Golf scoring is occasionally a mystery, especially for people new to the game. This guide will give an overview of what it takes to score a game of golf in three simple rules:

Count Each Swing

The first rule of scorekeeping in golf is to count each stroke. A stroke can be defined as any time the club contacts the ball. For each hole, the current player must step up to the tee in the ground and hit the ball as close to the hole as they can. Each hit counts as a stroke until the ball lands in the hole. Each stroke should be counted on a scorecard so points can continually be tallied.

Compare the Score to Par

Par is the number of strokes an expert is expected to take to finish the hole. For example, a tough hole might have a par of four. One of the goals of golf is to be under par. Golf lingo applies here: 1-under par is a birdie, 1-over is a bogey. As a beginner, it is not uncommon to be several strokes over par.

Learn the Different Scoring Methods

Golf is a sport where it is better to get a low number of strokes, regardless of the scoring method. But here are three methods that are typically used:

Method A: Stroke Play—This is the most common type of scoring, in which you simply count each stroke and tally it up. Whoever has the lowest number of strokes for the whole game is declared the winner.

Method B: Match Play—Strokes are still counted on each hole, but you keep track of the player that wins each hole. For example, if Player A gets three strokes, and Player B gets four, then the winner of the hole is Player A. The winner of most holes is declared the winner.

Method C: Stableford System—This is an uncommon method that compares the score to par. How close a player is to par is converted into points and the total number of points determines the winner.

Once a player has learned these four basic rules, they are ready to take on a game of golf, all they still have to learn is how to properly swing.