Gross vs Net Golf Score: How To Count Them Right

In this article you will find the explanation for gross vs net golf scoring systems - how to calculate them and which is used in tournaments
By
reviewed
Reviewed by
Last updatedLast updated: May 01, 2022
Killarney Golf is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

The golf handicap system, particularly gross vs. net golf, is the reason why golf is a lifelong game that many people enjoy. Some people find the system a bit complicated in the beginning but realize how useful it is once they wrap their heads around it. The gross score and the net score are the two main types of scores used in the game of golf. The golf score is basically the total number of strokes that a player takes on a hole or during a round, inclusive of penalty strokes. On the other hand, the nest score is the gross score without the golfer’s handicap.

The net score is a result of a handicap on a given round. With the net score format, different players with different skill levels can compete closely. Gross score is also used to calculate handicaps in higher levels of competition like pro events. This comparison article takes a closer look at both types of scores in golf and compares them to give you a clear picture of how they are derived and their usefulness.

What is Net Score in Golf

Gross vs Net Golf Score: How To Count Them Right

Net score is derived by deducting handicap strokes Trusted Source Rules of Handicapping A score from an authorized format of play which meets all the provisions set out within the Rules of Handicapping (see Rule 2 Scores for Handicap Purposes). www.usga.org from the gross strokes in a round. It helps even out the field when players with a stronger skill set play against those with a weaker skillset. Essentially, nest score makes it possible for people with a weaker skillset to win the game.

Whether in a competition or a casual play, there will be times you will need to score low net. Low net is essentially the lowest net score among all the players. It is around that is unusually low for a particular player.

You can score low net by playing better than you usually do, and it could only go wrong if each of your competitors is playing poorly that day which is rare. Remember, the higher your handicap; the more strokes get deducted from your gross score to derive your net score.

Calculations

As mentioned above, the net score is calculated by subtracting handicap strokes from the gross or total strokes in around. The calculation varies according to the format of the game being played. The two main formats used to play in golf are match play and stroke play.

In the match play format, the game is played on a hole-to-hole basis, and each player aims to win the hole. The net score is therefore calculated for each hole.

In the case of a stroke play format, each player aims at winning the entire game. Individual wins are not as important as an overall win, and the individual net score for each hole doesn’t matter in this format.

What is Gross Score in Golf

Gross score is the total number of strokes it takes to complete a hole. If 5 strokes is what it takes for you to go from your tee shot to dropping the ball in the hole, then your gross score is 5.

Another term you should know is the adjusted gross score which is also a concept in the USGA handicap system that limits the highest score golfers can make on a given hole. It is relevant for conceded holes, unfinished holes, equitable strokes, and unplayed holes. Equitable stroke control is the most common reason for the adjustable gross score.

Basically, adjustable gross score reflects the skill level and consistency of a golfer. If there are rare cases where the player takes far more strokes than they normally would, their course handicap is used to limit them.

For instance, a player with a handicap below 9 for 18 holes is marked for a double bogey on any hole. This player is unlikely to incur more strokes than a double bogey, and their gross score is therefore adjusted to account for their consistency.

Gross vs Net Golf Score: How To Count Them Right

Calculations

Calculating gross score is as simple as adding all the strokes you play to complete a hole. For instance, if you take 5 strokes to complete a hole, then your gross score for that hole is 5. Penalty strokes are also added to get gross score. Let’s say it takes 5 strokes to hole a ball, and you get 2 penalty strokes; your gross score will be 7.

The final gross score is computed by adding all the gross scores for all the holes. If you have a gross score of 5 for one hole and 4 for another, your final gross score is 9.

Gross vs Net Score in Golf

Not all matches compute both net score and gross scores. Some matches only use gross score to identify the winner. Here are some of the things you should familiarize yourself with to be able to tell gross and net score apart.

