What Is Gross Score In Golf?

Gross score in golf is simply the total number of shots actually played or incurred

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What does gross score in golf mean?

The gross score in golf is the actual number of shots played (including any penalty shots incurred) by a player. In other words, this is the score before any adjustments have been made for handicap purposes. The score after any such adjustments are made is the net score.

In a medal competition calculation of the net score from the gross score is quite simple. The net score for the round is simply the total gross score minus the player’s course handicap. Thus if a player goes round in 85 shots and has a course handicap of 12, then the net score is 85-12=73.

In a Stableford competition when the score on individual holes equates to points, this same golfer with a course handicap of 12 would ‘get a shot’ on the holes with stroke indexes 1 to 12 inclusive. This means that on these holes one shot would be deducted from the gross score to get the net score. (So, for example, a player may say after playing a hole “I made a gross 5, net 4.”) On stroke indexes 13 to 18 the gross and net scores will be the same score for this particular golfer.

In a competition it is the marker’s job to record his or her players gross score only. In a Stableford competition marker and player will often keep track of the Stableford points earned on each hole as well; however this is not strictly necessary. All a player and marker have to record, and sign for on the scorecard at the end of the round, is the gross score on each hole.

What is ‘adjusted gross score’ in golf?

Adjusted gross score is something used only to calculate handicaps. It limits how high a score can be recorded on a hole for handicap purposes. For a player with an established Handicap Index, this limit is a net double bogey, so any score above this will be recorded as a net double bogey. Thus a nightmare hole where a player racks up a huge number of shots will not artificially skew the calculation as, in the words of the R&A, “a score for handicap purposes should not be overly influenced by one or two bad hole scores that are not reflective of a player’s demonstrated ability.”

Roderick Easdale

Contributing Writer Roderick is the author of the critically acclaimed comic golf novel, Summer At Tangents. Golf courses and travel are Roderick’s particular interests. He writes travel articles and general features for the magazine, travel supplement and website. He also compiles the magazine's crossword. He is a member of Trevose Golf & Country Club and has played golf in around two dozen countries. Cricket is his other main sporting love. He is also the author of five non-fiction books, four of which are still in print: The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse; The Don: Beyond Boundaries; Wally Hammond: Gentleman & Player and England’s Greatest Post-War All Rounder.