What's the highest score you can have in golf?
Golf Culture

What’s the highest score you can have in golf?

Zac Blair, professional golfer and avid golf traveler

Everyone knows the object of golf is to finish with the lowest score possible -- whether that's on a single hole, a stretch of holes or an entire round. However, what a lot of people don't know is what's the worst score possible in golf.

What's the highest score you can have in golf?

In golf, there is technically no limit to the score you can have. There is no highest score. It could be infinite. That's because the object of the game is to complete each hole by teeing off and then hitting the ball toward the hole until it goes in the hole. Outside of that, there is no prescription for a maximum score.

Of course, the minimum score on any hole of golf is 1 stroke. So, the lowest score you can have in golf is natural: as many shots as holes played. For an 18-hole round of golf, the lowest score is 18. For a 9-hole round of golf, the lowest score is 9.

But there is no maximum score. However many shots it takes to get the ball in the hole is a golfer's score for that hole, plus any penalty strokes that may come up from breaking the Rules of Golf during that hole. At the end of the round, the total score is adding all of those together.

However, golfers who are struggling on the golf course are incredible unlikely to play out every hole to the maximum extent. Often times, golfers that are not in a competition will pick a point where they've just had enough and "pick up," meaning they quit the hole they're playing and are ready to move to the next hole.

For golfers who are playing with a handicap index, they technically have a maximum score they can input for handicap purposes, which is net double bogey.

In tournament golf, though, golfers must complete every hole and cannot stop playing a hole until they put the golf ball in the hole. If a player doesn't finish each hole in a competitive round or tournament, they are disqualified.

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