What do circles and squares on a golf scorecard mean?
Golf Culture

What do circles and squares on a golf scorecard mean?

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If you watch professional golf on TV or you even play golf occasionally, you probably have seen a golf scorecard littered with circles and squares on it, and you've probably wondered what those shapes mean in golf.

Golfers use circles and squares on a scorecard to indicate their scores against par, giving them an easy way to tally up their score instead of adding the numbers together.

A circle around a number on a scorecard indicates a score under par. So, for a birdie, a player puts one circle around the score. For an eagle, a player puts two circles around the score. And in the event of the very rare albatross (incorrectly called a double eagle), a player could put three circles around the score.

A square around a number on a scorecard indicates a score over par. So, for a bogey, a player puts one square around the score. For an double bogey, a player puts two squares around the score. And it goes on like that.

Typically, especially when golfers' scorecards are shown on TV, there will never be more than two squares around a number, even if a player makes worse than double bogey on a hole. This is also true for the albatross or even a condor, and that's because it looks a bit unwieldy to have so many circles or squares surrounding a number. Then again, if any of us made an albatross or condor, we'd probably put stars and exclamation points around it before we framed the scorecard.

By using circles and squares instead of adding numbers to get a score, a golfer just has to keep track of a count that starts at zero. The idea of to have more circles than squares on the card. Then, with that number at the end of nine holes, a player can add that number to the par for the side and get their nine-hole score.

Circles and squares on the scorecard making scoring in golf easier.

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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