no limit.  Can you confirm this?


  2. There’s no legal limit to the number of shots on a hole. But as a practical matter, five over par is deserving of a pick up. You don’t want to unduly slow the game down for either your partners or the group behind you. Be aware of how far you’re falling behind the group ahead. You should be no more than a hole behind. That is, by the time the group ahead is leaving the green, you should be just about finished teeing off (execept on par 3s, of couse).

  3. There is actually a limit when calculating handicap.  For a low handicap golfer I believe the highest is double bogey.  For a high handicap golfer it is eitehr 10 or no limit.  I can not remember.

    So for bad golfers, there is little or no relief.

  4. Mike, that’s called equitable score control. Its designed to prevent a couple of disastrous holes from unduly affecting a handicap. The ranges are as follows:

    up to 9: Double Bogey is the highest you can score

    10 through 19: 7

    20 through 29: 8

    30 through 39: 9

    40 or higher: 10

  5. I’ve heard that a lot of clubs use a “triple bogey max” for calculating handicaps… I’ve heard this from more than one club.  Face it… if you’re putting for a triple… it’s over smile

  6. I like every other golfer in the world; love to hate the game of golf and everytime in the midst of 18 hole I probably swear to quit and sale my clubs at least 10 times. But it’s always that one really good shot, a 225 yrd drive down the middle of the fairway or a beautiful up/ down approach from 120 yds out that leaves a nice divot 6 ft from the cup and suddenly you think “Hell I think I’m starint to get this game” of course you’re not really, however every dog has his day. That’s why i love golf, and to be realy honest i suck pretty bad. No really i do I strive to shoot 100 but will I quit “Never”

  7. So is there an actual rule or is there not?  If always kept every stroke no matter what. At times a 9 or 10 is very painful but perhaps this hasn’t been the proper way to score?


  8. My club suggests a “Double Par” stroke limit.  On a Par 3 you can card a max 6, on a 4 a max 8, and a 5 a max 10.  Higher handicap golfers can quite certainly find themselves hitting a 10 on a par 5, but you shouldn’t be able to take 10 on a par 3.

  9. If you can hit a ball at least 150 yards and hit it reasonably straight there is no reason why you cant be putting for a par, im no expert at the game or a low handicap but I apply this to my game and regually shoot in the low 90’s even on bad days. id rather sacrifice a few yards and keep it in play than hit it far and be in trouble, im not a short hitter by any means, but i never swing more than 85% i think that there should be a limit to avoid slow play say 3 over what ever the par is ie 8 on a par 5 and so on

  10. An adult who has never played the game will never come close to the professional level regardless the amount of practice.  Good luck breaking 100.  Sorry to burst your bubble.

  11. If you guys are picking up after going double or triple bogey, you better add about 15 strokes to your handicaps.  Keep dreaming

  12. Welcome to GolfBlogger Stephen. Hope you come back often.

    I think that the longer game is easier to lose because there are so many moving parts. At least that’s the case for me.

  13. I am a self-taught weekend hacker.  I’ve improved every year for 12 seasons (I can’t golf the winter months around here).  I now, on tracks I know, can shoot consistent mid to upper 80s and around 20% of my rounds in the 80-83 range.  My goal for this year was to break 80.  I’ve shot 81 on two occasions mid-season.  Setting realistic goals is very important in realizing a better, more complete game.  I still believe I will break 80 this season.  Within the next month (it actually has to be…lol…weather turns like mad).  What do you think the best approach to shaving strokes off your game is?  I know there isn’t a “system” to improving.  Golf is way too complex for any system.  But, I’m interested in hearing if anyone is having any success with a method to improving. 

    This last season I hurt my back. I couldn’t play but once a week (even that was too much) and consequently my iron play suffered the most.  I was shanking little squirts to the right (probably the most embarrassing shot there is) constantly.  But, for the most part, my short game, including putting, did not suffer much.  Is that because the short game requires less muscle memory than a full mid-iron shot?  I’m interested to hear because it seems (beside putting) iron play (90-170yds)is the most important part of the game.  Is it also the easiest to “lose”??

