What’s an Average Golf Score for an Average Golfer?

a completed scorecard with scores on it

Today, we will take a look at the average golf score for an average golfer. The average golf score can gauge how good of a golfer you are when stacked up against the rest. Moreover, the average golf score will also enlighten you about your weakness, and how much you need to improve to become an excellent golf player. 

Are you wondering what the average golf score for an amateur golfer is? The average score for an amateur golf player is 90 strokes. A score of 90 strokes on a par 72 course is considered an average score for beginners and amateurs. Anything above 120 is regarded as a bad golf score.

This may be the average golf score, but there is more to it. The average score varies for different age groups, golf courses, and categories. Let’s explore these factors to uncover the details of how we come up with the average golf score.

What is the Average Golf Score for Different Age Groups?

The expected average golf score varies from group to group and depends on various factors. While the average golf score is 90 strokes, numerous underlying factors contribute to this score. The relevant and important factors include:

  • Player experience
  • Age
  • Category
  • 9-holes or 18-holes

According to Golf Storage Guide, the average golf scores can be easily categorized according to age as follows. 

7 to 10 Years Old

The average score for kids between the ages of 7 and 10 is between 144-180. This is a far cry from the average score of 90 strokes, but this is alright for the kids. Since they start playing without any guidance and strategy, the score is usually very high. As kids start growing up and learning the fundamentals of the game, the score starts to improve and get closer to the average golf score.

10 to 20 Years Old

Slowly, with time, the score starts to get close to the average of 90 strokes. The average score for this category is between 89 – 180. Yes, 89 is better than the average, but this score comes with determination and practice.

20 to 70 Years Old

For people in this category, the average score lies between 89 and 91. There is not much of a variation here because the following factors contribute to keeping this score stabilized and keeping it to 90 strokes:

  • Age
  • Energy
  • Experience 

Once you cross 70 years, the score starts to get higher slowly and gets up to 94.

What Factors Contribute to the Average Golf Score?

As mentioned earlier, there are various factors that play a vital role in deciding the golf score and calculating the average golf score. Let’s discuss those factors.

1. Improved Golf Club Designs

Over the past few decades, technological advancements have caused the club designs to improve as well. Now, these clubs can be manufactured with accurate machinery that can calculate the curve down to a 10th of an inch. 

With the help of such modern clubs, golfers can easily play the game and get their score as close to the average as possible. The design of the club contributes directly to the score and helps keep it close to the average.

2. Golf Courses

Every golf course has a different rating and has a varying degree of difficulty. Just because someone can score a 100 on one course, doesn’t mean that they will get the same score on another course. Courses and their respective difficulty varies according to the following elements:

  • Course rating
  • Course difficulty
  • Slope rating 

These factors matter a lot when determining the golf score and average golf score for that course.

3. Slope Rating

The next element that determines the average score for any golf course is the slope rating. This is basically a slope line determining the average difference and ratio between an amateur golfer’s score and a professional golfer’s score on that course. 

The expected scores are placed on the Y-axis, and the handicaps are plotted on the X-axis, and a slope line passes through the score to determine the slope rating for every course.

4. Experience

The score is also directly proportional to the experience and the age of the golfer. Average golfers start around 110 strokes and even 120 strokes, and with more experience, they get their scores below 100 and even below 90. Experience matters, and contributes directly to the average golf score for amateur players.

What is the Average Handicap for a male golfer?

The average handicap for a male golfer is 16.1, while the average handicap for a female golfer is 28.9. The handicap is basically a numerical value that indicates the number of strokes over par according to the recent past performances of any player. This number is inversely proportional to the player’s performance. The lower the number, the better the player.

An extremely excellent player will often have a handicap score of zero. A zero handicap score means that the player will either make par on the course or make less than par.

What percentage of golfers shoot 70, 80, 90, and 100?

You must wonder how many golfers have been able to cross the 70, 80, 90, and even 100 scores. 

According to handicap statistics from the USGA, 1.6% of players are scratch golfers. A scratch golfer is a golfer who, on average, shoots par for a particular course (or under 72).

On the other hand, 21% of the golfers have kept their score under 90 (the average score). The majority of the players, around 29%, stay below 100, whereas more than 11% have been known to score a bad score of 120+ strokes. 

Slowly, over time, average and amateur players keep getting their score as close to the average as possible. Here is a table indicating different categories of golf players and their scores.

Under 72 (Scratch Golfer)1.6%
Under 80 (72-79)5%
Under 90 (80-89)21%
Under 100 (90-99)29%
Under 110 (100-109)24%
Under 120 (110-119)10%

Wrap Up: Average Golf Score for Amateur Players

As with any game, you have to set realistic expectations to become an amazing golfer. You cannot just pick up a golf club and start shooting under par. In order to score lesser than the national average of 90 strokes, it takes 

  • patience
  • years of practice
  • consistency
  • masterful strategies 

If you are scoring less than 120 strokes, it is a good starting point. Next, you can begin to:

  • analyze your abilities
  • identify the weak areas
  • practice harder and harder every day

If you start by setting the bar too high, it might demoralize you. It is also recommended not to make unfair comparisons with other golfers who have years of experience and strategies under their wings. Just focus on your own game, and soon, you will find yourself inching closer to the average golf score.

As we have all heard, “slow and steady wins the race.” The same is the case for golf. You cannot begin by expecting 90 strokes on your first day. Remember, there is a multitude of factors involved in enhancing your golfing career. From age to experience, you need to take everything into account and formulate an appropriate strategy to get your golf score below the average of 90 strokes.

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Joe Morelli

Joe Morelli is the founder of TopRankGolf, a passionate golfer with decades of experience playing this amazing sport. He's dedicated to helping golfers learn, improve and enjoy the game of golf.