While golf can be played for recreational purposes and as a means of letting off steam or enjoying the fabulous African weather outside, there are many who follow the professionals and keep track of their scores and standings in the various tournaments. Golf scoring is quite complex if you aren’t quite sure how it works and keeping tabs on the leaderboard can be a daunting experience if you don’t understand it from the outset.

Numbers, Numbers and More Numbers

Golf scores are all about numbers. Let’s get the basics down first, shall we? A golf course is comprised of 18 holes and par refers to the standard number of strokes it takes to complete a hole. Par is usually anything from three to five strokes, depending on the complexity of the hole in question. Using one less stroke than par to complete a hole is referred to as a birdie which is usually depicted in red while one more stroke than par is called a bogey which is most often identified by the color black.

The Leaderboard in Detail

On the left side of the leaderboard, you will find the listed names of the players as they are ranked so far in the tournament. On the right-hand side of each name, you will notice a number next to each coinciding hole. The instance of a birdie will reduce the score by one stroke while a bogey will increase the score by one stroke. An “E” indicates that the player has played the hole to par. The last column on the right is the “Totals” column. This column reflects the total number of strokes played by the player over the duration of the tournament. To determine the winner, look at the number 18 hole and find the player with the lowest score. This is the player who has used the least shots to complete the tournament.