  14. thanks for the 18 hole avarage score, my buddy and me just started playing golf last june,
    we played 2 times so far this year and are
    shooting 100 for 18 holes. we are retired and love it,good exersize.. we are just out for fun
    so guess we are average?

  15. Rick, you’re absolutely average. Get into the 90s legitimately, and you’re better than most.

  16. well, that may take a while.. ha ha
    but i will try my buddy shoots about the same and
    he is 2 yrs older 67.. but we just have fun
    we dont get excited..  thanks for the comment


  17. well today,may 08/10 me and my buddy went golfin it was 48deg. and 25 mile wind.. cold…
    i got 2 pars and a total score of 47 for me thats good. my buddy got 51. he has done some better. but we hav fun..just started in july last year.i never have played golf before.. we are happy.
    have a nice day


  18. First the question on being an adultnon-golfer and making pro is doable but requires some ability and a lot of work. I played a pro am with jim thorpe many many years ago and he did it. Next to break 80 take more of an evaluation of you game than anything. I started to track drives in the fairway, greens hit in regulation, how many putts, and how many up and downs (one putts after chipping). I used this info to key in on areas to either work on at the driving range or to seek the advice of a pro to help fix. That a with regular practice took me from a 16 to a 4 handicap.

  19. Hello! I just found this site and was interested to read all the posts. It seems that there are a lot of new golfers out there, and I’m excited to see it. Welcome to the best game on Earth! I hope you strive to improve and enjoy the process of getting it there. I am self-taught and am currently at a handicap index of 5.5. If you haven’t already, contact your local golf course about establishing a handicap. You’ll have to join their “club” (men’s or women’s club usually) for anywhere from $20 up, depending on where you are. It’s a good way to keep track of scores and become an official, USGA recognized golfer.

    There is definitely no maximum number of strokes allowed on a hole according to the rules of golf. I had a jv golfer I coach make a 17 on a par 5, albeit a beast of one. However, barring serious competition, I agree with the others that recommend double par for pace of play and sanity reasons.

    As far as becoming a pro after never having played, consider this: about 95% of PGA Tour pros are born and raised country club members who’ve been swinging a club, being watched by a pro, since walking age. What they’ve grown up with and learned along the way would take a 30 year old 50 years to fully attain. Having watched many PGA Tour pros play golf, in person, I can fully attest that “These Guys Are Good.” Given the choice of a random “scratch golfer” and any current PGA Tour pro, I’d take the pro all day. No question. They are that much better. So… don’t focus on becoming a pro if you start the game late in life. It’s not impossible, but highly improbable. Focus on winning your flight in the club champ or member guest.

    Love this game,

  20. Scoring below 100 average is a good summer for me. I think its a good benchmark that separates the hacker from the enthusiast. If you assume a typical par 72 / 18 course, that means you are basically playing bogey golf (gets you a 90)…not bad really. I’ll take it. I play for the moments. That one terrific drive that if I could do 80% of the time would put me in the pros – if I could fix the rest of my game. . We all see inklings of stardom in golf if we play at all. Aside from the beauty of the course and the camaraderie, it’s the potential that keeps you coming back.

    So, we dig out our gadgets. We’ve got the best clubs. We using GPS’s to tell us how far to the flag like it actually helps knowing. And we now have a putting aid to tell you what direction to hit the ball! Will it help? Well all these things help. You still have to hit the ball though. And there’s the rub. And so it doesn’t surprise me that in all these years the average golf score is still the same. Ultimately it’s just you, the club, the ball and the cup.

    Greg Newell

  21. I have just broken 80 for the first time (which has immediately cut my handicap to 14). The difference for me personally (acknowledging everyone is different) is leaving my driver in the car and improving my short game. I love driving but one lost ball negates a lot of long drives

  22. Me and my friends play double the hole. Par 3 max strokes is 6. It is a good day when you don’t have to use this.

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