What are net and gross scores in golf?
Golf Culture

What are net and gross scores in golf?

When golfers play golf, they're keeping score for each hole and their entire round. However, many golfers are technically keeping two scores when they play -- a gross score and a net score. But lots of people don't understand what gross and net divisions mean in a competition or what the difference is between those two numbers.

What are net and gross scores in golf?

In golf, a gross score is a golfer's total score with all the strokes -- actual golf strokes and any potential penalty strokes -- added together. This is a golfer's actual score and what they would tell people they shot when recapping a round.

A net score, though, is a golfer's total gross score plus their handicap strokes for the round. For the overwhelming number of golfers, their net score is going to always be lower than their gross score. That's because their handicap strokes for the round are negative. By adding negative handicap strokes to a golfer's gross score, the net score is going to go down.

For example, if a golfer shoots a gross score of 90 for their round, and that golfer is getting 20 handicap strokes, then their net score for the round is 70 (90-20=70).

Handicap strokes are added to the gross score as a means of showing golfers how close they came to shooting par for their skill level. If a golfer is getting 20 handicap strokes for a round, then a great performance for them for the day would be approximately 20 over par.

What are net and gross scores in a golf tournament?

Net and gross scores can also be used in golf tournaments or competitions. Many times, there are golf tournaments with awards for the best players in the gross division (meaning their natural score) and the net division (accounting for handicap strokes).

There are a variety of ways handicap strokes can be applied to scores, particularly in team golf competitions. Often times, golfers will compete against each other individually using the full value of their handicap strokes. However, sometimes golfers are only allocated a percentage -- 90 or 80 percent -- of their full handicap strokes.

In golf, team net competitions are rare unless the format is a better-ball score for individual players in a group counting toward a team score.

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