Handicap readings

For handicap readings, you can check out the USGA handicap index Trusted Source Getting A Handicap Index In order to establish and maintain a Handicap Index, a player must be a member of an authorized golf club. Most golf courses, public and private, are authorized. The Allied Golf Association in your area can easily set you up with club in your area, and you can also search for an authorized club by clicking the link below. www.usga.org . You will get a full representation of the number of strokes you are limited to at an average golf course. The index is used to calculate a course handicap at every course. For instance, if you are playing a tough course, you can put in your handicap index and you’ll find that your course handicap is probably a 16 or anything close to it.

The course handicap cannot be a number with a decimal when the index is converted. A handicap index could be 15.4 but a course handicap has to be rounded up to the next whole number.

The course number varies according to the difficulty of the course being played. Some golfers get elated when they head out to a course and find that their index converts to a higher course handicap because they get extra shots for the day.

Do you need to find the best fairway woods for high handicappers to improve your game? Or you are a mid-handicapper and you are on the search for the best golf balls?

Scorecard

Once you have converted your handicap index to a course handicap you can proceed to set up your scorecard for play. Some golfers find reading and marking the scorecard a little confusing but once they master it, the gross and net score calculations become a breeze. The first thing you need to do is find the handicap’s location for each hole on the card.

The scorecard will have a line item that shows the individual handicaps for every hole and they will be rated 1 to 18. The number 1 handicap hole represents the hardest part of the course and number 18 is the easiest.

If your handicap is 16, you have to mark a dot on each of the first 16 handicap holes on your scorecard. This will leave you with 2 holes without a dot, and this means you will not get an extra shot for them.

You’ll keep your gross score one row of the scorecard and on another row you’ll jot down the net score. You can also draw a line through the box and keep both the gross score and net score in one box.

According to most golfers, the Score Snapshot Golf Scorecard Notebook is the best scorecard notebook that money can buy. it has a distinct premium feel with golf notes pages that will help you track your progress.

You can also track your scores with the famous ScoreBand golf play watch. It will track all of your hole and round scores, then give you a score summary after 9 and 18 holes

To record your strokes, consider the Frienda Golf score counter. It is highly recommended because it is highly portable and easy to use. You can record up to 12 strokes then easily reset it with your finger.

Score posting

You have to post your score whenever you finish your round for the day. It helps keep your scorecard accurate. You should never be worried about posting a very high or low round because the handicap system will always work itself to produce a fair number.

The more accurate your handicap is, the more competitors you will be attracting because a fair handicap means a fair game.

Low Gross vs Low Net Golf

Many golf events have low gross and low net winners. The low gross score winner is the person who shot the lowest without handicap while the low net winner is identified after handicap adjustments have been made.

Golf purists argue that the lowest gross score is better than low net score because it is pure golf without any score adjustments. The prizes for gross and net scoring are usually the same because tournament directors maintain that winning both low gross and low net is equally difficult.

Tournament readings

Better skilled golfers generally have a hard time winning low net tournaments. Their lower handicap makes winning gross easier. Players with a higher handicap have an easier time winning low net tournaments.

For instance, a 4 handicap has to shoot under par to win low net while a 30 handicap has to break 100 to potentially win a low net.

Final Thoughts

Gross vs. net golf is not very common among professional golfers as the handicap system was designed to even the field for players with different skill levels. When players have varying skill levels, gross scores cannot be used to identify a winner. Instead, net scores are used to give the weaker skilled players a fair chance at winning. One of the primary differences between net scores and gross scores is that net scores can be computed for each hole and for the entire game while gross scores are only computed for the entire game.

Once you understand the difference between gross and net scores, you can work towards getting a highly accurate handicap for your game. You can do this by posting your scores consistently to get a precise presentation of your game.

References

1.
Rules of Handicapping
A score from an authorized format of play which meets all the provisions set out within the Rules of Handicapping (see Rule 2 Scores for Handicap Purposes).
2.
Getting A Handicap Index
In order to establish and maintain a Handicap Index, a player must be a member of an authorized golf club. Most golf courses, public and private, are authorized. The Allied Golf Association in your area can easily set you up with club in your area, and you can also search for an authorized club by clicking the link below.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.