How to keep score

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Updated: 4/18/2007 11:42 am
There are two ways to score a round of golf. In match play, you keep track of who scores lower on each hole. Whoever wins the most holes wins the match. A stroke is counted every time you swing at the ball. It doesn't matter whether you slam a drive 200 yards down the fairway or if it dribbles a few inches away from the tee. It's one stroke either way. Keeping score is easy in match play. When you win a hole, you're called 'one up.' Such games don't even have to include all 18 holes. Since only one can be scored on any hole, a player who is three up with two holes to play is declared the winner. In stroke play, the winner is the player who completes the round in the lowest number of strokes. In addition to swings you take, you may also find that you're subject to penalty strokes in certain situations. Check the rulebook for a complete listing of circumstances that demand one or more penalty strokes. Before you begin, take a look at your scorecard. It will list the holes, their distance, and the par for each. There may be several distances given on each hole, depending on which set of tees you begin from. It's customary for opponents to keep each other's scorecards, so you won't be putting down your own score unless you're playing a practice round by yourself. Be sure to check your scorecard to make sure the correct number of strokes was entered. At the end of each hole, simply write down the number of strokes for that hole in the box provided. If you have a handicap, subtract it from the total score at the end of the round to see how you did.
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